Doing Agendashift online (4 of n): Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes (IdOO)

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #4 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online (we have plenty of practice). And here, we really get to the heart of things.

Followers of this blog will know that 15-minute FOTO is our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, one of the highlights of any Agendashift workshop. You might even have guessed that this would be the 15-minute FOTO installment. You’re not wrong exactly, but first let’s see it in context.

Here it is in the Discovery session of the classic Core, Applied, or Deep Dive workshop, chapter 1 of the Agendashift book:


Same workshops, same book, but session/chapter 2, Exploration:


And now the Wholehearted:OKR workshop, different book (Right to Left), and the session Outside-in review (I):


And session Outside-in review (II):


Even if 1) the slides didn’t give the game away already and 2) I told you that there are two different flavours of 15-minute FOTO here and that sometimes we use a different tool entirely, you’d have no trouble recognising that there’s a pattern here.

I’m calling that pattern IdOO:


Doing IdOO online

See the past installment 2. Celebration-5W to understand how we facilitate online at least one of the ways we can can establish some business context ahead of any reflection.

See 3. The assessments for how participants prioritise the assessment prompts on which they will reflect. For Discovery, it’s even simpler: just share the Agendashift True North (see the Resources section below).

Then (and you’ll find these questions in the True North deck):

  • When this is working at its ideal best for you, what’s that like?
  • And when that’s happening, what new stories could you tell?

Those questions work really well 1-2-4-All style as described in the assessments installment – individual silent reflections followed by pairwise, table group, and debrief conversations (a good test of your breakout room skills if you’re using Zoom).

That’s IdOO’s Ideal reflection part done. Easy!

To identify Obstacles:

  • What stops that? What gets in the way?

(See also The language of outcomes: 2. Framing obstacles)

Again, that’s straightforward enough. And again, 1-2-4-All works really well, except that this time those obstacles will need to be captured somehow when the conversation gets to table group level. Google Docs works great, but you’ll want to get documents set up and distributed ahead of time.

To generate Outcomes, you could just ask these questions with respect to the obstacles just captured:

  • What would you like to have happen? (or your favourite equivalent)
  • Then what happens? (asked a few times perhaps)

Even online, that’s temptingly easy. That would however be a huge opportunity missed. Instead of you asking the questions, how about your participants coach each other? That’s what 15-minute FOTO does, and both editions of the game (Lite and Classic) have versions specifically tailored for online use.

In some ways the online version is more efficient, with everyone joining in to help with the scribe’s task of capturing outcomes, clients as well as coaches able to refer to the notes (these roles rotate by the way). Especially if you’re facilitating it for the first time, don’t be afraid to join in – the Lite edition in particular includes a familiarisation phase.

Next time (not Monday, it being Easter) we’ll look at different ways those generated outcomes can be organised online.


All of these are open source (CC-BY-SA):

Become a partner for both the integrated workshop materials and the ability to administer the assessments described in the previous installment.

And the two books:

Upcoming online workshops

Agendashift, the wholehearted engagement model
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Doing Agendashift online (2 of n): Celebration-5W

The time to take a close look at 1) your strategy and 2) your ways of working is now. You need to do those together – integrated, wholeheartedly, no half measures. The place to do it is online. We’re here to help you.

This is #2 in a series of unspecified length, covering ways you can do Agendashifty things online. Here we look at Celebration-5W, the exercise I’ve used at or near the beginning of nearly every workshop I have conducted in recent years, and (accordingly) the exercise that opens chapter 1 of the Agendashift book. It’s open source (CC-BY-SA license), one of several such resources you can access here.

From the Celebration-5W page:

Celebration-5W is the first of Agendashift’s Discovery exercises. We have now made it available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license; not only can you view the deck here (embedded from Slideshare), you can request the original source .pptx files for incorporation with your own material or adaptation to your needs.

Celebration-5W is a time travel exercise, typically focussed on a celebration several months into the future. It is typically used at the start of a workshop, retrospective, or chartering exercise to create some shared business context. Everything else we go on to discuss should in some way help us to achieve the things we identify here.

You can see it in action 6 minutes into the video on the 15-minute FOTO page.

Celebration-5W is easy to facilitate online. Just as with doing it in person, there are two main considerations. The technology may have some influence on your choices:

  1. Is this a whole room exercise, or do we work in small groups (table groups in person, breakout rooms online)?
  2. Fancy template, or “Put your paper in portrait mode, the five headings down the page”?

Doing this in person with 6 or more people, I have a strong preference for working in table groups, debriefing each group one at a time afterwards if there aren’t too many of those, a small number of groups volunteering otherwise. This way, you learn a lot from the alignment (or otherwise) of outputs. That said, some facilitators report good experiences doing this as a whole room exercise, so take your pick. Online, your level of comfort with managing breakout rooms will no doubt be a factor (and I’ll mention some gotchas next time), perhaps favouring the whole room experience.

Working in person, I have used Mike Haber’s template ever since he contributed it. Doing it in person isn’t an option right now, but for when that opportunity returns it’s easy enough to draw by hand, and the Celebration-5W Dropbox includes pptx and pdf files you can print (I print them on A3 paper).

Online, a couple choices:

  • Replicate Mike’s template in your favourite online whiteboarding tool (eg Miro)
  • In Google Docs (or equivalent), the 5W headings – Who, What, Where, When, and Why – down the page (or pages or docs plural, for multiple groups)

I like Miro, but given that this is usually the kickoff exercise, I stick with the option familiar to the most people, Google Docs. In fact, in the Agendashift Online workshop (see below), Zoom and Google Docs is all the technology needed for the entirety of the first two-hour session.

All pretty straightforward, so give it a try! Including how access the Dropbox, there’s more on Celebration-5W here.

I leave you with some upcoming opportunities to experience it online:

Next: Doing Agendashift online (3 of n): The assessments


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Open sourcing our Discovery exercise, Celebration-5W

Here’s how chapter 1 of the Agendashift book opens:

Picture the scene: It’s some months from now, and you’re celebrating! Isn’t it wonderful to see everyone together like this? And you deserve it: over this period, you, your teams, and your entire organisation have achieved far more than anyone would have thought possible. You dared to aim high, and still you smashed it!

What makes this celebration so special? We’re going to explore that via some time travel and the classic journalistic questions of Who, What, When, Where, and Why, otherwise known as the five W’s.

Most Agendashift workshops kick off with this simple time-travelling and context-setting exercise – the first of four Discovery exercises – and now we’ve open-sourced it. Head over to the Celebration-5W page for more information, including a preview of the slides, a video, download information, and related tools and exercises.

The small print:

Celebration-5W is copyright © 2018-2018 Agendashift (a trading name of Positive Incline Ltd). Celebration-5W by Mike Burrows of Positive Incline Ltd is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

We warmly encourage customisations, adaptations, translations, etc to be made and shared. It seems however that not everyone gets how Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (aka CC-BY-SA) is meant to work, so I’ve added a guidance slide to the deck.

If you have questions, drop me a line or (better) go to channel #workshops in the Agendashift Slack. There are several people there who have facilitated this exercise before. I have used it dozens of times.

Enjoy Celebration-5W!

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