M&M Week 5 Workout: March 20, 2017

Over the next four weeks, we’re going to take our warmed up synthesis muscles and start applying them toward strategy. We kick things off with an exercise you’re all already very familiar with — the success spectrum. In the workout itself, you’re going to be doing the spectrum for one of your own projects, but the homework will be about our collective spectrum for this project.

For this workout, think of a project you’re working on right now or are about to start. It could be related to the work we’re doing together at STP, but it doesn’t have to be.

Remember what you learned from the previous four workouts and our group checkin. To get to a good spectrum, at some point, you have to shift away from just adding, and you have to start editing. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake, and don’t be afraid of editing other people’s work. If there are objections, that opens up opportunities for discussion. And if there are no objections, then you have made someone else’s work better — collaboration at work!

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: Question Brainstorm (10min)
    1. In our shared Google Doc, find your section, and take five minutes to write down all of the questions that come to mind about your project. This exercise is about quantity, not quality, so just write, don’t edit.
    2. Take a minute to cluster your questions.
    3. Rewrite your Yes / No questions into non-Yes / No questions. Help your partners with this!
    4. Identify (with your partner’s help) one or two questions that will most help you move forward with your project.
  4. Workout: Success Spectrum (40min)
    1. Take a few minutes to imagine what your project would look like if it were successful?
    2. Go to the appropriate section in our shared Google Doc. Take five minutes to start capturing the different ranges of what success would look like — from minimum (i.e. must happen to call the project successful) to target (i.e. going for it, but probably won’t hit all of these) to epic (i.e. not going for it, but would be amazing if it happened).
    3. Take five minutes to capture what failure would look like. Review and adjust your minimum success column to make sure it’s consistent with your failure column.
    4. Review your success spectrum with your partner. Exchange feedback. (5 min each)
    5. Revise your success spectrum based on your discussion, and quickly share your changes with your partner. (5 min each)
    6. Quickly debrief the exercise:
      • How did the experience feel?
      • What did you learn?
  5. Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
  6. Each of you should post one brief takeaway as a comment to this post. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive or incredibly detailed. I’d strongly encourage you to share your takeaway immediately after your workout. Make it a point to read (and respond to, if so moved) other people’s takeaways every week.

This week’s homework:

  • We currently have a messy, out-of-date success spectrum for our 2017 plan. This week, start cleaning up the original and create a new spectrum here. Do what you can, see what others do, and we’ll see where we are at the end of next week.

If you’d like to read the generic cards for the exercises above (which include design thoughts and variations), see: