M&M Week 6 Workout: March 27, 2017

This week, we’ll exercise our systems thinking muscles and will work on surfacing our respective theories of change about the STP work we’re all doing together.

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: One-Minute Drill — Question Variation (15min)
    1. Take a minute to consider the following: What should be our highest priority goal in 2017 for the work we’re doing together for Wye River (and beyond)? You can pick one of the goals in our planning document, or you can come up with a different one.
    2. Decide who will share first.
    3. Take one minute to share your answer. Your partner should listen quietly and keep strict time. Unlike previous times we’ve done this exercise, I encourage you to take notes in the appropriate section of our shared Google Doc.
    4. Unlike previous exercises, we won’t repeat back yet. First, switch with your partner, so that your partner is answering the question, and you’re taking notes.
    5. Take five minutes to replace your notes in the Google Doc with a series of questions that represent partner’s answer. It should include questions that your partner asked (possibly reframed) and questions that your partner answered without asking. Make sure you delete your previous notes — only the questions should remain.
    6. Compare your notes with each other. Give each other a score between one to five based on how well you think the questions represent what you were trying to say, with five being a perfect reflection. Discuss and revise.
    7. Hold up between one to five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said, with five being a perfect reflection.
    8. Correct or improve your partner’s question synthesis. Don’t be afraid to nitpick — nuances are important.
    9. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: Five Whys (30min)
    1. Start with one person’s answer to the warmup question, and ask, “Why?” This is your first Why.
    2. For each of your partner’s answers, ask, “Why?” again. Repeat this until you’ve asked and your partner has answered, “Why?” a total of five times.
    3. Switch.
    4. 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:

#workout

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:

#workout

M&M Week 4 Workout: March 6, 2017

We’ll conclude our first set of synthesis and alignment exercises with a repeat of last week’s workout. You’ll need lots of scratch paper and a pen. Have your smartphones ready so that you can photograph and email your work to your partner throughout the workout.

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: One-Minute Drill (10min)
    1. Take a minute to consider the following: Describe a skill that’s taken you a long time (at least a year) to get good at. What was your learning process like?
    2. Decide who will share first.
    3. Take one minute to share your answer. Your partner should listen quietly and keep strict time. Don’t take notes.
    4. Share the same answer again for one minute. You may refine or add to your answer if you’d like.
    5. The listening partner should take one-minute to reflect back what she or he heard.
    6. Hold up between one to five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said, with five being a perfect reflection.
    7. Correct whatever your partner may have misheard. Don’t be afraid to nitpick — nuances are important.
    8. The listening partner should take one more minute to reflect your story back again.
    9. Hold up between one-to-five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said.
    10. Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
    11. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: Working iteratively (40min)
    1. We’re going to be do the same iterations exercise we did last week. Don’t worry about perfection. Use this as an opportunity to explore and refine lots of different ideas. Part of the point is to experience progress through multiple, rapid iterations and detaching yourself from previous work.
    2. Review our current shared framework for alignment. Give a score between one (being the worst) and five (being the best) for how effective and useful the framework is right now. Be brutally honest.
    3. Individually, take up to five minutes to create a new framework for “alignment” on your scratch paper. Timebox this exercise. It’s not important for it to be complete or perfect, as you’ll have the opportunity to iterate. Email a photograph of your work to your partner, so that she or he can review it.
    4. Once again, consider the questions above, and evaluate your partner’s framework on a 1-5 scale. Quickly explain the reason for your score.
    5. Physically tear up your work, and recycle it. Don’t skip this step.
    6. Do another iteration for up to five minutes, again sharing and scoring your partner’s work. Do as many iterations as you can (at least three total) until you have about 15-minutes left in your workout.
    7. 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:

  • Based on your work, once again review and refine our shared framework for “alignment” in our shared Google Doc. We’ll go over this together next Monday at our group checkin.

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

#workout

M&M Week 3 Workout: February 27, 2017

This week, we will once again exercise our synthesis and alignment muscles, this time with a focus on working iteratively. You’ll need lots of scratch paper and a writing implement of some sort. Have your smartphones ready so that you can photograph and email your work to your partner throughout the workout.

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: Color / Advance. This warmup was contributed by Alison! (10min)
    1. This is an exercise in storytelling as well as giving / receiving feedback. Don’t be a passive listener. Use it as an opportunity to be playful and interactive.
    2. Take a few minutes individually to think about, “What did you do over the weekend?”
    3. Decide who will share first.
    4. Start sharing your answer.
    5. Your partner should instruct you either to “color” or “advance” whenever it feels appropriate. If she or he says, “Color,” slow down and start going into more detail. If she or he says, “Advance,” move on to the next part of the story. Your partner should offer these instructions at least 3-5 times over the course of a 2-3 minute story.
    6. Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
    7. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: Working iteratively (40min)
    1. Again, we’re going to be exercising our muscles in giving / receiving feedback as well as working iteratively. Expect the first few iterations of this exercise to be bad. Part of the point is to experience progress through multiple, rapid iterations and detaching yourself from previous work.
    2. Review our current shared framework for alignment. Remember, the purpose of this framework is to help us know what we’re all talking about when we’re saying we’re trying to “align the leaders.” Following the framework, consider the following questions:
      • What would it look like for the leaders to be aligned around vision? How aligned are they right now?
      • What would it look like for the leaders to be aligned around values? How aligned are they right now?
    3. Based on your answers, give a score between one (being the worst) and five (being the best) for how effective and useful the framework is right now. Be brutally honest.
    4. Individually, take up to five minutes to create a new framework for “alignment” on your scratch paper. Timebox this exercise. It’s not important for it to be complete or perfect, as you’ll have the opportunity to iterate. Email a photograph of your work to your partner, so that she or he can review it.
    5. Once again, consider the questions above, and evaluate your partner’s framework on a 1-5 scale. Explain the reason for your score.
    6. Physically tear up your work, and recycle it. Don’t skip this step.
    7. Do another iteration for up to five minutes, again sharing and scoring your partner’s work. Do as many iterations as you can (at least three total) until you have about 15-minutes left in your workout.
    8. 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:

  • Based on your work, once again review and refine our shared framework for “alignment” in our shared Google Doc.

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

#workout