Revamp How You Create
We’ve all been a part of those two or three day sessions or retreats that bring people together to formulate strategies, brainstorm, problem solve, and make decisions.
But how many times did you review the output captured on flip charts or the notes from the meeting and wonder, “What did we mean by this?” or worse, “What the hell were we talking about?” and “What do we do with this now?”
Prior to the pandemic, the offsite retreat was a common feature of the work environment. The shift to remote work and limiting in-person gatherings has helped us rethink this, and I have come to realize that these working sessions are far less useful than many believe.
Co-creation with five or more people is misery (and I’ve participated with many more). There are too many opinions in the room to thoughtfully create something, have meaningful discussion, or efficiently make a decision. The reality is, there doesn’t need to be consensus at every point in the process.
To be clear, convening groups of leaders for these purposes is still vital. There are just ways we can be more efficient and effective.
Rather than bring a large group together to create a strategy or new initiative, I suggest developing a strawman with one or two key stakeholders first. This allows you to capture an initial draft that can be brought to the larger group for reactions and feedback. Taking this approach gives the group a starting point to further refine the idea and move toward a decision rapidly.
What’s more, no one has the ability to sustain intense focus for a multi-day meeting. Use hybrid work to your advantage and create space for short bursts of creativity and then bring the team together for the kind of work that can only be done in person. Use your in person meetings to test and refine the concept, discuss implementation, and develop alignment toward a common vision and goals.