The majority of people have returned to the office for some of their working week, and organisations are now looking at longer-term planning horizons. Workshops are helping organisations and people with connection and clarity on these things.
Here are some thoughts on how to create a constructive workshop …
FACILITATION - Consider what type of facilitation is required. Can this be an internal or external person? Are facilitation skills only required, or is there a need for subject matter expertise? As per my video, setting the tone is critical to achieving the outcomes and an external facilitator can do this.
OUTCOME - What is the intended outcome of the workshop? Avoid the temptation of filling the agenda with activities that don't contribute to the outcome.
STRATEGY LINKS - How is the outcome linked to the organisational strategy and objectives within people's roles? Be explicit about how the workshop will help achieve both.
OBJECTIVES - Define the workshop's objectives within agenda items, share these early in the day and potentially tick them off during the day to demonstrate progress. Acknowledge attendee involvement in their achievement.
STIMULI - What relevant external stimuli can help context or conversations? Is a pre-read required? Could short videos be integrated into the agenda to help open up conversations?
ACTIVITIES - Integrate people's contributions within small groups initially and then into the broader group. Allocate time, and allow people to explore conversations and ideas so they can buy into the group's outcome.
IN THE MOMENT - Be flexible with the agenda; conversations linked to the workshop's objectives are essential. Some of these may take longer than expected. I have found that using an analogy of "walking in the woods" helps keep the conversations light, constructive and very inclusive.
FOCUSSED - Be disciplined with conversations that are not relevant by capturing the topic and writing it down where people can see it. Add to this list during the day. Acknowledge that these are important to people, and there is a commitment to explore these in the future.
IMPROVE - Seek feedback openly and privately. Ask - what went well? What could have been better? What do we need to consider for next time?
MOMENTUM - Promptly write up and report workshop items within 24-48 hours. Consider using framework within the notes of an Activity description – Decisions agreed – Actions to be progressed (ADA).
Are you interested in exploring a workshop? Want to determine how to best respect people's time and create a day of valuable contributions? Feel free to make contact.