mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF the 1990s & tomorrow

Strategy Facilitation: A Change of Pace

Today I'm walking in the footsteps of my former career at the Institution. Tess, who I used to work with, asked me to facilitate a small group -- the Executive Committee of a coaliton of local youth service agencies. We're meeting all day at a cabin in the park up near Lake Ontario.

The group has been around for many years and has a strategy document with the format and buzzwords that came into style in the early nineties. Now they find they've drifted a bit and are wondering what their purpose is and whether they are accomplishing anything. Not unusual.

Here's my plan:

Check-in: Have each attendee state their expectations of the day and get their issues on the table. Sometimes it's helpful to establish groundrules, like "Encourage everyone to speak" or "no side conversations" or "do your cell phone business at break time."

Then we'll systematically work through these:

Brainstorming Key Message – sell a small agency on the benefits of membership in the coalition (1) as it stands today, (2) as you wish it were, (3) and what it is not. In other words, what does/should the coalition excel at? What makes it unique in this community? (exploring strengths, weaknesses, potentialities)

Consensus on Customer and Product – Who is the coalition's customer? (If more than one customer, rank them). For each customer group, what is the tangible product (or deliverables) that group should expect from the coalition?

Consensus on Key Message – why membership in the coalition is important, or what opportunity it has now to provide a uniquely excellent service or product to its customers. What is realistic given resource constraints (they only charge $75 a year for an agency to join)? If more than one, rank order.

Brainstorm Organizational Implications – Given the unique areas of YSQC contribution, what needs to be accomplished (realistic revitalization projects). Objectives, tasks. Concentrate on top one or two key products.

It's hard to predict how fast we'll work through these areas. My hope is that by 3 o'clock they feel like they've clarified a lot and have some exciting action plans to follow up on.




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