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Written by John Brooker, Yes!And

 

Do you want to energise your organisation, perhaps to increase revenues, to deliver a big project or simply to do more with less?

If your answer is “Yes!”, how might you achieve this?

Energise enough people and you energise the organisation. There is no one right way to do this so we intend to stimulate your thinking on how you might ignite the spark, a step at a time.

 

Have people shape the future

 

If you know where you are headed in life, it gives you energy. If you have a say in where you are going, you gain even more energy.
You and the leadership team may already have worked out the ideal future for your company. However, if you want to energise people to achieve that future, give them the opportunity to engage with it.

Have each team in your organisation describe its own ideal future, taking into account the organisation’s future. Encourage teams to share their view with other teams to ensure they can collaborate and create synergy. This will also energise those people who like to have a sense of the big picture.

 

Focus their attention

 

Have each team agree what people must focus their attention on (focus areas) to achieve the ideal future. To avoid a loss of focus, limit these focus areas to no more than five or six.
By focusing each team’s attention, you put energy into the focus areas and leave little room for doubt and indecision. This reduces the opportunity for people to waste energy in the wrong areas, e.g. consider the salesperson who spends time selling services with lower margins because they are easier to sell.

 

Describe success in detail

 

Have each team imagine it has achieved 10 (the best it can be) in each focus area and describe what is happening at “10” in sufficient detail to give clarity.

For example, if the focus area is to “Automate test scripts”, the description might be, “90% of scripts and frameworks are automated and staff in all countries use them.” (The description is not always a measure, but it can be).

When the team describes success in sufficient detail, everybody on the team understands the focus area. This increases confidence and energy. It also meets the need of those who are energised more by detail than the big picture.

 

Have them rate progress

 

For many people, a sense of progress, whether it is progress in, e.g. weight loss, fund raising or sales performance, provides energy to continue.

However, using specific outcome measures can hinder progress. How? Consider fund raising. If you use “funds raised” as your measure at the beginning of the project, you must start at zero. That’s daunting.

However, if you use a simple 1 – 10 scale, you can consider other factors like fund raising experience on the team, ease of access to funding streams, etc. These positive factors provide motivation and energy to continue.

So use outcome measures, like money raised, by all means, but use other ways to measure progress too.
If you do use a 1 – 10 scale, have people choose their own position on the scale and do not average ratings for the team.

If you average the ratings you force people into a box. People in boxes rarely have energy.

 

Encourage them to focus on positive change

 

Ask people to consider what moves them UP to their position on the scale, rather than asking, “Why are you down there?” Be optimistic, not pessimistic.

This encourages them to seek what is working and to identify the resources and strengths they and others have to make progress. Multiply the energy by encouraging people to share their views on progress.


				

Ask questions like:

  • “When have we done this successfully before?”
  • “What’s working well?”
  • “Where do we sense parts of the ideal future working
    today?”

Not:

  • “What is stopping you?”
  • “Where is it going wrong?”

Constructive questions encourage momentum to move forward and can create a virtuous spiral. If teams insist on listing what is wrong, for each point, ask, “What must we do to get this right?”

 

Help them progress in small steps

 

Ask teams, “What would move you forward one step?” not “What stops you getting to ten?” Getting to ten is a huge step if people are rating around “2”. It’s like “eating the elephant”, in one sitting.

Small steps are realistic and achievable. They allow people to measure progress easily. Yes, have them describe a rough progress plan to completion, and question whether a detailed project plan is useful when the situation is changing frequently.

 

Review progress regularly

 

Maintain momentum by regularly reviewing progress. Have people rescale on a monthly basis.

Kick off meetings with questions like:

  • “What’s working?”
  • “Where progress?
  • “What have we got to get right this month?”

Not:

  • “What’s wrong?”
  • “What are the obstacles?”
  • “What have we got to fix?”

To close with the start

 

What will your energised organisation be like? If you don’t know, work first with your leadership team to describe it and the benefits it can bring. You might even follow all the steps we have discussed here to achieve it! If you do this, you will begin the change you want to make, add immediate energy and provide the impetus to progress.

So use outcome measures, like money raised, by all means, but use other ways to measure progress too.
If you do use a 1 – 10 scale, have people choose their own position on the scale and do not average ratings for the team.

If you average the ratings you force people into a box. People in boxes rarely have energy. Encourage them to focus on positive change

 

 

Acknowledgement: This work is a development of the SF Strategy Canvas concept
– Adie Shariff and Ali Abington.
John Brooker

John Brooker

John Brookers’s early career commenced with service in the RAF. He joined Visa International in 1985 as an ATM technician, became a Senior Vice President in 1996 and left in 2001.
John established Yes! And in 2001 and is an experienced facilitator using Solution Focus with teams since 2004. He is well known for his work with multicultural groups and works regularly in Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa with teams that are often dispersed globally, facilitating them to think innovatively.

John is President of the international group “Solution Focus in Organisations” (SFiO). In his spare time, he is chairman of his local Scout Group.

He is the author of the book “Innovate to Learn, Don’t Learn to Innovate”.

April 19th you can experience John giving a workshop in Copenhagen at the conference future:live.

Top photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash