I was privileged to be part of a 2 day strategic workshop,which my friend was facilitating. Below I penned some interesting insights I gathered from the workshop.

Firstly, I want to applaud the rare species of great leaders that I witnessed in that session. Great leaders are a rare species because; they recognise that taking time away for strategic thinking is a value add. Often when leaders issue a communication about a 1 day or 2 day strategic session, people murmur saying things like, “We going to lose a day or two days of work”. However, taking two days from the busyness of our daily jobs may look like time lost, but in hindsight that could be the greatest investment for our teams and the organisation.

I was reminded of an article by Dorie Clark “If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time for It? (https://hbr.org/2018/06/if-strategy-is-so-important-why-dont-we-make-time-for-it). She quotes Derek Sivers (entrepreneur and author), and he says, “busy is what happens when you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.” Sometimes organisational teams may feel like they are at the mercy of their Executives schedules or their client’s schedules. However, taking time to contribute to the strategic organisational journey, can make teams realise their importance in adding value towards their organisations.

In the same article, Dorie Clark, quotes, productivity expert David Allen saying, “You don’t need time to have a good idea, you need space…” The COO beautifully captured this thought in her opening remarks when she said to the team, “…in the past we felt like we were executing somebody else strategy, but today we have taken time to be away from the office so that we have an opportunity to define a strategy that we all buy into…”

I realise something beautiful about this team. When the Facilitator asked them to share their expectations of the workshop, they all mentioned simple and common things (e.g. ‘Plan of action – where we are going and how we get there?’, ‘How will we set ourselves apart from the competition?’).

This is beautiful because, when we come to strategic workshops, we must not look for a ‘unicorn’ but we must look for a ‘horse’. What do I mean by this? Well, when we come to this session looking for profound/rare ideas (unicorn) that will affect the aftermath of what we do with the profound/rare ideas. However, if we come seeking clarity on the ordinary/common (horse), our chances of success post the workshop are higher. I love the Tranxend Consulting slogan, it reads, “Execution is Everything” the common/ordinary ideas are what makes execution a reality. The real magic lies in what the team already knows and drawing that out in open and honest dialogue through the art of facilitation.

Secondly, based on the interesting conversations that took place at the strategic session, I believe that organisational growth is a voluntary process. Organisational growth is not an organic process, it comes through deliberate actions. Great teams make voluntary conscious decisions to commit to the process of growth. Transition is the higher order of change and in transition we recognise that the process of growth can be ‘messy’ and that’s okay. Often for things to be work, we first need time to take them part.

Lastly, I still believe that teams sharing ideas, collaboration in other words and facilitation are an absolute work of art. The real aha moment for me, was recognising that, though the room was filled with a couple of brilliant minds – everyone recognised that they need to commit to something bigger than their individual brilliance. This is synonymous with the characteristics of a growing organisation because a growing organisation encourages partnership with other people for the greater good. Reality is, the more the world becomes intertwined through Globalisation and Technological advancements, the more will be demanded from teams.

So contrary to popular predictions, I don’t think the future is only about the Digital Economy. I believe the edge we need to create great organisations lies with its people, thus I believe the world will also witness a move towards the Collaboration Economy.


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