For the next phase of our training subcommittee, we decided to tackle Collaboration.
Collaboration is a term that means a lot of things to a lot of people. Another subcommittee was working on defining what good communication and collaboration looks like within our division – so we took the information that subcommittee provided from a survey they distributed and worked from there.
We did the same analysis for this topic that we did for Communication. These shots are from our Trello board.
Once we had benefits and observable behaviors defined, we tackled what to do.
We decided to use Boardthing (full disclosure – I know 2 of the guys who developed this) to help us brainstorm what to do next.
I found Boardthing works much better as a virtual whiteboard for real-time collaboration vs a set it and let others come back to it tool.
Step 1 – brainstorm what activities might help us encourage observable behaviors and realize business benefits. We could have used Boardthing for this, but did it via WebEx teleconference and pen and paper instead to not distract ourselves with a new toy.
Step 2 – I went to Boardthing and laid out the board. The ideas on stickies on the left hand side of the board. And a rough effort / impact matrix on the right.
Step 3 – Have a WebEx meeting where we messed with the board. One person moved the stickies around on the board (we just found this easier) and facilitated. Everyone else watched the screenshare and commented.
Basic questions for each stickie:
- What do you think the impact of this activity will be?
- How much effort do you think it will take?
- Do I have it in the right place on the board?
To place the stickies on the matrix took 2 meetings.
During the course of the conversation, we did some color coding to identify things that were in process and outside the committee’s purview (the WebEx / VTC effort).
We also performed some grouping and added stickies as ideas came up.
A brief demo of how this worked is included in the movie below.
Warning: the video is a little quiet on this one. The video is about 3 minutes.
The final board looks like this:
From here, we can make decisions on what to tackle first.
We have been doing investigations into some of the programs listed on the board in the low effort / high impact quadrant
- True Colors was a program that our HR department ran. It was free. Unfortunately, it is also being discontinued and is being replaced with something expensive. We’re not doing expensive.
- Crucial Conversations was facilitated in our department recently and we are talking to see whether we can get the other managers to free up some room in their training budgets for next year to do a more wide-spread implementation. It’s been quite the education in how training is planned and paid for.
- Covey 7 Habits is in a couple of our managerial teams, but is more of an independent study at this point.
We have also started tackling meeting planning and meeting facilitation. Efforts have been made in this area before…with mixed success. It’s still early days.