This week, we will once again exercise our synthesis and alignment muscles, this time with a focus on working iteratively. You’ll need lots of scratch paper and a writing implement of some sort. Have your smartphones ready so that you can photograph and email your work to your partner throughout the workout.
- Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
- Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
- Warmup: Color / Advance. This warmup was contributed by Alison! (10min)
- This is an exercise in storytelling as well as giving / receiving feedback. Don’t be a passive listener. Use it as an opportunity to be playful and interactive.
- Take a few minutes individually to think about, “What did you do over the weekend?”
- Decide who will share first.
- Start sharing your answer.
- Your partner should instruct you either to “color” or “advance” whenever it feels appropriate. If she or he says, “Color,” slow down and start going into more detail. If she or he says, “Advance,” move on to the next part of the story. Your partner should offer these instructions at least 3-5 times over the course of a 2-3 minute story.
- Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
- Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
- Workout: Working iteratively (40min)
- Again, we’re going to be exercising our muscles in giving / receiving feedback as well as working iteratively. Expect the first few iterations of this exercise to be bad. Part of the point is to experience progress through multiple, rapid iterations and detaching yourself from previous work.
- Review our current shared framework for alignment. Remember, the purpose of this framework is to help us know what we’re all talking about when we’re saying we’re trying to “align the leaders.” Following the framework, consider the following questions:
- What would it look like for the leaders to be aligned around vision? How aligned are they right now?
- What would it look like for the leaders to be aligned around values? How aligned are they right now?
- Based on your answers, give a score between one (being the worst) and five (being the best) for how effective and useful the framework is right now. Be brutally honest.
- Individually, take up to five minutes to create a new framework for “alignment” on your scratch paper. Timebox this exercise. It’s not important for it to be complete or perfect, as you’ll have the opportunity to iterate. Email a photograph of your work to your partner, so that she or he can review it.
- Once again, consider the questions above, and evaluate your partner’s framework on a 1-5 scale. Explain the reason for your score.
- Physically tear up your work, and recycle it. Don’t skip this step.
- Do another iteration for up to five minutes, again sharing and scoring your partner’s work. Do as many iterations as you can (at least three total) until you have about 15-minutes left in your workout.
- Quickly debrief the exercise:
- How did the experience feel?
- What did you learn?
- Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
- Each of you should post one brief takeaway as a comment to this post. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive or incredibly detailed. I’d strongly encourage you to share your takeaway immediately after your workout. Make it a point to read (and respond to, if so moved) other people’s takeaways every week.
This week’s homework:
- Based on your work, once again review and refine our shared framework for “alignment” in our shared Google Doc.
If you’d like to read the generic cards for the exercises above (which include design thoughts and variations), see: