M&M Week 4 Workout: March 6, 2017

We’ll conclude our first set of synthesis and alignment exercises with a repeat of last week’s workout. You’ll need lots of scratch paper and a pen. Have your smartphones ready so that you can photograph and email your work to your partner throughout the workout.

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: One-Minute Drill (10min)
    1. Take a minute to consider the following: Describe a skill that’s taken you a long time (at least a year) to get good at. What was your learning process like?
    2. Decide who will share first.
    3. Take one minute to share your answer. Your partner should listen quietly and keep strict time. Don’t take notes.
    4. Share the same answer again for one minute. You may refine or add to your answer if you’d like.
    5. The listening partner should take one-minute to reflect back what she or he heard.
    6. Hold up between one to five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said, with five being a perfect reflection.
    7. Correct whatever your partner may have misheard. Don’t be afraid to nitpick — nuances are important.
    8. The listening partner should take one more minute to reflect your story back again.
    9. Hold up between one-to-five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said.
    10. Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
    11. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: Working iteratively (40min)
    1. We’re going to be do the same iterations exercise we did last week. Don’t worry about perfection. Use this as an opportunity to explore and refine lots of different ideas. Part of the point is to experience progress through multiple, rapid iterations and detaching yourself from previous work.
    2. Review our current shared framework for alignment. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Once again, consider the questions above, and evaluate your partner’s framework on a 1-5 scale. Quickly explain the reason for your score.
    5. Physically tear up your work, and recycle it. Don’t skip this step.
    6. 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.
    7. Quickly debrief the exercise:
      • How did the experience feel?
      • What did you learn?
  5. Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
  6. 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. We’ll go over this together next Monday at our group checkin.

If you’d like to read the generic cards for the exercises above (which include design thoughts and variations), see:

#workout

M&M Week 3 Workout: February 27, 2017

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.

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: Color / Advance. This warmup was contributed by Alison! (10min)
    1. 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.
    2. Take a few minutes individually to think about, “What did you do over the weekend?”
    3. Decide who will share first.
    4. Start sharing your answer.
    5. 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.
    6. Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
    7. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: Working iteratively (40min)
    1. 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.
    2. 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?
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Once again, consider the questions above, and evaluate your partner’s framework on a 1-5 scale. Explain the reason for your score.
    6. Physically tear up your work, and recycle it. Don’t skip this step.
    7. 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.
    8. Quickly debrief the exercise:
      • How did the experience feel?
      • What did you learn?
  5. Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
  6. 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:

#workout

M&M Week 2 Workout: February 21, 2017

This week, we will once again exercise our synthesis and alignment muscles, this time on the word, “framework.”

  1. Take one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. You’ll be starting each of your workouts off this way. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: One-Minute Drill (10min)
    1. Take a minute to think about the quality you most admire in Eden as a colleague. Eden, you can answer the question for Ide. Kristin, you an answer the question for anyone you’d like to choose.
    2. Decide who will share first.
    3. Take one minute to share your answer. Your partner should listen quietly and keep strict time. Don’t take notes.
    4. Share the same answer again for one minute. You may refine or add to your answer if you’d like.
    5. The listening partner should take one-minute to reflect back what she or he heard.
    6. Hold up between one to five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said, with five being a perfect reflection.
    7. Correct whatever your partner may have misheard. Don’t be afraid to nitpick — nuances are important.
    8. The listening partner should take one more minute to reflect your story back again.
    9. Hold up between one-to-five fingers based on how well the person reflected back what you said.
    10. Switch with your partner, and repeat the exercise.
    11. Quickly debrief the exercise. What did you notice? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  4. Workout: What makes a framework useful? (40min)
    1. This will be similar to last week’s person-on-the-street exercise, but we’re not going to talk to others this week. (You’re always welcome to if you’d like. Take one minute in silence to think about the following: “Describe a framework that you have found valuable in your work or in your life.”
    2. Take five minutes each to share your answers with each other. If you’d like to take notes while your partner talks, you can capture them in the shared Google Doc.
    3. In the Google Doc, take 10-15 minutes to draft an answer based on your personal stories to the following questions:
      • What is a “framework”?
      • What makes a framework useful?
    4. Based on your “framework” framework, revisit the shared framework we developed last week for “alignment.” Discuss whether it meets your criteria, and what you could change to make it more useful. Make note of these in the shared Google Doc, then actually make the changes to the “alignment” framework! (10min)
  5. Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
  6. 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:

  • As people share their notes from their workouts and this homework, draft and continuously refine a shared (among the whole Miles River team) definition and framework for “framework” in our shared Google Doc — what it means, how to create it, what it looks like when we have it.
  • By Wednesday of next week, our goal is to align around a solid, draft framework for “framework” and to have an improved framework for “alignment”!

If you’d like to read the generic cards for the exercises above (which include design thoughts and variations), see:

#workout

M&M Week 1 Workout: February 13, 2017

Hello, Miles River! Our Muscles & Mindsets pair workouts kick off this week. Make sure you have a (preferably standing) one-hour call set up with your workout partner this week. Here is your first workout.

  1. Start your workout by taking one minute to pause and breathe deeply together in silence. You’ll be starting each of your workouts off this way. (1min)
  2. Do a brief checkin with your partner. (3min)
  3. Warmup: Take a minute individually to reflect on what you think of when you hear the word, “alignment.” Write down five words that come up for you when you hear the word, “alignment.” Do it in your own document or on your own paper so that your partner can’t see your words. When you’ve both written down five words, copy them into the appropriate section of our shared workout Google Doc. (5min)
  4. Workout: Person on the Street (50min)
    1. The big question you’ll be answering together is, “What is ‘alignment’?” But we’re going to start with a more personal, experiential question to help us answer this bigger question. Take one minute in silence to think about the following: “Describe a recent personal experience where you felt in strong alignment with someone else. What enabled you to feel that way?”
    2. Take five minutes each to share your answers with each other. If you’d like to take notes while your partner talks, you can capture them in the shared Google Doc.
    3. In the Google Doc, take 10-15 minutes to draft an answer based on your personal stories to: “What is ‘alignment’?”
    4. Identify one person to interview together. It could be a stranger or someone you know. Call them, ask them for five minutes of their time, and ask them the same experiential question as above: “Describe a recent personal experience where you felt in strong alignment with someone else. What enabled you to feel that way?”
    5. Revisit the bigger question about alignment with your partner. Revise your answer based on what you learned from your interview. (10min)
  5. Checkout: Take a minute to share with your partner how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (5min)
  6. 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.

In addition to the pair workouts, we will all do some practice both individually and collectively in the form of weekly homework. We’ll use the shared Google Doc to capture our homework assignments and Slack to discuss them, although I’d strongly encourage sharing thinking as new blog posts here as well. This week’s homework:

  • In addition to the shared person you interviewed with your partner for the workout, each of you should interview one more person for the “person on the street” interview. Capture your notes in the shared Google Doc.
  • As people share their notes from their workouts and this homework, draft and continuously refine a shared (among the whole Miles River team) definition and framework for “alignment” in our shared Google Doc — what it means, how to create it, what it looks like when we have it.
  • By the end of the week, our goal is to align around a solid, draft framework for “alignment”!

If you’d like to read the generic cards for the exercises above (which include design thoughts and variations), see:

#workout