We are working with a team who have been working incredibly hard to implement the new processes over the past three months on top of an incredibly busy day job. We agreed to hold a workshop for them to reinforce and congratulate staff on the progress made to date and give them some space to reflect and identify ongoing issues that are systemic rather than “teething problems”.
We decided to try something quite different for the workshop and themed it around Christmas and New Year. In some ways this was a risky strategy: we knew that people were tired and they might find the theme a bit too light-hearted or patronising. To manage this risk, we gave a clear introduction and allowed people to acknowledge this at the beginning of the workshop.
The format of the workshop allowed time for individual reflection on achievements to date, alongside an individual Christmas wish-list. This was followed by the use of Christmas finger puppets and stretchy snowmen to do a bit of role-storming. I love using role-storming as a way of achieving an element of empathy with other people in the process, but again it needs to be introduced sensitively, otherwise it will only ever generate stereo-typed outputs.
The final third of the workshop was focused on small group work where people agreed the three or four improvements they would like to make and then each group added the parcel in one of three stockings: staff, students or joy to the world (a win for everyone). I was delighted to see the majority of the sixteen imp
All of this was accompanied by snacks and a homemade ginger cake. This group of staff have worked so incredibly hard; rewards were well deserved.
I was impressed how we used our standard workshop framework: individual reflection time, brainstorming problems and improvements from every perspective, prioritising improvements and creating a robust action plan for implementation could be embellished with seasonal wrapping. Was it effective? Well my two measurements of impact are feedback, which was very positive and secondly, whether actions get implemented – we won’t know this until end of January, and won’t be able to measure the effect of the actions for another few months.
· ensure your standard processes allow sufficient flexibility to try something different (if your colleagues agree it is appropriate to experiment);
· process improvement only works when people are motivated and encouraged to implement the changes – treasure them and acknowledge their hard work;
· experiment appropriately with gamification and fun activities, we know that research shows it helps innovation, as facilitators we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously (albeit we need to demonstrate respectfulness with our colleagues).
While I do not wish it could be Christmas every day, I will challenge myself to pilot new things with our teams in order to support daily improvement.
Happy Christmas readers, may you have a restful and innovative holiday.