Facilitated Team Skills
Active Forum: Working Plans That Work for You
We've all been there. Standing on a sidewalk with a dozen or so family and/or friends. Theyve arrived in separate vehicles, many dont know the area. You need to get these people from this location to a restaurant in time for dinner reservations. You need a plan. This can be painful enough, but imagine your friends and family are now colleagues with no emotional ties or loyalty, that the restaurant reservations are a new product launch deadline, and that your job depends on getting everyone there and fed.
[People] often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.
~ Alexander Hamilton 1755-1804
We understand that good plans are those that are created and owned by those who will implement them. That’s why we have created a program based on Harrison Owen’s Active Forum. Too often work groups fail to create truly great Action Plans because of poor brainstorming and planning. They spend hours coming up with long lists of possibilities, following wild tangents, losing credibility with their team mates all the while. At the end of the day, they have too many ideas to implement, many of which won’t be supported by management.
But Active Forum is a process by which focused discussions about courses of action are held, capturing the inherent wisdom of the team members. The individual most passionate about that issue leads the discussion about that topic, with each team mate given a forum in which to be heard. Depending on how directly an individual will be impacted by a decision he or she can convene a session and be an advocate or just speak his or her mind in another team member’s session.
Brainstorming is a much more results-oriented activity in Active Forum. Only those opportunities or ideas that would ultimately be supported by management are introduced to the group, resulting in a more focused Action Planning session. The goal is to create a plan that can be immediately implemented upon return to the workplace.
Our Active Forum workshop can span two hours to entire days to multiple-day retreats depending on the size of the group and the complexity of the initiative.