"Strategic planning is a rational planning process, but it has strong psychological effects on an organisation and the people involved in the process." Dr Shirley McCune
Strategic planning is an organisation's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy
Excellerate collaborated with the Board Chair and CEO to design and then facilitate a strategic planning process that developed the organisation's Vision and Mission and a strategy map that guided the operational business planning for all its business units. This was the first time the organisation had synchronised and aligned its business planning processes to this degree. It was a steep learning curve for those involved but we achieved some great results.
Excellerate partnered with the Team's Manager to design and facilitate an operational business planning session that involved all team members. The team produced a robust annual business plan aligned to the organisation's goals and priorities. Team members developed a better understanding of the planning process and a stronger commitment to the goals and strategies included in their plan. (Of course - because they built it.)
Many managers are skilled and confident enough to facilitate their own business planning processes however there are times when it's useful to invest time upfront to get the team focused and working well together before the planning process starts.
Excellerate facilitated what was called a priming session prior to the team's formal business planning session. The team worked through a number of activities that helped them to assess their operating environment, their team and their professional goals. The feedback was enthusiastically positive as their business planning took on a renewed focus and vigour. The manager reported that their business planning required an additional two days but the commitment of the team and the quality of the plan they produced was worth it.
When it comes to performance improvement an Excellerate team facilitator considers the team's entire human performance system. This involves the team in examining and evaluating the desired performance of the group, identifying and analysing problems to define root causes, and using business goals to properly align effort and drive performance. This enables the team, and their stakeholders, to select and implement timely and relevant improvement strategies.
Excellerate partnered with the Manager and their team leaders to implement an evaluation process that included diagnostics for all the sub teams (that made up the larger team). Excellerate facilitated sessions (in collaboration with the team leaders) that enabled team members to interpret their unique results and then select and agree on the priority areas for development. Teams then worked on developing their performance improvement plans, with guidance from Excellerate, to formulate specific actions to address the key issues that were preventing their team from being more productive.
An established team, with members located in three different cities came together for two days to build the skills and work on a strategy to enable the team to work more cohesively and effectively. A confidential questionnaire prior to the workshop identified strengths, gaps, issues and opportunities for the team. This provided a clear set of objectives for the workshop.
Through facilitated experiential exercises and using the tools and processes introduced by Excellerate, the team continued with their self-assessment, drilling down to clearly define the obstacles and understand the causes behind the team’s performance challenges. They identified actions to improve existing systems and introduce new processes. The workshop gave team members an objective and methodical way to surface and deal with issues constructively – relational (interpersonal) and rational (task). They produced a team plan, which had the full commitment of all members. And while they agreed it had been hard work, they had fun too. By focusing on their common task they had also come together as a team.
Excellerate collaborated with the Team Manager to design and conduct a workshop that brought a geographically dispered group together, of multiple disciplines, for a team workshop focused on lifting their performance against key customer measures. The Excellerate team facilitator stepped the group through the process of identifying key satisfaction drivers and defining the barriers to delivering great customer experiences. The team then worked on prioritising and formulating strategies to address the barriers, improve their systems and take advantage of the opportunities that emerged during the process.
Excellerate designed and facilitated several team sessions that directly involved team members in reviewing their collective performance against their business objectives and identifying relevant phased strategies with specific actions to close the gap between where they were and where they needed to be.
Team dynamics involve the unconscious forces that influence the interactions, actions and reactions of members within a team. A team's dynamics are influenced by the nature of the team's work, its members, their working relationships with others and the environment within which the team works. A team's dynamicshave a direct impact on its productivity.
Excellerate designed and facilitated a team workshop to guide the new team leader and their team through the process of formulating their Vision and Mission, defining their core values and then translating this into their Team Code of Conduct.
Excellerate designed and facilitated a team workshop to support the Team Leader in rebuilding the team after restructuring and membership changes. Morale was low. Stress fuelled negative interpersonal relationships that created friction and factions, members acted as individuals, and so the team lacked unity and cohesion. It was a challenging process but empowering. The team recognised the factors that needed addressing and why, and agreed on how they were going to tackle them - together.
Groups are susceptible to all sorts of issues and unhelpful habits that can undermine their ability to work together effectively. They can creep up and into a team over time. This workshop put the team through it paces to identify some of the behaviours that were getting in their way. Once the team had developed this shared insight, and with Excellerate's support, they got to work what they needed to do and how they could work together more intelligently and effectively.
Working closely with the owner of a new service business Excellerate designed an intensive workshop to bring together team members who at that point had met each other only once. Utilising the insights and results of the Strength Deployment Inventory, and by guiding the team through a structured process, team members developed a deeper and more accurate understanding of each other, including their individual strengths, potential areas for conflict and how best to manage both. Then, through a series of practical exercises they worked through the challenges they were about to face as they launched the business into a highly competitive market. They developed a shared vision, designed agreements and the initial systems required to manage the team successfully through the start up phase. The team were unanimous in their agreement; that it had been “a fantastic way to meet each other” and the business went on to open with great success.
Even highly effective teams need to step back from their busy world and invest in the team. Regular maintenance enables the team to sustain their performance and avoid the risks of plateauing and complacency.
Excellerate designed a programme for a highly effective work unit that comprised several sub teams, each with different disciplines and areas of responsibility. Working closely with the Manager, Excellerate introduced a step-by-step process which involved team members in a critical review of the team’s overall performance, the dynamics, interactions between the sub groups and the robustness of current team systems. The teams identified areas where collaboration and communication could be strengthened, and barriers reduced to improve service delivery. The collaborative process also facilitated relationship building and an improved understanding of respective roles and functions, leading to renewed enthusiasm and commitment to the teams continued success.
Several years ago the manager of a group of highly skilled professionals, who tended to work very independently, recognised that he needed to pull the team together to work more collaboratively while encouraging each person to take more responsibility for the team's overall performance. The resulting team workshop put in place the foundation and team tools that are still being used today, to successfully bring on board new members and manage an even larger and more diverse team.