Facilitated Strategic Planning Workshop with TS Conversations Before and After
A Case Study

CONTEXT

In March, 2016 the Trusted Sharing (TS) Staff decided to have an in-person facilitated Strategic Planning Workshop that also made use of asynchronous Trusted Sharing conversations.We wanted to analyze how things were going and to create a long-term vision and short-term strategic plan. We asked one of our advisors, Robertson Work, an experienced facilitator, to design and facilitate the workshop. Robertson created a pre-meeting TS Conversation that collected information from our team; and based on that feedback he designed a day and a half in-person meeting. Using Trusted Sharing conversations following the meeting, we evaluated the in-person process and results, and we continued to refine our plan.

WHAT A strategic planning staff retreat with asynchronous online conversations before and after an in person 1.5 day meeting.

WHEN A two week period with preparations the week before the live event and follow-up afterwards as well.

WHOTS Staff and facilitatorRobertson Work | Adjunct Professor and TS advisor.

PROCESS

In thefirst TS conversations, Robertson asked a series of questions about what we liked about our work at Trusted Sharing and what our concerns were. He also asked what outcomes wewanted at the end of the workshop. He put each type of question in a separate section of the conversation (“Host Posts”) for each person to answer. Then he asked everyone to respond to their colleague’s responses. In this way, everyone was able to share their thoughts through Trusted Sharing to help with planning the face-to-face meeting.

Based on our responses, Robertson had an individual conversation with each member of the team in order to get their thoughts that they might not want to express during the in-person sessions. After collecting this input, he put together a format for the in-person meeting and shared that with us in the Trusted Sharing conversation to get our feedback.Based on our responses in the online and phone conversations, he asked us to comment on the draft agenda for the TS Staff Retreat. We reviewed and reflected on the agenda by replying to four questions: 1) What excites you? 2) What concerns you? 3) What should we definitely do? 4) What changes would you suggest?

During the in-person meetings, we analyzed the strengths and challenges of our company and talked about actions we could make to deal with challenges and take advantage of our strengths. We also had periods where we expressed appreciation for each other; and we each envisioned our company’s ideal accomplishments twenty years into the future, along with scenarios for how we would achieve our visions. We identified key strategies and engaged in a mapping process that highlighted the areas we should focus on. Finally, we finished by creating a 6 month action plan to show what would happen when & by whom. The last step was an evaluation of the process.

IMPACT

Our geographically dispersed and busy staff especially appreciated shortening the a typically three to four day in-person process to a day and half. The upfront Trusted Sharing conversation not only allowed the in-person process to be shorter but also extended the learning and exploring process both before and after our in-person meeting. Since we had already shared our concerns both through TS and in personal conversations, the facilitator had enough information to enable him to design a format that could really address our particular needs. We also used Trusted Sharing to follow-up on any parts that needed fleshing out. By combining asynchronous online conversations with an in person meeting we were able to use the online work to shorten and inform the in-person work and the in-person work could be more focused on work that is better done in person.

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