On Friday, August 5th, Kery Mortenson, Tim Gillum, and Rebecca Potter-Hill from Baxter led a lively and informative strategy session for Chicago ISPI. As many of you know, our geographically based communities are up and running and Chicago ISPI is strategizing its next steps. What better way to move forward than to engage some of our own—the talented Baxter team--and, at the same time, learn a process and tools for predictive strategy.
There were about 25 people in the room, including board members, past presidents, newcomers and even a few interested parties that were not currently members—a well rounded perspective. One of the things that I appreciated as an audience member was the pace at which the session moved. There was no lolly-gagging or spending a lot of time on points we already knew. In fact, Baxter Bucks, cleverly designed with photos of Kery and Tim as young men, were used to incent small groups to move along in their discussions— engaging and effective for motivating behavior without explicitly making a plea for brevity!
Our goal was to build an organizational strategy in four hours or less. We began by “Interrogating Reality” to arrive at a complete view of the organization. This activity had us look at the “reality”—what people say publically versus the “ground truth”— the way things really are. Within moments, Tim fed the results back to us, which he and Rebecca continued to do throughout. They worked fast and furiously and their efforts were well worth it. Their technology was simple: Turning Technologies and old fashioned Excel. The rapid feedback process was in some cases validating, in others illustrative, and yet in others frank—and consistently engaging.
After investigating reality, we worked in small groups and used a sticky note collection process to derive and visualize a desired state statement. Tim working expeditiously to gather all the notes, group them and filter them into the resulting statement. With a defined reality and desired state in mind, it was time to do what we PI folks love to do and that is... wait for it...., analyze!
We used a Tim and Kery invention called Rapid Performance Analysis. Essentially we took Gilbert’s performance engineering model and turned those categories into inquiry statements that the small groups discussed and answered using a color coded process for data collection. And then, more data crunching...
Finally, it was time for solutions. We began this with an idea generation activity that purposefully and wisely separated us from our grandest of ideas and culled one another’s opinions for relevance and practicality. With solutions in hand, we tested into them we used a kind of modified SWOT with the oh-so engaging Turning Technologies clickers to rank the proposed solutions. Output scores and a colored graph later, we moved into the real meat of the data process to score and categorize the data into solution priorities based on the SWOT. There was a brilliance behind all this data shuffling that I can’t begin to articulate in this article, but I’ll tell you, the message is clear.
Strategies and action plans need to focus on mitigating the threats identified prior to focusing on the identified opportunities. Burnout of current active members and increased competition are key threats that require immediate solutions.
The team is operating from a solid place of strength. While marketing of the organization is a key concern, the skills and experience of its active membership currently outweigh the weaknesses. Relying on current membership as a core strength with the threat of burnout is a big concern.
Bottom line is that for this organization to move forward, we need more people to step up and volunteer to work on solutions. And, that means you!
It’s all in the data and we are an evidence-based organization, afterall!Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer for manageable and rewarding contribution, today.
Submitted by Ranya E. Verson