Case study: Engage for Change team size escalation process

Engage for Change facilitated a high speed, dynamic engagement of 140 leaders at a major housing association to contribute the basis for a ten-year vision.

Using our team size escalation process people worked alone at first to respond to two simple ‘exam questions’ – essentially what could great look like to key stakeholders in ten year’s time and what are the challenges to achieving it.

Lone working at the outset of any team collaboration process is essential as it requires individuals to articulate their own position in response to the challenges set before they attempt to negotiate with others. The old fashioned practice of casting people into groups of ten or so cold, and asking them to be creative is misguided and lazy. The few dominate and others shrink or fall in with the agenda set by the noisy few. In these conditions people also respond emotionally as they have not had time to form an intellectual position resulting in incremental rather than radical outcomes.

Having articulated their personal positions, the group (including the exec team) formed into teams of five having picked a numbered raffle ticket to prevent people sitting with their mates. They negotiated responses to the same questions asked of them as individuals. The teams of five merged with another and the same exercise was repeated making the negotiations harder. The teams of ten then merged with another team of ten and negotiated their final response to the same two questions. The process rejects duplication and only allows Specific, Actionable & Measurable ideas to make to the final poster.

The post session work requires the go forward team (comprised one from each of the final 6/7 teams of twenty) to pick the best from each submission and design the execution process. In short the process is quick and harvests the wisdom of the crowd. It of course requires an exec team to license the group to be on equal footing when it comes to charting a future course.