- Help your team be more productive
- Encourage deeper collaboration
- Assess what tasks are working and which aren’t
- What’s working? Let’s do more of that.
- What’s not working? Let’s do less of that.
- What’s meh? Let’s discuss.
- Multi-colored sticky notes
- A large space
Step #1: Pick a TopicYou can do this exercise with any topic–work, personal or project specific. You can even do it by yourself, with a pair or in a large group. It’s very flexible — which is why it’s so great. The first thing you want to do is pick a topic area. The one my team just did was on:
Marketing at the Science of PeopleThis is something we all work on, think about and is important for the business. You want to pick a topic that matters — something that affects everyone on your team, or greatly impacts the bottom line or even a topic that needs a reset. Here are some ideas: Business Ideas:
- Financial Plans
- Year in Review
- Marketing Strategy
- Team Tasks
- Family Chores
- Household Finances
- Scheduling and Time Management
- Family Values
Step #2: Sticky It UpThe next step is for everyone on your team to write everything that comes to mind for that topic. Each thing should get its own sticky note. If you can, give everyone their own color post-it. Specifically, everyone should answer these questions and write as many post-its as they can:
- What tasks do you do related to this topic?
- What tasks do you think should be done related to this topic but aren’t being done?
- What ideas do you have about this topic?
- Blog Posts: Write blog posts about people skills
- Medium: Submit articles to Medium
- Facebook: Post articles to Facebook
- YouTube: Make a video for each article on YouTube
- HuffPo: Syndicate articles to Huffington Post
- LinkedIn: Put articles on our LinkedIn
- Twitter: Post articles to Twitter multiple times per week
- Email: Send out articles in email newsletters
- Instagram: Make an image for the article and post it on Instagram
Step #3: Place the TasksNow that everyone has written their tasks, they should begin to place them on a large white board or table with three columns.
Start Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be started–meaning it’s not being done at all or enough right now.
Stop Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be stopped–it’s not productive or effective.
Continue Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be continued or enhanced. These are tasks that are working well.People can place these in each column and if each person has their own color it is easy to see who placed what where. Special Note: If you are worried people might be shy, you can give everyone the same color so people do not have to be embarrassed by their answers. Sometimes anonymity is a good thing if you want people to be honest. Here is where our team placed the tasks above: Start:
- Email Marketing
- Blog Posts
Step #4: DiscussThis is where you can discuss and debate the list. Any disagreements? Explanations that need to be made? Do it now! This is the best part of the exercise because it allows people to re-evaluate tasks that they or others might be doing that don’t serve them. What if there are disagreements? Good! Then the activity is really getting to the heart of the matter. I like to put questionable tasks in between columns. For example, my team and I couldn’t agree about StumbleUpon. We get some traffic, but not a ton. It went in between the Stop and Continue columns to be re-evaluated in 3 months. *Be sure to create a safe space. Make it clear that every idea is welcome and no idea should be shot down too quickly.
Step #5: Assignments + ActionOnce everyone is happy with the board, assignments and re-assignments, action should be taken. What tasks should be re-assigned? Who is closing up or ending the “Stop” tasks? Who is targeting the “Start” tasks? Pull out your to-do lists and your calendars and make each task an action step.
- Set a check-in time for questionable tasks. Did you have a lot of disagreement? Agree to gather data and intel and reconvene sometime soon to re-address.
Bonus: Really, Any Topic!You can really do this with any topic. For example, I wanted to do “Health” at the beginning of the year for my partner and I. My husband and I made a bunch of sticky notes and then made our own board. It ended up looking like this: Start:
- Morning protein shakes
- Taking brainstorm walks
- A better evening routine
- Eating out on weeknights
- Eating after 7pm
- Afternoon Yoga