Tuesday 22 May 2012

Planning sessions

I'm sitting at a desk that is absolutely overflowing with folders, reports, bits of paper with notes scribbled on it and two half finished and cold cups of tea. I am in work mode!
My management team have just completed our annual team building/ workplanning session and I'm super excited about what I've committed to this year.
Our theme for the 2012/13 year is COLLECTIONS and I'm going to be creating a weeding plan, a redesign of the floorplan of the lending area and guidelines for the presentation and shelving of library material. As excited as I am about these projects, I am definitely feeling nervous and a little overwhelmed.

The real reason I started this post however, was I wanted to talk about how useful our yearly planning sessions are in determining our common goals and delegating tasks as a group as well as bouncing ideas off each other.

We have a consultant, Carol Lewis, from The Human Equation run a two day session with our group of six managers. We began the whole process last year by having an intense introduction to the Myers Brigg personality types, which helped us to understand not only the tendencies of the others in the group as far as communication methods and processing ideas, but also about how we can be perceived by others. I'm an INTP, (I know you were dying to find out). I found the personality types so useful. One of the things I learned is as an introverted thinker, it is perfectly reasonable for me to say 'I'm going to have to think about that' when having discussions with my colleagues, and they learned that if given the time and space to process the information, I am going to come up with a solution of better quality than if I'm put on the spot. My boss also learned that despite sometimes appearing off with the pixies and staring in to space during meetings, my brain is actually hard at work, thinking of ideas and solutions while everyone else is talking (I had no idea I looked like that, lucky she told me).

After learning about all the group members different tendencies and types, we are able to better understand who should run different elements of our projects. We learned who to go to when thinking about the big picture, and who would pull us back down to earth with the finer details of the project, such as 'how are we going to pay for it?' etc. In our session this year we were also encouraged to argue and have passionate discussions about what is important to us, to be honest with each other and to trust constructive comments from team mates. It was exhausting!

The outcome of the session is that we are cementing our commitment to working as an effective team who trusts and understands each other and has a clear and common goal that we all agree with and are contributing to.

This is the first workplace I've experienced with such a commitment to planning and I can see the positive impact it has on my personal style of work and how it is bringing us all together as a team.

Do you have formal or informal planning sessions at your work? How do they help you throughout the year? Do you have regular follow up to keep you on track?

I look forward to hearing more planning stories from you!

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