You are sitting in one of these meetings. A lot has been discussed. Everybody is sort of clear on what needs to happen to take things forward. Now somebody has to take the next step toward actually doing something. People are starting to fiddle with their pens, laptops or suddenly become very interested in what the little spider is doing in the corner of the room. She who moves first looses.

“There we go again”, you think, “we all know that something needs to happen and we also know that this something is probably very helpful for the team. We also know that nobody really has the time or energy to do anything about it.” What do you do then?

My friend and fellow SolutionsAcademy coach trainer Frank Gollas introduced me to an enlightening and playful way to create realistic commitment: The S³ method (S³ = Sometime somebody should)

  • You ask people to write down what “somebody should do sometime” on Post-it notes or facilitation cards. People write one idea per card.
  • Everybody puts their Post-it notes or cards in the middle on a table or board so that you can create an overview of all the ideas.
  • You cluster the ideas so that the same ideas end up next to each other on the board.
  • Everybody stands around and looks admiringly at all the things that need to get done.
  • You ask everyone to take the Post-it notes or facilitation cards with those activities that they would like to commit to carrying out. The goal is not to have everything taken away from the board or table. This is entirely voluntary, people only take those things that they can actually commit to doing.
  • Inevitably in the end there will be posters or facilitation cards left over. This then forms the basis for a discussion about what needs to happen so that somebody feels like taking on these tasks:
    • Do we need to break them up into smaller pieces?
    • Are there resources missing?
    • Is there a possibility to reprioritize other things for people so that they can commit to doing these?
    • Are they actually the right actions to take?
    • Is there someone outside the team can take care of these actions?

In the end you see whether carrying out what you have planned is realistic. You also learn about the team’s preferences.

Most importantly you learn what it takes for the team to voluntarily commit to actions. If you know that and think about it before the next meeting, the discussions will become more productive because they already anticipate what can be done and what will be more difficult.

If you want to learn more about team coaching or leadership facilitation moves, come to one of our free meet up and exchanges or one of our agile meet ups or labs.

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