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Monday, January 09, 2006

How To Run A Workshop To Grow Your Business

Prepare. Plan and Prepare!

I've already written an article that explains why workshops can be so useful for growing a business. But that article didn't give step by step ways to run a workshop.

Well this posting is intended to show exactly, step by step, how you can run a workshop.

Step 0: Before they get to the workshop send participants an email that explains why you're doing it and the agenda - see the steps below.

Introduce The Workshop

Step 1: Introduction - Explain what you are doing.

Here's an example --

I think it’s fair to say that Mr Claude Z. Hopper wants a better marketed, sold,
organsied and managed company. What I want you all to tell me is what
stands in the way of him getting that? What things are standing in the way of
faster, smarter, better growth? It could be a management issue, a marketing
issue, a financial issue or an organizational issue.

Obviously we
can't solve everything immediately. The impossible takes a little longer. For
example, you may think you need three more staff on board—that isn't
possible at the moment. However, we are going to find areas and items with
solutions right away.

It's tough going through this sort of
exercise. But I know you're up to it. We want feedback from you all. We
need to find out what’s broken before we can fix it.

going to write a question up on the board. It's "What Things Stop Our Business
From Growing?" (write it down)
So, I’d like you each to write down things
that are standing in the way of our company being successful. This is not
a place to air dirty laundry, make points, gossip or indulge in
backstabbing. It's a starting point to list and explain things that are getting
in the way of growth.

Finally we're going vote for the
top 3 issues that we believe affects the company's growth.

will produce a prioritised list of issues.

We will then work on
each issue until it is resolved over the next few months.

Generate The Issues

Step 2: Start the 5-10 minutes of issue writing and you write some down too. At the same time keep an eye on the time and try to hold out until everyone has finished writing, or you've reached 10 minutes.

The Issue Rounds

Step 3: Remind the group that they can say pass at any point during the issue rounds. Then go round each person and ask "What issue have you got?". Write it down. If they say pass, say "fine/ok/no problem/" and don't make anyone feel under pressure. Go directly to the next person. Write down each issue below the question set at the beginning. Leave some space at the right hand side for later scoring.

Vote For The Top Issue

Step 4: Remind the group "we need to vote on the top 3 issues you believe affect the company's growth the most". Then go round each person and ask them to vote for their top three issues. For each issue they note from the board put a downward stroke against that issue.

Step 5: Then add up all the strokes and put the total against each issue.

Step 6: Usually at least 2 issues stand right out from the rest.

Step 7: If there's no clear-cut issue. Ask for a revote on the issues that have the most votes and this time weight them by putting a 3 for each persons top issue, a 2 for their second issue and a 1 for their third issue. Then add up the scores again to find the highest score has the highest priority.

Step 8: Summarise the top three/four issues and make clear what the top issue is all about.

Work Out Fixes

Step 9: Ask everyone to call out ways of fixing the issue. Have someone write them down.

Step 10: Then assign the suggested fixes to people to be sorted by next weeks meeting

Step 11: Finish the meeting with a thank you and a positive comment about the issues generated. Tell everyone that you'll send them the complete issue list in priority order, with the agreed actions, and that the next meeting will be spent finding out whether the fix/fixes worked and working out and resolving the top issue in detail.

Now go start running your own growth workshops.

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