The title of this post is taken from the great book by Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People“.
In Chapter 2 of that book, Covey describes this critical habit of having clear objectives for our activities and how powerful that is in focusing energy and attention. At WaveChanger, we recognize the power of specifying objectives.
That is why it is a foundational step in the process as an RbC Facilitator designs an RbC Session. With RbC, every collaborative Session is “owned” by an individual other than the facilitator. That Owner is the person who determines the objectives for the Session. Building on this objective the RbC Facilitator uses the RbC Method to build out the Session activities based on multiple criteria.
Regardless if the Session is two hours long or spread over a full week, every activity is focused on helping the Participants create results to meet the Objective by the last hours of the Session. Developing the Session objective is not always simple. It needs to adhere to similar standards we apply to any effective goal. That is it should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews did a study and found that participants were 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down.
The challenge is to make the Objective descriptive not prescriptive. In the collaborative Session, the Participants will not merely parrot what the Session owner specified. Instead they will develop a unique result that meets the criteria of the Objective. Two sample Objectives you could use in a session might be:
- to develop 5 strategies we will focus on in 2019 which will contribute to 15% EBITDA growth
- to identify five workable strategies that will increase our attendance by 25% within the next year
The purpose of your Objective is to continually focus attention and energy on the desired result without specifying the details that the participants will develop. For that reason there is always an element of serendipity in any RbC Session. We start the Session knowing exactly what the Objective is. We will even measure the effectiveness of the Session based on this Objective. We will then process through each activity knowing how contributes to the development of solutions.
The serendipity that often occurs is the result of a phenomena know as emergence. Emergence, as seen in an RbC Session, is when the group (of Participants) in the Session achieve things that they could not do alone. It might be new insights, deeper understanding, bonding, discovery, or self-correction. Emergence is widely seen in nature and complex systems. By creating a Learning Community, RbC has the ability to encourage the Participants to engage as a system, rather than as just a group of individuals.
This is the power of RbC.
Even as RbC Facilitators we will not know exactly what the results will look like from the Session, just that together, we will reach our Objective. For some observers, this makes a session nerve-wracking but for those of us that have experienced RbC, there is a sense of confidence (and fun) of seeing the method work and the results come together.
That is the power of RbC. It overwhelmingly ensures that the Session will provide the desired Objectives, that the Participants will learn and that everyone will have a sense of ownership in the final product.