Ask for solutions or for next actions?

Just got back from the twice yearly global strategy days of a client in textiles. Istanbul is a great location for this: symbolically it is the bridge between West and East and there are many direct flights from all the continents.

The approach we took for these global days is the Fluid Strategy process as described in our forthcoming book “The Fluid Organisation: an ideal mix of hierarchy and self-management”, co-authored with Filip Lowette.

After a minimal amount of presentation, we created breakouts for each main strategic issue (based on issues contributed by all teams in the organisation).

And what I want to stress in this post:

We did not ask the breakout groups to end up with solutions, but to focus on next actions.  It is impossible to develop a full solution that everybody is happy with, it takes a lot of time, and it will be out of date soon. Much better to discuss about the direction of the solution and to define the next actions needed to start moving in that direction. When the breakouts report back to the full group, or back to the rest of the company, we ask them to name the next actions and who will take them, and check whether anyone has an objection. Result: lots of energy and momentum, and lots of action after the meeting.