Focus the Team

Published: 28th August, 2019
Focus the team

Pulling all the ideas into one place

How do you focus your team and unify them in this focus?

In my experience working with businesses, I can understand why most organisations broadcast key messages to employees as a way of passing on instructions to the team. It’s a well understood short-cut to a prickly issue. We look for organisations to work with who are Values-based, People-first and most importantly, willing to find out what their employees REALLY think. As a result, we (you and I), need to put the framework and environment in place to be ready to manage all those thoughts and transform them into measured and lasting change.

Where I’ve seen a truly empowered team is where there has been a two way dialogue, where silos are smashed through an exercise of opening up the thinking, and allowing teams to fully express themselves. This is a question of ownership of the day-to-day work, and so with that goal in mind, we help with the hard work to make it so. The webinar below provides an insight into how we do that, by bringing our relevant experience to bare in and around our Big Picture tool.

You’ll see we flip the usual Big Picture approach for this scenario by listing all the Opportunities that are known to the team. This is a great way to get the conversation started, particularly if the team are looking to vent! Don’t hold back on this step as it’s a great way to introduce energy into the process! I always say,  “energy and engagement in any form, is a basis for helping make the individuals, the team and the business better.” Just be ready to facilitate it through using some of the techniques we provide here.

Helping the team find their ground truth

Using Big Picture encourages you to represent the ideas that are coming into the business in a way others can better understand. Where previously this would be an idea in someone’s head, we’re giving you a place to put the ideas that are listed. We always start with the analogue physical prop, not digital tech, and so it gives you a good chance to describe that idea in a different kind of way.

Once the list is formed and good enough to form the basis of the session, we flip the thinking by asking the team what they think the business should be doing as a whole. This is Big Picture doing it’s thing naturally, as people want to interact with the props and respond to the prompts. There are no barriers here to a good conversation about the teams role in the business. Whilst most businesses may hold-back from instigating this kind of conversation, we encourage it, as we firmly believe each individual has a voice and a story worth sharing.

Once the team have developed a view of the overall business, such as Purpose and the a simple view of the make-up of the different teams they work with, we have the backdrop to introduce a thought around Measures. As one of the Big Picture symbols, we bring it into play at the earliest opportunity, as it’s essential to know what good looks like. It’s this Measure that will go on to determine the relevance of the ideas, as we call them Opportunities, in the subsequent conversation.

With the team agreeing the lay of the land, the magic happens when you suggest that the group think about the list of ideas using the Opportunity symbol. By reconsidering the ideas in this way, the team reset their focus and realise which are the ideas they can directly influence. There will be varying degrees, and so by making connections and joining the dots, the conversation naturally leads to the focus on the one or two ideas they should be working on back at the desk. As a massive bonus to the businesses they now have a master list of insights into what they can be developing with other teams following the same process.

“.. we’ve come at it from the perspective of the just one of the teams  today. But I can see that in the room, if you were facilitating across departments, everybody would be coming at it from a different point of view. Then at the end I could bring it back together to make sure that everyone feels included. So if you also had the marketing team in the room you could say this is your top priority and you take that opportunity forward and then we come back together to talk about the progress in a week or so.” – Corinna

Encouraging then focusing on new ideas

On this recent webinar, I worked through a start, middle and end for focusing the team:

  • How to make sense of a business where there is too much going on. Cut through an overwhelming amount of ideas and possible directions to take to put into place some practical actions.
  • Give the team a sense of perspective in the business and to join the dots between Team- Measure and the Opportunities.
  • Using the relevant Measures for the team assess the possible Opportunities and score them against an agreed criteria to create the focus in the team.

Watch the full webcast here!

You can watch the whole Webcast here. Sign up for the next one at

Here’s what one of the attendees fed back:

“One of the things that we are very, very passionate about is making the training in the room really exciting and welcoming, so people can look forward to coming in. So quite often, in previous places I’ve worked, people see the email come in and are like ‘oh no .. we’ve got that training course’. We’ve worked really hard to help people go ‘there’s another one of their training courses. I wonder what this will be like? because the last one was great!’ And part of the way in which we do that is by making it interactive activity, rather than just death by PowerPoint. One of the things that drew us, Carly and myself, to Martin was the fact that it was just so bright and lively. It invited curiosity and interaction and we were like, ‘Oh, this is very us, this is the kind of thing that will draw our people in’” – Kate

Why the bother?

When the team start talking, they have a chance to share what they really think, and so:

– They are more likely to be productive in their time with the company.

– The business will enjoy a ready supply of new opportunities each and every time you get to the truth- the challenge is working out what to do with them all! Boss Bill gets the most of her team and is able to translate that up to the board.

– Employees are likely to stay with the company for longer and that means avoiding the costs of rehiring- worse case 6-9 months of an the employee’s salary to locate and train a replacement and 2 years to become fully productive. Not to mention the toll on existing employee productivity and morale.

What we can help you with

Big Picture naturally generates extremely high engagement levels as you provide your people with the tools they require to share useful truths about the business. With light-touch delivery it means you can involve large group sizes, of up-to 20, with no drop off in engagement levels. This results in the highest Engagement levels we have ever seen for People and Business Development.

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The stuff we care about is all over our YouTube channel @YourBigPic. You can have a go yourself by printing and writing on the one-pager here for a business YOU care about. I would love to take you through a taster of Big Picture in a Discovery Webinar you can sign-up for here.

And thanks for reading!