Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action

John Spence gets it: Simplicity is the new gold standard. Businesses that get simple shed expenses and boost customer loyalty. The new talent to have is simplicity-skills. Spence provides simple, yet surprising, recommendations on how to take the complex out of business life."

Tim Sanders - Author of Love Is the Killer App

Action A Powerful Team Workshop

Whether it's a handful of employees that run a small business, a marketing team, a product development team, or even the senior management team of a large company... reading Awesomely Simple and going through all of the audits and questions together will lead to positive change in your organization.

I have specifically written this book so it can be used as a powerful tool for a team to work through together. Here are some guidelines for how to facilitate a group workshop based on the material in Awesomely Simple:

The first step is to get everyone in the group to study, not just read, but carefully study the material in the book. Challenge them to underline key ideas, write in the margin and really dig into the book. Ask each person to complete all of the audits and fill out all of the questions at the end of each chapter from their own point of view.  If they do not want to write in their book, they can easily download PDFs of the various audits and questions here on the website and can fill those out instead.

There are two basic options for leading a group
workshop on the material in Awesomely Simple:

Option One (which is best for small teams – 4 people or less)  is to simply sit down and have a discussion about what people learned, what their scores were and how they answered all of the questions, which will surely drive a spirited and deeply valuable discussion. This approach is all about opening up the lines of communication and getting the team to talk about important themes from the book, how they feel those themes impact the business and, most importantly, what needs to be done about it. To facilitate this type of workshop you can just go chapter by chapter and ask people to discuss their scores, how they answered the various questions and which action steps they feel are most critical. Or you could assign a different chapter to each person in the group and have them facilitate a discussion about their chapter. The goal here is to use the book as a tool to get people talking and sharing their ideas and feelings, and then using that information to take positive action steps to improve you business. Be sure to have plenty of paper, pens and possibly flip charts so you can capture the main ideas and actions then be absolutely sure to get all of that information cleaned up, compiled and back in everyone’s hands ASAP so you can begin implementation right away to keep the momentum going.

Option Two, which is my preference, is to break the team up into small groups (no larger than 10 people on a single team – 6 or less is best) and let each group have the same sort of open discussion as described above, where they compare and contrast the lessons learned, key ideas in the book, audit scores and their answers to all of the questions -  in small, independent teams.

What you're looking for is each team to identify:

  • The top strengths and weaknesses of your organization
  • The key strategies they feel the organization should be focused on.
  • Their five most important action steps to improve the organization.

Once they have completed this work, have each team (or a representative of the team) stand up and spend 10 or 15 minutes presenting their team’s findings to the all of other teams. Encourage the other teams to ask questions and challenge any of the presenting team’s ideas or recommendations that they do not agree with. You want to foster some dialogue and get everyone interacting. Typically, as each successive team presents, everyone in the room quickly see a clear pattern begin to emerge.

The last step in this workshop is to combine all of the different lists and gain consensus on a master list of:

  • Top organizational strengths – things you can celebrate.
  • Top organizational weaknesses – things to work on improving.
  • Key areas of focus – where everyone feels the organization should be investing its time and resources for the highest possible return.
  • Key Action Steps specific, measurable and detailed action steps – with timelines and “action owners” that everyone in the room is 100% committed to achieving in order to dramatically improve the organization.

Be sure to get this information typed up and back in everyone’s hands as fast as possible, then make it the number one priority in your business to keep everyone focused on these items and working hard to ensure that you execute them effectively. Remember that discussion without action does not make a meaningful difference – so keep driving for application, action steps, decisions and results!

My last suggestion would be to hold this sort of meeting once a quarter, or at the very least twice a year and to relentlessly keep communicating the key ideas you everyone in the organization.

self employed

Are You Self-Employed or Running a Small Business?

The principles in Awesomely Simple apply even if you're a sole practitioner. Read more

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