MVC: The Why + What + WiiFM Check
Use this technique when your group's work lacks clear intention.
This Article's Intent
Share actionable tactics for designing intentional collaboration practices...
…so that organizations can innovate rapidly without burning people out.
We'll introduce tested strategies and a quick "go-to" method for sharpening team focus and aligning efforts in real time.
In the end, we want teams to talk openly about how they collaborate and take steps to ensure their work practices are meaningfully rewarding.
Intentionality trumps proximity. According to a recent Gartner study, teams that collaborate intentionally see a 2x increase in productivity and 3+x increase in measurements of energy and commitment to the organization.
Intentional collaboration rocks!
But it doesn't happen automatically. Intentional collaboration requires thoughtful design and regular maintenance.
You don’t have to start from scratch, though. There are plenty of examples and great hordes of experts available to you.
In the current New Rules for Work experiment, we’re looking at how location and technology impact collaboration in meetings. Here are just a few ways you can bring more intentionality to that aspect of your work.
Instead of gathering teams based solely on skill or seniority, you can analyze network patterns and reconfigure teams to optimize innovation. See Michael Arena's case study here: Effective Strategies for Intentional Collaboration in the New World of Work
Instead of mandating 2 days per week in the office, you can run a quick experiment, and then design a thoughtfully informed office policy. Check out what Smucker's came up with!
Instead of issuing a blanket ban on meetings, you can run a targeted intervention and involve teams in redesigning their meetings. Rebecca Hinds, Head of Work Innovation at Asana, and Stanford professor Bob Sutton used this approach and found that Meeting Overload is a Fixable Problem.
Instead of telling people what to do and how to do it, you can share tasks in a Commander's Intent format (like we used in the intro) so your team can align their actions with your larger goals. See the useful format we copied and business examples.
Hurray! Examples! There are some really cool ideas here.
The trick is that change at scale takes time, resources, and buy-in from all corners of the organization.
So what can you do right now with the team and resources you've got?
Enter MVC—Minimal, Valuable Collaboration.
Write and share answers one question at a time. This gives everyone's response an equal voice.
If you see big differences in the answers for questions 1 or 2, discuss those before moving on to question 3. Clarity on WHY and WHAT will change the WiiFM.
WiiFM answers may reveal the need to rethink what you're doing or allow some people to opt-out. Come prepared to make changes.
The first time you use this technique, start with a low-stakes endeavor. Practice openly discussing the intent for a recurring meeting, for example, before using this with projects that your team may feel uncomfortable questioning directly.
Download the Why + What + WiiFM handout below for more details.
Ok! We shared some strategies and a quick 'go-to' method for collaborating more intentionally. Now it’s your turn. Try out the Why + What + WiiFM check in your next meeting, and let us know how it goes. We're on this journey together, and your feedback shapes the road ahead.
Going forward, we intend to share more of the big ideas shaping the new rules for work and the simplest methods for putting these ideas into practice.
Of course, the best intentions don’t always lead where we hoped. Use the poll below to share your feedback and keep us on the right road.
Finally, if you find this useful, please subscribe and share it with your friends!
Have a great weekend,
Elise & Dave
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