Let’s make a plan
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
Writers: Sanni Hujanen, Kamil Wojcik
Designing the journey of a team company
The life cycle of a team company at Proakatemia is quite short and now we are already halfway through that journey. We all have different dreams and plans where we would like to see the team company on the verge of graduation. However, the most important thing for the team is to find a common path and common goals as well as to create plans and steps how to achieve those goals.
This essay is an analysis of the current state of one team company and a workshop plan with which we begin to define the common direction of the team.
Where is Saawa now?
Over the past 1,5 months, we at Saawa have been thinking about the journey our team has gone through and where we want to go next. Saawa was born in the spring of 2021. Spring and summer were busy in Saawa when many projects got off to a good start. When we returned to Proakatemia after the summer, many of the team members wanted to stop and breathe. The hustle of spring and summer was reflected in fatigue, so there was a desire to take time to recover in the autumn.
During the past fall, the team and bringing it together has been Saawa’s biggest project, but now it’s time to turn our attention more strongly to projects and growing the business. There is a certain transition going on in Saawa, as we have decided to leave the Ressu mindset behind and focus on thinking Saawa as “a real company” where we want to work together as a team.
For example, we decided that for the spring, our team needs both a team leader and a business leader. Team leader focuses on maintaining team spirit and acts as a HR person, while the business leader focuses purely on growing the business and tracking projects. Business leader is also responsible for business operations and financial profitability. We no longer raise money under the name of an individual but focus on common projects that grow Saawa’s business and allow team members to get salaries as well. This model requires a new kind of commitment.
So, we have the will to develop things and take our team forward, but we don’t have a precise direction yet. In Proakatemia a team company has so many options but so little time. We want to create a strategy for Saawa that will cover Saawa’s operations until December 2023. That’s why we want to have a paja right at the beginning of the spring to help us find direction for our team.
Paja plan for creating an odyssey plan for the Proakatemia team based on the book Designing your life written by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. We have selected a few tools the book provides to help the team create possible plans within 4h training session. Time in minutes is an estimate and will be adjusted accordingly.
- Pre-task (at home)
- Check-in (10min)
- Warm-up round (10min)
- Health/Work/Play/Love worksheet (30min)
- Good time Journal (30min)
- Break (15min)
- Failure log (30min)
- Odyssey plan (70min)
- Motorola (20min)
Pre-task is to read the previous essays:
- https://esseepankki.proakatemia.fi/en/design-thinking-at-proakatemia/ (4mins)
- https://esseepankki.proakatemia.fi/en/odyssey-plans/ (5mins)
- Leave a comment!
Check-in, expectations for this paja? Did the pretask bring any emotions? What kind and why?
I’m a tree exercise.
Duration: 5-10 minutes // Size: Done in groups of 6-12
- The group forms a circle. The first person (whoever volunteers) jumps into the middle of the circle and says, “I’m a Tree” and holds a ‘tree-like’ pose.
- The second person jumps into the circle and says something related to the tree, like “I’m a squirrel who lives in the tree” or “I’m a logger and I’m here to cut down the tree” and starts making the motions
- The third person competes the tableau and says something that relates to the first two people like, “I’m an environmentalist and I’m here to protect the tree” and moves between the tree and the logger.
- Then the first-person leaves, and the tableau changes to, ”I’m a logger and and environmentalist” then another person jumps in and builds on the scenario.
- Repeat – the next person to leave is the “oldest” person in the scenario, and the story continues.
Take-Away – when we come from a negative place, we have trouble generating ideas, building teamwork, and breaking out of the box.
Here we focus on where we are, as all designers start from their current state of things. We cannot wait for the perfect situation or that “one more thing”. We need to start with what we have and work our way forward. It might turn out that we are just fine without things that previously we perceived as necessary.
First, we talk about how it’s going, then mark where we are and what is the actual problem. Is there a design problem you want to tackle?
Is it a gravity* problem?
*Gravity problem is a problem that we cannot do anything about, just like gravity. Certain things are circumstances or a fact. Problems are actionable.
Good Time Journal
In this part, we aim to find out how do we feel during different activities with our team and then think if they energies us or maybe drain? The idea is not to select after only the positive stuff but be more aware. There are different approaches when it comes to stress, but stress or better said tension is needed in order to grow, while too much of it is counterproductive. Therefore, by knowing the dynamics better are can better adjust our activities and maximize the performance.
Dysfunctional Belief: We judge our life by the outcome.
Reframe: Life is a process, not an outcome.
We are constantly changing and developing during our life. Reinventing ourselves in different forms. It’s like a never-ending spiral. Although if we want to become better, we need to reflect. This is where we are going to look at our team and take a moment to consider what was the failure at first and what we can learn from this experience.
We categories them as screw up, weakness, or opportunity to grow.
Finally, we will dare to dream and create three plans. In the book, this is not the last step, but here we took different tools, mixed them up a little and adjusted for the team planning. Originally, it’s 5 years ahead, but we will go only “until the graduation” – about two years. Let’s investigate three scenarios of the team, the team company or maybe we should treat them as one? Anyway, three scenarios of what could happen, we will see do we have recourse do to that, how much we like that vision, how confident we are that this could actually happen and what is the coherence.
Each vision needs a six-word title and a set of 3 core questions, like do we have what it takes to do that? Is this really going to bring value? Etc.
We are going to edit this after the paja and add small wrap up about how did it go 🙂
We received mostly positive feedback from the training session. We worked a lot in small groups and each time groups were different. That created a better dynamic and allowed information to spread more freely. As well as breaking down the routine of a 4h sitting session. Another positive aspect of the session was that it mixed the structured parts where new knowledge was right away applied into practice.
A few things to note:
- The schedule was a bit tight and more room for dialogue should be included
- The failure log was confusing to some people, a better explanation about this reflection tool is needed.
- The final odyssey plan wasn’t precise enough, which could be problem-related to time as well as a lack of deeper understanding behind it.
- Not everyone did a pre-task, which should be stressed as a crucial element of the training session. Pre-task is intended to create a base for the learning process as well as rise some thoughts already before the training session.
- Perhaps splitting this session into 7h workshop which would include a 1h lunch break in between two 3h sets would be more beneficial. Another option would be to make two training sessions on two different days.