Workout: July 3, 2013

Design Goals and Principles

  • Practice designing engagements
  • Practice group physics

Workout Plan

What Happened


  • This was unquestionably the worst workout session of the ten that I did. Last week, I talked about the tension between content versus practice. This week, I fell on the wrong side of that tension.
  • The main problem was with the design and with my assumptions. (More details below.) But there were logistical challenges too. I only had two participants today. I don’t know that it would have been better if I had had the full group, but I think the chances would have been better. Both participants were late (one of whom told me beforehand that this was likely), and we ended late as well. With a larger group, we can start on time and just have the late participants catch up.
  • The other logistical challenge was with the space. The WiFi here doesn’t work (meaning I had to scrap an exercise), and they’re just not very accommodating. I’m going to have to find another space.
  • The midpoint assessment worked nicely. I wasn’t originally going to take up workout time for this, but Rebecca’s comment from two weeks ago made me reassess.

Midpoint Assessment

  • Simply taking the time to reflect on your own progress and on others was a great and worthwhile exercise.
  • People seeing other people’s feedback on their progress and comparing it to their self-perception was eye-opening.
  • Scores are relative, not absolute.
  • The ability to give face-to-face context for the feedback was really important. Lots of great nuggets emerged from this. It further motivates me to integrate a Kangaroo Court-like feedback mechanism into bootcamp.
  • I changed “Dealing with conflict” in the original app to “Leaning in” here. One participant rightfully called me on it. They’re not the same thing. Need to be more clear about the competencies.
  • The other two participants will really miss out in not getting to discuss the feedback with others.

Design Case Study

  • I designed two iterations, but we didn’t even get through the first one, which was too grandiose to begin with.
  • I needed to be clearer about the instructions for picking a community, especially since they were going to work on this exercise together. What kind of community? It had to be one that both of them would have some familiarity with, or at least that one could tell the other about. The participants did a good job here, focusing on people who are interested in transformational development.
  • The colocation exercise confused them. The point of it was to get them conscious of group physics. The goal and the community was very big. I’m realizing it’s a hard exercise, and they were under duress.
  • They did a nice job of working together to combine their visions into one. But they really weren’t thinking through the problems with their vision, and when I pointed the issues out, they didn’t know how to address them.
  • They had great attitudes. I was struggling, and they were really working hard to understand what I was asking them to do and to stay engaged.


  • We didn’t have the chance to walk through P2 together. We didn’t have time, and even if we did, the WiFi wasn’t working.
  • However, P2 did what it was supposed to. It increased engagement between sessions. People weren’t waiting until the night before or morning of to do the homework. I think it felt less burdensome and more interactive.

Lessons Learned

Went Well Could Be Better
  • Well, I learned a lot. The design / facilitation exercises need to be broken down into more incremental workouts. I have some ideas on how to do that.
  • I liked doing the power posing at the beginning. I’ve had standing checkins in my design for a while, but I haven’t done them. It just makes sense — it gets the blood flowing right from the start, it gets people centered, and it doesn’t have to be cheesy.
  • The assessment was a great exercise. I really want to formalize the assessment process in the next bootcamp using Kangaroo Court as a model.
  • P2 worked for the homework. The downside is that they’re not as exposed, and they don’t have to be as careful with their synthesis. The upside is that they’re building their muscles for engaging online and working openly more incrementally.
  • The participants were great. They had great attitudes, and they really pushed through an exercise that was not well-designed.
  • The power posing at the checkin is a bit awkward when the chairs are so tight together. Not much you can do with a group of three (counting me), but at minimum, could have people step behind their charis in these situations.
  • Forgot pens again. It didn’t matter, but I need to add those to my equipment checklist every time I bring clipboards.
  • The space was hot (no fan), and WiFi didn’t work.
  • Everything took longer than I thought it would.
  • Should have brought painter’s tape as a backup for putting the flipcharts up.
  • Mark holidays in the calendar so I can adjust workouts + homework accordingly.
  • Need to be explicit about the intent of the assessments. Scores are relative, not absolute. What’s important is the feedback.
  • Bottom line: I need to rethink the workouts for designing meetings.

I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave your comments below.