Winning with low hanging fruits

In every strategy session around gamification, learner or employee engagement or even digital transformation, we typically find that there are some low hanging fruits ready for picking. They can range from existing policies or ways of working that should need a simple tweak to rethinking the process so it is more efficient for all involved. Even simply removing the most frustrating parts out of a process can be enough to create a quick improvement in your target objectives.

In any given workshop with a strategic or design intent, we always find the high-level longer-term objectives which will take a bit of effort and research to put into place. But in each, we also find that by talking through a stumbling block or a process, that there are ways of helping people along without heavy investment or research. It is often the first time a whole team has spent time looking at improving the process or spoke in a facilitated discussion with a higher level purpose in mind.

When there is no facilitator in the room and it is business as usual, hierarchy or experience or even territorialism tends to rule. That doesn’t mean people do this with malicious intent, but it does mean the real truth is sidestepped or not deemed too important. No matter what size the organisation is, very few are able to look independently at how things work between teams to improve efficiency. Often someone will feel targetted and then entrench their perspective.

A good facilitator will enable the discussion to remain non-people targeted but focused on improving the process. It means all teams can be vulnerable without having to give up territory. Strategy implementation design is so much about people and less about systems or even processes even though you need all of them.

Delivering a new strategy takes effort and involvement from a whole range of people: clients, beneficiaries, employees and on occasion external reviewers. Open-mindedness and feedback are important for all involved.

The choice of low hanging fruits to start with is also an interesting discussion. Typically the decision points include budget, ease of implementation and impact it will achieve. Taking even a first step after a strategy or design thinking workshop is vital and low hanging fruits provide a good opportunity to show that you do want to change. You also want to schedule to other longer-term activities, but there may be a delay in implementation and results, which may make some people think that nothing is happening and momentum is being lost.

The thing about creating change is always taking the first next step.