“I suppose we need another workshop.” 

On a clear, cold winters day in Cape Town twelve executives gathered in a large room. No PowerPoint presentations but plenty of flipchart and post it notes decorated the walls. The atmosphere was tense as the group worked on their strategic foundations. 

This was a new, cross-functional, leadership team appointed after an organisational shake-out. Three of the team had experience as organisational strategists. The rest were excellent functional leaders.  

The day started with a “getting to know you” session through the lens of the enneagram. The second session came unglued, straining to find clarity and alignment around goals and key projects. 

Very few executives had the time to prepare for the day. Every person in the room had huge operational workloads. Many of the executives had not worked together before. They had no time to think through the proposed goals and projects.  

Additionally, all of South Africa was waiting for clarity on the outcome of its 2024 general elections, with high and low road scenarios wide open. 

As the session on goals and projects limped to a close, one executive grimly and sadly said “I suppose we will need another workshop.” Groans filled the room. Was it true? Did they need another workshop?  

How does strategy really get decided and how does the organisation align around that strategy? 

Given the option of leaving the work to a heroic CEO, forming a sub-committee, or coming together and designing the future as a leadership group, what would you have chosen? 

In general, we say you need a series of workshops, carefully finding and clarifying the shared vision and goals that the organisation needs to move forward. We believe that it takes a leadership community to work on and with the organisation. It is not enough to work in the firm. The responsibility for finding and giving shared direction lies with the people who find themselves in those senior executive roles. That takes time. 

These sessions are not easy to facilitate. At their best they are messy, unpredictable, conflict-laden and anxiety provoking. That is true irrespective of whether there is an experienced external facilitator supporting you. The data suggests that a good facilitator, close to the messiness that is your real organisation, with reliable processes, will give you a faster and better outcome. It is the amazing journey of the evolution and revolution of organisational life.  

We absolutely love the realness and even the messiness of this work! Call WorldsView and let us help you to strengthen leadership teams through the work of direction-setting and organisation design. Good processes with good facilitation free your CEO and executives to strengthen their relationships with each other and focus on the clarity needed to lead.