People are always trying to improve work, with little to no success. Despite this the plucky little blighters keep on at it. Me too! Very recently I have attended or facilitated myself 2 sessions that I thought would change the world that in the sober light of day left without a trace.
The hallmark of a Teflon event is taking people on an away-day to a room somewhere and doing things with flip-charts or Powerpoints.
To save you worry over how to replicate this recurring failure, here are ThinkPurpose’s 9 easy steps to achieving nothing whilst giving every appearance of doing something.
1 Take people out of their workplace to somewhere else, anywhere else. The more abstract the better. Try the zoo.
2 Make it fun, or make it painful, you choose. Doesn’t matter either way.
3 Make it interesting or make it dull. Ditto
4 Don’t talk about the work, keep it abstract but livened up with anecdote to keep people awake. This ensures that people will think something has happened, if they get bored and stare out the window they will KNOW nothing has happened.
5 Explain things logically, so people can logically agree with you, nobody enjoys the hassle of changing their own mind, but everybody thinks they’re logical. Win win!
6 Ensure that people are agreeing rationally with the discussion in the room, but not emotionally. This will ensure the change stays put in the room along with the logic.
7 Keep it light. Or make it heavy, this too is irrelevant.
8 Flipcharts and post-its. Make good use of these as they signal “creativity”. A fine way to hid lack of creativity.
9 Be really organised and run a tight ship. Finishing on time is the hallmark of the successful away-day.
The only time I have experienced people learning in a meeting room was when it was just a quiet place to regroup between finding things out and experimenting in the work. Where fresh data and raw knowledge from the work was assimilated, and where people were primed with concepts and questions to take back out into the work again.
Other than that, rooms are just places to leave coats and handbags in while you go off and do something more useful instead.