Mentors’ role at the Lift-Off Workshop


Mentors' role at the Lift-off Workshop

Workshop overview

The 100-Day team Lift-off workshop starts the 100-day implementation phase, where teams set their 100-day goals and develop their 100-day plans, including innovations they will test. Teams also elect team leaders, and decide on their governance structure (Team Operating Agreement). As part of the workshop, teams will experience self-governance, inclusive decision-making, and other new ways of working. This sends a signal to team members that it is NOT business as usual. Day ONE of the 100 days begins the day after the Lift-off Workshop!

What success looks like at the end of the workshop

The individuals designated to be 100-Day team members actually begin to act like a high-performing team. They feel excited about the commitment they made (the 100-day goal they set). They are a little anxious about it. They are eager to start implementing the plan they developed. They have experienced each other and have begun to understand and appreciate the gifts that each one brings. They are thinking – judging by what we experienced so far, this will be a fun and enriching experience.

Watch the video to see the essence of the Lift-off Workshop.

Key outputs

  • 100-Day goal that has unique attributes.
  • Work Plan that involves some experimentation with new ideas
  • Team Operating Agreement

Why this is the most important workshop

A quick Google search on “team definition in business” yielded 518 million entries. The first 20 of these had two things in common:

A team is (1) a group of people (two or more), with (2) a shared goal.

Most likely, all other 517,999,980 entries will have had these two things in them.

The Lift-off is where a group of people become a team. The group walks into the workshop with a Challenge, and they leave with a shared goal: something they committed to accomplishing in 100 days! By definition, they become a team by the end of the workshop.

And what is so special about becoming a team?

Conventional wisdom and a lot of research suggest that teams get things done. They get things done because they trust each other, they rely on each other, they support each other, they encourage each other, and they help each other grow and develop as professionals and as human beings. Not all teams are blessed with all these attributes, but the most productive and successful teams are. 

The Lift-off workshop is designed to mould groups, often strangers, into the most effective kind of teams – ones that have all the attributes above – and more. We will call these for short 100-Day Teams. 

Prepare yourself before the workshop

The Lift-off is an opportunity for you as the mentors to create some elements of the enabling environment. In practical terms, this may mean the following: 

Encouraging the team to experiment and to try new things, without waiting for permission. “We are here to support you. Making mistakes during the 100 days is OK. We can learn and move on.” 

Leading with confident humility, by telling the team: “You will figure out the solutions to make progress on this challenge. If we knew the solutions, we would have implemented them. We are confident you will figure this out. And we are here to help you. 

Not interfering with the team when they are setting their goal. In fact, it would be best if they leave the room when the team is doing this. 

This may not come naturally to some mentors.  Take some time with the Ambassadors before the workshop to go over the agenda and the expectations from you in each part of the agenda. They will appreciate that you are doing this, and it’ll help you further understand your role and the rationale for it, and to get tips on how to play this role effectively.

Use this guide to help you prepare for questions the team may asked you during the workshop.  You can download the document in the button below.  Below is also an exercise you can do to test your understanding.

Mentor behaviour exercise

After reading the guide to mentors, use this self-assessment to test your understanding.

Select the behaviours that a Good Mentor does?

Tips for the opening session - Understanding the Challenge

Prepare talking points that could include:

  • Recap of the focus area, and why it was chosen.
  • Clarifying why these team members were chosen.

Teams will go into break-out groups to come up with questions based on the Challenge Note. The Ambassadors can share with the you some ideas on typical questions and how to respond to these. See short video and the What-If sections below for some ideas.

Next steps after the workshop

You as Mentors are the insurance policy of the 100-Day Challenges. The key is to be informed enough to remain interested and engaged, in case your support is needed, but not so engaged that you take over the role of Team Leader(s). 

Plan on talk with the Ambassadors within a week of the Lift-off Workshop. Share your feedback, and talk about your role during the 100 days (Exploration Phase). This is comprised of three parts. Hover over the boxes below to read more about each element of the Mentor role.

Mentoring

Mentoring the team leaders can be as simple of a call every two weeks with two simple questions: “how are things going?” and “how can I help?” If help is needed, e.g. ensuring that a team member prioritises the 100-Day Challenge work, the mentor needs to follow up on this with the relevant leaders.

Informing

Informing other leaders and keeping them interested in the project. This could be done through bi-weekly or monthly email updates. The team leader can prepare these for the mentors to build on.

Sustaining

Towards the latter half of the project, begin to sketch out ideas for sustaining the impact that the team creates. 

Offer to do the first call with the Team Leader(s) jointly with the Ambassador and team coaches. Use this to give them feedback, if they ask for it. Always ask permission before giving feedback. The team coaches can offer to prepare the update notes for the other leaders, if the Team Leaders are not drafting these.

Also, decide how often to touch base with the team leaders and coaches. A quick check-in call every other week is a good rhythm. If there is not much happening and all is on track, this can be a 5-minute call.  

Thought starter reflection questions

Jot down thoughts on these questions – to the extent they are relevant to your experience at the session:
  • When did the mood in the event shift from “why are we here?” to “this could be interesting – I am excited to be part of this.” What triggered this shift? 
  • When did you have to go “off script” on the agenda or to change the agenda? What triggered this? What did you adjust? How did it go?
  • What was most surprising to you at the event?
  • What new insights did you gain about the issue at hand, and about the way leaders in the system interacted with each other?
  • Where did the conversation get stuck? What got it unstuck?
  • How would you characterise the level of trust among participants in the meeting? To what extent did this shift as the meeting progressed? To what do you attribute this shift, if indeed it happened?

Thought starter...

Reflection Questions 

Jot down thoughts on these questions – to the extent they are relevant to your experience at the session:

  • When did the mood in the event shift from “why are we here?” to “this could be interesting – I am excited to be part of this.” What triggered this shift? 
  • When did you have to go “off script” on the agenda or to change the agenda? What triggered this? What did you adjust? How did it go?
  • What was most surprising to you at the event?
  • What new insights did you gain about the issue at hand, and about the way leaders in the system interacted with each other?
  • Where did the conversation get stuck? What got it unstuck?
These are 100-Day Challenge Mentors. 

They did some work before you received the Challenge Note. This included:

  • Writing the Challenge Note, and making sure that the leaders of all the organisations represented on the team are comfortable with it – and committed to supporting the work of the team
  • Helping the leaders of these organisation recruit you and your colleagues to the team
  • Gathering some baseline data and other information that will help you and your teammates set your 100-Day goal and develop your plan.
  • Making sure all the preparations are made for a successful Lift-Off workshop, when you and your teammates will meet and get your 100-Day Challenge started. This includes venue, facilitation support, food, swags, comms, travel arrangements and whatever else is needed.

 

Mentors will participate in all or part of the Lift-Off Workshop, mostly at the start to provide context and answer questions, and at the end to give you and your teammates feedback about the goal and plan you develop.

During the 100 days following the Lift-Off Workshop, here’s what the Mentors will do:  

  • They will check in every two weeks with the team leaders to see how the team is doing and what support they and the team need.
  • They will keep other organisational leaders informed and engaged during the 100 days, and pull them in to help as needed.
  • They will participate in the last part of the Refuelling Workshop, halfway through the 100 days, to see what additional support the team needs, and to begin to plan with the team for sustainability and scale-up.
  • They will work with the team at the Sustainability Workshop to finalise recommendations on sustaining the results and building on the work of the team.