Now you have a better idea about what is involved in the 100-Day Challenges. These are not just about setting a goal, giving people deadlines, and so on. It is about working – and leading – in new ways. Creating an enabling environment.
Having been in your shoes, we know this is not always easy. It is a personal journey, and it will be different for each one involved. Under each “decision point” below we offer guidance and ideas on how to work and lead in a new way, highlighting the enabling environment being created
One of the decisions leaders need to make is the focus area of the 100-Day Challenge. This is primarily a strategic question:
We tend to prioritise the urgent over the important. Even more troubling, we are motivated to act in response to a crisis or immediate gratification versus the prospect of long term gain. By selecting an important focus area you create urgency by challenging the team to deliver a real result in 100 days. This avoids “the operation was successful – but the patient died”.
It is important to also consider the “readiness” of leaders in choosing a focus area, especially in the early experiences with 100-Day Challenges. Here are some questions to think about and to discuss with other leaders to help converge on a focus area:
100-Day Teams are comprised of individuals who are close to the front lines of their organisations. They are in the best position to develop solutions for the problem. You create enabling conditions by letting the implementers of the project also plan it, they are not just consulted, but actually “own” the goals, solutions, and results. And ownership does not come without genuine voice, choice and self-determination.
Give careful consideration to ‘expert’ advice and ‘best practice’. These should be generally de-emphasised during the 100-day journey. Instead, facilitative support is provided with the aim of unleashing entrepreneurial ideas and helping team members tap into intrinsic knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
To set the stage for experiencing self-governance the team should elect their own team leader during the Lift-off workshop, and decide on the rules of engagement over the 100 days. They are forming their own entrepreneurial venture for 100 days. And this generates enthusiasm and ownership.
We found that the odds of success increase if several teams are running on the same track for 100 days
People often ignore red tape, try new things quickly, and work together in new ways in crisis situations. The 100 day time frame and the unreasonable goal creates a crisis-like context: “we cannot get this done in 100 days if we do not try new things…”
Setting a 100-day time frame creates critical constraints, which in turn stimulates innovation, it creates full cycles of learning and achievement in short time frames – Necessity is the mother of invention.
To help the team select a 100-Day goal during the lift-off, it is best if you as a leader can provide the team with baseline information
The team will be asked to set a goal that is hyper-ambitious compared to the baseline. If the team is not a little uncomfortable and anxious about the goal, it usually means it is not ambitious enough.
BUT it is important that the team set the goal without being too influenced by what you, the leaders want – otherwise they will not own it!
A 100-Day Challenge is not a command to implement a solution or solve a problem. Instead, it is a challenge to create a glimpse of a better future, quickly. In this way, it leaves room for the team to decide what problems to focus on, what solutions to experiment with, and what actions to take. The Challenge Note is a brief compiled by the Mentors with support from the Ambassadors, based on the conversations among leaders during the Design Session. It is distributed to Team Members well in advance of the Lift-off Workshop.
Jot down thoughts on these questions – to the extent they are relevant to your experience at the session:
They did some work before you received the Challenge Note. This included:
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: