Facing me were three challenges. The first was to get the group to focus on a vision of where they wanted to be in five years time. They were full of ideas about what they wanted to do. They wanted to carry on performing for the community. They wanted a company manager. They wanted more time for rehearsals. The ideas were flowing about what they wanted to do, but without a vision, their ideas lacked justification and purpose. With some persistence, we arrived at a vision - a destination that defined and positioned them at a point in the future. From here, they were able to focus their wants into priorities to get the outcomes that would validate the vision.
The second challenge was to get the group to agree a plan of how to put their priorities into action. They were still no further forward in their point of view than at the beginning of the conversation. Every idea they had was immediately followed by an objection. I heard it all. They needed money, but they didn’t have the time to look for it. They wanted to carry on performing but needed more time to rehearse. Wants were followed with reasons why not. Interjection, I pointed out that this is what they were doing and asked them instead to consider what could they do? How could they make things happen? And then it happened.
The attitude shifted. One person came up with a way to work smarter - how she could free up her time to work on planning and sourcing funds. Not only that, she was also about to solve the third challenge - marketing. She had already been successful with crowd funding and social media.
As one person unlocked the potential, others came forward with ideas about how they could use their skills and appeal to different markets with different products, new ways of generating income, better use of time and resources and better use of social marketing. They had overcome their blockages and were moving forward. Marketing was now becoming an opportunity and not a question of rebranding as a reflex reaction to a perceived identity problem exacerbated by lack of direction.
Through persistence and structure, within a space of a couple of hours, this group had, itself, solved what seemed like insurmountable barriers. They had developed a destination (vision), decided what needed to be done to achieve the vision (objectives), prioritised goals and had developed a plan to get things started. The solutions were within the group. The wisdom was well and truly in the room.