This team activity allows your group to surface project and operational barriers to success and deal with them as either Facts or Beliefs.
There are always barriers stopping you achieving your outcomes. The natural reaction can be to categorise every barrier as something factual that is difficult to change.
Very often ‘Facts’ are actually ‘Beliefs’.
Is it true that Bob opposes this program or do we just believe it to be true because of something that’s happened in the past?
Participant in your workshop
Factual Barriers and Beliefs should be dealt with in different ways. Once you categorise them as one or the other using this activity it’s much easier for your group to create an implementation or remediation plan.
What is it?
- Allows your group to identify things that might be barriers to achieving their goals.
- Classifies barriers as either factual or beliefs.
- Factual barriers lead them to be able to create strategies and actions.
- The nice thing about Beliefs is we choose them. So you can choose a different belief that is more positive to replace the old one. Still something “believable”, but just more positive.
The objective of this activity is to acknowledge potential barriers and process them in a way that leads to confidence in our ability to overcome them.
When Would You Use It?
- You should use this at the end of a workshop where all the discussion has been about what we want to do or create next.
- If the first part of your workshop hasn’t dealt with “pain points” or flaws in the current state, this is an opportunity to acknowledge possible problems.
- 30 – 45 minutes.
- 10 – 50 participants.
- Capture their responses in an Excel spreadsheet, or flipchart or on an overhead projector.
- The Facilitator has the group brainstorm things they think could be a barrier to whatever it is they are doing (e.g. system implementation, process re-design, manifesting a vision, etc.)
- Condense each barrier to 4 or 5 words (e.g. “we still have to do our day jobs”, or “we don’t have enough budget”, or “management won’t support us.”)
- Capture these in an Excel spreadsheet displayed on the overhead, but you could do it on paper or a flipchart too.
- The Facilitator reveals a second column asking the Participants to classify each barrier as a Fact or a Belief.
- Once all the Barriers are classified, the Facilitator explains that Facts are great, because they tell us what our implementation strategy is.
- For each Fact the Participants have to come up with one or two strategies (again, 4 or 5 words) to deal with it. So, e.g., for “we still have our day jobs” a strategy might be “backfill with temp workers”.
- The Facilitator then explains that for Beliefs, they need to come up with a new, more positive belief. Still something they could possibly believe in, but more positive. So, e.g., for “management won’t support us” it could be “management is fully on-board with this”.
- You can also divide up the Barriers after the Fact / Belief part and give them to breakout groups. Or do the Beliefs as a big group, and just break out the Facts. In that case, they could come up with more detailed strategies.
- It can get tedious if there are more than about 20 items. They can either finish it later, or it can be processed in breakout groups (see process).
- Have to help them see what is meant by a “belief”. Some groups get it right away; some are resistant.
- Approach this as a brainstorm where normal brainstorming rules apply (e.g. there are no bad ideas, give people the time and space to articulate themselves).
- Freely model alternate empowering beliefs, keeping them simple and direct (e.g. Old belief: “Management won’t support this change.” New belief: “Management is on board!”
- Participants will often think beliefs are facts to begin with. E.g. it can take a little bit of coaxing to see that, e.g., “management won’t support us” is a Belief, and not an actual Fact, even though it may be based on prior experience. Help them do that by acknowledging that their belief is probably based on prior experience, but that, in fact, this has not happened yet.
- You need to establish whether each point is an accurate situation happening in the present or a perceived one that might or might not happen in the future.