Flower Power Exercise

How to build an inventory of your organizational chart positions using the flower power exercise.

How To Create your inventory of Organizational Chart Positions via the Flower Power Exercise

Walt coaches us through the how to.

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All right. Still digging into accountable. Third question. Very important question, the hinge question. Super important, whether we’re growing or whether we’re in uncertainty mode. And what we’re digging in here is a very simple facilitation that you can get somebody to run and you can run yourself, that we call the flower power exercise. And it’s really how you build an inventory of all the positions that are attached to a simple job. So it’s a doing job and all the positions. And these are the steps. So you gather around, and typically, you might be working on one position. Let’s say you have five sales reps, and all five sales reps and their manager might be in a room. We gather around. We decide who we’re going to focus on. It really helps when you put an individual in the center, and I’ll show you the way this works in a second.

We’re going to ask the question, which is really kind of a secret sauce underneath all of this. We’re going to extract the pattern. And from the pattern, we’re going to draw some really sweet little petals. You see the way we’re going to keep it going around. And then we’re going to number the petals, and then we’re going to name the petals. Petals have a nice little flower. So it goes like this. We gather around somebody. We’re trying to figure out what this job is made of, what the positions are made of. And you have a group of people surrounding this individual or this job that really know what’s going on. And we decide who’s going to go into the center. So let’s just say we have this person who’s actually in the book, and her name was Skippy. That’s her nickname, but it’s an actual person named Skippy.

And yes, Skippy has tons of energy. So we put Skippy in the center, and then we ask the question. And the question is this, and it ties into the dome top table, et cetera. And we’re saying, let’s everybody think about what Skippy is doing and thinking about every day, including you Skippy. And what can’t drop through the cracks? What does she need to be thinking and doing every day, every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every quarter a year? Lots of detail. So we’re really looking for granularity with regards to the ideas when people are thinking about what Skippy’s doing. What can hit the ground every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year? Lots of stuff. And you give them a few quiet minutes just to make a list.

And if there’s five people in the room, you ask each one of them to give you 10 items. That’ll be enough. And once we get the list done, you’re watching them. They get the list done, so that’s probably enough. When we go around, we do this thing we call the extract. And the whole idea here is to let each person play around the room. So there’s lots of input into these positions we’re forming up. And you just go to the first person you say, “What’s the first thing you wrote on the list?” They tell you. I’m sure it works the way it works. Then the next person when you’re right on the list. And if somebody says, oh, I’ve already written so and so, just scratch that off and give me the next item on your list. And it’s going to look like this. You’re going to go around the room and ask person A, “What’s the first thing you wrote on the list?”

And they’re going to give it to you. You just write it on the board. You’ve got to be thinking a little bit here. And then you go to the second person, and they’re going to give you an idea of something. And then you’re going to write it on the board. And you’re thinking, does that kind of fall on the same position or not? So you’re doing real-life, real-time sort here. You go to the third person, and they can give you an idea. And you go, “Huh, that actually sounds like it kind of falls into the same thing as this first item here. Right guys?” And they go, “Yeah, that’s right. It goes into there.”

But ultimately, their own group. Go to the fourth person. They give you a new item. You go to the fifth person, they give a new item. Sixth person gives you a new item. Seventh person gives you a new item. Eighth person gives you another item, falls into here. Tenth person, ninth person. You get the idea, guys. You go around. You’re going to create this pattern of words that are describing what Skippy is up to. You keep going around. It’s okay to add new items to the list. I feel like Bob Ross. And so this basically creates the one, two, three, four, five, six positions that Skippy is holding. And we come in and go, “Okay, well, isn’t that pretty what Skippy does?” And we’d draw what we call them petals of the flower. It’s why it’s called the flower power exercise. And those are the petals. And then we come along, we number them. One, two, three, four, five, six. Make sense, hopefully?

Down into here’s where we are. So we gathered around. We decided who was going in the center. We asked the question every second, every minute. We extracted all the ideas, kept that going. And then we grouped them up and formed the petals. We numbered the petals. And you just go over here. You’re like one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. And you just ask the group, “Okay, let’s put a descriptive names against each one of these positions.” We name the positions. They don’t have to be perfect, but they need to be close enough. And then we go away, and we give homework. And the homework is to write the purpose statement. So each one of these needs to have a purpose statement. And then we have a full inventory of all the positions that Skippy’s part of. Fair enough?

How To Build an Inventory of Organizational Chart Positions with the Flower Power Exercise Questions and Answers

Questions and Answer follow up on the Organizational Chart Position Flower Power Exercise.

Allen:

All right, Uncle Walt, let’s do a little Q and A around the flower power org chart exercise now that everybody’s seen how to do the facilitation tool. First thing that comes to mind is we put Skippy in the middle here. Skippy being an individual. What about when we have teams, maybe 4 or 5 people in the same type of job? Is the flower power something that can work to try to dissect all of the positions for those teams?

Walt:

Yeah. And that’s kind of the example. A lot of times you might have five people that are all part of one team and they all have maybe the same job description, but it’s pretty important to still keep a view on the individual contributor. And in this case, we might want to do two or three flower power exercises based on the different people around that table. Does that make any sense? If you don’t, then it kind of becomes too generic. And when you can really do it on the individual, it makes it all come to life.

Allen:

Yeah. Yeah. And that probably gets into another question, which is when you were to compare some of those, if we’re looking back at the diagram on the board where there’s six different petals, what happens if there’s things that need to come off of say, in this case, Skippy’s plate. We’ve got the six positions. We’ve got the purpose statements around them. A lot of times the end result is not a perfect scenario for the person that’s in that job.

Walt:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s kind of important is that the longer somebody’s been with an organization and the more they grown with the organization, a lot of times there’s really more than six petals. Sometimes we’ll see as many as 11 or 12 petals. And sometimes the petals that show up are petals that I refer to as barnacles. So it might’ve been a seventh petal here that Skippy’s been volunteering for for a bunch of years. And it really doesn’t have anything to do with what she currently does or what her true job is, or the teams or meetings she’s part of. She had just volunteered years ago to take care of something, and it kind of got attached to her job, like a barnacle, like on a post at the ocean. These have a tendency to accrete they kind of accrete your high performers and the people that are really given to the organization. It’s really not fair for them to have all these barnacles attached to them. It slows them down.

Walt:

And that kind of takes you sometimes to the next question would be, what out of these six are his or her highest and best use? And you’ll kind of come back and go, wow, number five, why are you doing that, Skippy? That’s really doesn’t seem like your highest and best use. Do you get a lot of energy out of that, or does it drag you down? You have good conversations around it. Then I’m kind of riffing a little bit here. And the cool thing about it is when you do this with a couple of individuals in the room at different pieces, sometimes you’ll see that really, this position right here could be done by one person, but it’s being sort of shared by four people. That’s super inefficient and when you get everybody around the room doing this, it’d be like, hey man, actually, Bobby, you’re really, really great at that. You love that. Right? Why don’t you take that position? It’s good to use four. Then you’re able to divvy up the work that’s going on a little bit. Does that-

Allen:

Yeah. One of the key points that we’ve talked through with Accountable is that having a full inventory of your jobs and your positions is how, both in times of growth and uncertainty, it’s going to be a tool that you leverage. This is one of the facilitations to try to get towards that full audit and inventory. And sometimes the people like Skippy that are sitting in the middle are going to come out and actually it’s going to be a very rewarding exercise. Because we’re going to see that, whether it’s the barnacle you refer to or other things that might need to get off their plate. So win, win all around.

Walt:

It’s one of the things, that the temptation is for management to do this without including the individuals. And when you think about this whole thing we’re doing with the seven questions, and we’re trying to flip the script. And we’re doing this for our people and not to them. So having them in the room is really important, and you’ll just see them light up when they participate here and see themselves on the board. You’ll get all of the buy-in. So it’s really important to do it with individuals doing the work. And end of the day, they know a hell of a lot more than we know about what they’re doing on a daily basis.

Allen:

Very fair. We’ve all learned that lesson the hard way. How long should this take?

Walt:

It could take as little as 10 to 15 minutes to maybe as many as 30 minutes, if you end up with a really big, long list. And the team stands up and they’re looking at the list of what Skippy’s doing and really challenging whether it’s something that, like an EOS language. Does Skippy really get it, and want it, and have the capacity to do it for highest and best use on this stuff? 15 minutes to 30. Once you’ve gone around a couple, it goes super quick, but you got to give it some time to give much power to the people.

Allen:

What’s the balance and the give and take for, if we’re talking about a full inventory of jobs and positions? Do we have to do this with everybody? 15 minutes per person? How do we understand what good looks like there?

Walt:

We need to be in groups. You’re trying to get the buy-in. So you want to include… Everyone is a big word, right? And you definitely need to include your people who are engaged and really interested in growing the company. You don’t want to leave them out, for sure. A perfect world, everybody’s involved. Of course that might be impossible to do.

Allen:

Very cool. Flower power is how we get towards that full inventory of doing thinking positions, and feel free to start using this immediately.

Walt:

All right. Let’s get cognizant.

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