Help the board define and align the business

Rather than go for a typical meeting in order to align the board - we went for something a little bolder.


A typical meeting usually goes like this:

  1. People sit in a circle round a table
  2. Notepad, pencil and agenda lies in front
  3. One or two people do the majority of the talking
  4. The majority sit back and listen
  5. At the end - decisions are made but rarely are minds, actions and behaviour changed

I've sat in countless meetings over the past 15 years and seldom have they differed wildly from the outline above. 

Engagement is a little like broadband, you’re promised 100MB but rarely during the day does it go about 60MB

And what is more, its usually the same people speaking - me if it's my meeting - talking about pretty much the things I usually talk about.

Board meetings are no different - and, naturally, boards recognise this.

So we decided to play.

Actions speak louder than meetings
— Leo Clow

We spent four hours of the one day meeting doing some serious play. The challenge was simple: what is your vision for the business?


Individuals built their own vision and then shared the story.


Now pause a second and imagine we had asked that question in a "standard' meeting. What is your vision for the business? Our hypothalamus would have sensed imminent danger (I'm required to make an intelligent response), adrenaline would have been released from the pituitary gland to ensure we're primed for immediate action. We would have quickly jotted down an answer that was correct, intelligent and inline with what everyone else would say (we don't like to stand out). Something no doubt like, "we should be a market leader for both clients and employees, ensuring we keep costs low and maximising profitability"


That is, of course, not a vision. But before we know it, we're on to the next item on the agenda. Brain relaxes. Endorphins counteract the adrenaline. We feel happy and can continue planning our vacation.


When you ask the same question and use play, you end up with a very different set of stories. Our hands are connected to 70% of our brains. They are the 'mouth piece' of the right (creative and non-linear) side of the brain. When you use your hands to build, craft, paint, draw - you express something that is deep inside you. Something you know but do not know that you know.


The results for our board didn't explicitly talk about reputation or profitability they talked about building a better world, the struggles of clients and where the brand can and must help; about broadening the horizon and re-focussing the infrastructure.


Everyone had an opportunity to participate.

Everyone could craft and share their story.

Everyone was aligned around the final story.


Play changes people and changes businesses.


I don't talk about clients specifically in the case studies.