The estimated reading time for this post is 1 minutes
After reading about Jessica’s experience with Timed Responses and based on my own experience, I wanted to build that process into our work week. Right now, as a standing protocol we use timed responses to connect with each other as a team after a weekend away. It takes 10-15 minutes on Monday morning and the protocol runs like this.
- One team member asks one question to the group (on our work last week, upcoming work, analysis of our workflow, feelings toward the work, etc.)
- The team writes silently for two minutes. Responses go on a laminated “whiteboard.”
- We count to three and flip over our responses facing the others.
- We read each other’s responses silently.
- Each team member gets to ask one follow-up question based on what was written.
- Repeat. Each team member gets to ask one question to the group.
Here is my first response from yesterday, in response to the question (mine) to the group “What would you remove from your schedule last week, if you could remove something and have hadd a more productive week?”
Question two was “How can we best revisit the blog posts from the 20-Day Challenge?”
Question three asked what our focus for the morning’s design thinking session should be.
After we read each other’s responses to a question, each team member gets to ask one clarifying question of anyone on the team. This has proven to be a valuable tool to reconnect and align our thinking. Also, it’s time efficient, because we are using a two-minute timer to generate the responses.
When was the last time you tried a tool like this – silent, timed writing – to elicit feedback and generate discussion in a meeting?
I’ve found that our responses in writing demonstrate more diverse views and perspectives because we generate our “opinions” or responses by ourselves ahead of time. We also benefit because the act of writing helps hone and refine our thinking before we speak. There’s also an interesting period where we are silently reading each other’s responses where it feels very clearly that we are “honoring” each other’s thoughts by reading them in writing and asking follow-up questions.
It’s a very different dynamic than your usual conversation. And very enjoyable. It has mystery, intrigue and promotes curiosity and empathy. It’s a great way to start the week.