Laying a foundation of
storms in a storm

Planning the ExO Sprints at RED

John Wayne said, “A man’s
got to do what a man’s
got to do”. Well, Noah
from the Bible
personified this when he
sailed towards the new
world in a storm and managed
to onboard every species of
animal life. He might as well
have written a quote but do
you even read Hebrew?

When RED started with ExO sprints,
a different kind of storm was
approaching them. Read ahead to
find out what happened next.

So where does it all start

Now that the coaches were acquainted with the objectives, the next task was to plan a 10-week workshop based on the book Exponential Transformation, also known as the ExO workbook. The carefully outlined workshops in the book were to act as a formal barrier between the ‘before’ and ‘after’.

What’s the difference between
The beforeand after?

Well, before, was when the team was primarily engaged in service-related activities, albeit entrepreneurial. After, was supposed to be the time when they were done with the workshops, having developed an experimental mindset to grow exponentially.

Also, why 10 weeks ?

Well, the ExO workbook, divides the workshop into 10 weeks.

However, the coaches had a slightly different
opinion. They felt that the timelines need not
be so rigid and the workshops could take
less than 10 weeks or maybe more.

What else should I know?

All team members had to look for their replacements by April end so they could focus on the workshops. These workshops were to be conducted four out of five working days a week. And the remaining one day was to be utilised for operational work outside of ExO.

During this time, the team members were not to take up any new projects. The workshop was to be treated as an investment for the future, sponsored by BluOne India —the parent company of RED

Hmm, what were the
coaches doing at
this time

The coaches had to study the ExO workbook closely. Starting with the MTP, ExO
attributes, and how to transform an organisation using different theories. Their task was also to impart all the knowledge they had gained during the process to their team members.

The book had a step-by-step process to help an organisation become exponential. And these workshops were referred to as Sprints.

Moreover, these workshops didn’t just transform the organisation but also
its people, which is exactly what RED needed.

What were the learningsfrom
the workbook?

They learned that ExO Sprints include two
streams of activities, Core and Edge.

What did the coaches do next?

They used a glass wall to write all the activities and divide them into 10 weeks.

And for a moment, they felt that it was not as difficult as it seemed (LOL).

They also realised that it had been some time since the retreat, they would have to reiterate the learnings with the rest of the team. And guess what?

The book also included sessions to bring the team onboard.

In case you’re wondering how the sessions were divided, here you go:

This session also involved informing them of the books they
could read to have a better understanding of the process.

The coaches went about understanding how they would go
about each task and process. FYI, these were the learnings:

  • The whole process was about understanding
    the exponential business opportunities that
    could be created inside and outside RED

  • How to create a business plan and finally
    show it to the sponsor i.e. BluOne

  • How to come up with viable plans that could
    work for RED and the entire ecosystem

So, were there any hiccups?

Haha, yes.

As the coaches progressed with their
planning, they felt that the processes
might come across as too demanding and
new for the participants from design,
research, and UX. The whole idea of doing
the Sprints was meant to help them
develop an experimental mindset and they
just had to commit to the process.

But that’s not all, the biggest hiccup was
the news about the second wave of the
Coronavirus pandemic that had already
started to do rounds.

The coaches had to call in an urgent
meeting to ask the difficult question:

“Do the team members want to continue
with the workshop?”

The following opinions floated in the conversation that ensued:

In the end, they concluded that they want to be a part of the workshop as it
was essential for the overall objectives of the company, and would also
help them grow as professionals.

But but but…

That very evening, they heard the news that one of their team members had
tested positive and the office needed to be closed to prevent an outbreak

This was precisely the time when the Sprints
started to take a back seat. While it had almost
become evident that the workshops will have to
be postponed, the news about one of the
coaches getting infected proved to be the final
nail in the coffin. Thus, they had to indefinitely
suspend the workshops.

It was decided that for the time being, RED shall focus on things that
could be done internally without doing the Sprints. In other words,
slowly implementing ExO attributes in the organisation.