Why Scenario at EMERGE?

ob-featured-postScenario planning is a significant component to the EMERGE Leadership Workshop. Why so? If you are like me, you’ve read a ton of books on leadership. (Some of the best are in the Resources Section of this website!) But it was when I practically applied the principles I’d read about, that I began to really “get” how the particular advice worked (and if it worked to my satisfaction) in my world. Scenario planning is a big part of the EMERGE Leadership Workshop to give every participant an opportunity to apply EMERGE Leadership principles and practices to a realistic situation before they leave the workshop environment and re-engage in home and office routines.

There are a variety of techniques adult education can incorporate in order to enhance learning, but scenario planning is particularly appropriate for EMERGE Leadership training. This is because the EMERGE Leadership Model emphasizes collaboration as a means of both identifying and implementing more creative solutions. EMERGE participants are working to help each other learn the material, while they are sorting out how the material can be applied “back at the ranch.” And, they are practicing collaboration in a safe, contained environment.

The scenarios are based on issues of concern reported by participants in a pre-workshop survey, and are only included in the scenario team planning exercise if the individual concerned about it explicitly gives permission to use it. The leadership issue of concern can be a personal one, such as “I’m concerned about how my attempts to introduce sustainability into projects at my company are perceived,” or “I lead a City green building team, and feel I could be more effective.” Or it can be at the broader, organizational level, such “We’re planning our succession, and want to make sure the next generation of owners carry on (perhaps enhance) our sustainability initiatives.” Or it can be even more far-reaching, such as “I’m working on a state-wide energy initiative, and don’t feel I have a strong enough coalition to succeed.”

MikeFowlerFor issues such as these, the exercise assignment identifies a desired deliverable (For example, a plan for building a coalition to achieve a state-wide initiative) and conditions that must be taken into consideration when developing that deliverable. These conditions often act as constraints, but not always. Sometimes they can be re-invented as an asset.

EMERGE Participants choose from the custom scenarios developed for their workshop and then work as a team for 2-3 hours on the scenario, and then on a creative presentation of the results of their work. We provide lots of arts and crafts supplies to make this fun (and therefore more memorable!) Faculty and other attendees constructively critique the presentation, and discuss the implications of the solution envisioned by the group, in particular how it reflects the EMERGE Leadership approach vs. conventional leadership.

For individuals who are “living” the particular scenario back at their workplace or in their community, the scenario team planning process can be very helpful – they often leave with their group’s planning flip charts in hand with every intention to use them. (With the group’s permission, of course.) And their team members get to enjoy when the scenario becomes realized successfully. Some examples:

Bravery + EMERGE Workshop = Integrated Design Center

Emerge Leadership Project Creates Energy for Change

The EMERGE Leadership Workshop is  intentionally designed for application in the real world, to solve real problems and create effective life-sustaining solutions in and through the built environment. Scenario-planning is absolutely key to this intent.