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|Stairs made it "easier"|
I definitely have to give the nod to Jon Stahl on this
one. I'm not sure where he got the idea. I've not asked. But it wouldn't
surprise me if he came up with it all on his own. If you know Jon, you
know what many of us would consider extreme is pretty commonplace for
him. If you get the opportunity to sit down with him and you don't want
to talk about agile or lean, be sure to ask him about his trip to the
far north. It is an epic story.
The basic premise is simple; get out and do something that tests your
stamina, creates a sense of team, and allows you to have discussions you
might not otherwise have.
So far, I have to say I am a fan. I liked the concept, but was
apprehensive of the potential outcome. My primary concern was if
everyone could make a 14 mile challenging hike. We placed a vehicle at
the turn-around point, which helped. We also chose a route that started
easy, got more difficult, and then ended very flat and easy. Warm up,
work hard, cool down.
We preselected a few important strategic topics.
Individuals were assigned responsibility for the items. To be quite
specific, we ran an A3 process several days prior to the hike. But the
A3 piece is not necessary, only a select set of key topics and an
"owner" for each topic.
We were headed out for a 14 mile hike, so we broke
the hike up into sections approximately three miles each. The team met
at the trail head and each topic owner gave a brief overview of their
item. We then split up into small groups, each focused on a specific
|Jon Selects a Lunch Spot|
We hiked a leg of the trail, talking over our thoughts
and ideas on the specific topic. The topic owner facilitated the
session, making sure we stayed near enough to the original topic,
without entirely dominating and controlling the discussion.
At the end of each leg, we briefly discussed the experience as a larger
group. We then split up into new groups. We decided at each point if we
wanted to retire a topic and introduce a new one or continue with a
prior topic. It was all quite dynamic and the general lack of formal
agenda allowed us to organize around things as we thought necessary.
At the end of the hike, we met at The Winking Lizard in
Peninsula, OH. The Lizard is a wings and beer pub that has been around
for many years. It was a nice venue to wind-down, have a drink, and get
something to eat.
We generally agreed to try mini-presentations at each break. This would
allow each of us to get a quick (3-minute) update on each of the topics.
We are thinking about an over-night canoe trip for
the next one. Clearly, this will have to wait until the weather is more
appropriate. Other suggestions were sky diving, rappelling, and white
water rafting. They all sound fun (or at least extreme), but it is
important that the activity provide for discussion first and foremost.
I, for one, would have a hard time holding a conversation while
simultaneously fighting to hold down my lunch.