This is part of an occasional series on network design.
A network leader challenge is remembering the network isn’t most people’s first priority, and it shouldn’t be. That’s why designing work groups well is critical to meeting both members’ and the network’s needs.
Over the years, goal-setting and iterative design have helped me develop work groups that make it easy for people to jump in, where participants shape and own the work, and where each group is a jumping off point for a more interesting and useful next round.
Set goals for your groups, and design to them. Then, use iterative design to improve what you’ve designed. Don’t wait to act, but act in small low-risk ways. Design quick cycles of action, building in time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve it (or set it aside if it’s the wrong approach). Reflecting lets us embrace failure as a learning opportunity. This shift changes feelings of guilt and the tendency to blame into a tool to achieve the ultimate goal. It helps us be brave enough to take risks, to move ahead without certainty.
Most recently, I designed small, short-cycle work groups using an iterative process. read more