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Strategy as a form of Art

My first workshop this week started out very peculiarly with a customs/baggage handling/customer check-in incident which had my Barcelona outbound Easy Jet flight take off 90 minutes behind schedule this past Sunday evening! 1h & 50m later, landing at Gatwick, (London. UK) I proceed to catch the last train into Victoria station.

Along the way into London, I can’t figure out whether it’s a dream or a nightmare!?! I’m in East Croydon, yet it says Brighton is the new Barcelona & Portsmouth the Malta!?! What’s happened to the universe whilst I dosed off for only a second? Have I been transported through some mysterious time warp into another dimension?

Finally into my friend Julia’s flat, make-up the sofa-bed, send out some final e-mails & it’s dream land by 3am!

The next morning I rock up to my first workshop for this week! Alison Jacques(pronounced “Jakes”) Gallery. A beautiful & pristine white space in the middle of the London West End. The facilitation went as planned, which means that I had an intended framework, but went ad-hoc & off the beaten track as necessary to serve the clients needs. 😉

Half way through the workshop, as every one is getting crystal clear on the BIG Picture, we’ve got our core values/core ideology & now we’re drilling down into the detail; creating our focus areas for development over the next 30, 60 & 90 days, leading to the 12 & 18 month plan to hit our 2-3 year vision. It’s actually all pretty straight forward. 🙂

Then comes my déjà Vu moment!! Only two weeks ago I was on a week long +3.000km driving holiday with my lovely wife through the north of Spain. Along our travels Maria we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. I had been fascinated by the prestigious, impressive, imposing, yet inspiring SPACE. The white walls, the high ceilings, the lighting, the energy & the artwork. I was sold & completely blown away!, especially by the Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition on the 2nd level!

Fast-forward two weeks and the results of my strategic planning & alignment methodology are hanging on similar walls, next to prestigious and exclusive pieces of work! WOW! I rub my eyes & think “can this really be happening”?!?! Come to think of it, when the recent results have developed into more than 50% of my clients being nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year awards, I guess I could humbly see where it could be considered an art form. (he says with modesty) 😉 After all, in one short day, the team’s developed the high level skeleton of the framework required to achieve success!

Now it’s back to business & developing the collective & individual One-Page Strategic Plans, along with all of the necessary hands-on work that’s going to drive the necessary results!

As Alison & I step away from the Gallery for a decompression cappuccino & hot chocolate, she reflects “with 3 hours sleep and an 8 hour workshop, on your feet all day you must be exhausted”. I smile, and with the empowering freshness of a spring breeze, I share with her “when you’re working with passionate people, doing empowering work and doing what you love, then it’s NEVER WORK!

Alison Jacques Gallery

P.S. Usage of post-its inspired by Jonathan MacDonald during a super facilitation a couple of weeks back at M.Love

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