Encourage your team to innovate and take practical risks through experimenting with change. We created a Range agenda template that details how we work with clients to debrief and design experiments for change at work.
Change has a reputation as an often difficult and scary aspect of work. It’s often overblown because people don’t always know how and where to start with change.
The key is to start by starting and change by changing. Start small to prove change is possible, then continue to build momentum. Find opportunities to continually test incremental changes, one by one. Where do things feel stagnant or thoughtless? Start there, see what you can change, and learn from each new move you make.
An experiment is “an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law.”
Experiments enable us to make small, risky bets. When we’re open to making these bets, we can create momentum with what works, creating a culture of trying new ways of doing things. As we’re more likely to try things, we also learn something. We can grow and innovate more quickly and confidently when we learn that change isn’t as hard as we originally thought.
We developed a template for Range as a resource to initiate free thinking and innovation.
Keep in mind that experiments aren’t commitments set in stone. They’re something to learn from, iterate on, and try again and again. Just because you gave a new way of doing something a try does not mean it has to be what you continue to do forever. It’s just an experiment!
Below, we outline five simple experiments to try to change the way you work.
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1. Turn One Meeting Into A Walking Meeting
Instead of sitting at your computer for yet another video meeting, encourage all participants to join over the phone and go for a virtual walk together. When experimenting with how you work, it’s important to be specific about what you are trying to learn. An experiment like this enables you to think more deeply about why you are meeting in the ways you are. What are the other options you can explore? Are there any meetings that absolutely couldn’t be taken on a walk? Why or why not? We often get lost in the routine of how we work, but trying simple experiments like this can change the way we go about our workdays.
Questions to consider after the experiment: What changed about the meeting by taking it on a walk? How did the change in environment change the dynamic of the participants? How did it change the content covered?
2. Send A Weekly Leadership Video
Send a weekly video to your team as engagement encouragement. Share weekly goals.
Changes in approach to leadership are attention-grabbing. What about this video yields a positive response, and what feedback do teammates have about it? This will improve team morale and offer an opportunity to connect asynchronously and present moments for transparency, accountability, and growth.
Questions to consider after the experiment: How does this interaction affect the start of the week? What did it bring to light that we don’t typically notice or address to start the week?
As leaders, we are change agents. Offering your team this moment of weekly connection fortifies an openness to ideas and develops a strong foundation for psychological safety.
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This template helps you and your team acknowledge, process, and ideate ways to explore the change at hand together.
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3. Bring It Back to Pencil And Paper
Focus on a new way of working by bringing it back to the basics.
Look at the workarounds that your clients are using. How might you support the product functionality? Create a drawing without words and explain your idea.
The goal of this experiment is to put something to another use. By bringing it back to pencil and paper, our way of thinking is challenged, and our creativity is brought to the surface. This technique opens innovative ideas to the entire team. When we offer creative ways of expression, we allow the entire team to participate and generate ideas.
How can we innovate within our routines? It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s a productive way of thinking. We should continually question habits and poke holes in our product offerings.
4. Put Something You’ve Learned Into Practice Today.
There is a never-ending flow of content to learn from online. Trying to keep up with the latest trends, data, and research can feel overwhelming. Rather than reading even more blog posts, listening to another podcast, or reading one of the many books on your list, pick one thing you’ve learned recently and experiment with putting it to practice in your work. Maybe it’s a new setting in Zoom you read about, a thought-provoking question that was asked in a podcast interview, or perhaps you read an inspirational blog post about experimenting with change. Take what you’re learning, and don’t let it stop on the page – find a way to apply it to what you do!
Questions to consider after the experiment: How did it feel to apply something you’re learning? How might you apply what you learn again in the future? How might you encourage others to experiment with their learnings?
5. Cancel any recurring meetings on your calendar this week.
Are you meeting because you need to or because the meeting is on the calendar? What would happen if you only scheduled meetings you absolutely needed to have? We get into routines and weekly schedules when we forget to take a second and ask if it’s what we should be doing or if it’s just how we’ve always been doing it. Instead, start from scratch with a fresh calendar and ask which meetings we need to have this week.
It becomes immediately apparent what meetings we need and which ones were possibly just fillers. Canceling all recurring meetings will get everyone thinking about not only what productive synchronous time they need to be successful, but it will also bring to light when we need personal connection and relationship-building moments.
In order to pursue innovation, we must sustain change. Sustaining change requires continual experimentation and implementation of what works.
We can use countless experiments to assess our current business and grow as an organization. It’s a matter of thinking through where we can question the current status and test things. Long-term momentum yields innovation.
Find a proper cadence for experiments within a team, and you’re on track for healthy growth. The purpose of our template is to support your small experiments and enable individuals to pursue new ways of thinking and working.
Start experimenting. If you want to learn more, check out our change guide or sign up for our newsletter.