Whenever you are with others, design for them

When it comes to designing any gathering (or ‘gaths’ as the young people call them #showingmyage #especiallywithhastags), we might know what we want to achieve. But if we make it about what we need, we are likely to lose them.

It would be like parenting a child and telling them what you need and want all the time. It will create disconnection, a lack of motivation and they won’t feel like they matter.

When you are designing anything for your team or workplace – an offsite, team meeting or client conversation – how much do you sit in their shoes? How much do you consider what they care about, know about and worry about?

The focus is them. We address what’s important to them. Not you. If you are launching a new project, let’s not make it about your targets. Sit in their shoes, how will the project benefit them, what are the implications if they nail or fail it? 

As humans we are wired to think about ourselves. To protect ourselves, to look for danger – physical and psychological. It’s a natural innate response we have to what life throws at us. Freud would call it our ego’s defence mechanisms. But if we stay in this state then we become very self-focused. For example:

  • If you are in HR (and they are not) – don’t talk about engagement. They don’t really care about that.
  • If you are in Engineering (and they are not) – don’t talk about reducing errors and rework. They don’t really care about that.
  • If you have a massive budget to meet – don’t dump that stress on them. You agreed to it so it’s your issue to help them solve.

The bottom line – talk about what they care about.

As an expert in the art of gathering, Julia Dhar says; How we gather matters.

When people feel seen, they will respond better to you and the challenge in front of you all. Now that’s teamwork. That’s working as one.

PS If you want to know how to make your offsites (or onlines) rock shoot me an email or send me a DM.