Hyper Island

Action Plan Workshop: The Arrow

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This workshop aims to help participants define, decide and achieve their goals. By supporting participants to envision where they want to be in a number of years on a holistic level, and defining the steps that will take them there, participants get a clearer picture of the action they need to take.



Help participants define, decide and achieve their goals




    Step 1:

    Participants work in pairs.

    Each participant has a flip-chart with the arrow model drawn largely on it. Either prepare these in advance or have participants quickly draw the model themselves.

    Introduce the session. Explain that the aim is to help participants create a vision of the future and to set very tangible actions for how to move toward that vision.

    In pairs, participants will interview each other. First person A will interview person B, covering all the steps, then they will switch.

    Step 2:

    Ask all participants to close their eyes and visualize their life in 1 year (or another time horizon, see facilitator notes below.)

    Ask them to explore this future vision. Guide them with questions like:

    – Who are you with? Who is around you? – What have you achieved that you are proud of? – What are you working on?

    – How do you spend your day? – How do you spend your free time? – etc.

    Tailor these questions to the group you are working with and their particular context.

    After the visualization, all participants draw their vision on point 1 on their flip-chart. By drawing, participants make their vision tangible without focusing too much on the details.

    After drawing, person A begins interviewing person B.

    Step 3:

    Person A interviews person B.

    First, the interviewer asks their partner to imagine the key factors that supported the vision to be realized.

    Remind participants to speak as if they are looking back, describing what helped them realize their vision. They should move back in time from the vision back toward the present day. It could be things like, “I got really good help from my mentor,” “I started to work out regularly,” “I hired an accountant” or “I faced my fear of failure.” Anything that had a positive effect on achieving the vision.

    During this step, the interviewer writes down each key factor on a post-it note and placing it at point 2 on the flip-chart of their partner.

    Step 4:

    Next, the interviewer asks their partner to identify three hindering factors that almost made me fail.

    These factors are the things almost made them give up and not realize their vision. This could be, “I overslept and showed up late a lot,” “At first I didn’t dare to quit my job to start something new” or “I almost didn’t tell the person I liked that I had a crush on him.” Again, the interviewer writes these down on post-its and puts them at point 3 on the model.

    The interviewer continues asking about the three hindering factors, but shifts focus to what the person did to overcome them. For instance, “I had a friend call and wake me up every morning,” “I trained in a new skill and it led to my new dream job.” The interviewer writes these solutions on post-its and attaches them to the problems on the model.

    Step 5:

    Finally, the interviewer asks their partner to consider steps they have already taken toward their vision. They might say, "I signed up for this course," or "I've started training in this new skill."

    The dotted line represents today and the interviewer writes and adds these post-its to point 4 on the model.

    After the first interview is complete, the partners switch and repeat the process.

    Step 6:

    Each participant's arrow is now full of post-its representing tasks in an action plan to achieve the vision. Whether the time horizon is 3 months or 3 years, the arrow represents a realistic path to get there.

    Encourage participants to keep their arrow and even to post it somewhere where they will see it and draw inspiration from it.

    End the session with a check-out where each participant shares the next action they will take toward their vision.

    Action plan workshop: The Arrow

    • Use a video conferencing tool where you can assign the pair of participants into breakout rooms (e.g. Zoom).
    • When briefing the exercise and assigning the pairs or groups to work together, keep all participants in the main video conference room and explain best practices.
    • After this step is completed, turn on breakout rooms so each group can work on their tasks.
    • After the group breakout groups are completed and participants return to the main room, debrief the exercise.
    • We recommend using an online whiteboard tool or shared Google Doc so that pairs can collaborate visually.
    • If you do not have breakout sessions, keep everyone in the main room, though invite pairs to communicate in private messages in Slack. 


    Inspired by: Visual Leaders, David Sibbet

    Source: Hyper Island toolbox

    Hyper Island designs learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitized world. With clients such as Google, adidas and IKEA, Hyper Island has been listed by CNN as one of the most innovative schools in the world

    Comments (1) 

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    • This seems like a great exercise...I will try it sometime. Thanks for the creativity

      almost 3 years ago