How to run a strategy and design day

Example of the types of postits we post ‘Live your best life’
Example of the types of postits we post ‘Live your best life’
  • Strategy days defibrillate your team’s heart and prevents it from stagnating. You want to constantly inspect, adapt, grow, evolve and measure your team, just as much as you evolve your sprints, products and services.
  • If your team creates its own strategy they will be more likely to own and execute it. People like to be part of a change movement, over being mandated that a change needs to occur.
  • Your team will connect through ideas, aspirations and challenges. This is extremely important as your team grows. You want to fast track the ‘getting to know you’ phase, as it can slow down productivity and disrupt the beautiful culture that you’ve been growing.
  • By collaborating on professional development plans your team can leverage diverse skillsets and support each other to grow. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses — use them to your advantage.

What type of strategy are you wanting to set — long or short term?

  1. Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules, and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified.
  2. Infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game, there is only ahead and behind.

North Stars

Let’s get into it

What an awesome team looks like. Family photo shoot.
What an awesome team looks like.


  1. All that hard work was for nothing.
  2. The next time you do this activity people will be less responsive.


The Warm Up

The team warms up and breaks the ice…and drinks bubble teas.
The team warms up and breaks the ice.

Icebreaker 1: Collaboration Portraits

What a collaborative portrait looks like. :|
What a collaborative portrait looks like.
  1. We all put our name on a piece of paper and draw the shape of our own head — using our opposite hand. Then we pass to the left.
  2. Then we drew the nose of the person to our right and then pass to the left.
  3. We continue doing this until everyone has had a turn contributing to the portrait and your portrait returns back to you.
  4. The end results are hilarious and this picture is now your portrait for the rest of the day. Oh boi.

Icebreaker 2: Pick a Topic

  1. We were dealt four cards. Each card had a question on it that we had to answer.
  2. We give everyone 4 cards so they can have options — We don’t want anyone answering questions they don’t feel comfortable answering.
  3. We all take turns answering questions.

Divergent & Convergent Thinking:

Cornel running a spicy retro.
Cornel running a spicy retro.
  1. Cornel created ASOS themed titles and stuck them on our windows — first world problems, we don’t have large enough whiteboards or walls in the room we were in. It does prove that any room can be a collaboration space.
  2. We were all given 5 minutes to jot down responses and ideas for each of the themed titles.
  3. What’s on Sale / Aka — What do we love about the team, our projects, our work etc?
  4. What did we keep / Aka — What do we want to continue doing?
  5. What do we return / Aka — What don’t we love about the team, our projects, our work etc?
  6. What are we adding to our cart / Aka — What are the actions for the next 6 months? These are a mix of outputs from the previous areas.
  7. We then divided the actions amongst ourselves and individually or collaboratively make those things happen. E.g Morgan is responsible for creating a skills sharing program, I’m responsible for creating a remote working day at a cool location, and Josh is responsible for running a North Star workshop — to name a few of our activities.
  8. All of the actions will be rolled out over the coming weeks. We will check in on how we are doing as we go and at our next planning day.

Our Individual Purpose

Josh facilitates our individual purpose.
Josh facilitates our individual purpose.
  1. We get a better understanding of our team members’ strengths, weaknesses, skills, and passions;
  2. We created a short mission statement; aligning the things that each of us love doing, to what the team needs (these were actions that came out of the first half of our workshop).

In conclusion




Principal Consultant: Strategy and Design at Telstra Purple.

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Kristy Sachse

Kristy Sachse

Principal Consultant: Strategy and Design at Telstra Purple.

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