Goal Tree Chronicles – ordering ideas

It was a young brilliant manager in charge of a part of a big project. He perfectly knew what actions had to be achieved yet got lost and confused at some point.

In order to put him on track again I proposed him to build a Goal Tree.

A Goal Tree always looks simple until you have to build one of your own.

It took several attempts and a lot of moving post-it notes around before having a good-looking and logically sound Tree.

I acted first as an instructor about how to build a Tree, then as a scrutinizer.

Over and over again I asked my “student” to speak aloud the sentence “in order to.. I/we need…” until he did it spontaneously.

Indeed, every time he got confused, lost or doubted, speaking the sentence aloud would serve as a validity test or a trigger for inspiration.

I knew little about his subject in the beginning but trial after trial, hearing the arguments spoken aloud and the answers to my scrutinizing questions, I got to understand enough to grasp the essential, confirming in this way the Goal Tree as a fantastic tool for storytelling and even “education”.

After the Tree was completed within a couple of hours, the young manager now clearly seeing the sequence of steps and the rationale behind it, was ready to present his Tree to his peers.

He did it in a relaxed and fluent way, confidence given by the Tree. His audience could follow easily his explanations and one of his fellow managers concluded it was crystal clear.

In this case the Goal Tree served as a tool to order ideas and then to “sell” them to an audience.

No doubt, some attendants understood the value of such a tool. I guess I will get more requests to coach Goal Tree building in this organization!

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