Visioning Workshop with Morguard Investments

Last week I had the great pleasure to join about 50 people with Morguard Investments in a multi-day strategic planning workshop in the Greater Toronto Area.  They are a real estate management and development company who is looking at sustainability as a way to create competitive advantage and differentiate.  We were invited in by Neil Pegram, a graduate from the Master’s in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability program in Sweden, who co-designed and co-facilitated the session with me.  

The workshop itself was 2.5 days, and the focus was on creating a vision for the organization and the action planning around the vision.  The workshop itself was preceeded with everyone taking our Sustainability 101 online course. We started the first half-day with some training on the TNS Framework, and then moved into a “Sustainability Cafe” to wrestle with some really challenging questions around Morguard’s role in the world. The Cafe was based on the “World Cafe” format and was a highlight for many at the session.  It allowed people to have meaningful conversations around this topic that was very important to them.  It allowed people to share ideas, aspirations as well as air their concerns or burning questions.   It was incredible to see the energy in the room and the authenticity of what they were saying.  When I asked if people liked it at the start of our debrief, they spontaneous started to applaud, which I took as they did!  

After a short debrief we then started to dig into creating a vision for a sustainable Morguard in the future.  With 50 people we were unsure about how this was going to work, because there could have been very many differing opinions, but we were amazed at how quickly it all came together and how the aspirations of all in the room were very similar.  I was very inspired by what they came up with and am itching to share it, so I hope to be able to in a future blog post.

If we had ended there, it would have been successful, but we still had a day and that day was focused on action planning.  It started with a “reality check” by looking at helping and hindering forces for Morguard to achieve their vision and then determining focus areas and short term action steps.  One memorable moment in the session for me was when the Director of Human Resources and the President, who were focused on actions around governance, stated that they needed to ensure that performance management was aligned with their vision.  This for me is a strong signal that the organization is really looking deeply at sustainability.  

Right at the end we went around and asked people for one word that described how they felt about where we were at, and as we went round, we heard words like “inspired”, “proud”, “morgreen” :), “excited”, and so on.  It was a quite a great few days.