12 WindowsLeaders have struggled for decades, with greater and lesser degrees of success, to navigate the complexity of their world. They want to understand their situation and environment, their risks and opportunities, and the level of commitment across their team. Many have tried to build a process or tool that enables deep common understanding, a shared sense of purpose, and strong situational trust across a diverse team of stakeholders. From our assessment, back in 2001, no one had succeeded. So we built one; and we succeeded. Therefore, with great humility, we declare that we have built the silver bullet of contextual analysis. We call it “12 Windows”.
Every one of the thousands of clients who have sat through a 12 Windows session has sworn that this was the best situational analysis and environmental assessment tool they’ve ever seen. We’ve had the pleasure of taking hundreds of teams through the 12 Windows process over the past decade. They’ve been a diversity of teams from a diversity of sectors; and all of them have found it useful – because regardless of the “content” of your business, you always need to understand the context. There’s always need to develop common vocabulary, a common understanding, and shared respect for widely disparate points of view. If your team doesn’t see your situation and agree on a common way forward, you run the constant risk that someone will torpedo your project. The blunt truth is this: SWOT won’t get you there – it doesn’t have a systems lens and can barely account for change over time. And RACI won’t get you there either – it’s a basic implementation tool that doesn’t assess needs, environment, or purpose. And the many and varied iterations and styles and updates of these kinds of tools? From what we’ve seen, they all fall short. 12 Windows? It will get you there. Guaranteed. Guaranteed or you don’t pay for the session – THAT sort of guaranteed. Swiss Army Knife of facilitation. I still believe that to be true. Because no matter who you are, no matter what your industry, your area of expertise, your challenge, you NEED certain things. You need:
- A shared understanding of the past, the present and the intended future
- A common way forward
- A compelling case to change from the current way of doing things
- Situational trust among and between the parties that must be part of any successful future state