LEAP Organizational Planning

LEAP Team Building and Team Planning

The LEAP methodology is used within organizations to tap into what individuals want and need—within their team, department, project, organization—to actualize themselves at work. How can you be, not only the best worker you can be, but fulfilled by your job, as a person, and as part of the various groups with whom you interact at the workplace. The acronym LEAP stands for “Life Experience Action Planning.” In an organizational setting, this means that the members of a department, for example, take their individual life experiences—skills, interests, friends, family, profession, schooling—to plan how to both move the department forward to meet its targets, and to actualize its members in the process.  The group proceeds through a series of Steps in which both the team and each individual within it examine the realities of their situation , ask themselves what they really want out of life at work, create a path to get there—and feel motivated to get going!

TAP associates believe strongly—and our experience supports our belief—that projects are most successful when the people responsible for implementation are involved in developing the project plan—whether they are working with the homeless, working to eliminate sources of pollution in a stream, or working as a team responsible for developing and marketing software.

LEAP (Life Experience Action Planning) is a planning process designed for and successfully used with individuals, organizations and teams in transition. Any organizational transition (a change in strategy, structure, or shift in personnel) affects team direction, equilibrium, productivity and focus. Roles and responsibilities become confused. It is under these circumstances that team building and team planning can be most beneficial. In a LEAP workshop, the members of a team come together to share common objectives, develop a mutual understanding of what is required to achieve them, and then re-organize roles and responsibilities accordingly.

Before a team building and team planning event, a thorough Team Needs Assessment (TNA) is conducted by the facilitators no more than two weeks before the scheduled training.   Ideally, all team members as well as key stakeholders and key beneficiaries are interviewed. Issues that arise can then be integrated into the training design. An ideal LEAP Team Building and Team Planning workshop is three days long, begins on the evening before the first full day, is held off site, and involves all the members of team, key support staff and the team’s chief.

While an effective workshop weaves laughter and fun into the process, it must be said that the operative element of a workshop is work. Developing a plan that may serve as the guide for the team’s actions for the next six months to five years requires those involved in the planning to work hard and with enthusiasm.   They create, discuss and visualize ideas in an experience that gives them an opportunity to plan the team’s future and create their own personal plan within the context of the organization’s mission. The group proceeds through the LEAP Steps for themselves and for the team, participates in team building exercises, and spends informal time socializing.

The difference between a LEAP Team Building and Team Planning event and most other team building workshops is that the process focuses on both the team and the individual within the team—as equally important. Individual actualization within the team is the underlying focus. The process acknowledges the fact that it is the individuals doing the work whose skills and interests move the work forward, and they, essentially, need to be actualized (in Maslow’s sense of the term) in the workplace. Therefore the LEAP process creates a session-by-session, LEAP-Step-by-LEAP-Step “fugue” in which the focus is on the individual and then on the team, and then back and forth again. In fact, the planning process begins with the identification of personal achievements and then moves to the team’s. After achievements, individuals assesses their current situation and desired future condition at the workplace. They then assess the present and desired future situation of the team and then identify problems and issues that both they and the team must address to move from the present to the future. They then set individual and team workplace goals and objectives.

In addition, the design provides space and time for in-depth plenary conversations about issues that arise—such as importance of sharing and trust and respect, about each person’s and the team’s purpose, and about enhancing awareness of the team’s contribution to the organization. The team proceeds through the ten LEAP Steps using individual handbooks and charts to capture, visualize and organize ideas. These ideas are presented, challenged, modified, agreed and documented. Team building experiences are also integrated into the agenda. These include: team coordination, communication, leadership, and trust-building exercises.

 Objectives of the Team Building and Team Planning Process—Team and Personal

 By the end of the workshop the team can expect to have arrived at:

  • Mutual agreement on strategies for achieving team goals;
  • Mutual understanding of individual and team immediate next steps vis a vis the team’s objectives and interactions with partners; and
  • Mutual understanding of individual team member roles and responsibilities;

In addition, individual team members can expect to have:

  • Clarified their own personal direction and course of action;
  • Outlined some future steps they might take in the context of the team’s direction; and
  • Increased their motivated to move forward.

In Summary

We believe that a LEAP Team Building and Team Planning Workshop / Retreat is a valuable experience for any team. Some participants in a recent organizational LEAP expressed this in their evaluations.

  • It gives us the energy to pursue our goal and clarity in our roles and situation.”
  • “Very intense days with a lot of added value for the team.”
  • “It becomes clear what the priorities are.”
  • “Great to work on a very rational and structured basis.”

By the close of the workshop, among other outputs, the group has completed a (1) comprehensive objective tree, (2) a project planning matrix which, in addition to objectives, provides the elements for project monitoring; (3) immediate action steps and (4) an in-depth stakeholder analysis. Our sample, generic 3-day schedule follows below. A power point presentation on organizational LEAPs is attached.

Generic three-day workshop LEAP Teambuilding and Team Planning Schedule  

Travel & Start-up

Day One

Day Two

Day Three




Step   #2 Picturing the Situation

(Individual   & Team)

Step #i-3   Facing My Facts and Problems

Step   #i-4 Developing My Objectives


Step   #i-7 Identifying My Personal and   Professional Partners

Step   #t-3 Facing Team Facts and Problems

Step   #t-4 Developing Team Objectives


Team   Step #t- 7

Identifying   The Team’s Project Stakeholders

Step   #t-8:Team Planning Matrix

Review   and Consensus on Team Project Plan


Lunch and Gallery Walk



Travel & Arrival

Registration and Check in



Expectations,   Introductions

LEAP   Overview

Step   #1 Appreciating Achievements

Little   Theater

Coordination   Exercise

Step #i-5 Making Choices

Completing and Sharing My   Personal Objective Tree

Step #i-6

Tracking My Tasks


A   “Formula” for Effective Teamwork Assessment

“How   are we Doing?”

Summary   and Closure

Team Building and Trust

Step   #t-5 Making Choices

Objective Tree

Step   #t-6 Tracking Tasks

Presentation   and Discussion

The Resource Game

Summary and Closure

Teambuilding   Exercise

Continue   Stop Start

Step   #t-9 First Things First--Reentry

Step   #i-9

My   Top Five

Individual   Re-entry Planning

Step   #10 Staying Connected

Evaluation   and Closure

Dinner / Socializing

Dinner and Socializing

Dinner and Socializing


i = Individual planning step and   t = team planning step

Life Experience Action Planning (LEAP) is based on the ZOPP method. ZOPP itself emerged from a concept called the "logical framework" originally developed in the. The logical framework (which is now LEAP Step #8) was introduced in technical cooperation projects supported by the Federal Republic of Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) in 1983.    



TAP (Training Associates Pacific, LLC) is a human resource development organization registered in the U.S. in Washington State. TAP associates form a global network of professionals who advise on, design, and facilitate state-of-the-art participatory live- and on-line learning events, customized courses, and training materials in the United States, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Europe.