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Comprehensive 2 day program

2018 Dates

Quarter 1

Melbourne: Feb 12 & 13

Brisbane: Mar 19 & 20

 


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 It's not 'drawing'...

It's 
VISUAL

SENSEMAKING

with Lynne Cazaly
using The Visual Mojo Method
 
1 day practical workshop for your team
Build this powerful, influential skill to help make sense of change, communicate clearly and engage people in the most challenging situations

Contact Lynne to arrange a workshop at your workplace 

 
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    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    The 'triple threat' work skills for the future

    Trying to make sense of the ongoing changes in the world seems like a tough ask sometimes; as soon as you’ve got your head around one shift or change ... ‘thud’, along comes another, and then another. This is the world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity (VUCA) after all. 

    So what are we to do? 

    And the emphasis is on ‘do’. We can’t just sit and wait things out. Mind you, pointless ‘doing’ isn’t too helpful either. 

    With the big world, your work world and your own world undergoing constant shifts, tweaks, adjustments and aftershocks, there are some critical work skills that will do you well - both now and the future. There's machine learning, artificial intelligence and more VUCA so you’ll need something that’s sharp and has staying power in your backpack or the often-quoted “toolkit” to ride this out ...and keep on riding. 

    The Institute for the Future and the World Economic Forum release details on what they think you’ll need for the future. Add to that what I’m thinking and seeing when I’m working with business, and yes, there’s a dose of Sensemaking capability needed.

     

    What’s the triple threat?

    The ‘triple threat’ isn’t about the world’s demise - though with some changes recently, it could well head that way sooner than we were planning! 

    Triple threat: it's the three powerful skills I think will make you a sure thing for better thinking, more useful solutions and a stronger bias for action… no matter what happens with the evolution of work. 

     

    Why a triple? 

    An actor who’s known as a triple threat is a threat because they can do more than just act. They can sing and dance and act. They’re more of a threat to succeed and get a wider range of gigs than the single domain expert who’s a great singer but… or acts well but can’t do much more. Nothing wrong with focusing on acting -- or any domain -- but having a couple of other domains of expertise in your kitbag will simply take your further, for longer. 

    Football players (catch, pass and kick) or cricketers (bat, bowl and field) or netballers (shoot, pass and defend) who are triple threats are indomitable. They’re everywhere. They’re higher profile. They deliver greater value. They’re truly indispensable. And they’re probably feeling super-fulfilled too. Imagine using all that talent in so many areas and doing all much good, bringing that much value. 

     

    Distributed -- not diluted

    While deep expertise is ace, some transferability or ‘neo-generalism’ as Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin in 'The Neo-Generalist - Where you go is who you are’ explain... is the thing. It’s my favourite book of the moment. It speaks of the ability to be a specialist and a generalist. To ‘traverse multiple domains’ and ‘live between categories and labels’; now that’s a winner in my eyes.  

    With triple threat work skills under your belt for the future, you’re more able to cross disciplines and blend opportunities that might have passed the single domain expert by. You're able to combine, mix and cross-pollinate what you learn from one area/gig/field/job/contract/experience... and apply it in another.

    Steven Johnson in ‘Where good ideas come from’ calls this looking for ‘the adjacent possible’ ... and it has a dose of his ‘serendipity’ about it too. As he unpacks seven of the innovative spaces and places where good ideas come from, you can see how having more than one domain of expertise is like capability on steroids! 

     

    The triple threat of work skills for the future

    The triple threat work skills for the future? 

    I think you’ve got to wonder, think and then do something with what you find out. 

    Sing, dance and act. 

    Bat, bowl and field. 

    Shoot, pass and defend. 

    At work, it's curiosity, ingenuity and creativity.

    It looks like this... all bright and breezy: 

     

    Curiosity is to wonder.

    It’s about questioning. What’s going on? It’s a facilitation of a diverse conversation and dialogue. It’s about scanning, listening, reading, absorbing. Hmmmmm!

     

    Ingenuity is to solve.

    It’s about thinking. More deeply. It’s connecting dots. What does this mean? It’ssensemaking. Looking back, working out what’s needed next. Coming up with plausible solutions and ideas. Ahaaaa!

     

    Creativity is... to create.

    Of course it is! But not arty painting - unless that's what you're doing! This future work skill is for making, shipping, delivering, doing. It’s about the hack. Get it done. Tick! 

    The Triple Threat of Work Skills for the Future are: Curiosity. Ingenuity. Creativity

     

    These are a triple threat because they are adaptable, flexible and transportable.

    They encourage you to be open to different perspectives and they create conditions to wonder what the heck is going on… and to respond, to work out 'what are we gonna do about it.' Oh, and then actually do it!

    Don’t just wonder. Don’t just think.

    Finish the game, the play, the third act and get into action.

    Do.

    Then you’ll be able to wonder again, think some more and put some more things into practice. 

    Go you triple threat you!

    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    A story will help you make sense

    When the world feels all upside down and its challenging to understand what's happening or why, it's often in hindsight that we're able to see what went on.

    This is sense making at work. It's how we connect the dots and draw some conclusions from what was uncertain or complex.

    With Sensemaking rated as a vital capability for the future of work as work keeps getting re-worked, we've got to look at human, helpful and effective ways to make sense - that don't involve drowning in fathoms of data.

    In making sense, stories are critically important. Not so much the telling of stories, rather the hearing, the distilling and the getting to the essence. That's the sense part.

    Even micro narratives, tiny little slivers of a story are worth grabbing and capturing. It could be a phrase, a statement, a couple of words, a slang term or a quote.

    When people drop these little micro-gems into the conversation, look out, grab them and capture them. Reflect them. These will help you make sense.

    It’s a little like how panning for gold might give you hundreds or thousands of little pieces of golden glitter, but no big nuggets. Yet it’s the mounting up of those little shimmers that can give you the right to say you’ve ‘struck gold’.

    So don’t discount the little pieces of glitter, the little slivers of a story, the tiny segments or phrases or grabs. Together they can make some wonderful sense.

    In sensemaking and making sense, you’ve got to tune in those listening skills to hear the slivers of stories; to listen to what people are saying and sharing with you… to capture those.

    Don’t just wait for facts and data. Engage in the anecdotes, the stories, the tales and the telling.

    In my earlier career, my first career, I worked in public relations. Oooh, don't throw tomatoes or boo and hiss. It was good PR. It was community relations. I worked in public health, education, government, training, media, sport. It was about helping people understand what was going on and how they could either get involved … or run the other way!

    Whatever the topic, project, program of work or PR piece I was working on, we always had to craft key messages. When you watch someone present to the media, and if they've been media trained, they'll be delivering their content in sound bites and key chunks - those repeatable, printable, quotable quotes that the media like to broadcast. It's a short chunk of sweet loveliness on the topic. (Oh and at the bad end of the scale are those nothingness quotes that politicians like to sprout. Not those.)

    The same can apply in communication, leadership and workplaces the world over. You need some sound bites and digestible chunks for your listeners and viewers to take in and understand - for your employees, teams and tribes to grab hold of.

    Gather together the little slices, pieces, chunks and cues. Together they can give you incredible sense and help show what people are thinking, wondering, learning, sensing and making.

    Collect the stories you hear - even the tiny little ones - capture them, visualize them, share them and reflect on them… put them together, for they will help you – and the people you’re working with - make sense.

    Tuesday
    Jan312017

    A clever tool to help you problem solve

    While plenty of tasks, projects and initiatives are about minimising problems, fixing things and reducing issues, there's a time when it helps to make a problem bigger.

    A favourite 'think outside the box' book I enjoy flinging open at random places is John Kuprenas' (with Matthew Frederick) book 101 things I learned in Engineering School.

    It's a chunky hardcover edition and you really know you're holding it despite its A5-ish size.

    Inside are pages and pages of intriguing explanations of concepts applicable to life ... beyond engineering.

    I'm no engineer, yet I have a curiosity for how things work, why things are the way they are and what we can do about that.

    There's something about how engineers, designers and architects think -- and problem solve -- that can be helpful to us, no matter the setting, situation or challenge we face. 

    One of John's 101 things is to 'enlarge the problem space'. He says

    "Almost every problem is larger than it initially appears. 
    Explore and enlarge it at the outset - not to make more work, but because the scope of the problem almost certainly will creep - it will grow larger - on its own. 
    It's easier to reduce the problem space later in the process than to enlarge it after starting down a path toward an inadequate solution".

    It's one of the reasons I give groups and teams this creative and innovation thinking tool to make problems bigger.

    I slot this activity into workshops when teams are working on strategy, design thinking, customer journeys and other tricky problems.

    I called it: 'It's Bigger'.

    It's some cloud shapes or circles up on a whiteboard or I'll get them (yes, executives and senior leaders too) to sketch in a notebook, blank page or in an app on their tablet. Then let them talk.

    Here's how it works:

    1. First, write the Issue
    2. Then add in some points, thoughts, hunches about what the bigger problem is,
    3. ... then the b-i-g-g-e-r problem 
    4. .. and then the BIGGER problem.

    From there you can come up with some totally new solutions.

    You could apply this type of thinking to problems you see around you at work, in your community, in your life ... even complex and wicked problems that are seriously tough to solve like social issues and global challenges can be discussed and strategised using the 'It's Bigger' approach.

    John Kuprenas says:

    there is the problem, then the cause of the problem, then the cause of the cause of the problem and the cause of the cause of the cause... 

    ...you get it! 

    It's a process that let's you look at creativity, innovation and problem solving by making it bigger before you get your hands dirty by doing something about it. 

    I'll use this thinking and creativity tool with a large retailer this week as we workshop some of their new ideas and initiatives to challenging problems. Then it will get a run in a not-for-profit workshop as a team looks at how to fund their social enterprise ideas.

    See, you don't need to build bridges or roads or machines to be an engineer!

    Monday
    Jan302017

    A story will help you make sense

    This is sense making at work. It's how we connect the dots and draw some conclusions from what was uncertain or complex.

    With Sensemaking rated as a vital capability for the future of work as work keeps getting re-worked, we've got to look at human, helpful and effective ways to make sense - that don't involve drowning in fathoms of data.

    In making sense, stories are critically important. Not so much the telling of stories, rather the hearing, the distilling and the getting to the essence. That's the sense part.

    Even micro narratives, tiny little slivers of a story are worth grabbing and capturing. It could be a phrase, a statement, a couple of words, a slang term or a quote.

    When people drop these little micro-gems into the conversation, look out, grab them and capture them. Reflect them. These will help you make sense.

    It’s a little like how panning for gold might give you hundreds or thousands of little pieces of golden glitter, but no big nuggets. Yet it’s the mounting up of those little shimmers that can give you the right to say you’ve ‘struck gold’.

    So don’t discount the little pieces of glitter, the little slivers of a story, the tiny segments or phrases or grabs. Together they can make some wonderful sense.

    In sensemaking and making sense, you’ve got to tune in those listening skills to hear the slivers of stories; to listen to what people are saying and sharing with you… to capture those.

    Don’t just wait for facts and data. Engage in the anecdotes, the stories, the tales and the telling.

    In my earlier career, my first career, I worked in public relations. Oooh, don't throw tomatoes or boo and hiss. It was good PR. It was community relations. I worked in public health, education, government, training, media, sport. It was about helping people understand what was going on and how they could either get involved … or run the other way!

    Whatever the topic, project, program of work or PR piece I was working on, we always had to craft key messages. When you watch someone present to the media, and if they've been media trained, they'll be delivering their content in sound bites and key chunks - those repeatable, printable, quotable quotes that the media like to broadcast. It's a short chunk of sweet loveliness on the topic. (Oh and at the bad end of the scale are those nothingness quotes that politicians like to sprout. Not those.)

    The same can apply in communication, leadership and workplaces the world over. You need some sound bites and digestible chunks for your listeners and viewers to take in and understand - for your employees, teams and tribes to grab hold of.

    Gather together the little slices, pieces, chunks and cues. Together they can give you incredible sense and help show what people are thinking, wondering, learning, sensing and making.

    Collect the stories you hear - even the tiny little ones - capture them, visualize them, share them and reflect on them… put them together, for they will help you – and the people you’re working with - make sense.

    Saturday
    Jan212017

    The 12 Sins of Strategy

    If you read any of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books when you were growing up (or they're in the family library) you might have read of the adventures of five young people who faced challenges, learned lessons and built strong friendships.

    The recent release of a series of spoof books on the Famous Five sees some new titles tailored just for grown-ups. The books might well be poking fun at some of the realities of life with titles like:

    ·     5 Go Parenting

    ·     5 Give up the Booze

    ·     5 Go Gluten Free

    ·     5 on Brexit Island…

    but it’s the one titled ‘5 go on a strategy away day’ that’s calling out many of the clichés and sins of bad strategic planning.

    After all, it’s the offsite and team session that is aimed at creating a refreshed organisational strategy: and it’s often the place where a new direction is set or the team presses ‘reset’ to chart a course for a new world.

    As the Harvard Business Review Blog Network presented recently:

    "Strategy formulation.. is an ongoing requirement of good management… This is a process you must permanently embed in your organization."

    When it comes time to bring the team together to revisit the positioning, profitability and progress of the business, what will you do?

    If you look at rebooking the same venue, using the same agenda as last year and find that the most challenging part of the strategic process is finding a common date when all the players can get in a room at once, your approach to strategy may be ticking off some of The 12 Sins of Strategy.

    Beware these sins and take steps pronto to move away from the sins and move towards the good and better of strategy.

     

     

    Before the session

    1. Same Same

    Here’s the sin: It’s all the same as last year – same dates, people, venue, agenda, menu and program. This isn’t to mention what gets discussed and decided -- if that’s the same, that’s a sure sin.

    If your ‘save as’ button is getting a workout, you’re a sinner! The world is VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. And our approach to strategy will need to change to adapt and respond to this environment.

     “Longevity is decreasing .. corporate mortality rates are rising .. the good news is the newer firms are more nimble. The bad news for (older firms) is that their days are numbered, unless they continually innovate.”

    From ‘Strategy: The scary truth about corporate survival’ -- Harvard Business Review, December 2016

     

    2. Too Safe

    This second sin could possibly read ‘dangerously safe’. The cousin to doing the same as last time – or the last decade – is playing too small or too safe.

    We are in an ongoing era of disruption and if we’re too safe (or too same) we’ll be trampled on by those who are more adequately responding to change.

    Every business is impacted by the effects of market shifts and changes. And if you haven’t ‘felt’ any of them yet, perhaps this will be the year. That maxim of ‘change or die’ is never truer.

    Have you gathered insights, information, background and the data needed to inform your strategic discussions and decisions? If you don’t know what’s going on, you may respond in a way that doesn’t set you up for the industry changes and shifts underway.

    Working with a pharmaceutical-style business recently, they discussed at their strategy day their need to adapt and change and to do so in ways they haven’t previously. The way customers were buying products and services had changed, and the type of products and services had changed too. Plus there were some new players in the market. Their long-lived era of being ‘the only’ or ‘the best’ was under threat. So their strategy session and strategic response was not just about taking out more advertising or to better train the staff who are customer facing.

    Both of these responses – training and advertising - are small tweaks and are more operational than strategic. It’s too small and too safe of a change.

     

    3. Vague Process

    If you can tick off that ‘yes’ you’re willing to look at things differently and be prepared to take some bigger steps, it’s now about HOW are you going to create that strategic response.

    This sin is what I’d call ‘vaguing the process’. That is, the process you’re planning to use on the day to create and craft your strategic response is vague. It’s ambiguous and not yet defined. You might know what you want to get at the end of the session, but you’re not crystal clear on HOW you’ll get that work done.

    By the way, the process isn’t the agenda.

    The process is the way you’re going to go about doing the strategic work, the strategic thinking in the lead up to, during and after your strategy session.

    If you were heading off on the holiday of a lifetime you wouldn’t just show up at the airport with your passport and credit card -- as fun as that may be. For the big projects and strategy work, you need some type of itinerary and how you’re going to move from one place or space… to another.

    Don't wing it or make it up as you go along.

     

    4. D.I.Y Facilitation 

    A flow on from #3 Vaguing the Process is if you are trying to facilitate the strategy session yourself: doing it yourself or D.I.Y.

    Thinking you can plan, observe, facilitate and participate all at once -- or even with a team of colleagues, trying to share the load -- is a hefty responsibility. How can you do it all?

    Save your facilitation skills for the day-to-day implementation and leadership work with your team - not the big ticket item of the strategy day.

    There can be a desire to ‘involve the team’ or ‘share the load’ or even ‘give people greater responsibility’ by having them lead sessions or facilitate at strategy days, but I believe there are other more cohesive ways to do this during the session, rather than them facilitating.

    The DIY approach reminds me of an eccentric friend who decided he’d represent himself in court over a family legal matter. He didn’t want to pay the legal fees. He thought there wasn’t much to it and he could do it himself. 

    The end result saw him dabbling in an area of deep expertise that was beyond his scope of understanding – and appreciation – and the cost in the long run was way beyond financial.

    Some DIY projects end up as a dangerous mess.

     

    During the session

     

    5. All talk

    This sin already occurs daily in many workplace meetings and workshops where teams of people sit around a table and … talk.

    It’s somewhat of a workplace default: people sitting there talking. And talking. And talking some more.

    Bringing a team or group together is an invitation of diversity. Sitting around talking for two days doesn’t serve this opportunity for diversity. We have differing preferences for how we take in information, process that information, make decisions, communicate, engage and think.

    Howard Gardiner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences documents how we have a number of different ‘modalities’ rather than a single general ability. He suggests that we have multiple ways of learning. So even if your preference is to sit and talk… it’s not diverse enough, nor is it identifying and responding to what else might work for others across the business.

     

    6. PowerPoint Snooze

    For many leaders, the days before a strategic session see them spending countless hours preparing a PowerPoint pack or presentation of information.

    Rather than the big investment of tweaking and tinkering with the layout on a document, have a conversation. Have dialogue with the team.

    We are losing our social intelligence and reinforcing that at a strategy or team day by delivering more one-way presentations is a drag and a sin.

    Attention spans are already short; no wonder some sessions feel like they are dragging on when people stand up to present dense packs of 132 slides (Yes, this happened at a team session).

     

    7. Little Input

    It’s a sin indeed to keep things narrow or involving the ‘usual suspects’ at a strategy session. It might feel more comfortable but you won’t get the best out of the event, the team or get the best possible strategic response.

    The field of Design and User Experience is focused on creating and launching things that meet users needs. Customer and user insights, feedback and suggestions are pivotal, vital, in creating a successful product.

    It’s also why focus groups and testing sessions, prototyping and scenarios are used -- to get a range of people to comment on and experience things connected to your company and brand.

     

    The other half of inputs … is outputs.

    Also, beware the ‘tapper’. The tapper is the designated person sitting in the corner of the room at a strategy session, tapping on a laptop and documenting the outcomes or key points of the session.

    Err, it’s a little dated and ineffective, your honour. It looks more like a crime scene or the trial with a court reporter capturing testimony! There are more collaborative and transparent ways to represent the progress being made.

    Big sin. Guilty!

     

    8. Idea Slumps

    A low point in a workshop is often feared, or expected perhaps – think of the after lunch or afternoon energy slump when we’re all a bit drowsy from eating too many sandwiches at lunch!

    This is a period of quiet, lower energy and sometimes we can fear that it’s not a good thing. But throughout the program of crafting a strategy there can be other slumps, speed humps or slow points.

    A slump or silence can sometimes occur just when we want to start brainstorming or ideating or coming up with brilliant innovative ideas.

    We need to avoid the, ‘Yay, come on team, let’s come up with new ideas for products!’ or ‘Hey there everyone, who’s got a brilliant idea?’

    We can’t expect genius to automatically flow just because we bring a group of people together in a room and tell them to be innovative. I believe you need to set up the environment for ideas to be born -- throughout the session.

     

    After the session

     

    9. Hangover

    This sin is less about an alcohol hangover and more about a mood hangover! Once the energy of the offsite or strategy session is over, what happens next?

    Yes, there can be a real coming-down or a flat spell after a significant strategic and transformative event. You’d have felt it after a holiday on your return to work – some of us feel it after the weekend!

    While it’s great to get the team together, to get away from the office and clear the path of the usual workplace interruptions, there needs to be some time and space allocated to help you with ‘re-entry’ back into the workplace.

    How are you going to land this thing?

    And a word on real hangovers: decide if it’s a party event or a strategy event and if it’s a bit of both, make it clear what the organisation’s policies are regarding hitting the booze and showing up the next day hammered. Not a good look.

     

    10. Cascade Down

    By ‘cascading’ information, the idea is that you take what was discussed or decided at the strategy day and then package it up to send over the cliff, down down down to the murky depths below to the minions who will put the strategy into action.

    The fact there is a word for this – to cascade – to deliver information down to your team says structure, hierarchy and downward flowing things. Often it’s about telling your next level, then they tell the next and they tell the next and before long, you have the whispers game you played as a child except now it’s being played out by grown-ups. Information is misinterpreted, not delivered at all or edited to take out the difficult-to-explain bits.

    People what to know what happened at the strategy session. Make that communication swift, clear, authentic and in more directions than just down.

     

    11. Few Actions

    Too many events, conferences, workshops and talk, none or few actions are agreed on ...and so nothing much changes. are focused on the event itself, and not the outcomes and strategic implementation that will follow. As a result of lots of offsites

    An organisation’s leaders who go on a strategy day and then don’t do anything with what they worked on is simply poor form.

    “If they can’t follow through on this, what else won’t they follow through on?”

    These were the words from a senior team member after a strategy day’s actions hit a roadblock and … just stopped.

    The excuse and blame game is just a step away as people shirk responsibility and dodge accountability.

    Most meetings, discussions, workshops are judged on what their outcomes are, on what they achieve and on what they produce. So too with the strategy day.

     

    12. Too Vanilla

    At some point you’ll want to, and need to share the strategy across the wider organisation.

    Further to the sin on ‘cascade down’, now it’s about the actual communication. Whether it’s a ‘strategy on a page’ distillation, a typical PowerPoint deck or something more creative, make sure it looks like it belongs to your organisation.

    Too many comms efforts are bland, lacking life and icon-ed to death. It’s as if the creativity has been stripped out and the end result could apply to any company at all - or any pre-school at all. There’s nothing that differentiates the company or shows its human side or brings the strategy to life.

    Where’s the story, the visual, the creative elements that will cut through and connect with people emotionally?

     

    So there you go, 12 sins of strategy. Get the full ebook on these 12 sins, by completing your details here and let’s stop the strategy sinning!