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    Entries in collaborate (10)

    Tuesday
    Jan212014

    It's alive! Is it human?  

    In a planning meeting with a client recently there was lots of talk about 'who'.

    Who the audience was. Who the workshop was for. Who would be there. Who needed to be consulted with.
    I think that we can too often and too quickly group people into .... well, groups, that we can forget they are people. You know, humans! Alive! You. Me. Us. 


    When I'm leading a workshop, facilitating a team day or delivering my training programs, as soon as there is talk about stakeholders, clients, customers or teams, one of the tools I use as quickly as possible is a visual that helps humanise the conversation. 

    I'm helping us see that the groups we're talking about are actually people and not things. (This icon is a 'click and save' image for you this issue for your visual collection.)

    It's easy to sketch - look at each of the elements: a 'hill' shape for the body, a circle, two lines for the arms and then the key word for that person, like 'stakeholder'. They're holding their own little sign! A smiley face adds another human element.

    A simple thing? Symbolic? Sure, but time and again I've worked with leaders who are driving change, teams who are shifting the way they work and businesses transforming culture and it's always about what people will be doing now and in the future.

    We can more easily identify and connect with the human aspects of change when visuals of people are used. 

    Keep an eye out for how you're representing the important people you work with, collaborate with and want to engage with.

    Remember they're people ... and not just a bullet point list of words.

    Friday
    Mar222013

    Plan for Awesome Collaboration

    This article from Inc. on Collaboration Gone Wild seems to be wallowing between privacy and meaningful collaboration. 

    Interruptions, asking colleagues questions or having a quick problem solving chat are on the 'light' end of collaboration. 

    For my mind, serious collaboration isn't about interruptions or taking off your headphones to answer a question in a partion-less workplace. 

    Planned collaboration is powerful and productive. Just plan for it. 

     

    • Right environment - quiet, noisy, spacious, cozy, indoors, outdoors, meeting room, quirky community theatre ...
    • Right tools on hand - visual flip charts, white boards, ipads, props and toys, markers, post its, refreshments, space for activities, equipment, prototypes ...
    • Right facilitator - leading, directing, enabling, designing, moderating, defining, capturing...
    • Right people - obvious choices, 'out there' thinking people, 'in here' thinking people, industry experts, other industry experts, users, customers, colleagues, friends...

     

    Spontaneous collaboration can be a glorious, wonderful and refreshing thing that gives you a bonus outcome you weren't hoping for. 

    But mostly we need to plan for a great collaborative experience. And sure, there will be times when wearing headphones could be just what individuals need to change the pace and their state of mind for the next activity or step in the collaboration.

    Don't expect it will 'just happen' or that it is always the right approach to interrupt or distract. Plan for some serious and fun collaboration and you'll hit some awesome heights.  

    Monday
    Mar182013

    It's a co-brainer

    No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you - Althea Gibson

    Lengthy meetings can be boring and people are busy-busy yet we still need to engage, consult and 'play well with others' in the day-to-day of life, at work and in our communities.

    There's plenty you can do alone but working with others during your day, role or career is a certainty; it's gonna happen. It's a 'co-brainer'. You'll need to be doing something with someone, sometime.  

    I'm shocked, disappointed, at how little planning some people do to make any type of 'co' activity creative, engaging or dare I say ... enjoyable!

    Over recent weeks I've heard about b-o-r-i-n-g teleconferences, 'all talk' workshops and supposedly consultative sessions that were really a presentation of what had already been decided. That's not 'co'. It's unproductive and oh-so disengaging.

    To step up the productivity, inject some creativity and get the outcomes you need, working together with others is a 'co-brainer' when you know how. 

    Henry Ford is often quoted for his insight and progressive thinking; I've always liked this one: Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

    What are you doing this week to truly get people working together? What do they think of what you're doing? What do they think you should be doing? That's co.

    Wednesday
    Mar132013

    Please don't throw lollies

    Please don't throw lollies. I can walk over and pick them up out of the plastic packet all by myself. Look, watch me, I can.

    *Cringe*  I was in a training session last week – or perhaps that should read, ‘boring presentation’ by a presenter who introduced the topic by saying ‘Now I hope you all don’t ‘fall asleep’ during this!’

    So there we were, looking forward to a boring presentation and the opportunity of falling asleep. Before the presenter spoke, she held up a large bargain bulk bag of lollies and sang in Mary Poppins style “I have lolllliiiieeeeeesssss!”

    “I’ve got bribes!’ she further explained! “This will keep you awake!”

    As if a bag of lollies is going to make my interest levels peak through 32 mind-numbing PowerPoint slides in a darkened room. What did peak was my blood sugar level, just by looking at the pink and yellow shapes inside the bag.

    Why isn’t she trying to make that presentation more interesting, engaging and helpful? Why isn’t it more palatable than the cheap lollies?

    She delivered the presentation. She never needed the lollies. It cheapened the presentation; it lowered the professionalism and it made us feel like we needed to listen or we’d be very naughty. We are adults you know. So are you, presenter.

    Some people I have consulted and worked with argue that you need damn good coffee and pastries to get people to some presentations. But surely you don’t need to throw lolllies at us when we look bored!

    ‘Oh but it’s FUN!’ shouted Amy from the Learning and Design team. ‘Lighten up! It’s fun! You’re too serious!’

    It wasn’t fun for Gavin from Accounts who sat in the accident and emergency department waiting room with his eye bleeding out of its socket. No, Gavin wasn’t laughing when a bullet hard lemon barley sugar with kiddy wrap went flying through his left eye. The visual, yes that’s a laugh. The Safety Team said ‘No more throwing lollies. You may hand them around.’

    If you want your session, meeting, presentation or training to be fun you don’t need to throw lollies at me or anyone else. What you do need to do is design the session with engaging activities, designed for the purpose, designed for the people in the room. They’re called an audience. Even better when you call them ‘participants’.

    What are you doing to make your meetings, conversations, workshops and learning experiences creative, collaborative, engaging and transformative?

     

    *Gavin isn’t his real name. And he didn’t need to go to Accident and Emergency either. He’s ok. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    Mar122013

    Collaborate + Improvise = Survival

    "In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin
    Just loving what Darwin was saying here - we've got to be able to play well with others, and be able to handle what happens... make stuff up! 

    That's innovation, collaboration, creation, being responsive, adapting, reiterating, going again.
    Working with a client last week and the team needed to truly 'play well with each other' to create a new range of solutions. There were voices from clients and customers, users and stakeholders added into the mix. 
    Then it was 'on'. Let's go! Some improvisation games, some creative thinking, some visual thinking and a range of other techniques and tools helped bring the crew together and get the best out of them. 
    (Oh, and it had to be fun. They wanted fun. They said 'fun' as part of their working agreement for the day.)
    The team wants to take the approaches we used to other parts of the business to shake things up a bit and to get more out of their meetings, workshops and interactions.
    It involves getting up off your feet, moving around, talking to people, writing stuff, drawing stuff, playing with stuff and generally firing up your brain. 
    Mmmmmm - good stuff!