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 It's not 'drawing'...

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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
  

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    Entries in sensemaking (23)

    Monday
    Jun032019

    Minutes are meaningless

    We still use an archaic 18th Century practice of capturing ‘little notes’ or minutes in our meetings ... in our 21st Century workplaces made up of 21st Century people.

    It's crazy. We're still using 18th Century meeting procedures too!

    Tired old structures and systems that slow things down, put us to sleep and carve away at interest and engagement. Those old style meetings don’t make sense. And neither do the minutes from those meetings.

    It’s time to make a cultural change in how you make sense of information in meetings. Taking, making and sharing minutes is an utter waste of time, an activity bottleneck and a momentum killer. In meetings, don't just document decisions - the act of making sense involves more than this.

    Minutes are dead and distract us from the real work. (Ok unless you need them legally e.g. a board meeting or committee that votes or decides and minutes are evidence of that decision, yes fine have them then!) And here's to the poor souls who type them up to circulate them to people who will never read them. This week I'm posting on sensemaking.

    And minutes don't make sense!

    Monday
    Jun032019

    Lists are great for shopping. Not great for sensemaking.

    Lists are great for shopping. Not great for sensemaking.

    When you’re in a meeting, discussing, generating ideas and solutions, planning details of how things might work, you might write down some key points:

    * In a list.

    * Like this.

    * And this.

    * Another point like this.

    * And more like this.

    While it feels efficient capturing what’s happening - sequentially - it’s not so helpful for making sense, now or later. A vertical list of dot points is challenging to retain, build links in, find common themes or show relationships and connections.

    Ditch the list; make a map. You zoom out on Google Maps to see where you are: roads, suburbs and towns become visible. The ‘dots’ of towns are connected, not in a list but in a network.

    A network map is one of the foundation tools I use to help people build sensemaking skills. It shows relationships, connections, more detailed information. Lines can be different thicknesses; circles different sizes. This communicates something more than any list can. The quality of the map? It doesn't matter. It's that you made a map - that matters.

    Monday
    Jun032019

    Get the third point happening.

    'Get the third point happening,’ I said.

    'The third what?,’ they asked.

    'The third point of communication.’

    ‘Ok, like three dots?' they asked.

    ’Not quite. It’s like this…’ and I sketched out the triangle in this picture. 1 & 2.

    You see, looking and talking with someone else is your first and second point of communication. And usually that’s where meetings and conversations seem to stop. Just you talking to them. Them talking to you.

    How about this? 3. Bring in a third point of communication and you’re really communicating! There is an opportunity for quality sensemaking now.  

    With the third point of communication, now you can go deeper on the content and be more objective. It's great news for people who might feel awkward, anxious or uncomfortable in some meetings and conversations. (All that eye contact!) Adding in the third point, a visual, references the information you’re working on. Now you’re really making sense. 

    Monday
    May202019

    Sensemaking is like listening on steroids

    The performance enhancing tool for workplaces today is sensemaking. It's the skill of connecting dots and understanding the deeper meaning of what’s being discussed.

    When we try to take information in, understand what’s going on or decide what to do, we can use sensemaking to help us listen, think and decide. Too often we suffer misunderstandings, time wasting repetition, conversations that go around in circles, people interrupting, and still others who repeat information … but LOUDER! We’re all trying to understand what’s going on, and work out what we need to do about it.

    It can be too hard (and dull) to make sense just sitting around a table or via remote hookup looking at each other. That’s because sensemaking may not come as naturally as we assume it does. 'I can listen, I can think, I can talk. Therefore I can make sense, can’t I?’

    We need to do something more. We need to write some stuff down, to map it out - and thankfully, 'any old map will do’, says sensemaking guru Karl Weick.

    More to come this week on sensemaking...if you'd like more info on sense making, let me know. 

    Friday
    May172019

    Know where your thinking is at

    With all the information flooding in to our mind - posts, meetings, documents, reports, media ... plus the things we make up in our own mind - knowing where your thinking is at is a powerful form of self-leadership.

    Where are you?

    ⬅️ Are you at HINDSIGHT - the past? This is about stories, sharing what happened and it helps us make sense of now or the future via what has already taken place.

    ⬇️ Are you at INSIGHT - the now, present? This is where information is coming in ("incoming!!") and we need to interpret it, connect it and integrate it.

    ➡️ Are you at FORESIGHT - the future, thinking about the next? This is about predictions, projections of what might happen (based on what happened in the past or what's happening now).

    None of them, or any of the locations are wrong or right. It's the knowing where you're "at", this is the powerful thing about thinking and sensemaking.

    Sensemaking is understanding the deeper meaning of things and how we connect the dots. Are you aware of how you make sense?