The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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 It's not 'drawing'...



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

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    Entries in team (7)


    Keep it moving through the team

    Playing well on a team means not slowing things down unnecessarily or holding things up. To collaborate, contribute, do our bit or add our expertise to a piece of work, is a fundamental part of work.

    It's rare we work in total isolation - unless in our own business - even then, we might have a team member, suppliers and ... customers.

    Do you know how your working style impacts the 'flow' of work through the team? Are you searching for 'more' or to make something you're working on 'better' before it's 'done' or handed on to others?

    Perfectionism and the pursuit of 'right' isn't just an individual thing; it has a huge flow on effect for the wider team and beyond through the organisation, to customers and clients.

    This article talks about the impact of perfectionism on the team.

    Have you been slowed down in a team where someone might be going for perfect?

    Love to hear your thoughts. 


    How to work with people ... when you don't want to work with people

    In this era of increased, required (and expected) collaboration, it can be tough to work with people, if there are times when you don’t feel like working with people!

    Particularly if you see yourself as more of an introvert or ambivert or shy, or you're dealing with some sh*t in your life. Showing up and putting on your ‘collaboration face’ can be tough if you’d rather work alone.

    For some it’s a feeling of social anxiety where we might find the interaction, talking or problem solving parts of working with others a challenge or uncomfortable. Some days collaboration is one of the last things you feel like doing, especially if you think there are more pressing things to do or important alone work to be done. For some people who get frustrated easily or have less patience and want to just get stuff done, collaboration can feel slow or time consuming or plain annoying.

    Yes indeed, many of us are loners and may well prefer to be alone, work alone and do it all alone. 

    When we are required (or strongly encouraged) to join a project, team, group, workshop, planning session or conference that suggests networking and games to 'get to know each other’ ... maybe we just don't want to. 


    But isn't collaboration a 100% positive thing?

    While we might understand the benefits and positives of collaboration, sometimes we just need some breathing space and prefer space alone.

    It can be overwhelming for some people to be constantly in the company of others. Think of people who have customer service and customer facing roles in high volume and high pressure environments. Or those who are constantly problem solving with others, dealing with group behaviours, beliefs and barriers for an extended period of time. 


    Recharging, retreating or relaxing

    We often need to grab some time alone and recharge or be with people we can fully relax around and not be expected to collaborate. 

    You might have seen people lunching alone at a busy conference, or having quiet time to get stuff done or taking some time away from a group meeting or workshop. They may well retreat to recharge. 

    And of course, for many, we know there may be plenty of other humans who you absolutely must collaborate with when you get home - that includes pets, partners, friends or family, members in community groups and others in the interests and network groups we are part of. 


    Are we 'over collaborating?'

    At times things can feel ‘over collaborated’; that is, we’re required to do so much with others, there never seems to be a break from team, group or unit work. 

    In the work I do bringing teams together, working with leadership groups and helping people co-design, co-create, decide and do, there are always always always people who don’t want to play in this group space. They may be forced into it by colleagues or have gentle pressure (and guilt?) applied by leaders that insist that collaboration is ‘the way’ or the expectation is constantly there, yet they would prefer to contribute in other ways that don’t involve full-on collaboration.

    The messages that 'the group is wiser with you' or 'everyone has their strength' are high on inspiration (and yes, fact) but they can also be low on the practicalities of what to do if you just don’t want to work with others. 

    So when you’re next faced with a workshop, meeting, space or situation where you’re expected to collaborate an don’t feel like, there are some things you can do.


    Cohesion over collaboration

    There are other roles you can play in collaborative environments that don't require you to be the leading light and winner of the collaborative stakes.

    Rather you can play a role that builds the cohesion of the group, keeps the group or team together, performing and progressing well.

    Sometimes cohesion is better than collaboration.

    If you adopt a role of helping the group stick together, you don’t need to be the star of the show or the loudest mouth or need to present yourself as the wisest in the room. You’re simply playing the ‘glue’ that helps the group ‘stick’. 


    Here’s what you can do:

    1. think about the role you can play; this may not be your normal role or default behaviour. So how else could you be, what could you do or how could your act to contribute and collaborate and build cohesion? 
    2. adopt a role that is not IN the group, but rather FOR the group.  What could you do that places you in a support role - you’re still contributing and doing, but not as one of the collaborators?
    3. think about offering to facilitate, guide or enable the process and progress of the group. This is real cohesion work. Think of it like a tour guide or an air traffic controller. You’re not the artist of the artworks you’re explaining in the museum, you’re taking people through and showing them. You’re not flying the planes landing at the airport, rather you’re helping keep the planes in order; which one first, which one next. 
    4. be at the service of the group; what do they need right now? Do they need someone to listen, scribe, time keep, summarise, present back or distill or make sense?
    5. lead a session rather than contribute content to it; ask the team questions - get people’s input, ideas, suggestions and contributions. Your role is then to listen, to make sense of, to get them talking. This is a mega-cohesion activity. Good stuff!
    6. be the listener, the hearer. Too many meetings, workshops and sessions are full of people intent on putting their points of view across as soon as possible. Take on the role of a listener, a distiller. What are you hearing? Who said what? What did that mean? Are there similar points of view in the room? Are there different points of view? This helps to keep the group together despite differences. 
    7. And importantly, let people know you’re taking on another or different role in the meeting or workshop and that you are being at the service of the group and to the group or team’s outcome. 


    Expected and respected

    Collaboration is an expected part of work these days. You've got to find ways that respect the values, expectations and behaviours of the workplace, but that also work for you. It’s important also to not ‘disappear’; don’t be invisible. Look for ways where you are contributing to a purpose, doing something that is of value to you and the team, as well as being helpful to all. This is great cohesion work. 

    Your team mates will likely prefer to work with someone who’s supportive, helpful and collaborative in nature, rather than a grumpy quiet anti-collaborationist who skips meetings and gatherings and shows up in what might look like passive aggressive mode (even if you’re not!)


    Plan ahead

    In this era of collaboration, you’ll probably want to avoid the image of ’not being a collaborator’, so remember to plan ahead.

    What meetings or gatherings have you got coming up?

    What can you do before, during or after the event that is of service, help and assistance - and is just as valuable as you sitting around the table or being in the room contributing and collaborating as others are?


    You be awesome

    You have wonderful gifts, skills, talents and expertise to share and contribute. Acknowledge that sometimes you may not feel like playing with others. When that’s the case, adopt another role to help build cohesion in the group or event. You’ll contribute more than you’ll know!


    Keep the energy up *clap clap*

    Talented chef and restaurateur Neil Perry has a number of fine eateries in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia. And if you've flown on Qantas you will have tasted some of the great food that the team he advises has created for cruising altitude. 

    Have you truly seen him at work? Yes, he's been on TV plenty of times and he's been interviewed and shared his recipes ... but have you seen him work?

    He does work! And I love his style. 

    In the kitchen at the Melbourne Rockpool restaurant (exposed to diners in that modern, transparent, 'look-at-what-we're-creating-for-you' style that is a big part of restaurants today) I've seen him leading his team on several occasions. 

    He's not a loud, shouting and cranky chef as many of the stereotypes have us think. 

    But he does make some noise. 

    *clap clap*

    Yep, he delivers a double clap to create and sustain some energy, pace and delivery among the team. It's probably his way of saying 'now come on, step it up, let's get that dish to the servery', 'where are those oysters' and 'what's happening with that Waygu?'

    *clap clap*

    It's a tool I've adopted in my own office to motivate the team that is me. It keeps the energy up. It can celebrate when a task or project is completed and it also tunes the ears into thinking, sounds and what's going on.

    Too often people can drift off into their internal worlds when you'd prefer them to be focusing on the here and now.

    I'm not suggesting you go around and clap in the face of people who aren't participating in a dull meeting, or who are quieter contributors in a workshop. No... just remember that you are able to shift and change the energy in an environment. And if that's an environment you're responsible for creating, then there are times when you will need to do something.

    *clap clap* is Neil Perry's way of keeping the energy up, keeping the team focused.

    What can you do to inject energy, maintain focus and creating stimulating environments for your team?



    Are we ready to move on?

    It's been fun, challenging, interesting to work with some different groups this week - at some point each group needed to make a decision and move on. 

    Yes, you can vote, bring out coloured sticky dots or... whatever decision making process you like. But one approach that worked a charm this week was this:

    1. Open up the topic for discussion

    2. Visually capture key points about the views in the room (on a flip chart or white board) - people can SEE what others are thinking

    3. Identify the options or choices

    4 Check for agreement. That means 'asking' the question.

    I saw several groups this week spinning around content for such a long time. It's great to talk and put everyone's views out there, but once we're looping back around to some of the same points, some clarity is needed. 

    Summarising or recapping the main views is powerful and I rarely see anyone use this technique in group discussions. Too busy trying to get their own point across!

    Summarise, and then ask - 'any other views...any different views?'

    Once you've teased them all out, it's time to check if you're in agreement to proceed. 

    Again, I rarely see groups ask the question to get agreement. It's as if a few people are so frustrated that they say 'I think we're all in agreement, let's move on'. That ain't a question!

    Closed questions are great. 'Is there agreement?' 'Who disagrees?' 'Who still has views to put forward?' 'Are we ready to move on?' 

    Just because YOU think everyone agrees doesn't make it so. 

    Somtimes I'm in the role of listener (graphic recorder, visual capture) with teams and groups and not leading or faciliating. This is how I get to see what's really going on in teams and groups. If you had someone just listening to your next meeting, workshop or session - and not participating - what would they say? How would they rate your team's ability to get to consensus and move on?




    The 9 Elements of Collaboration - explained

    Yes, here they are, the 9 Elements of Collaboration I presented at the International Association of Facilitators conference in March this year. While I spoke about seven 'continents' (it had a global theme after all!) there were an extra two topics I slipped in!

    This visual of the 9 Elements is a real 'go to' for me. I talk through this visual whenever I'm meeting with a client, leader or team who are planning their strategic session, their team day or their 'get everyone on the same page' event. 

    It's much easier to plan out an agenda when they know what they want to achieve, and I can be sure we design a session that's actually built for collaboration. 

    Here's what the 9 elements are all about:

    1. Kick Off : be sure to start the event, session or workshop with some pizzazz and energy. This does not mean a welcome speech from the leader or CEO ! That is not usually energetic - it may be, depending on the leader, but likely not. Kick off with music, an inspiring video, a creative performance or something energising that sets the scene for what this event is all about. I've used improv performers, musicians, drummers, actors... whatever you use, don't ignore the kick off. It's important to start with a bang!

    2. Singular : help people settle in to the day with an activity they can do alone. Perhaps a reflection on what they want to get out of the session, what their expectations are, what they bring to the team, where they are at. This helps those who are slower to 'jump in' to group yee-ha activities. I particularly like using a singular activity because it goes against the over-used "let's all sit in a circle and talk - listening to one person".

    3. Social : OK, now we can mix and mingle and get 'groupy'. It could be a networking activity, a meet your colleagues, a speed connections activity or some improv games. Whatever you do, ease in to the socialising aspects of the event. I never like to throw people in to a 'ok, everyone talk to everyone' activity. It can be a harsh shift from waking up in the morning to being thrust into group stuff. 

    4. 5 and 6.

    Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic : these are the must-have elements to any training, workshops, sessions, conversations. You can't just sit and talk and listen. Get people looking at things, hearing things and doing things. 

    Visual: I'm a huge fan of visual thinking and graphic recording so I'll often provide visual facilitation as a standard part of my facilitation. Here I capture the unfolding story and content of the workshop, giving participants the threads to follow so they'll do better work in the session. But other visuals could be photographs, illustrations, videos, artwork, tangible objects and props. I make sure everyone has the tools for visuals at their tables - post it notes, markers, note books, photo cards...

    Auditory: This is about hearing things - and other people's voices doesn't count! Unless they're singing! Introduce other forms of sound like music, music, music. A participant in a recent workshop said to me "I'd love to come to one of your parties; you have the most diverse music I've ever heard!" Yes, diverse people in the room so I was playing world music, jazz, country & western, pop, classical, blues... and with some teams and groups we trade pre-recorded music for live music. Why not try team drumming? Greg at Rhythm Effect is superb. 

    Kinesthetic: Touching, feeling and doing things is such an important way for many, many people to learn and connect and contribute. It might not be your preference, but then it's not all about you! Be sure to have things for people to do like activities to work on, practical tasks to complete, space to move around in, things to touch and play with (Lego, Play Doh, props and items, tools, abstract objects, costumes, accessories, products... use your imagination)

    And shift it around, shift it up. Go from visual to kinesthetic to singular, to a social auditory activity, back to singular visual... 

    7. Logical: Give the agenda, structure and processes of the day some order and logic. For those who gather and sort information in this way, they'll be looking for the process. Give it to them. The 9 elements of collaboration - that's a logical process. Set up things with some logic, flow, step by step and order. I always start with the agenda on a flip chart - even if they have it written on a page in front of them - then we can tick off the chunks as we go through. Then I find the steps and chunks in the sub-topics so there is logic and process within logic and process. 

    8. Verbal: I address verbal last because it's the thing that gets done the most - too often in fact. You cannot expect people to jump up and down for joy, wanting to collaborate when you hit them with a whole heap of verbal blah blah from the leadership team. Or worse, you make people sit in a circle all day and make them listen to everything everyone else has to say. You have to change it up. You can still talk, just mix it up with the other elements. When I'm providing graphic recording services I get to work alongside facilitators and leaders who are facilitating - there's way too much verbal going on out there. Talk at you, talk about you, trying to talk with you, talk talk. The balance MUST shift so that other elements can be incorporated so you'll engage and inspire and get better outcomes. 

    9. Wrap-Up: When you started strong at the beginning of the day, you opened a loop in people's minds. It's time to finish with a bang too, so that you can close up the loop, link everything together nicely just like a beautifully wrapped gift. Help people make sense of it all. Give the a natural yet obvious conclusion to the event. I shudder and cringe when events run over time and the wrap up, conclusion, next steps and call to action is undercooked and people are left, flat. You must finish with air and inspiration and energy to build commitment and action. Otherwise the big bucks you've invested in getting people there has been diluted. Shame about that. 

    9 Elements of Collaboration - there are certainly more and different things you can do but these are a base, a must-do and a must-think-about.

    Just because you've finally found a date in the diary when everyone's available, don't think that's the most important thing about the day! What you'll do and how you'll help them collaborate is what's important. Give sufficient attention to that and you'll get much higher levels of engagement, deeper levels of commitment and you'll create a momentum that's unstoppable.