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    Entries in visual notes (5)

    Wednesday
    Aug272014

    It's time to clean up our language

     

    Listening to people talking is something we do every day; listening in workshops, in planning sessions, in meetings, conversations and learning environments.

    I don't know about you, but I hear lots of 'dirty' language! Ok, not swearing, but rather let's call it 'unclean language'. 

    This is language where people interrupt, make assumptions, give directions, tell people what to do and dish out prescriptions. Yes... how much do you enjoy being told what to do? Often we may not intend to be so ... dirty... with our language, so it's something to be aware of. 

    We really do need to clean up our language!

    Clean language has the capacity to break down silos, build trusting environments, boost our capabilities to think, evolve our ideas and deepen engagement. It's an approach identified and developed by New Zealander David Grove. More leaders, coaches, managers and drivers of change might like the idea of achieving those things.

    You can read more about the technicalities of clean language here and here but a session presented at a conference I was at recently reminded me of the power of this clean listening and communication tool.

    In short, here's how you keep it clean:
    • listen using the person's words
    • use 'and...' to kick off your sentence or question
    • ask 3 key clean questions (where x is a word they've mentioned/used)
      • And what kind of x is that x?
      • And is there anything else about x?
      • And that's x like what ?
    • stick to these three questions
    • slow down.
    You can get the essence of the session from my visual notes.

    So... how 'clean' are you? How clean are the others on your team? 

    Boost engagement, build trust and break down silos in these challenging times by cleaning things up.
    Saturday
    May312014

    How did that happen?

    In a recent workshop with a senior leadership team, the highest priority topic of the day wasn't strategy, or competition or finances. It was death and injury. 

    'How did that happen?' asked the leaders when it was reported that one of the team had been killed and another injured at work. 

    The stark reality is that safety is the most important thing in the workplace. 

    After discussion of key points from the day and identifying actions for leaders of all levels to implement, the visual I share with you this week is a reminder that none of us can take safety lightly. 

    In your own environment, and with your own team, family and community… please, be safe. 

     

    Wednesday
    Mar192014

    Change is easy if you use your brain

    Got some habits that die hard? 

    It's no wonder! Our brains are passive, but our minds are active. This causes lots of 'thinking errors'. And we've all had plenty of them today … already!

    This week I share a quick video (above) plus my narration of 'Change is easy if you use your brain' from neuro researcher Jeffrey Schwartz. 

    When you understand 'won't power' ... you'll be able to make better choices and change will be easier!

    Wednesday
    Jan292014

    Are you comfortable calling yourself a leader?

    I had the opportunity to watch a video of a short TEDx Talk from Drew Dudley on Everyday Leadership last week.

    A leader who delivered a presentation used this talk as part of his session. It was a lovely surprise - to shift the focus from the speaker presenting, and let someone else build on and support your message. (Using a TED talk in your talk!) 

    But Drew's talk was also a delight because it was brief, clear, and revolved around a key story of everyday leadership. 

    He reminds us that we do things that can have a BIG impact on others… and not even be aware of it. We don't take credit it for it or acknowledge it. He says we should redefine leadership. We need to tell people they had that impact on us. That's a part of everyday leadership. 

    Drew refers to these 'lollipop moments' - based on his story about handing out a lollipop earlier in his life. 

    He believes we should thank the people who have had an impact on us, acknowledge them, create more of these moments and 'pay it forward'. It's an important part of leadership! 

    So in your roles in your work, business, family and community lives, tell someone they were a lollipop moment - that they had an impact on you. Because you can be sure that you too have had a big impact on others. You are being a leader.

    You matter so much to others.

    Be comfortable with that.  

    Wednesday
    Dec112013

    Lean Leadership Lessons - the Visual Notes Story

    This morning in Melbourne I watched a livestream of the Lean StartUp conference, beamed from San Francisco. 

    There were many swift presentations on great topics. 

    Usually when I'm at a conference or seminar, I keep myself listening and focused by capturing visual notes. Also known as graphic recording, sketchnoting or scribing. 

    I will often share the image of the visual notes I've created, based on the content I've heard. 

    Today I shared this visual on Leadership Lessons in Lean - presented by a team from Intuit Inc. 

    I'm often asked what app I use or how I create the visuals I share. 

    Here's the short story on what I do...

    - I do use the app Brushes on my ipad mini. There are plenty of others I've tried; this one remains my favourite. Look for an app that will let you zoom, choose brushes and colours and output to a jpeg, mov, PDF or other file.

    - I don't use a stylus. I've tried many and find that using my finger to write, zoom and change colour/brush size is quicker and easier (for me anyway) than writing, shuffling the stylus, writing again...

    - I often start in the middle of the blank screen with the presenter's name and title, or start at the top with a big bold, banner-style heading. You can do this before the speaker starts - it's a good 'warm up'. 

    - I do listen out for voice changes in the speakers -it's as important as listening to the content they're delivering. It helps you separate what's important and what's waffle.  Speakers are signalling which points are important by how they speak!

    - I do write out some key words they've said, and if a quick visual or image comes to my mind that will help anchor and enhance that key point, I'll sketch that. (I don't think you need to know how to draw many icons or symbols at all. About 20 is a good place to start and build up from there to 50 - 120. They're reusable for so many different meanings and concepts).

    - I may have to pause on that point or visual I'm writing because now I'm listening for their next point and might have to write and draw that. 

    - Time permitting I do go back to the previous point and begin to embellish it more; more detail on the picture, different colour for the words.

    - I do keep building up the content either working in columns or radiating out from the centre of the page. 

    - If I feel like I'm 'running out of space', I can adjust the size that I'm writing; I can scale it down and write smaller, or place other key points 'in the white spaces' on the page. 

    If you're not already taking visual notes for yourself - let alone your team - you're missing out on vital opportunities to learn, retain, recall and distil information. Plus it's fun, and a productive and effective way to build your creative muscle - and it certainly keeps you listening and stops your mind wandering to whether or not they'll have muffins at morning tea.

    Some speakers are well organised, structured and entertaining. That makes taking visual notes an absolute joy! Others you have to listen hard to - trying to work out 'what are they saying', 'what's this really about'? Often that's because they haven't clarified their thinking; they could have another pass at their content and improve on their presentation. We could all improve on our presentations!

    But you'll have a better chance of understanding and making meaning of presentations and content when you've got a sorting or filtering process you're working on - and visual notes are just that!

    Try visual notes rather than dot points, linear notes and pages of scrawl that you may never look at again.

    Oh go on! Try it in private - listen to the news, an interview or a TED talk!