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<h1> Author: Fiona Stratford
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24April 2017
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An evening with 80 other accountants exploring challenges around communicating and engaging non-financial people with financial information may not be everyone’s idea of fun but stick with me…. I am fast approaching the 30th anniversary of qualification as a chartered accountant and if I am typical of the group in terms of the amount of experience in the room then collectively there was around 2,400 years of experience that is an amazing resource! After we’d broken the ice we set about identifying the challenges and there were a number of themes that emerged that I will explore in a series of articles. Finance professionals have for many years worked with colleagues in different functions – and not all of these colleagues speak ‘finance’ or numerical language! What we are usually seeking to achieve when we share financial data is to create knowledge that then affects behaviour. So let’s just unpick that a little… What do I mean by knowledge? We each take in data and information and make sense and meaning from it based on our own experience and values. This is something that is completely unique for each person as no two people have exactly the same life experience. Knowledge is the meaning we each make from data and information. Our actions or behaviour come from the meaning we have made. So if you have ever wondered why people have taken action you didn’t expect after sharing a spreadsheet of data with them you might just begin to see why this can happen.

A key learning here is to get really clear about the story you want to tell and what action you are seeking from that then think about how best to present the information so that when people make meaning they are more likely to come to conclusions in line with your own.

Using visual language creates clarity and understanding Communicating with others visually is highly effective in creating greater clarity and understanding. One familiar aspect of visual language is using graphs in presenting financial information. This simple visual way of presenting data is often helpful in supporting the story that we see in the data. In getting the story we want to tell across more clearly to people there is a higher chance the meaning taken from it will be more consistent. There are many other options in visual language and you absolutely do not need to become a great artist to use them either, trust me, I know this! For example, when working with a European finance team who needed to improve their month and year-end close processes having implemented SAP I used a very simply drawn arrow on a large sheet of paper on the wall and a lot of post-it notes and we mapped the process together. This created much greater clarity and understanding of why things needed to be done when they did to meet reporting deadlines. It also allowed the team to identify opportunities to make improvements that made the process more efficient and effective. Another approach that has worked well for me is to use a simple drawing to represent a metaphor.  So for example communicating a three-year revenue target using a picture of a mountain with the target at the top and camps along the way to illustrate annual progress. Really simple and very effective as everyone knew what we were aiming for. The choice over what type of visual to use comes down to what outcome is sought, or to put it another way, what story do you want to tell and what actions or behaviour do you want as a result? Creating clarity and understanding when working with a group is one factor in building trust and improving performance. Visual working is a great tool to use in achieving this and a great way to demonstrate the creativity and innovation that our roles as finance professionals require.
09March 2017
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“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality”   Plutarch This quote sums up for me how change really happens.  It is about leading change by example, or to put it another way, truly walking the talk.  A change in how we behave or how we do things has an effect on those around us. The beauty of this is that we are all capable of making change happen. If you want to see something specific change in your organisation or team culture, maybe you are seeking greater collaborative working, more creativity or agility. What is it that you can develop more in yourself to support this? On a deeper level we can work to continue to develop ourselves as aware, awake and truly alive human beings and bring this into the workplace. In many organisations, if you talk to people who work there, they have very strong reasons for why they work where they work and do what they do. Really understanding these reasons can actually be the ‘pants on fire’ drivers for people’s behaviour and for change. Just think about the potential that could be untapped within your team or organisation if you can truly connect to this. This is about really getting to know and understand people as whole human beings not just the bit that comes into the office and does the work.  It means creating an environment where people feel comfortable about bringing their whole selves into. Can you see the benefits of this for everyone and the organisation? How often is the work environment truly lacking in humanity? At a physical level we often see muted colours and uniformity – that’s not human at all! It certainly doesn’t encourage people to be who they are – a very large part of each person is left at the door when they walk in or possibly in the car park, on the train or on the bus when they switch into ‘work mode’. It is so much more than just the physical environment that matters here. How can we as individuals and leaders create a work place where people show up as their whole selves, contribute through all of their talents and are truly valued for all of this? You won’t be surprised to learn that I believe this starts with each of us. By bringing our whole selves into the work place and truly showing up we give others a way to do this too. Taking time with people to let them see more of us and to listen to what is happening for them.  If we are also comfortable with not having to have all of the answers we can truly unlock potential. It really doesn’t need to be dramatic either as small changes in how you are at work can make a big difference. I know this is true from personal experience. From someone who has had her ‘pants on fire’ about this for many years I am hopeful that this connects with you too.
09February 2017
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We are very used to hearing that change is a constant in business nowadays. As most of the work that I do is about change on some level then it is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. As individuals we change constantly – cells in our bodies are replaced on a cyclical basis, we react and respond to events around us that bring about a change in how we behave or sometimes what we believe. Conscious change is not easy. If you think about trying to change an old habit or develop a new habit both can be really challenging and often we need support to find a way to make the changes. There is some pretty shocking research about people with heart conditions who were advised to make lifestyle changes for health reasons. The shocking part is that only one in seven actually made the prescribed changes despite knowing their lives depend on this. This led to some fascinating research by Kegan & Lahey published in their book, Immunity to Change. There’s a brilliant video summary – ‘an evening with Robert Kegan and immunity to change’. The key principle here is that our existing behaviour or habit often is underpinned by very strong reasons. Critically we are not always aware of what these reasons are so when we try to change we fail because the original reasons override any new motivation. So change at an individual level is challenging. Now think about relationships in your life, friends, partners and family for example. All of these relationships are changing constantly too as we are affected by experiences so too are our relationships – and this is a massive simplification as it is anything but a simple cause and effect dynamic going on. We know that maintaining any meaningful relationship over time takes work and effort. It definitely isn’t easy either. So we know all of this complexity about people and change. Yet when it comes to organisational change there seems to be a belief that you can drive change in a way that is akin to fixing a machine that isn’t working quite they way it should be. Organisations may take a logical/cognitive approach where someone or a group of people present the change and explain all the good reasons why it is needed. The expectation here is that because it has been explained the necessary change will happen. It really doesn’t. There is a big flaw in this approach as any presentation however inspiring is a tell. The presenter is telling the audience what to do and we know from the research mentioned above this doesn’t work. Actually we don’t need the research to back this up – just ask yourself when was the last time you changed your behaviour simply because someone told you to? Communication around change can be truly excellent, well thought through and engaging and still it doesn’t land. Each of us makes meaning from what we hear, read or see. For us to choose to do something differently we need time to make meaning and make a commitment at both an intellectual level and at an emotional level. Simply – we have to want to do it. Even then we will probably need support as we work to change. This support is a very important aspect and can be tricky to get right as there can be many and varied factors that can influence the outcome. A simple example can illustrate this. Greater collaborative working is often a change that leaders are seeking as they recognise that no one person can know all there is to know in the business. A very sound logical reason for change. So why is it that people don’t just change? There can be a lot of reasons – maybe there is a bonus scheme that is based upon individual targets or perhaps the predominant management style within the organisation has been telling people the answers and what to do. This may make people wary of taking action that hasn’t been instructed. Possibly the leader him/herself is unaware how much their own behaviour impacts on change. An example here is coaching that really isn’t coaching – just a nice way of telling people what to do. I believe working to create change requires an approach that works with the whole system – and the levels within it: e.g. individual, relationships, groups and organisation, recognising that in each case it is a complex living system where cause and effect is not linear or direct. There definitely isn’t one single method that brings about change; it is not something that can be done to any individual, group or organisation – it comes from within and sometimes small changes can have big impact. For me there are two quotes that I believe support this: “Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou What are your thoughts?
19August 2016
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There are lots of things written about meetings – particularly about how bad they can be! But great things happen when people meet, and there have been some meetings that have changed our lives:

  • In 1898 when Thomas Eddison met Henry Ford and encouraged him to continue his work as an engineer.
  • In 1967 when Bill Gates and Paul Allen met and then went on to found Microsoft.
  • In 1943 when Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met in Tehran to decide military strategy.

Can you think of a meeting that you have experienced where you came away thinking, “that was good!” or “we achieved a lot”?

What was different about those meetings? What makes a meeting a positive experience for you?

I suspect that the positive meetings that come to mind may well have three things in common:

  1. Real clarity of purpose for the meeting.
  2. The right people were there to do the work.
  3. Attention was given to how work is done – the human aspect.

Taking each of these in a bit more detail.

Clarity of purpose

If everyone involved in a meeting knows why the meeting is happening and what the expected outcomes are then a really good foundation is laid for a good meeting:

  • It allows people to prepare and think through the topic(s) and challenges in advance.
  • It helps to maintain focus in the meeting.
  • It ensures that you know who needs to be there.

The right people to do the work

Successful meetings happen when work really gets done in them and not in the squeezed time between or after meetings.

A great way to think about having the right people in the room comes courtesy of Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff in their book Don’t just do something, stand there!. They use the acronym ARE IN to examine whether the right people are involved.

So to ensure that the work needed can be done the meeting needs people with:

  • Authority to act
  • Resources – contacts, time, money
  • Expertise in the issues
  • Information about the topic/issue that no one else has
  • Need to be involved as they will be affected by the outcome and will have views on the consequences

An example to illustrate how effective having the right people in the room can be is IKEA. The retailer successfully decentralised a global system for product design, manufacture and distribution in just three days. This meeting involved 53 people from 10 countries and included customers and suppliers as well as the internal teams from IKEA. (Weisbord & Janoff, Don’t just do something, stand there!)

The focus also needs to be on the work within the meeting and by this I mean actively doing things that lead to an outcome, not just sharing information updates. This can be a very inefficient use of valuable face-to-face time when there are other more time effective ways to keep everyone updated.

This leads us to how the work gets done.

Attention to how work is done

Each person in a meeting is unique and paying attention to this really helps to deliver a good meeting and strong outcomes.

It involves thinking through how to:
  • Keep people focussed on the work
  • Build trust so people feel able to contribute their best thinking
  • Manage information effectively
  • Handle decision making and also the physical aspects such as breaks

The more people that are involved in a meeting, the greater the number of perspectives there are. Harnessing this diversity of perspective is where real breakthroughs can come. Often this can involve sticking with it when it feels pretty uncomfortable. This discomfort will be different for different people. For example if you tend to be future focussed in your thinking you may feel frustrated when others in the meeting talk more about the past. Or if you are more task oriented you will perhaps be bemused by those who are focussed on how any change may affect people. The thing to remember is that all perspectives have value so take a deep breath and hang in there, it is worth it!

When people share lots of ideas and perspectives it can feel as though it will never make any sense and there is then a huge temptation to leap to action and decisions. This is where people tend to have a need to move to comfort and display symptoms of AAS (Ambiguity Aversion Syndrome) or UID (Uncertainty Intolerance Disorder)

However staying with the ‘groan zone’ for long enough can result in some amazing new thinking that leads to a much better outcome. The real breakthrough thinking, new ideas and solutions come in the space that sits between chaos and order. So maybe the next time you are thinking about meetings move the focus to what works. After all, we can all do our bit to make a change for the better.

18July 2016
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Involving people affected by change and allowing them to provide input on issues that matter to them, for example, large scale strategic conversations, is more likely to result in people owning the change process and its outcomes’ This principle was used in our work with the University of Brighton recently, here’s what we did... Our challenge The University of Brighton may trace its history back to 1859, but its style of governance and the scope of its ambition for students and faculty is notably forward-looking. The institution serves 20,700 students across five campuses and  is a major university for the professions.  UniBrighton’s strategic leadership called us in to help drive a new approach to developing their future strategy: they wanted the initiative to be broad, inclusive and engaging, to harvest and build upon a wide and representative selection of ideas and suggestions. Our approach
  • Five 2½ hour meetings at each campus, supported by a website and informal drop-in sessions.
  • Journey-through-time meeting design, highlighting the assembled experience in the room by creating a physical circle of participants ordered by their length of employment at the university.
  • Creation of a large-display history map drawing on the wealth of experience in the room, supported by live graphic recording.
  • Graphic representation of influences impacting the university now and in the future, to spark off ideas for the future from each group. We used a large-display mind-map format to graphic record inputs.
  • Summaries of ideas generated at each meeting, in spreadsheet form, to make it easy for the strategic teams to assimilate quickly.
 Our results The meetings were attended by around 400 staff from all campuses, across the professorial, administrative and support dimensions. The concentrated ideas and insights will be used to create a strategy for UniBrighton. uobmetrics Our learning The physicality and psychology of people arranging themselves in order of their length of service was fascinating!
  • It wasn’t a pecking order – fresh thinking came from all parts
  • Passion isn’t based on length of service.
An awful lot can be achieved involving a lot of people in a very short space of time! What people said mm2
27June 2016
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The following is a case study from our supportive facilitation work for a global leader in cardiac and vascular care needing to reinvigorate key teams for long-term direction and strategy change.

Mission:

Coming from a period of transition and change, the client's challenge to us was to reinvigorate their key teams and muster forces behind formulating and implementing long-term direction and strategy change.

Methods:

  • Intensive one-to-one briefings with teh GM and other key leaders and stakeholders to set out clear goals for our involvement
  • A multi-state implementation based on a two-day meeting design with facilitation of the vision and strategy sessions plus a separate planning meeting
  • Additional visual documentation and outputs supporting communication of the vision and strategy to all staff and stakeholders at an annual kick-off event, which was also part of our support and design remit.

Metrics:

  • The leadership's compelling three-year vision and roadmap is firmly in place, with clear objectives and ownership
  • Highly positive feedback from the kick-off event, gaining a strong response at a facilitated confereence that engaged delegates in multi-way vision and strategy conversations rather than one-way sharing.
If you are in transition and periods of change needing vigor around alignment give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or, complete our contact form letting us know how we can help with direction and strategy change.
20June 2016
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The following case study is from pro-bono planning sessions and meeting facilitation for a small UK non-profit that wanted to agree new strategies while avoiding pitfalls from their past.

Mission:

Escaping Victimhood is a small, non-profit organisation specialising in the support of families of victims of violent crime. The organisation had recently received Lottery funding, presenting them with a cross-roads--choices about hos they move forward. There were some long-term conflicts between team members with different ideas about how things should be lead within the organisation. Our mission: agree a strategic way forward and resolve the difficulties in working together in the past.

Methods:

  • Interviews with everyone attending the meeting
  • Design and preparation of materials for a one-day strategy meeting
  • Facilitation of a one-day meeting in Oxford, UK
  • Production of documentation for ongoing development and communication of the strategy

Metrics:

By the end of the meeting the board had agreed:
  • a long-term vision
  • their strategic priorities
  • new ways of working to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
If you have challenges in identifying and implementing you stratgies, particularly because of historic communications difficulties, we may be able to help out. Give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form and tell us about your strategy challenges.
13June 2016
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The following is a case study from meeting we facilitated for a Japan-based technology company with global operations that needed a shift in strategy to make step change in applying their work.

Mission:

Here the CEO wished to make a shift in strategy and align his team in order to make a step change in the results for the forthcoming year. Our mission was to guide the CEO and his leadership team through two days of vision and strategy work and to come out with tangible plans.

Methods:

  • Briefing from the CEO to clarify what he wanted to achieve
  • Interviews with the team coming to the meeting
  • Development of the design and materials for a two-day leadership meeting
  • Graphic facilitation of a two-day meeting in the Thames River Valley
  • The development of visuals from the meeting for onward communication to the wider organisation.

Metrics:

By the end of the meeting the leadership team had developed:
  • a long-term strategy for HR
  • strategies to achieve the vision
  • plans for the next year with objectives, actions and allocated resources
  • agreed next steps for onward communication.
If you need to align global teams, from one department or across functions, give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form telling us about your global teams and what you want to accomplish.
06June 2016
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The following case study is from meetings we facilitated for a global drinks company that had grown rapidly through acquisitions.

Mission:

The CEO needed to get together the heads of all the business units to converge and agree on a single strategic way forward. Our mission was to take a group of individual business leaders and start to form a united leadership team.

Methods:

  • Briefing from the CEO to clarify what he wanted to achieve
  • Interviews with the team coming to the meeting
  • Development of the design and materials for a two-day leadership meeting
  • Graphic facilitation of a two-day meeting in Latvia
  • The development of visuals from the meeting for onward communications to the wider organisation

Metrics:

By the end of the meeting the leadership team had developed:
  • a long-term vision, mission and strategies for the whole organisation
  • a set of common goals across the business
  • an agreed set of values with clarity of meaning and behaviours
  • commitment by leaders to develop plans to align with the overall strategic business direction.
Preparing leaders for change, including mergers and acquisitions, can be challenging. We can help you think it through and move forward. Give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete the contact form telling us about your change and leadership needs.
30May 2016
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The following is a case study from our facilitation consultancy with a global, France-based FMCG business focused on transforming the HR organisation with a globally aligned strategy.

Mission:

A new global HR leader needing to transform the HR organisation from locally-based transactional HR to globally-aligned strategic HR partners.

Methods:

  • Briefing from the HR Director to clarify her objectives
  • Interviews with the HR team attending the meeting
  • Liaison with external HR consultancy
  • Development of the design and materials for a three-day global HR leadership meeting
  • Graphic facilitation of a three-day meeting in Paris
  • The development of visuals from the meeting for onward communications to the wider HR team and to the wider Exec team.

Metrics:

By the end of the meeting the HR leadership had developed:
  • a long-term vision for HR
  • an agreed purpose
  • strategies to achieve the vision
  • plans for the next year with objectives, actions and allocated resources
  • agreed next steps for onward communications and testing of their work.
If you department or organisation is seeking transformation and an aligned strategy give us a all at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form telling us a little something about your challenges.
23May 2016
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The following case study is for a leading FMCG company with a new leader with a new global strategy. We supported him and helped him collaborate with his new team.

Mission:

The company is a leading global FMCG business. Our clients was new in the role and business segment. The aim was to bring their global team together face-to-face for the first time, to familiarise and engage them in a new global corporate strategy and to collaborate on a plan for the team to support the overall success of the global business.

Methods:

  • Briefing from the Chief Information Officer and HR Director to clarify meeting objectives
  • Interviews with the global team of eight who were attending the meetings
  • Co-creation of the design and materials for 3.5 day global Business Partner meeting
  • Graphic facilitation of the meeting and development of visuals from the meeting for onward communication
  • Prioritisation of long term stratefy in line with the new global strategy
  • Agreement of relevant and tangible cultural shifts, and assignment of owners to strategies and cultural shifts
  • Timeline for implementation

Metrics:

The meeting agreements and actions are in the first implementation stage. Results will develop between this meeting and the follow-on meetings designed to review progress and make adjustments to the courses of action. If you have new leaders in role and need to support team growth, locally or globally, we can help. Give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form and let us know what your needs are.
18May 2016
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The Harvard Business Review has published comprehensive thinking on how organisations can engage around agile working models. Agile, of course, started in IT and tech project management. It is now being explored as a way of working in all levels and departments of an organisation. Agile strategy development is something we are exploring and starting to bring into our client work. We work largely in upper management and C-suite levels. We are excited as this level of management dives into agile thinking and decision making. We see agile as part of being Teal, as in the Frederic Laloux's thinking in Reinventing Organisations. Teal and agile complement each other. Mastering both takes time and commitment. Also, we are using both concepts in our own growth as a company. Exciting times.
16May 2016
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The following is a case study for recent work we did for a global cosmetics, haircare and beauty company with the goal of improving collaboration with fewer meetings.

Mission:

Their employee engagement survey showed that marketing managers were spending too much time in meetings and not getting the creative results they needed. Our task: find ways of improving collaboration with fewer meetings.

Methods:

We ran a facilitated meeting for the entire marketing team to demonstrate how to run productive, engaging and creative meetings. Next, a diagnostic to uncover the causes of meeting problems, followed by a leadership training programme. We ran leadership workshops for the senior team to redesign their pivotal meetings. We supported the leaders one-to-one in running more productive meetings.

Metrics:

Measured results aren't in yet but early reports suggest that meetings have become more productive as people use our techniques to collaborate more effectively, earlier on in the marketing process, and therefore need fewer meetings. If meeting productivity, and wanting fewer meetings, we can work with you to help you understand your current process and help find new ways of meeting. Give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or, complete our contact form telling us a little about what you want to achieve.
11May 2016
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What does collaboration look like? What does it sound like? This video of Ravel's Bolero played on one cello by four musicians from the Vienna Cello Ensemble expresses collaboration. Think about how much trust, shared knowledge and wisdom, ability to adjust to circumstances, clear understanding of roles, shared purpose and roadmap, and so many other dynamics both conscious and unconscious that make this collaboration successful. It is the same basic dynamic in organisational groups and teams. What an inspiration!  
09May 2016
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The following is a case study from meetings we designed and facilitated for a global pharmaceutical company with a goal of improving meeting productivity.

Mission:

The UK and Ireland employee survey results showed a major concern about the number of meetings and the quality of meetings. Our mission was to work with them to improve the productivity of meetings and thereby reduce the number of meetings.

Methods:

We conducted a diagnostic process with the UK and Ireland business. From this we developed a leadership development programme, redesigned some pivotal meetings, and provided one-to-one support and coaching of meeting leaders.

Metrics:

We trained the top 60 leaders across the organisation. We are awaiting the results of this year's engagement survey. Leadership capabilities, especially high quality meeting skills, are critical in organisations. This case study shows one aspect of how we support leadership. Call us if you want to discuss your leadership needs. +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form telling us a little of what you need.
03April 2016
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Sunnie Giles' article in the 15 March 2016 Harvard Business Review nails the competencies that best serve leaderhip, in its many forms. Our thoughts on leadership align with Sunnie's writing. Have a read and give us your thoughts on this important topic.
29March 2016
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We know from experience that if you focus on the purpose you will find greater success. This applies when meeting and in organisations and in leadership concerns. This article by Dominic Houlder and Nandu Nandkishore in the Harvard Business Review published 22 March 2016 echoes our thinking. Have a read. Let us know what you think.
16March 2016
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Sometimes thinking is a luxury when your day to day work is full on. When you do get time to think you have to focus on your critical topics. Thinking takes time and focus. You schedule some time and we'll help you think through your issues and topics in a focus, deliberate way. Let's get our PA;s scheduling some time so we can help you out. Call us on +44 (0)1628 471 114 or fill in our contact form and we'll get the conversation started.
11March 2016
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Uncovering the real problem can sometimes be difficult because it is easy to get in our own ways. If you want to talk to us about how to move beyond where you are to uncover the underlying issues give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or tell us what you think is going on in our contact form and we'll help you sort it out.
09March 2016
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More and more companies, and teams within organisations, are struggling to communicate well, with leaders challenged to keep their local teams aligned to the overall organisational goals, strategies and agreed actions. (more…)
07March 2016
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Agile has achieved wide acceptance within the project management world. We have been thinking about how agile concepts work in vision, strategy and deployment processes. Our question is can meeting facilitation add value as agile co-thinkers with leaders who understand that the world is a constantly changing place. (more…)
26February 2016
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Stephen Covey's work and thinking has deep resonance with Meeting Magic. We build on his thinking in understanding the power of meeting. Meeting well is built on trust. Trust glues relationships, meeting process, personal and group action, and organisational change. At Meeting Magic we help individuals build trust within their work process. To learn more about how we can help you build trust among your people, in teams and in decision making and planning, give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our contact form and tell us the issues around trust that you face daily. We're here to support you and your colleagues.
19February 2016
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Call us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete our contact form with details of what you want to discuss.
17February 2016
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Liz Forder finds her major influencers in her personal life and her effective meeting facilitation. What she has learned from powerful women influences her professional work, particularly her facilitation of groups through the power of meeting. She carries her own empathy, humility and respect for others into her client communications. And, there is room for Bruce Springsteen, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela in her own mashup of their life experiences, poetry, storytelling and empowered thinking. Have a watch and listen as Liz tells us about these powerful people and others who continue to shape her thinking. Give Liz Forder a call to share your own passions and what drives you, and maybe sing a Springsteen song together, at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or let Liz know what you are thinking about, or your meeting needs, in the contact form. She'll get back to you as quickly as she can.
15February 2016
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Personal growth is what drives Fiona Stratford, even in her client relationships. Internal, personal reflection supports her thinking with clients. Learning from relationships supports her professional interactions. Fiona's goal is to learn from everyone she meets, from line managers in her early professional career to luminaries of thoughful revolution like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. She believe strongly that 'one small step could be the biggest thing you ever do.' Listen and watch Fiona talk about those who have influenced her passion for working with people. To talk to Fiona Stratford about your passions and influencers give her a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or send the contact form and we'll make sure Fiona gets your thoughts on your upcoming meetings or your influencers or how to empower personal growth, even in meetings.
12February 2016
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Meeting Magic believes that meeting well has the power to change organisations and, indeed, the world. Start a conversation with us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete our contact form with some thoughts on your next meeting. It is a place to start. Let's talk.
11February 2016
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We are collecting data in our meeting culture survey that will inform our thinking about how meetings help or hinder organisational culture. We will be posting some of the data on this website for others to use. Please take our survey. It takes 15-20 minutes so sit back and relax, grab a cuppa and have a go. Select the 'Get yourself heard' link. And scroll down that same page to have a look at some of our initial data results. (more…)
10February 2016
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Becoming a facilitative thinker who understands the power of meeting has been Kenda Gaynham's path through her education, professional life and now her facilitative thinking with clients. Kenda identifies those who continue to influence her thinking and facilitation. She has built her career with beliefs of not limiting people, opening space for creative thinking and breaking through hierarchies. In particular, one of her great influencers has been Margaret Mead whose own belief that small, thoughtful groups can change the world remains a bedrock on which to build client conversations. Listen and watch Kenda enthuse about those who have influenced her, both personal and professional. To speak with Kenda, and explore more of her current thinking about the power of meeting, give her a call at +44 90)6128 471 114. Or, complete the contact form adding some of your own thoughts about your meeting needs.
09February 2016
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One of our partners in the United States is offering a foundational graphic facilitation training. Crowley & Co have been training The Grove style of graphic recording and how to integrate those tools into meeting facilitation for many years. Deirdre Crowley has over 15 years experience in graphics for meetings, organisational communications and in the meeting facilitation space. Her training is quite popular and quite inspirational. The training is 2.5 days in the Potomac, Maryland area from April 20-22. You can learn more about the contents and approach to this workshop at the Crowley & Co website. If you are interested in learning more about graphic facilitation and how it can support your meeting energy, group focus, commitment to agreements and the like give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or drop us a note via our contact form and tell us what you want to explore about making your meetings more productive.
08February 2016
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Becoming an effective meeting facilitator does not come overnight. It does not come without thoughful reflection about actual client work. And, it does not come without exploring what others think, along with reflection on others' insights. Being an advocate for organisational culture change through meetings comes from years of experience. Katherine Woods range from Peter Senge and David Sibbet in her early days as an internal graphic meeting facilitator to Frederic Laloux in her current thinking about organisational change through meeting culture. Her journey to meeting consultancy has been varied but informative. She demonstrates her passion for culture change through meetings. (more…)
05February 2016
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Here at Meeting Magic and Scribing Magic we have lots of people who influence us from David Sibbet to Frederic Laloux.Over the years these people and their ideas have changed because our thinking and how we work with clients is always evolving with new ideas, and our own shared thinking, particularly about the power of meeting. (more…)
03February 2016
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Fiona Stratford's passion is focused on people and helping them communicate through effective meetings. She enjoys finding different ways to support conversations and collaboration in order to help groups move forward. Have a listen and a watch of this video biography. Fiona would enjoy talking to you about how she can support your key conversations in a way that helps you collaborate better. Call her at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us what you want Fiona to help you with. She'll get back to you quickly.
01February 2016
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In our publishing of the new videos on the website, we present Liz Forder, one of our meeting facilitators. She is passionate about people and how to support them in creating effective meetings that get results. Watch and listen to Liz give some background on how she arrived at Meeting Magic and what she bring to meetings. To speak with Liz give her a call at +44 (0)1628 147 114 or complete our contact form with information for Liz to reply to. She'll get back to you as quickly as she can.
25January 2016
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Katherine Woods as been successful in the meeting facilitation field for many years, 16+ at this writing. She has a thoughtful and experienced take on facilitation and how to support organisations. Her passion about her work with clients is found in her roots and personal history. This video is the second in her story telling. Others can be found in her bio page. If you'd like to talk to Katherine about your organisational needs or your one-off meetings give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or send an enquiry form requesting a chat. We'll get back to you as fast as we can.
23November 2015
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This may be the first time that I have read a book that inspires me to write my reflections on what I read. I have just read ‘Reinventing Organizations’, by Frederic Laloux, that helped me understand Evolutionary Teal organisations. The book presents a model that maps organisational structure and design to stages in human development. It features research on Evolutionary Teal organisations, which is the last stage in his thinking. The earlier stages are given colours, too. A visual representation of the model can be found here. (more…)
04November 2015
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This is one of my absolute favourite quotes and I really believe that it is true.
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.’ -- Maya Angelou
I was really saddened to see the statistic that 41% of organisations reported an increase in employee mental health problems. This is from the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK) Absence measurement and management report that was produced in conjunction with Simplyhealth. It also makes me feel pretty angry, too, as I believe it fundamentally comes down to how we treat one another in the workplace. On the bright side it also means that we can do something about it. If we choose to. (more…)
30October 2015
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Tom Benthin is one of those amazing graphic recorders who understands business and meeting facilitation. This video shows him helping the meeting leader summarise their working day, one way graphic recording serves the group. In this instance, the graphic was used to 're-tell' the story of what happened during the day and invited delegate / participants an opportunity to add or correct the historical record, helping cement the content in participants minds while helping them engage it in a profound way. I was struck by how many times people refer to the visual as a memory tool and how they were pleased to amend the record. This video is a little long but it is very instructive demonstration of how good graphic recording can support the facilitation process, and support shared communications. Meeting Magic and Scribing Magic support your capture of conversations, presentations, and panel discussions so the content becomes an historical record, and can be used to communicate your messages to other stakeholders, including those missing from the meeting, related groups and divisions, leaders and investors, and clients / customers. To learn more about how and why graphic recording and graphic facilitation works give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us what you want to achieve in our groups. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.
26October 2015
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The dates for our Advanced Facilitation Training has changed to the 14th and 15th of January. Take a look at our webpage to learn more or please give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or send us the contact form and let us know your questions and concerns.
23October 2015
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Virtual meetings are no longer a thing of the future or something only large organisation do because they have to. Meeting in virtual environments, whether Skype, GoTo Meeting, Live Meeting, or any other platform, is now an essential part of collaboration and conversation is all types of organisations. (more…)
Team meeting around the meeting table
12October 2015
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I believe very strongly, passionately even, that to be truly effective and successful requires us to work better together. The increasing complexity of business life means that it is impossible for one person to have all the knowledge and experience necessary to make informed decisions in every circumstance. Teamwork is essential but it is not something that happens automatically. The best teams work incredibly hard at being great as a team. (more…)
10October 2015
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Margaret Heffernan, in her new book on social capital, explores in depth the true benefit of trust, knowledge, reciprocity, and shared norms in creating successful organisations, including cultures and societies. This is an excellent look at how teams function and think and view themselves and interact. Have a read of this extract from Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes (TED Books/Simon & Schuster, 2015). Then let us know how we can support your teams. We can explore the theories of teams and how to implement stages of development that lead to Heffernan's success. We know teams and how to create high-performing results. Call us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form to learn how addressing your team issues can move you to greatness.
26September 2015
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One way to charge up your group, team, section, division or your entire organisation is to bring in some bespoke training. Not only do we offer four highly regarded workshops, we will design bespoke training that targets your specific needs, including building in the new energy you need to spark commitment, ideas generation, strategy and action. We target your training needs. Have a look at the offers we have posted on our site then give us a call to discuss what we can do to energize your company or your team. Serious work gets done in meetings, we help energize your meetings and we can help you do that, too. +44 (0)20 1628 471 114 or complete the contact form to tell us what training ideas you'd like to explore.
22September 2015
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Time is very valuable. We are encouraged to make the most of time and be the best that we can be. So what does this looks like on a day-to-day basis once you have your vision for the future and start working towards it? (more…)
17September 2015
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Productivity drives success. If this doesn't move you to want to improve productivity in your organisation we don't know what will. Interesting and motivational stuff. Everything Morieux talks about is addressed in quality facilitation.     We know we can help you with your productivity, and the work that makes it happen. Call us for a discussion on this topic at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form and tell us what you are thinking about. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can.
11September 2015
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Our thinking exactly! We help build ideas then move those ideas to committed action. To discuss your thinking on moving ideas to action give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form giving us some thoughts and where you'd like to start the conversation.