seprator

meeting consultancy

seprator
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.
08March 2017
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Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s strapline is #BeBoldForChange. This got me thinking about what is bold and what stops us being bold. My simple view is that bold is ‘doing something even when you are sh***ing yourself!’ and one of the things that prevents us from being bold is when we feel ‘down’. Here is a lovely parable from Robert Terry about Ups and Downs

The Parable of Ups and Downs by Robert Terry

What makes an UP an UP and a DOWN a DOWN is that an UP can do more to a DOWN than a DOWN can do to an UP. That's what keeps an UP UP and a DOWN DOWN. The UPS tend to talk to each other and study the DOWNS, asking the DOWNS about what's UP, or what's coming DOWN, for that matter. The DOWNS spend a lot of time taking the UPS out to lunch or dinner, to explain their DOWNNESS. The UPS listen attentively, often in amazement about the experiences of being a DOWN. They contrast one DOWN'S experience with another DOWN'S experience and usually don't worry too much about what the DOWNS are UP to because the DOWNS never get together. If they did, the UPS would have to shape UP. After a while, the DOWNS weary of talking to the UPS. They tire of explaining and justifying their DOWNNESS. They think, "If I have to explain my DOWNNESS one more time, I'll throw UP." And so they form a process which they call "networking and support groups." This act makes the UPS nervous. Three UPS together is a board meeting; three DOWNS a pre-revolutionary activity! Some UPS hire DOWNS, dress them UP, send them DOWN to see what DOWNS are UP to. We sometimes call this "personnel and affirmative action." This creates a serious problem for the DOWN who is dressed UP with no sure place to go. That DOWN doesn't know whether he or she is UP or DOWN. That's why DOWNS in the middle often burn out. Sometimes what the UPS do to smarten UP is to ask the DOWNS to come in to a program one at a time to explain their DOWNNESS. UPS call this "human relations training." OF course, the UPS never have to explain their UPNESS, that's why they're UPS rather than DOWNS. There's good news and bad news in this parable. The good news is, we're all both UPS and DOWNS. There's no such thing as a perfect UP or a perfect DOWN. The bad news is that when we're UP it often makes us stupid. We call that "DUMB-UPNESS." It's not because UPS are not smart. It's that UPS don't have to pay attention to DOWNS the way that DOWNS have to pay attention to UPS. DOWNS always have to figure out what UPS are UP to. The only time UPS worry about DOWNS is when DOWNS get uppity, at which time they're put DOWN by the UPS. The UPS' perception is that DOWNS are overly sensitive; they have an attitude problem. It's never understood that UPS are underly sensitive and have an attitude problem. I used to think that when DOWNS became UPS they would carry over their insight from their DOWNNESS to their UPNESS. Not so. Smart DOWN—dumb UP.  

What I love about this tale is that it is amusing and yet it makes a serious point.

In organisations it is often the ‘Downs’ who have the finger of the pulse of what’s going on, who probably have the insights about what is key to staying ahead of the curve, and yet it is often ‘Ups’ who are the leaders.

In the words of Robert Terry himself…

The tests for leadership are: Are we grasped by the injustice of the issues that need to be addressed? Are we in dialogue in up-down relationships so that we do not have blind spots? Are we in motion to address issues in collaboration with others? Our goal is to get rid of arbitrary up-down power relationships. We should not have up-down relationships based on color, gender, or anything else that is arbitrary and capricious or has to do with how we’re born. Rather, we need to find ways to stand side-by-side, so that as we look out at the world together, we can eliminate any of the barriers that keep us from building an authentic, vibrant, human community. The Parable of Ups and Downs exists in several versions. It appears in two books by Robert Terrry: Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action (ISBN 1-55542-547-X) and Seven Zones for Leadership: Acting Authentically in Stability and Chaos (ISBN 0-89106-158-4). Robert Terry was the President of Zobius Leadership International (formerly The Terry Group) and his work is now carried on by The AWL Group. You can find a shorter version of the parable at http://www.actionwheel.com/parableofupsanddowns.html Thankyou also to Walt Hopkins, for helping me find the source of this parable.
14February 2017
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It is Valentine’s Day, so it feels appropriate to offer something into the universe about love in the workplace. For any saucy minxes out there, I do NOT mean that this blog is about doing it in the stationery cupboard!!! What I mean is that love is rarely talked about in the workplace and, as a wise friend of mine said recently, ‘the world needs more love’, which I think is particularly true in the challenging place we find ourselves in the world right now. As organisations grow they tend to take on machine-like qualities, to enable standardisation, replication and scale, and many of their original warm human features get lost. Just think about how many times we meet with colleagues and present at them in darkened rooms using PowerPoint – and leave those meetings with no idea of what’s really going on for them as human beings. It seems like, in doing this, we relinquish something vital and important about bringing people together to do work in the first place. I have a passion for re-humanising the workplace and, as part of that considering our colleagues as people, whom we may grow to love, in a comrade-like way…. Like the Greek form of love known as Philia. Personally I love Brene Brown’s view on love – taken from her book ‘Daring Greatly’ ‘We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honour the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give and get, it is something we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people, when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.’ Regardless of which definition of love we are talking about, there are three elements considered universally necessary for love: Understanding, Acceptance and Appreciation. These quotes speak to these dimensions of love and how they relate.  “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia  “Love is a by-product of deep appreciation.” ~ Debasish Mridha   So, if there are people you work with who you appreciate, and possibly love, because they SEE you, all of you, and they have your back… tell them how much you appreciate them today and add some more love to the world! Kenda Gaynham – thank you for all your help, including your input into this blog – I appreciate you, and the way you see me, and I see you!
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?
10January 2017
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Much of my work involves creating self-organising groups. When we create self-organisation we release energy in the people within the system to find their passion and take responsibility. I believe in this way of working so much that I've even integrated it into my personal life – here's an example... In my pre-children era I used to spend Boxing Day with friends at Kempton Park horse races. It was always a fun, albeit usually cold and windy, day out – a chance to catch up with friends, blow the cobwebs away, and enjoy the competitive spirit of horse racing. Race meets aren’t much fun with small children so, with the birth of my children came the birth of a new idea: “Why not have a day at the races from home!?” It started with two families getting together and has evolved over the years to its most recent format with 40 people. What I love about the way this event has changed is that everyone can bring their families, with at least three generations mingling together. It grows each year with new families joining us, and everyone has a great time, including me. So, here is my formula for a great Boxing Day Races party –
  • Each family that's invited can bring their relatives along, as long as they bring enough leftovers to feed them!
  • I provide tables for the food, plates and cutlery and I cook baked potatoes to accompany them.
  • When people arrive they put out their offerings and everyone shares what they have brought to the party.
  • Each person places £10 into a sweepstake for the race.
  • Each person then bets on one horse per race and gets three points for first place, two points for second and one point for third.
  • The races are televised, so, in between eating and drinking, we watch the races. It's very noisy as people really get into supporting the horses they bet on.
  • At the end of the race meet we tot up the scores and award prizes.
  • This year we reached a new level of self-organisation – one of my friends created an app! Everyone placed their bets from their phones before they arrived, or on arrival, and the scores popped up on the app as the day unfolded.
  So here are the principles of self-organisation demonstrated here
  • a common purpose – to have a good time
  • a leader who is willing to let go of control – I am always happy to eat drink and be merry!
  • ways of working, including decision making, that are understood by all – in the rules of the betting and the roles everyone takes
  • an effective induction and integration of new people. I love the way that each year the core partygoers explain the format to the newcomers.
  • the space for people to take the initiative and improve the system – the app!
My experience is that self-organisation appeals to the core of human nature, for people to take control of their environments. It inspires passion and responsibility in those involved, and releases the leader from the constraints of needing to control, so that she can be free to lead the fun. So, as we enter 2017, a fresh new year, have a think about which elements of self-organisation you might want to integrate into your life. Happy New 2017!
12December 2016
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When I was a junior manager I was told that part of my job was to inspire and motivate my team in order to gain their commitment to aligned action. After years of trying to do this I started to realise: 1) People are motivated by a complicated set of factors, all of which are invisible to others and sometimes unknown to the individual concerned. 2) My power to act was in creating the conditions for people to ignite inspiration, motivation and commitment in themselves. This came as a bit of a relief, because the leadership philosophy of my youth was to develop ‘Martin Luther King-like’ presentation skills, to rally the troops. Unfortunately, I found myself lacking in these skills. However, what I am able to do is create the conditions for rich dialogue in which people inspire themselves. I have learnt that the level of commitment and motivation people can create among themselves is far greater than I can achieve by imposing my views. This might sound a bit fluffy… Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that just by getting a group together inspiration, motivation and commitment will magically emerge, far from it. The conditions for rich dialogue require structure, intentionality and attention to the subtle biases in our culture that get in the way of self-motivation. I also don’t want to sound dismissive of presenters who have the ability to inspire. The growth in popularity of TED Talks is proof that there are people all over the world who have the ability to inspire through their stories. The art of taking that inspiration and landing it in action is the dialogue that follows. When we create structured dialogue it has the power to unleash motivation and commitment. Let me give a specific example… A common approach taken in business meetings is to have presentations followed by question and answer sessions (Q&A). If we unpack that approach, the implications are:
  • The presenter has the answer to the group’s questions
  • ·Implying that the expertise lies with the presenter, rather than the group, unconsciously disempowering the group
If we shift the emphasis in this approach to… STIMULUS – short, impactful presentations in easy-to-digest format, aimed at stimulating the listener’s thinking. (For ideas on how to do this, take a look at Nancy Duarte’s philosophy on engaging communication http://www.duarte.com/) CLARIFICATION – a chance to ask for points of clarification DIALOGUE – about where the stimulus takes people’s thinking, what it might mean and the implications for the work in hand. … then we are much more likely to light the touch-paper of motivation. If we haven’t then it will be apparent in the dialogue, whereas in the presentation format I first proposed, dissent and lack of motivation remains hidden. So, to go back to the title question, I think that inspiration, motivation and commitment lie within each of us. These are not things that can be ‘done’ to us by others, they can only come by unleashing what we have inside us. If you are charged with getting others to be inspired, motivated and committed, then my offer to you is to invest your energy in the design of high-quality dialogue, rather than searching for inspirational speakers.
27October 2016
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There is a conundrum about virtual working in the business world at the moment... Most people need to work virtually in their jobs now and companies have invested millions in technology to support this. We all 'get' the commercial benefits of working virtually (saving the expense and time of travel) and the benefits of collaborating with colleagues and partners, to progress work with 'many heads' involved, not just one. We all feel we 'should' know how to do this, and yet it feels like wading through treacle. Even the more tech-savvy younger generation, for whom the technology isn't a boundary, are not getting the productivity benefits promised by the tech platform producers. Why is this?... In my humble opinion... it's because the technology does not understand group dynamics, and how to foster effective collaboration between human beings. In fact, I will go as far as saying, you can achieve great collaboration and productivity with quite crappy technology, when you know how to work with people in groups. Last week we ran another one of our virtual working sessions - a series of three interactive webinars for people who want to collaborate more effectively in dispersed groups. The group members came from different companies and different countries, and all reported similar troubles in virtual meetings: difficulty in managing engagement of diverse groups; trouble converging on robust decisions; struggling to resolve conflicts and differences of opinion in these spaces; not to mention all the technical difficulties with varied broadband capabilities, and audio problems.

So, what's the answer?...

A key step, when a group decide to come together, is to get really clear on what level of collaboration is needed, and therefore how much trust is needed in the group. For example if a group come together to just share ideas, and don't need to converge on decisions together, then lower levels of trust are fine for this quality of work, and therefore it is possible to get away with less attention to group development. However, if a group are going to be involved in making strategic decisions and driving action, then higher levels of trust are needed, and more attention needs to be invested in getting the group through the stages of group development, so that they can collaborate effectively. If a group are going to be involved in effecting change, then real attention needs to be given to developing high performance in the group, otherwise their group dynamic is likely to prevent them being able to effect any shifts in the organisation.

What is group development?

There are many models for group development. Probably the most well-known in the business world is the Tuckman model - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. However, regardless of the theoretical lens you use to look at a group, at the heart is a focus on the human system, in service of the results they need to achieve. In organisations these days groups of people are often thrown together and expected to collaborate, as if the magic of the whole becoming greater than the sum of the parts will happen automatically. The downside I see of the virtual space is that it seems to focus attention on the work flow, without considering the human flow, and this means that many groups are not getting the results they could when working remotely.

Supporting group development - start with small things?

Considering the human dynamic in any work done in groups is important and small things can make a big difference. For example, whenever I work with a group I will take time to check-in and check-out of the work. This doesn't need to take long - in our team calls each week we just go around each person asking for one thing that 'sucks' and one thing that 'rocks' ; yesterday we did a check-in and check-out that involved each person sharing one word about how they were feeling. For many groups this can feel counter-cultural at the start, but the huge benefit of check-ins is that they give a sense of how each person is before launching into the work. Check-outs help us understand what people are taking away from a session, rather than assuming. We are all human, not robots, and therefore the things happening within the context of our lives affect how we think and feel about things. Being transparent about what is going on for us is the first step towards building trust and respect in a group, and is particularly important in virtual working where we don't have some of the visual cues about what might be going on. So, next time you connect in a virtual meeting, take time to consider the humans on the other side of the screens. What could you be doing to foster greater trust and inclusion in the way you work?
27October 2016
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A quick lesson in acupuncture

A few weeks ago my dear friend and colleague, Kenda, told me about Urban Acupuncture. Apparently this is the practice of using small things to improve community spirit e.g. a phone box library or a small community garden. This conversation got me thinking about how small interventions can create great change, and what this might mean in an organisational context. So, I then went on to speak to my Father. My Father was an Anaesthetist who specialised in pain relief. He came from Colombo, in Sri Lanka to train in Western medicine at UCL in London, and went on to integrate acupuncture into his treatment of Chronic Pain. After a brief conversation about acupuncture, here is what he summarised in a letter to me… The practice of stimulating pressure points in the body, in order to induce relief from bodily ailments stems from Biblical times and beyond. It embodies a holistic approach towards the treatment of Human Disorders. Some of its characteristic features are, that it is relatively non-invasive to the body, it is almost free of any side-effects, and last but not least, it is inexpensive. About 33% of patients attending the Chronic Pain Management Clinic would feel almost cured after treatment with Acupuncture and another 33% would experience worthwhile relief from their symptoms. Patient selection for treatment is important, as with all forms of Clinical Therapy. Love, Pops As I read his notes I became more and more excited about the parallels between my Father’s work and my own. Maybe his work in relieving people of pain wasn’t so different from my approach to change in organisations! This was my train of thought…

Metaphors for organisations and the underlying assumptions about change

The need for perpetual, sustainable change in organisations is becoming more apparent than ever. If we consider the old paradigm of change in organisations, it stems from the underlying metaphor of an organisation as a machine. The puts focus on the intellectual challenge of fixing what is ‘broken’
  • A machine needs external intervention to tweak or change – it cannot change itself
  • For an entire machine to change, the external intervention needed to be ‘all over’ the machine
  • As change occurs parts are discarded to the scrap heap.
I think of organisations as big groups of people – living human systems. When we focus on organisations as living systems it shifts the focus onto stimulating and nurturing change from within. Living systems change in different ways
  • They are capable of self-change – often triggered by subtle external shifts
  • Change can be organic or metamorphic – either way the DNA of the organism remains the same
  • When living systems change there is little or no waste as energy transfers from one form to another

The application of acupuncture to human systems

If we then apply my Father’s thoughts on acupuncture to organisations, then we need to take a holistic approach to the whole human system and identify the pressure points to induce change. If external interventions are needed then the needles need to be sharp and skilfully applied to effect the ripples of change that flow from the pressure point. Most importantly, I take note of my Father’s last point. ‘Patient selection for treatment is important.’ Unlike in high intervention medicine, where the patient is anaesthetised, in acupuncture the patient is awake and alert. Organisational acupuncture only works when the leaders of the organisation want to change and are willing to commit to some discomfort in themselves as they become the change they want to see in others.
27October 2016
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These days I think it is generally acknowledged that collaborative planning is more effective than a leader locking herself in a room with a towel on her head and figuring out all the answers. However, there is more to collaborative planning than just getting a group of people together in a room, and hoping the magic of multiple perspectives will take place. Having spent 17 years facilitating group planning, here are some of my thoughts and ideas for those heading into the year end planning cycle.

Who and how to involve

It might sound obvious but getting the right people involved and being intentional about how we want to collaborate is key. Collaborative working doesn't necessarily mean consensual decision making with everyone involved. Sometimes it is best to pick a small team to co-create a plan with. Sometimes we consult with a wider audience as input to planning or we can test draft plans with a wider group after a small group has done some work. Alternatively, getting a large group together to do the whole thing in one go can be hugely effective, but be mindful this requires large group facilitation expertise. So, I find it helps to map out all the stakeholders and then look at them individually and think about how you want to engage with them. A kind of plan for how to plan!!

Hindsight

The pace that most businesses are moving at, combined with the pressure on many leaders and managers means that little time is made for reflection and learning in the workplace these days. The tendency is to do a cursory glance at the results from last year, before drawing conclusions and moving into future planning. This often leads to repeating patterns in businesses, which never get resolved. So, I would encourage anyone doing planning to make time to really explore the facts and data of what has happened, then look at how things happened and the different experiences of that, as a source of rich learning and hindsight that can dramatically inform future plans.

Insight

Insight is the bridge between the past and the future. Profound insight is rooted in data, but in the age of BIG DATA, we need to be choiceful about which data we pay attention to and how that is converted onto information, before knowledge and then wisdom can be formed. Insight development also benefits from using different modes of knowing. Most senior teams have a preference for the logical cognitive space, and leaders are usually highly developed in their thinking skills. But how often do we really leverage the amazing right brain capability of human beings. Our right hemisphere enables us to sense and notice patterns to bring insight that analysis of facts and figures can't.

Foresight

Oh to have a crystal ball ! I know we are called Meeting Magic, but unfortunately my magical powers do not extend to being able to give groups 'Mystic Meg - like' qualities. So, instead we have to develop strategies that are rooted in foresight - this means extrapolating from insight into what might be. This work REALLY benefits from right brain work. By this I don't mean lying on bean bags coming up with crazy ideas, I mean creating an environment in which 'right answers' are not the goal, a more exploratory creative way of thinking... wondering why things are the way they are now, and what that means for how things might be. The art of great planning is to create a plan that is sufficiently grounded in reality that people can see it will work, and yet it has sufficient stretch that it creates a slight tension. The pulling together of plans which build on hindsight, anchor to insight and stretch into foresight is key. Then we need to think about how we sense and respond throughout the forthcoming year, so that we notice if those insights change and the strategies need to change with them. This approach is the art of agile planning - planning for the unplannable - knowing and working with the fact that we live in a changing world - behaving like an organic, living system, rather than a machine. So, I hope you find this useful thought provocation to enable you to think about howyou go about planning this year. Just remember, like any good cook, it's not just about having the right ingredients, it's also about how you combine them that determines whether your meal is a delight or a disaster!
27October 2016
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I've spent the last two weeks in week-long immersions with groups and I feel like I have fallen back in love with group working again. This experience has reminded me of the HUGE potential that exists when people truly collaborate together and the work that needs to be done to get there. This chart is a summary of just some of the key theories around group dynamics and the factors that influence group development, and yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. People, as individuals, are intriguing - who knows why we do the things we do in our complex systems of thoughts and feelings. When we then compound that by bringing groups of people together, we create even more complex systems of behaviour that range from the predictable to the bizarre. I have spent my entire career working with groups and still experience a range of emotions in these spaces, from fear and frustration to heartfelt admiration for the pure tenacity of humanity. What never ceases to amaze me is that groups are still thrown together in the workplace, and expected to collaborate effectively without any care or expertise in group dynamics. Just think what this means for the decisions that are made in senior leadership teams, when they come together! What wrangles go on in these groups for power and authority? How conscious are they of their decision making processes, and therefore the efficacy of the decisions they make? How much attention is given to the maintenance of relationships in these groups, versus the tasks they are expected to work on? And yet the magic of groups is that when we work with a group to understand and embrace differences, face into the conflicts arise, and focus on robust collective decision making (rather than individually needing to be 'right'), we can do amazing work together - that is where the magic happens, and that is the work I love!
29September 2016
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Last week I had the chance to teach a group of NTL Organisational Development practitioners about the power of visual working in OD. The main concern for many people starting to work visually is the need for drawing skills, but I believe the key to creating impact is in HOW visuals are created, the greater level of collaboration, the greater the organisational impact. My work last week lead me to develop the visual collaboration continuum below: Illustration - Image production in a studio and then 'pushed' out to a group. Graphic recording - Listening to a group and writing / drawing what is heard.. Graphic facilitation - Public, visual charts integrated into facilitation design to support group dynamics. Visual Organisational Development - An integrated way of working that leverages visual working to effect change. I know that graphic charts are compelling and this is leading to greater use of visuals in the business world, which I am delighted to see, as it supports clearer communication, greater engagement and creativity in the workplace. By using this continuum I hope to clarify the different ways of using graphics and visuals for different organisational impacts.
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
16July 2016
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Introduction

The wave of interest in visual working has crescendoed in the last five years. I attribute this to many factors including: the increase in global working, in which pictures paint a thousand words; the use of iconography in the electronic devices we use every day; the popularity of books by David Sibbet and Dan Roan, who have made this way of working accessible to business people. The downside I see in the appeal of visual working, is that visuals are often used without understanding the implications of the choices being made so. To the untrained eye, it’s all about pretty pictures. There are three dimensions to working visually
  • The process by which the image is created
  • The underlying metaphor and architecture of the image
  • The way in which the image is used, once it is created
Within each of these dimensions there are multiple choices, which means there is a broad range of different results that can be achieved by combining them. In this article I hope to shine a light on the first dimension, by looking at the different ways graphic images are created and the impact this has. I have summarised this into four discrete areas, yet the reality is that within each field there is a variety of application. For example within graphic recording: some recorders work privately, on sketchbooks; some work publically on large charts; some work completely real time; some do the outline real time and complete in the studio; some work in colour; some in black and white. These variations in each area mean it is more of a spectrum than four clear choices, but I hope this segmentation starts to shine a light on the options available.  
What is it Impact on group Pros / cons
Illustration Illustrators help people communicate more effectively through their skill in developing images that support verbal or written words. This is usually done in a studio, not live with a group. By communicating through pictures and words, people tend to be able to take in and remember information better. ✓ pictures bring things to life × the pictures are developed by the illustrator and therefore not ‘owned’ by the group.
Graphic recording Graphic Recorders help groups see the conversations they are having through their expertise in listening, visualising and use of metaphor. The group can SEE the conversation being recorded all on one page. This acknowledges contributions and makes people feel heard. ✓ Captures attention ✓ Supports group memory ✓ Useful summary × Often added as an afterthought, late in the preparation of meetings × not integrated into group process × Little group ownership
Graphic Facilitation Graphic Facilitators work with groups to help them achieve their outcomes through their combined expertise in group process and visual architectures. Conversations are are designed with a focus on group outcomes. The group can SEE their contributions being added to the charts. The group can make new connections as individuals see their perspectives alongside others. ✓ Focusses attention ✓ Supports trust and respect ✓ brings clarity ✓ supports group decision making ✓ strong ownership by the group × for full impact the visuals need to be planned as an integral part of the design - not added as an afterthought × the combination of facilitation skills and graphical skills are harder to come by  
Visual Organisatational Development Consultancy Visual OD practitioners work to improve an organisation’s performance through their expertise in human systems, system architectures.     Group work is designed within the context of organisational needs. The visuals help the group develop clarity in complex situations. The way the information is synthesised in this approach enables new insights and meaning to be drawn by the group. Same as above and… ✓ visual synthesis brings new insights aimed at business impact × very few people worldwide can do this
  In the complex, fast paced, global world we live in, I believe that visual working has huge potential power. The key to unlocking this power comes from consciously and intentionally choosing the right visual tools for the right jobs. I hope this article has shed some light on this field. In the mean time, if you are interested in finding out more about this area of work, get in touch.  
16July 2016
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I have been reflecting on the post-referendum chaos in the UK, through the lens of change, which I practice in my work. These reflections have lead me to be hopeful, and here is why
  • There needs to be chaos before profound change. Just think about when you tidy out the garage at home – no, really, it’s the same thing! The garage has to become a scene of chaos, as boxes become unpacked and decisions are made about what to keep and what needs to change, before a new order can return. It’s the same with human systems – groups need to get all jumbly and chaotic before they can settle on a new way.
  • There is a change in the conversation. One of Margaret Wheatley’s principles for profound change is, ‘When the conversations keep going round and round, we should change who’s in the conversation’. We seem to have been going around and around, superficially talking about the state of our nation, without addressing the real issues at stake. The intervention of this vote seems to be changing the conversation – changing the nature of the conversation and getting different people involved.
  • Paying attention to the shadow side in all of us. As people have been grappling with the decision to Remain or Exit Europe, some extreme views have emerged. Racism towards immigrants, and Contempt for less educated views are just a couple that I have seen. The positive that comes from these views being aired, is that we are forced to really see the range of views in our country. However unpalatable we might find then, they are in each and every one of us, in some form, and it is only maturity that means we don’t act upon them. By paying attention to the breadth and depth of views about the issues facing our country, we are much more likely to surface the complex polarities that drive our system.
There is probably some fear in all of us, when we consider the uncertainty of our current economic and political situation. Fear rarely brings out the best in us, as it tends to lead to the less mature responses in us all. So, I refer you to the words of Marianne Williamson, ‘As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ What is the light within you, that can support our country moving through this change, to create a positive, respectful and inclusive future state?
25April 2016
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Self management Image 4-4-16 KWAs the concept of self-management becomes more popular, there is much dialogue about the shift leaders need to make in order to make space for a 'bottom upwards' movement. Whilst this is a key shift that's needed in organisations that want self-management to thrive, there is also an equal shift needed in staff supporting the leadership to make this shift by taking responsibility. (more…)
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.
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…)
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.
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…)
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.
20January 2016
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Frederic Laloux is focusing thinking on organisations. Every generation seems to have a voice that challenges how to imagine organisations. Reinventing Organizations is his book that encapsulates his thoughts. We have much in common with Laloux. We find that we have been on the path to what Laloux calls the Evolutionary stage or Teal. (He uses colours to help identify the stages of his organisational understanding.) Katherine Woods shares her thinking about Meeting Magic's relationship to Laloux's Reinventing Organizations. She summarizes the basics then makes the connection to our passion for meeting facilitation and how to change organisations through high-quality meeting. There are three foundational ways of working that help identify if Teal is the colour of your organisation.
  1. Attention to purpose. Is the purpose of your organisation or, indeed, your meetings have clear purpose? This goes beyond visions, missions and goals. Question and think about your purpose.
  2. The whole person. Do you consider each person in your organisation from the perspective of them as whole persons and engage them on that level?
  3. Self management. Once you have identified your purpose and know you people do you trust them to step up and do what they say they will and do you give them the space to manage their own work?
Some of this thinking has been around for some time. Some of it is new. We've done a lot of thinking about all of this. Give us a call to discuss how you engage Frederic Laloux's thinking no matter the colour of your organisation's stage. +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or complete our enquiries form to tell us what you want to chat about.
18January 2016
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We are proud of what we know and believe about meeting facilitation and the power of meeting. From our experience working with clients for nearly 17 years, we are passionate about supporting the 'verb' of meeting. Meeting is where communications happens, whether that is two people or hundreds of delegate participants. We know meeting facilitation, graphic meeting facilitation and how meetings impact organisations. Watch our new overview video then give us some thoughts on what you hear. We facilitate meetings to get to the purpose, outcomes and outputs that move your organisation forward. How we work with you is to explore your desired outcomes, clarify why you are having this meeting, agreeing an agenda, then delivering to plan. We enjoy meeting. We support meeting to get results.  Call us on +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete our enquiry form so we can get this conversation going.
25November 2015
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Creating a mutual relationship with outsourced suppliers

There has been a theme in the conversations I have had this week. The theme is about customers, outsourced suppliers and how we go about buying services into organisations. This has got me thinking about the the paradigms and pitfalls of B2B services buying that I have experienced as both customer and supplier. Organisations place a big emphasis on the management of suppliers of raw goods and products. There is a clear link between these tangible suppliers and a company’s ability to deliver. However, I think there is a lot more ambiguity in the area of services buying and I see the need to shift, as organisations evolve into new ways of working. (more…)
20November 2015
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For some, planning for meetings is a last-minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants process that might result in an agenda or meeting plan. We believe very strongly, based on our collective experience, that every minute of meeting planning has a high return value during the meeting and results in robust agreements and actions. (more…)
A visual summary of Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux.
17November 2015
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There are many ways organisations improve, change and become better. Enlivening Edge offers a dialogue about identifying next stages of organisational development and discusses how to get to your next stage, whatever that may be. We've joined that dialogue with an article in their newsletter: it offers our perspective on how to get to your next stage. Katherine Woods, our CEO and Managing Director, and Kenda Gaynham, our Senior Facilitator and Trainer, have laid out a very clear strategy for creating change one meeting at a time. Meetings are where work happens. Well-facilitated meetings, using graphic facilitation, visual thinking, and strong meeting process, are where change can best be managed. This perspective is one of the options Meeting Magic brings to you organisations. We work with leaders, managers and teams to explore the current context in which they work, consider what has worked or not worked in the past, and enliven a future vision of themselves and their success. We would be delighted to talk with you about your meetings, whether you want organisational change or not, to explore your thinking about how to make your meetings better. Changing meetings can change organisational thinking. We know this from over 16 years of experience. Let's get a conversation going and see how we can support you. Call us at +44 (0)20 1628 4711. Or, complete our contact form giving us a few details about what you want to explore. We'll set up a chat and go from there.
Virtual meeting facilitation in progress
17November 2015
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From time to time we will be posting case studies of recent work. Most of our work is highly confidential and proprietary. Occasionally, with the client's approval, we are able to post a brief summary of a specific piece of work. In this case, the client requested anonymity but agreed we could post a general description of what they had achieved. (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…)
26October 2015
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By Katherine Woods and Kenda Gaynham

 How mindful are organisations of the potential of meetings? How many organisations pay explicit attention to leveraging the power of how people meet? How aware are leaders of organisations of the (usually inexplicit) operating systems they create through the way they run meetings? Before we explore this in more detail, let's take a look at what we have found.... (more…)

19October 2015
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The image above is a visualisation of Frederic Laloux's descriptions of organisations from his important thinking described in his book Reinventing Organizations (RO). The image was created by Katherine Woods to visualise RO and to, quite literally, see what Laloux is articulating. Laloux has had a profound impact on our own organisation as well as the work we do with clients, which is and has been deeply rooted in working collaboratively. The work we do puts conversation and collaboration at the heart of meetings, virtual and face-to-face, to get the best out of people. We have been doing this work for over 16 years. We actively participate in the Reinventing Organizations community. The contribution we can make is to offer a forum for some of the great conversations that have already started around being teal to develop. Watch this space for our 2016 Being Teal event. Get in touch to find out more of if you'd like to participate in the event at enquiries@meetingmagic.co.uk. If you want to learn more about how to have truly beneficial conversations and to collaborate more fully give us a call at +44 1628 477 114 or complete our contact form telling us a little about what you want to achieve.
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.
09September 2015
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We love this video, both for the content but also the visuals used. This is proof that visual thinking aids understanding. We believe visual or graphic facilitation embeds that visual thinking in organisations. Enjoy! If you want to discuss how visual thinking and graphic facilitation supports your organisational communications give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form letting us know some of your thinking and how we might help you.
02September 2015
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Sometimes you gotta jump in and do it! Our tool-kit, the Meeting Magic Method, is a highly practical and focused support process for thinking about meetings and how to make them more effective. The Method offers foundational theory while using a template, visual approach to meeting planning. This tool-kit is highly regarded by users and is one of the several books we use in our own training workshops. Here is a sneak peek at our new video introduction to the Method. You can purchase the Meeting Magic Method direct from our webpages. (Scroll down a little bit to find the link for the Method.) To learn more about the Meeting Magic Method, how to engage your thinking using visual tools, and how to improve your meetings give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can. We support, encourage and coach you to successful meetings.
31August 2015
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We are unveiling a new bio video for Katherine Woods. This is your first view. It will be posted on the website soon. Have a look and listen to learn more about Katherine. Learn about her passions and watch her explain some of her thinking about Meeting Magic and our client relationships. If you want to schedule a conversation with Katherine, or anyone on our team, give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete our contact form telling us a little about the topics you want to explore.
26August 2015
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We are excited about our newest pages on the website. In addition to our popular Advanced Facilitation Training (AFT), our training offers now cover Collaborative Leadership, Vision to Action and Team Performance. These four offers round out the messages we have been sharing with clients and offering in training for our 16 years of service.
  • Collaborative Leadership: supporting management and directors who understand that harnessing group working creates a stronger, more focused organisation with rewards for all stakeholders.
  • Vision to Action: our unique formats for creating vision and understanding how to take the vision off the shelf and into committed action.
  • Team Performance: an in-depth exploration of how to sustain trust, commitment and momentum in groups of all types and in all sectors of an organisation.
While the AFT is offered as open, public training (with our next dates of 11-12 November), these new titles are offered in-house so that we can explore the topics within the context of your organisation, applying real-life issues and questions in a non-threatening environment. For more information on each of our training offers give us a call at +44 (0)20 1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us the training options you want to explore. We love training. Give us a call.
Senior business planning team meeting around a table.
11August 2015
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There's a saying, ‘if you fail to plan then you plan to fail’. As we approach the time when many businesses are involved in business planning there is no doubt that this is a really important activity. How effective is business planning in your business? Do you get the outcomes that deliver real business benefit and drive competitive advantage? Could it be better? (more…)
03August 2015
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Recently, I spent two days at the 7th Developing Leadership Conference held this year at Henley Business School. The forum attracts academics from around the world to present the latest research on leadership development. (more…)
27July 2015
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While it is a 'nice to have' in order to keep the reality in our sights, in reality we all know that meetings are under pressure to become better. That meeting is a verb that needs some action, not a noun to be reviled and left to hang out to dry. We know meetings. We know why meeting works. We support meeting as a strategy not a 'must do.' (more…)
17July 2015
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Katherine Woods and John Ogier have a busy week coming up. When taking a break from client meetings in Singapore, they will be speaking at the Singapore Australian Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, July 30. The topic is one we enjoy implementing with clients. How to be creative in your collaboration so you drive results is a critical topic. Come join the conversation at the Chamber meeting. Click here for more information and to register. If you want to discuss how to collaborate creatively in your meetings and organisations give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or, tell us about your corporate meeting culture in our contact form and we'll get in touch to have this critical conversation.
17July 2015
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Existing hierarchical decision making is not working in our modern economy and corporate environments. In Singapore on Tuesday, July 28, Katherine Woods and John Ogier will be exploring this topic with the Singapore British Chamber of Commerce. Anyone in Singapore or visiting the area is welcome to attend the meeting. Click here to learn more about the event and to register. If we can help you disrupt your decision making and support you with graphic facilitation in your meeting culture give us a call at +44 (0)20 1628 471 114 or complete the contact form and let us know how disruptive you want to be. We look forward to the conversation.
15July 2015
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Businesses are all about people working together. The good news is that we are currently investing huge amounts in this, but are we getting the return?
  • Managers invest 50-75 % of their time meeting with colleagues
  • This equates to spending over 130 days a year meeting people
  • Most organisations spend over 10% of their turnover in people meeting together to work
If this money was being invested in Marketing or R&D, how would it be planned and managed? How would the success of the investment be known? What expertise would be sought from those people tasked with working on this investment? We tend not to think of time spent meeting people, as an investment. Why is this, and what does this mean for the productivity of our organisations? Katherine Woods will be exploring these questions and other aspects of the Power of Meeting at Henley Business School's Developing Leadership Capability Conference on July 15, 2015. To learn more about Katherine’s thinking on productivity and leadership gives us a call at +44 (0)20 1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us a little about the conversation you want to have. If you are in Singapore or the APAC region let us know that as well. We can support your critical business thinking via our Singapore office.
14July 2015
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VoiceAmerica is the online leader in original live talk radio; they more or less invented the format back in the 1990s and have gone on to become the single largest producer, distributor, and online broadcaster of original live and on-demand talk radio programming in the world. VoiceAmerica reaches millions of listeners every month in more than 60 countries worldwide, and in June 2015 their radio host Chris Cooper, whose widely listened-to Be More, Achieve More talk show provides inspiration to thousands of high-achieving  businesspeople and entrepreneurs, interviewed Meeting Magic CEO Katherine Woods. On the agenda: meetings, of course, with all their opportunities and pitfalls, and some insights into what led Katherine Woods to create one of the most successful and longest-running meeting facilitation businesses in the world. (more…)
13July 2015
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This interesting article opens up new ways of thinking about the structure of companies. There are several new ways of thinking about organisations and organisational management. But do these new structures really help? Are these new management structures any more successful than legacy structures? (more…)