seprator

meeting culture

seprator
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.
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!
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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Not an obvious comparison perhaps but when I think of my own experience, working with groups as a facilitator and as a not-quite-novice tanguera, the common ground is evident. [embed]https://youtu.be/xx3ErNlkh24[/embed]

Not seeing it? Allow me to elaborate….

Most people come together to work, either face-to-face or virtually, in a meeting; the working equivalent of a dance floor space. Both engagements have recognisable forms and combined moves, based on principles of connection and collaboration. Both are also emergent and co-created moment-by-moment as they play out in real time. It takes a lot of dedication and conscious practice to become good at both dancing and working collaboratively but, really, neither are ever truly mastered. There’s always more to learn. The execution of these two arts requires a solid foundation of skill overlaid by an improvised responsiveness to both the music and each other. This, at its most profound is fluid, nuanced and completely dependent on partnership working. Both require a basic understanding and knowledge of the forms but if we only ever maintain a cerebral awareness of the practice, what we can achieve together is less powerful. We also need to fully engage our intuition and senses to make the most of either situation. When it works and flows, there is almost nothing more meaningful (or beautiful) that we can be a part of. The moments of ease and grace belie the effort involved but create a desire to persist and improve. One is never quite the same after the experience. Being committed to working together is so important, to create something you just wouldn't be able to do alone. It depends on trust and also requires you to each hold your own space whilst being aware of and responsive to the whole dance floor (or working group) at the same time. It’s so important that people think about the way they work together and how we approach the work that needs to be done. No matter whether you are a partner in the dance, a leader or participant in a meeting, no one individual is truly more important than the other. Without our partners there would be no dance at all. This is why, for me, when I work with a client group, it’s like accepting an invitation to dance... and when it works, great collaboration and Argentinian tango have a lot in common. What does great collaboration remind you of?
Image credit: Rosemarie Voegtli
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.
03August 2016
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The modern world means we're meeting in a very different way but we haven't evolved that quickly and human beings still have the need for real human interaction. The way we do things is often complex and in a face-to-face environment you can create trust and commitment much more quickly than you can in a virtual environment. In order to build trust, humans assess a number of factors in other people including their ability, integrity and benevolence. The first two factors play a big part in early working relationships while the assessment of the latter comes later. Being able to judge someone's ability and integrity can often take more time in a virtual environment as there's often not as much interaction as there is in face-to-face meetings. However, trust can still be built at a slower pace but it's also quicker to deteriorate too. I've seen working relationships break apart quickly because a conflict has been dealt with over email when it warranted more interaction to rebuild the trust. In a face-to-face environment there's less façade and if someone isn't really engaged, the rest of the meeting attendees will be able to tell. Virtual meetings allow people to be more transparent about how they feel and if they're not interested in a meeting they simply won't engage. In a virtual meeting some participants can hide behind their computer screens without paying full attention to the task at hand. Social loafing is a well documented phenomena that can be applied to working in a team in this way.  Much of this is down to team size and what individuals can get away with but the correct kind of communication plays a huge part in this. This can be combated in the virtual environment by breaking down complex tasks and making everyone accountable for a small part. This is why a blend of virtual working and face-to-face meetings is so important. While it might cost money to bring a team together the pay off is a team that works better together and gets more done. Virtual working is not a bad thing, in fact it's integral to the modern work environment. Here are some tips for getting it right. Set ground rules Research shows that most people multi-task during a conference call. In order for their attention to be focused on the meeting at hand, it's important to set ground rules for your team. Meet face-to-face This is especially important if you're a leader working with a new team. In order to establish trust from the outset make your first meeting with the team in person as this can help set the stage for future collaboration. Technology is important but so are skills With all conference call and collaborative software you'll be able to learn the basics but there's another element of training needed for leaders working with virtual teams. You need to know how to build trust, use the software effectively, and structure your meetings based on the work that needs to be done. Virtual meetings are so important but a blended approach is needed to help build trust and encourage teams to work in the most efficient way possible.
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.
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!  
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.
17March 2016
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This article was developed for Enlivening Edge.

In 1999 I left my well-paid, corporate job to pursue my passion for facilitation and co-found Meeting Magic. Meeting Magic (MM) provided meeting facilitation services for large corporate organisations. Three years later Ingrid, my co-founder, and I were at capacity and the vision for the Meeting Magic Network was born. Little did I know the journey this would take me on! A journey to becoming Teal. (more…)
15March 2016
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It was recently International Women’s Day. There has been a lot of media coverage about the value of women in senior roles in organisations. It’s a shame that this kind of insight is still shared as if it is new, but it is great that this is being widely appreciated now.  Whilst some organisations wrestle with diversity quotas for the number of women on the Board, I would like to offer my personal views on a philosophy of diversity that  goes deeper than that. (more…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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.
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…)
17November 2015
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We've been doing virtual meetings with our clients for some time. Recently, we've also been seeing a trend to 'blend' virtual within face-to-face (f2f) meetings. This plays out when a global team or group has remote portions of the team not able to join them in the room. (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…)
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…)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
10July 2015
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Inspiring talk based on his leadership knowledge gained from his military experience. Give us a shout and we'll help strap you in as a leader by helping you listen, learn and lead! +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or, complete our contact form with some thoughts on what you want to learn and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can.
01July 2015
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We like this quote because it supports our thinking on how to approach meetings with openness to ideas. Holding our own ideas loosely so we are ready to change when we learn from others.
29June 2015
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Blog_Bendy Men KG Paddling Authored by John Ogier, meeting facilitator in Singapore, 12 June 2015 American novelist and social critic James A. Baldwin is responsible for one of our favourite quotes, "The future is like Heaven. Everyone exhalts it, but no-one wants to go there now." It speaks to the recognised human condition that rather than grasping the potential of something different and life changing for the better, we often hang on to what we know or have, no matter how bad. (more…)
20June 2015
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How mindful are organisations of the potential of meetings? How many organisations pay explicit attention to leveraging the power of meetings to drive the organisation’s performance? How aware are leaders of organisations of the (usually inexplicit) culture they create through the way they run meetings? How do meetings play out in your organisation? And what are the implications of this for your business? Is there room for improvement? (more…)
19June 2015
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C1 pg2a impact I t is my view that HOW things get done has as much impact on bottom line performance as WHAT gets done in business. Most organisations have unhelpful patterns of behaviour that recur in the way people work together (in meetings). These disfunctionalities lead to slow and poor quality decision making. By looking at meeting culture organisations can identify what's getting in the way of performance and drive more effective ways of working. This is not just academic! This approach is practical and it doesn't add work into your business, it utilises  the spaces that exist in business to drive change.
Team meeting around the meeting table
16June 2015
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I work for all kinds of large organisations. They are all fascinatingly different — that's why l love my job! And yet, I've not yet met an organisation that's got it cracked when it comes to harnessing the power of people working together in a consistent and scalable way. (more…)
15June 2015
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Blog-For Blogging - 21 After all the weekends, public holidays, your own vacations and a few 'not-feeling-very-well' days are taken out of your year you'll have a little over 200 days left to do your real work, and I've not counted travel time in any big way yet. If you're in management of some description, expect about 80 of those days to get sucked up with meetings (conservative figure). Executives report about half of their meetings are a waste of time or half the time is wasted. That's at least 40 days (or 2 work months) lost. Gone. (more…)
10June 2015
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Voice America Logo 10-6-15Our erstwhile leader, Katherine Woods, is featured in an interview on Voice America radio this Friday, 12th June, at 4pm UK time (GMT/BDT) and 8am USA Pacific Time (PDT). Please link to the interview above. The conversation will be about Katherine's path and journey in her consultancy world and her current thinking about meetings and the importance of meeting. If her thoughts spark some interest give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form. We would enjoy speaking with you about meeting facilitation and your meeting culture.
09June 2015
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[caption id="attachment_2073" align="alignright" width="300"]Bendy's relaxed confidence comes from building trust. Bendy's relaxed confidence comes from building trust.[/caption] This article on the BBC News website on the 9th of June caught our eye. It frames the issue of trust of leadership quite well. It identifies the issue and uses some good examples of the need for trust. We find that the article struggles a little not so much on why leadership needs to build trust but on how to build trust. Exploring practical ways of building trust is a difficult thing in a brief article as each organisation is different and each leader is different, with a multiplicity of experience and baggage and personal points of view on the full range of issues they encounter on a daily basis. (more…)
03June 2015
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We know from experience and from thoughtful feedback that working visually and including graphics in meeting facilitation works tremendously and impactfully for groups, especially when making complex decisions. This article reinforces our experience and throws in some of the science around visual thinking and the impact graphic knowledge has on our brains. Enjoy the read! If you want to explore how we can support your visual thinking in and out of meetings give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form. Let's do some visual thinking together. And, if we do a virtual meeting we can show you how it works!
26May 2015
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We highly recommend this workshop by David Sibbet. If you can't make it to our Advanced Facilitation Training workshop 9-10 July near London this is an alternative worth considering.