seprator

meeting effectiveness

seprator
27October 2016
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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!
27October 2016
blog_shape
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
19September 2016
blog_shape
I see an intention to collaborate coming from the top of most organisations, integrated into visions, strategies and plans. It is widely accepted nowadays that, in most organisations, there is value in collaboration - both collaboration internally, between departments and regions, and collaboration externally, with customers and suppliers. But it appears that the reality of this intention is often a long way from the productivity and innovation benefits hoped for. Exhaustive mediocrity is caused when groups are unable to make choices and try to accommodate all views, resulting in everything being done at the lowest common denominator level. Last week I was part of a team leading a collaborative leadership development programme. One of the insights from this group was that few people experience genuine collaboration both in the workplace and outside. Without this experience, the mindset and skills are not developed for collaboration to become a reality. The good news is that collaborative muscle can be developed. By creating positive collaborative experiences we can shift mindsets from negotiating to collaborating. Once people are in the collaborative mindset then they want to learn the skills to support this way of working. I expect you know what I am going to say now.... one of the easiest places to start creating collaborative working is in meetings. Meetings already exist in most organisations and they are the everyday places where people experience collaboration (or not). So, give it a go.... collaborate effectively... one meeting at a time!
03August 2016
blog_shape
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.
16July 2016
blog_shape

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.  
03April 2016
blog_shape
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.
10February 2016
blog_shape
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.
05February 2016
blog_shape
Here at Meeting Magic and Scribing Magic we have lots of people who influence us from David Sibbet to Frederic Laloux.Over the years these people and their ideas have changed because our thinking and how we work with clients is always evolving with new ideas, and our own shared thinking, particularly about the power of meeting. (more…)
03February 2016
blog_shape
Fiona Stratford's passion is focused on people and helping them communicate through effective meetings. She enjoys finding different ways to support conversations and collaboration in order to help groups move forward. Have a listen and a watch of this video biography. Fiona would enjoy talking to you about how she can support your key conversations in a way that helps you collaborate better. Call her at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us what you want Fiona to help you with. She'll get back to you quickly.
01February 2016
blog_shape
In our publishing of the new videos on the website, we present Liz Forder, one of our meeting facilitators. She is passionate about people and how to support them in creating effective meetings that get results. Watch and listen to Liz give some background on how she arrived at Meeting Magic and what she bring to meetings. To speak with Liz give her a call at +44 (0)1628 147 114 or complete our contact form with information for Liz to reply to. She'll get back to you as quickly as she can.
18January 2016
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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…)
20November 2015
blog_shape
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…)
17November 2015
blog_shape
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…)
Virtual meeting facilitation in progress
17November 2015
blog_shape
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…)
30October 2015
blog_shape
Tom Benthin is one of those amazing graphic recorders who understands business and meeting facilitation. This video shows him helping the meeting leader summarise their working day, one way graphic recording serves the group. In this instance, the graphic was used to 're-tell' the story of what happened during the day and invited delegate / participants an opportunity to add or correct the historical record, helping cement the content in participants minds while helping them engage it in a profound way. I was struck by how many times people refer to the visual as a memory tool and how they were pleased to amend the record. This video is a little long but it is very instructive demonstration of how good graphic recording can support the facilitation process, and support shared communications. Meeting Magic and Scribing Magic support your capture of conversations, presentations, and panel discussions so the content becomes an historical record, and can be used to communicate your messages to other stakeholders, including those missing from the meeting, related groups and divisions, leaders and investors, and clients / customers. To learn more about how and why graphic recording and graphic facilitation works give us a call at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us what you want to achieve in our groups. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.
26October 2015
blog_shape

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…)

23October 2015
blog_shape
Virtual meetings are no longer a thing of the future or something only large organisation do because they have to. Meeting in virtual environments, whether Skype, GoTo Meeting, Live Meeting, or any other platform, is now an essential part of collaboration and conversation is all types of organisations. (more…)
19October 2015
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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.
02September 2015
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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…)
27July 2015
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
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.
03July 2015
blog_shape
Consultancy Article Image 2 - Time Spent2 - 18-6-15 - KGWe know the Autumn conference planning is in full swing. You have a team of people coordinating and contacting and creating and figuring and on and on. And, we know you are sitting there working on the content so it is relevant and energising and fun and that you get the biggest bang for the buck. And yet, your conferences engender more dread than excitement. More quiet whinging than positive buzz. What is that about? (more…)
29June 2015
blog_shape
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…)
22June 2015
blog_shape
As I am sure you are aware, an increasing amount of corporate work is done virtually, thanks to technology platforms like Lync, Skype for Business, GoTo Meeting and the like. However, we consistently hear from our clients that meetings in the virtual space have an even worse reputation than those that are face-to-face. (more…)
18June 2015
blog_shape
I recently had a disarmingly honest conversation with a senior leader in a large organisation in Singapore. This person said, “When it comes to innovation, we are constantly giving ourselves a fat lip!”  If you are unfamiliar with this term, it’s not a cosmetic surgery enhancement. It’s a reference to getting a punch in the mouth with the result being a swollen, painful and fat lip. Before this somewhat harsh observation, our discussion had circled around the challenge and the frustration of trying to create a culture of innovation in their company. Across the Asia Pacific region, they have cubicles full of technically excellent people, all good at their work but when it came to innovative thinking, lip service was about as far as they got. “Yes, absolutely. Good strategy. Makes perfect sense. I am a big fan of innovation. We must do that. Now, back to work.” (more…)
Team meeting around the meeting table
16June 2015
blog_shape
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…)
10June 2015
blog_shape
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
blog_shape
[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…)
05June 2015
blog_shape

Authored by Fiona Stratford, Meeting Magic Facilitator

[caption id="attachment_2002" align="alignright" width="296"]Understanding the costs of meetings helps clarify why meeting facilitation can add value to organisations. Understanding the costs of meetings helps clarify why meeting facilitation can add value to organisations.[/caption]

Wow, really???!! I heard some statistics today that got me thinking–managers within businesses spend between 50% and 75% of their time in meetings, with the higher percentage relating to more senior managers and directors.This is interesting in itself but the scary bit is that of those meetings some 42% result in NO action.

So the accountant in me just had to work out some costs relating to this. (more…)

03June 2015
blog_shape
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!
29May 2015
blog_shape
Reading this article reinforces for us the power of using graphic to record meeting and more importantly to have a neutral meeting facilitator to help disentangle the web of language we encounter every day. This is an excellent article. It gets us thinking about how we can support your communications with your various stakeholders and to improve the power of meeting. To speak in our rich language about how to add powerful graphic facilitation to your meetings give us a call at +44 (0) 1§628 471 114 or complete the contact form. We'll cogently reply to your request as soon as we can.
26May 2015
blog_shape
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.
20May 2015
blog_shape
When we run our open training course on advanced meeting facilitation there is a point in the training that always sparks debate. This happens when we explore the art of meeting design, when we refer to the sections of a meeting as 'conversations'. These are the parts of a meeting that might traditionally be referred to as 'agenda items' but we call them conversations because we believe this gets to the nub of what they should be. (more…)
20May 2015
blog_shape
We know you may have seen this TED talk. Leadership may never be the same! Talk to us about your leadership and how to be what Simon is talking about. +44 (0)1628 471 114. Or, complete the contact form with some basic thoughts and we'll get back to you.
17May 2015
blog_shape
fiona-stratford-500pxOur team keeps growing and gaining depth in the process. Fiona Stratford joins us bringing a strong business background and a broad understanding of working with group process within the management and leadership strata of organisations. She has hit the ground running and is ready to speak with you about how she can support your meetings, corporate conversations, and meeting cultural change initiatives. To speak with Fiona, or any of our team, call us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form. We'll reply as quickly as we can.
15May 2015
blog_shape
We know that sometimes the language of working together can get a little tree-huggie. Co-creation can sound like a trip in the woods with flowers in the hair. We get that. (more…)
13May 2015
blog_shape
Leadership comes in many forms and leadership communications comes in many styles. Some leaders 'tell' as their primary leadership style, others 'sell' their ideas, and some will 'test' ideas in order to gain input and buy-in. Over the 16 years of our supporting clients we are discovering a new breed of leaders who understand that consultation with stakeholders as part of idea generation, strategy creation and innovation gets them strong results. (more…)