organizational culture

How to Make the Most of Meetings

No matter who you are or where you work, you go to meetings. There is a spectrum of how you feel about meetings. It looks like this:

graphic-recording-feelings-about-meetings-spectrum

My goal with this post is to move you, at least a little, from the eel side to the OMG side of things by sharing some tips on how to make your meetings effective, useful, and fun.

Purpose.

  • Always have a clear goal or purpose for the meeting, and make sure everyone knows.
  • Always have an agenda (even if it’s just “5-minute update from both teams”). Again, make sure everyone knows.

Timing.

  • Create an expectation that meetings start and end on time, and stick to it.
  • Limit meetings to 30 minutes and see what you can actually do with that focused time.
  • Start meetings at an unusual time, like 1:36 pm.
  • How do you make sure to stay on time? Read on…

Technology.

  • Place a Phone Basket by the door and have everyone, including leadership, put their phones in there.

Consequences.

  • To ensure these guidelines are respected, institute consequences – positive or negative – for behaviors that support or undermine being on time.
  • For example, if you’re late, do 10 pushups for every late minute or you have to sing a song in front of the group.
  • If you are the reason a meeting goes long, you have to buy a round of drinks for everyone, or bring coffee for everyone next time.
  • If a phone rings during the meeting, the person needs to make a donation to a non-profit of choice.

Bring in a graphic recorder or graphic facilitator.

  • Your team will be able to wade through complexity more quickly and easily by seeing the conversation take place in front of them.
  • People stay engaged and better remember key ideas from the meeting.
  • Seeking connections and working collaboratively become second nature to the group.
  • Having a tangible map of what was achieved helps keep people focused and action-oriented after the meeting is over.

To me, the key for success here is building these behaviors and expectations into the organization’s culture.

graphic-recording-how-to-make-meetings-beter

For more great tips on effective meetings, read this article from Fast Company.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Interested in hosting the most interesting meetings in the world?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I’m out East in the DC area with the NSA again. We’re talking leadership, resiliency, and management styles and how to help teams work better together.

This week I’m out East in the DC area with the NSA again. We’re talking leadership, resiliency, and management styles and how to help teams work better together.

The Benefits of Disagreement: How to Leverage it to Make Your Team a Communication Powerhouse.

In my last newsletter, I focused on the idea of creating a culture of open communication to foster a team that’s antifragile. This week I’d like to build on that and give you another tool to use to improve communication in your organization/team/family/etc. (If you’re asking yourself what the heck “antifragile” means, you can find the post here).

We all have different communication styles, and I’m a person who, most of the time, naturally does not particularly enjoy disagreements or arguments. Yet as a graphic facilitator, I often intentionally develop processes for my clients that make space for ideas to clash.

No, I don’t just get all the right people in the room, then open with some inflammatory question that sets everyone on edge and then let the group have at it. Recipe for disaster.

Instead, I frame disagreement as a way to avoid a pitfall that organizations across sectors find themselves in: If nobody is disagreeing, we all must be on the same page, right?

NOT NECESSARILY!

Okay, maybe you’ve done heaps of work, you actually ARE all agreeing on the same level, and you’re ready to crush it. But many times leaders find themselves with team members who are frustrated because they feel like they can’t safely share ideas that are different or at odds with others.

One way to start helping folks feel better about disagreeing is to start with one of my favorite ground rules from the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University:

It’s okay to disagree, but do so with curiosity, not hostility.

Asking people to be curious when they’re disagreeing can be a powerful mental shift because it allows them to question in a constructive way, and also to accept different perspectives without getting defensive. Because we all know that no matter how carefully we plan, how great an idea might be in the meeting room, something unexpected will happen.

We also know that it takes courage to let yourself be vulnerable by suggesting half-formed ideas that you think could spark something great from your team. Allowing and encouraging your peeps to look beyond the obvious solutions by disagreeing curiously can help you avoid costly mistakes up front and build better concepts in the long run.

If a meeting, event, or the culture you nurture in your team is built on the idea that it’s good to disagree curiously, that allows people the space and encouragement to question, share, scrap & start over. It builds open, respectful communication, which builds trust. Which leads to great teams doing amazing things together. Boom.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

ConverSKETCHes_Curiosity.jpg

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina


Need someone to create a space for curious disagreement for your next event? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic facilitation magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The City and County of Salt Lake, Utah have been working for over a year to better understand and respond to the needs of homeless individuals. Through outreach and collaborative governance, new resource centers will be available to help people move beyond homelessness. Here's a Strategic Illustration of their process and ideas moving forward.

The City and County of Salt Lake, Utah have been working for over a year to better understand and respond to the needs of homeless individuals. Through outreach and collaborative governance, new resource centers will be available to help people move beyond homelessness. Here's a Strategic Illustration of their process and ideas moving forward.

Change Happens. How To Foster A Team That Not Only Survives, But Thrives.

The word “resilience” is popular right now. We’ve worn out “sustainability” and we want to build a business culture that helps our organization stay on the cutting edge. But how many of us think about what resilience really means? Here’s a definition for you:

Resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks.
 
So, a resilient team can deal with the inevitable and ever-more-frequent changes we experience in life, and get back on track. But is simply getting back to where you were before what you want? Does this sound like an organization that is cutting edge? Isn’t there something more?!

I’m so glad you asked. There’s a brilliant guy named Nassim Nicholas Talib that wrote a little book called Antifragile. Now stay with me here, I see your eyes glazing over at some jargon-y, made-up business word. I promise you this one is worth thinking on. Antifragile is one of those books that is so packed with ideas that make my mind stretch, that I have to take a moment to process each paragraph I read. It’s awesome.

Talib describes the essence of antifragile as the following:

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better (pp. 433-435).

See what I mean? That is an INCREDIBLY POWERFUL idea. Change hits, and instead of somehow making it back to the way things were before, your team actually improves? Yes, please.

So how can you create a culture of antifragility?

It takes intentional work. Central to building a high-functioning team is good communication. Regular, transparent and open communication nurtures trust, and creates a positive feedback loop of good communication.

Feeling like you’re in a communication rut with your team? Three words for you: Draw. It. Out.

Using drawings, especially simple ones, is a phenomenally useful and fun tool to build a culture of great communication and antifragility. Doodling complex ideas helps you clarify what’s most important and simplify the ideas to more easily explain to others. Inviting other team members to collaborate with you and share what they’re seeing opens eyes to new perspectives, new connections, and create a sense of shared ownership of ideas, which leads to a higher likelihood of action. Even if it looks messy, it’s about the process. It’s about sharing ideas and working together. Then being able to refine and share your story so that when sh*t gets real, everyone knows what the vision is, and feels the confidence to move toward antifragility.

Partnering with a graphic recorder can help you take a step back, think critically about the situation, and give your notes an extra pop of drawing expertise. Or, if you're itching to take the reins (ahem, markers) yourself, getting personalized training from a visual creativity coach can help you take your ideas to the next level. 

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

What do you think about antifragile? Come on over to the blog and share in the comments so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina


You don’t have to be an artist to draw out your ideas, but it’s pretty fun to work with one. If you’d like to bring me on for your next event or work with me one-on-one to improve your skills to draw out ideas, let me know by clicking that nice button down there.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Next week I'm headed to Salt Lake City to help them create a visual summary map of what they've been hearing in 1 1/2 years of outreach around ending homelessness in SLC. This drawing is something they can use to help the group is build on what the City has heard from the community, rather than repeating what they know already.

Three Things You Never Thought of to Level Up Your Company's Culture

What do you think of when you hear the word “culture”?

Does it make you want to panic and flee (potentially to the nearest bar and sing some Boy George songs)? It certainly is a popular business blog topic and a fun little buzzword that gets some folks fired up, and makes other peoples’ eyes glaze over.

Be that as it may, as someone who works closely with teams across different sectors, I get to see the effects of this powerful concept as I support groups moving through tough situations or developing steps to their ideal future state. Sometimes it’s clear that a team has a super dialed culture (aka it’s personality, or the basic shared values and beliefs of an organization), and sometimes it’s clear that folks haven’t taken the time to do the hard work it takes to cultivate and nurture a solid organizational culture.

So, because good things come in three’s, here are three ways a graphic facilitator can help you identify and share what makes your org so incredibly high-functioning and generally awesome so you can keep leading the pack and changing the world.

Create it Together. Communication can make or break an organization. If everyone can actually see themselves in the goals you’re aiming for, they’re much more likely to remember and commit to the group’s vision. Creating a shared, visual reflection of the group’s ideas and stories is a powerful tool to develop buy-in.

Share Like It’s Your Job (It Is). Tools like Summary Graphics and Explainer Videos can be used after your killer, productive, collaborative and fun meeting to remind what people bring to the bigger picture. These beautiful illustrations are often hung in shared spaces or individual desks because they’re stylish and functional – i.e. they’re not only packed with key ideas from everyone, they’re nice to look at too.

Nurture & Invest. Humans have a delightful tendency to change and adapt, and your organizational culture really should do the same to be useful. This might sound exhausting, but it’s an opportunity to build trust and autonomy in your org. Working with a graphic facilitator to train your employees on visual and collaborative thinking is an investment that can have a glorious ripple effect. Skills like suspending judgement, divergent thinking, and of course, creative doodling can have a tremendously positive effect on teams. Go on, teach them to fish.

Click on the image below to see the larger version below.

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina



All this culture business (and business culture) sounds like fun. Click below so we can start designing your culture & communication strategy together.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Last week I shared a finished explainer video on Dialogue and Deliberation, this week is a more behind-the-scenes perspective. Here's a shot of my video recording set up for the most recent video I recorded. I won't be able to share the video per my client's privacy, but I can show you that the magic is made right here!

Last week I shared a finished explainer video on Dialogue and Deliberation, this week is a more behind-the-scenes perspective. Here's a shot of my video recording set up for the most recent video I recorded. I won't be able to share the video per my client's privacy, but I can show you that the magic is made right here!