strategic planning

Fire It Up

Hey folks!

We’re back from co-leading an absolutely stellar service learning trip in Kenya with a rockstar group of students from Colorado State University.

Between the significant time change, over 30 hours of travel, having been trusted with the safety and wellbeing of 12 college students, and having no internet or phone access for nearly 18 days, last week felt a little slow and fuzzy.

Which, in Karina-Speak, means a little frustrating.

Getting back, I was simultaneously fired up to immediately leap into projects and emails that had been put off during the trip, and at the same time I wanted to maintain the blissful state of disconnection and presence that being in Kenya facilitated.

Coming back to winter in Colorado, near our wood stove has been a favorite spot. So, naturally, I’ve been thinking about fire. For me, this month has been an exercise in understanding that all fires –whether they’re in a stove or the heart behind what you share with the world – need the right tending, fuel, and time to burn bright and clean.

Many of us feel the tension between creating space for ourselves and wanting to exceed our clients’ or teammates’ expectations. How do you keep your fire burning?

conversketch-learn-to-draw-fire

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

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Taking a nap…I mean in the Studio…working on several illustration pieces on paper and digitally.

Taking a nap…I mean in the Studio…working on several illustration pieces on paper and digitally.

Mapping Out Complexity  – with a local business with complexity and a big vision. I guided the founder through a two-hour session mapping out all the moving parts, how they are connected, gaps, next steps, and big picture vision. This can be shared with the whole team for transparent communication on the why, what and how of the business in the next year.

Mapping Out Complexity – with a local business with complexity and a big vision. I guided the founder through a two-hour session mapping out all the moving parts, how they are connected, gaps, next steps, and big picture vision. This can be shared with the whole team for transparent communication on the why, what and how of the business in the next year.

Who Can Help Your Team Surface Shared Values?

I love getting to collaborate with a lot of different groups of people working toward many different goals. Most of these groups contain people who have different worldviews, perspectives, ways of thinking.

Sometimes it's challenging to do meaningful work together if you think differently. That’s what leads to the most powerful teams and solutions.

But it can also be beyond frustrating. What if you can’t come to consensus? What if consensus isn’t actually a tool that will serve this group and their goals? What if your team stays surface-level because they don’t feel comfortable disagreeing? (Hint: I wrote a post about the benefits of disagreement here).

This is why groups choose to work with a graphic facilitator.

I can help you design processes to build on your team’s differences to use them as a strength, then draw out the conversation to surface shared ideas or values, then co-create and illustrate a plan that everyone can see themselves in. Get ready for action and riding the wave of momentum!

conversketch-surfacing-ideas-and-flowers-graphic-facilitator

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

Have the seed of an idea? Let’s design something to help your team surface shared values.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Vail: At the annual DigiDay Publishing Summit where I captured trends and solutions for the ever-changing world of publishers like the Daily Beast, HuffPost and Gizmodo.

Vail: At the annual DigiDay Publishing Summit where I captured trends and solutions for the ever-changing world of publishers like the Daily Beast, HuffPost and Gizmodo.

Fort Collins: Working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as they create a Research Strategy for the next five years.

Fort Collins: Working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as they create a Research Strategy for the next five years.

Rafting: As those of you who have subscribed for a while know, I enjoy playing outside and floating on rivers. This week I’m out of the office on a spring float down the Ruby/Horsethief/Westwater stretch of the Colorado River. This photo was taken by the incredibly talented  Spencer Branson .

Rafting: As those of you who have subscribed for a while know, I enjoy playing outside and floating on rivers. This week I’m out of the office on a spring float down the Ruby/Horsethief/Westwater stretch of the Colorado River. This photo was taken by the incredibly talented Spencer Branson.

Psst…What’s that behind you? It’s impacting your life more than you realize

You’ve been leaving them behind you all month. All your life, really. You probably let a few slip out behind you today. Sometimes they’re messy, sometimes perfectly designed, sometimes barely discernible, other times they last for weeks. They are uniquely you.

What the heck am I talking about? Footprints.

What do footprints have to do with business? Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Here’s two ways:

What you do impacts those around you, probably more than you realize.  Have you ever thanked someone for a nugget of wisdom they shared that really struck a chord for you, only to have them look at you with a mildly puzzled smile? They don’t even remember what they said, but it shifted the way you looked at life and made a difference for you. On the other end of the spectrum, a flippant and uncaring word can ripple through someone’s life and uproot confidence.

What kind of imprint are you going to leave with those around you? Will it feel like stepping in a mud puddle, or crunching in sparkling snow? (Is stepping in a mud puddle really a bad thing? I don’t think it has to be, which is part of the unshakable optimism that makes me great at getting groups through tough conversations.)

Footprints are also useful tools for change in visual strategic planning.

Having clear steps visually outlined is a super powerful tool to be more productive, synergistic, collaborative and creative with your team. Why?
- You all know where you’re going with a clear vision.
- You all know what’s expected of you within the larger group to make sure the team is successful.
- Everyone understands the mile stones that will keep you moving toward the vision, even if different people approach achieving them different ways.
- And everyone knows how what they’re doing is contributing toward the group’s success. You all know where to find this map, and check in regularly using it as a guide.

So next time your team is meeting to lay things out for the week, or for the next five years, try putting a few footprints on the whiteboard to show the path forward, and fill them in together. Here’s some to get you started…

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

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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



Is your strategic plan a huge document nobody ever looks at?  Click to get in touch and find out how a custom designed, beautifully succinct strategic plan everybody wants to examine and revisit could be in your future.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This month I've officially launched my custom watercolor greeting cards and prints! All cards are 5x7 and printed on recycled paper and paired with recycled envelopes. They come as the individual images above, or with nice, uplifting quotes I've compiled. I'm still working on an online platform to purchase them, but you can email me for a direct order or stop by the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery or Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House if you're local. 

Spring - Nature's way of saying "Let's party!"

I love this quote from Mr. Robin Williams, it just encapsulates the energy of spring and the music of the earth waking up after winter. 

This spring has been particularly full of energy and life for ConverSketch...meaning the blog updates have been thin but I've been on the ground (or the paper, if you will) with several big projects. Here's a snapshot of what I've been up to!

Visual facilitation for the Colorado State University Dryland Collaborative Knowledge and Learning Network:

Partners from Kenya, Mongolia and the Western US visualize their successful collaborative.

Illustrating the City of Fort Collins' Journey to World Class video:

Coming soon to the Internet near you!

Graphic recording the Colorado State University Agricultural Innovation Summit

A lively and challenging discussion on water and agriculture in the West.

Months of planning and research went into the two-day visual facilitation for the Colorado State Forest Service Strategic Planning meeting. All the charts I created are proprietary, but here's a nice shot of the Nokhu Crags, an area managed by CSFS and near and dear to my heart:

Photo: Aaron LaVanchy. Rippin' snowboarder: Spencer Branson

Graphic recording for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Native National Partnership meeting:

A synthesis graphic done during the two day retreat.

Graphic recording the University of Colorado Denver's Food Justice Symposium:

 

There's plenty of other exciting projects in the works, including the launch of a quiet and helpful email sent to you regularly (but not too regularly) for drawing tricks, inspiration and updates from me! Stay tuned!