thought leadership

Four Tools Guaranteed to Send Your Team into Decision-Making Bliss

I hope this finds all you folks in the US happy and rested after the Thanksgiving holiday.

My last newsletter focused on suspending judgement while brainstorming to facilitate innovation and creativity, with a promise to follow up this week with ideas to help you or your team make decisions and select the best ideas to move forward with. Okay, maybe you won’t end up completely blissed out if you use these ideas, but at least you’ll have a darn clear picture of what’s important to your team. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?

A graphic recorder can often visually reflect where there is energy or consensus in the group through the illustrations they create, but what if you don’t have a graphic recorder, or the group is having a difficult time deciding?

My first step is usually to have the group create Clusters. When brainstorming, I like to have participants write ideas on sticky notes – one per note – and post them on a wall. This makes it easy to move the ideas around into different themes or categories, which can then simplify or reduce the number of items you need to decide on or prioritize. Be sure to clearly delineate and name the clusters.

Great, now we have a ton of awesome clusters. What now? Now, my friend, you have options (ironic, more decisions for you to make).  Here are some of my favorite decision-making and prioritization techniques, in no particular order, and with endless opportunities to tweak to fit your needs or group.

1.       The Dot Vote: A Classic. Chances are, you’ve used this at least once in your life…If the words “dot vote” make you want to run screaming from the room or throw the device you’re reading this on against a wall, please move on to Idea 2 immediately. However, it’s used often for a reason; it’s quick, can be used in groups of all sizes, and forces people to make tough choices. I usually give people multiple dot stickers so they can give their votes some weight: if you really love an idea, put as many dots on it as you’d like. If you are interested in several, spread your dots around. The caveat is that dot voting might mean an idea that will more heavily affect a minority of the group might get overlooked, even with weighted dot voting.

2.       Five Finger Vote: A la OGSystems Visioneers. This is another quick, weighted voting technique. After generating a list of clusters or key ideas to vote on, discuss them to be sure participants understand each one. Go through them one by one and ask participants to hold up fingers for each as follows:

0: Strong Preference Against (could not accept this idea)

1: Preference Against (accepting this idea would be a compromise to better alternatives)

2: Casual Preference Against (could accept this idea, but other alternatives are just as good)

3: Casual Preference For (could accept this idea, no better alternatives)

4: Preference For (would support this idea, and not prefer another idea)

5: Strong Preference For (could not support another idea)

Count the total for each option – the idea with the highest number of votes is the winner.

3.       Selection Chart: Another Classic. When I need something more analytical and number oriented, creating a chart with options on the left column and criteria for ranking across the top can be useful. Decide on a scale for weight (i.e. 1-5, 5 being most important), and go through each option and give each criterion a number based on how important it is. Again, add up the scores for each option and you’ll get a winner and see distribution of importance. Bonus: You can do this individually first, then come together to discuss patterns or differences across the group.

4.       Decision Trees (for inspiration & humor try this one): A la Dan Roam. Start with an important question, such as “Is dropping our price a good option?”. From there, ask and draw another, related question like “Is our market price sensitive?” decide yes/no, and if yes, ask another question, such as “How is our price relative to our competitor?”. If no, try another option since price isn’t a factor. And so on.

Now get out there and make a blissful Selection Chart to decide which of these tools you’ll use next time your team needs to make a decision.

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 help your team make some decisions...then actually move forward together? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

I'm proud to announce a new explainer video is out in the world thanks to the new One Health Institute at Colorado State University! Click the image above to learn how CSU's Dr. John Spencer is partnering with researchers and practitioners in Brazil to work toward ending leprosy!

A Simple Way to Keep from FALL-ing Off the Crushing It Train

We’re entering the last few months of 2016, and I want to encourage you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind for a moment and think about the bigger picture you have for this year.

For those of you who have been with me since last December, this is the perfect time to revisit your Vision Board, or whatever form you might have articulated your goals for the year. If you haven’t written or drawn anything so far, take a few minutes to write down a few goals, ideas, or projects you’d like to mark “Nailed It” when 2017 rolls around.

Now ask yourself:
- What have you completed that deserves celebration?
- What’s still on there you haven’t finished, or maybe even forgot about?
- Are these things still relevant?

Take an honest look -- it’s cool, you still have ¼ of the year left! -- and decide which of these things are your top 3 priorities. Then, whip out that calendar. What do you need to do to achieve these goals? By when? I strongly suggest writing something down or making actionable goals to Get. It. Done.

This is what this looks like for me: I have my vision board posted on the wall at my desk where I see it every day. To take action, I like writing down a running list of my graphic recording & other projects and goals on a whiteboard, also next to my desk. Above that, each evening I write my top 3 priorities for the next day. This helps me keep things organized, and I get to cross things off a list when I complete them. Ahem, like so:

And now, some autumn leaves to inspire seasonal doodles. For fun try using little leaves instead of normal bullet points.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

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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



Need someone to help your team define shared goals...then actually move forward together? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is getting their story on. Here's one of many charts from the four day workshop at the end of September. 

The Secret World of Graphic Recorders: What YOU Can Leverage From Leaders in My Field

Happy September y’all!

Just about a month ago, I was in a place I know you’ve been too: Excitement-Overload. I was headed home from a most amazing gathering of graphic recorders and visual thought leaders: the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) annual conference.

These three days play a huge role in the way I approach the next 12 months of the year fueled by ideas and perspectives shared by people who are leading the field and experimenting with new ways of doing this work.

By far the best part of this conference is getting to meet and connect with people whose work I admire and, almost without fail, finding out that there’s a whole lot more to admire in them than their work.

I also had some realizations about the way I want to focus my energy and approach this work to better serve my clients, which I’ve distilled down to a few key insight blasts that can conveniently be used by just about anyone.

Inspired by the brilliant Brandy Agerbeck, I seek to “be a partner, not a commodity”. By that I mean I’m someone my clients continually seek to collaborate with because I’ve done work that makes them want to get out there and really make a difference. Not simply a pretty picture, or even only during the event, but with tools, creative ideas and solutions for using the charts I create long after the event too.

Another session that stuck with me was led by the incredibly intelligent and talented Stephanie Brown on how to be a better partner for facilitators leading change processes. We all came to the conclusion that being a good partner revolves around practicing solid preparation, stellar listening, and letting them know that I have their back, and know they have mine.

Steph also posed the idea that “Organizations grow in the direction from which questions are asked.” I love the idea of crafting questions and visually capturing responses that will help my clients leap forward through uncertainty and change.
 

Lisa Arora, from her deep well of experience and knowledge in this field, shared a question that has me rethinking the way I work with groups: “What do we want people to see, feel, and do?” This deceptively simple question now informs the way I capture different groups and sessions based on their response. Will this be part of a presentation, or is the process of capturing a difficult conversation the most important part of the work I do for a particular client?

As a Creative with a capital “C”, it can be easy to get “comparitis”. What I love about the community of graphic recorders is how generous and supportive everyone is. The last take-away I’ll share comes from Brandy again: There is room for everyone here. The most important thing to do is to be authentic.


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




Curious how to better utilize your graphic recording charts during and after the meeting?