Map Your Goals and Challenges [Yes! And Blog 147]

by | Aug 14, 2015 | Collaborate, Develop Opportunities, Facilitate meetings, Innovate, Overcome Challenges, Tools

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” John F. Kennedy, former US President How might you gain a better understanding of your goals and challenges? Kennedy made the above point in a “State of the Union” speech to the US Congress on 25 May 1961. Whilst most countries would probably dedicate a whole speech on the subject, the moon landing was one of eight strategic goals that Kennedy spoke about and was just one of the four space initiatives that included communication and weather satellites! The reason for starting with this moon landing story is to illustrate that whatever your goal, it will form part of a taller and wider hierarchy that you can represent on a map. For example, a more operational goal would be “Enable astronauts to write in weightless environments.” (This might remind you of the story that the USA spent millions of dollars inventing a pen to write in space whilst the USSR used a pencil. People often cite this story as a reason to find the simplest solution, however, please see my closing story for a different insight.) SO If your goal is very strategic and you wish to understand the hierarchy of goals beneath it, you can use a Level Map. This enables you to: • Diagram that hierarchy and see the relationships before you choose one to work on. • Chunk the goal into lower level goals, thus increasing the potential goals to achieve and reducing the...

Reperceive Situations… [Yes! And. Blog 120]

“There is no truth. Only perception.” Edith Sitwell (English  Author) Looking at a challenge in a fresh way can transform how you tackle it… Once, I gave an after dinner talk for around 80 college lecturers and examiners attending a seminar on innovation in assessment. The premise of my talk, more an interactive lecture, was that if we could inspire people to enjoy the whole process of exams, it would reap benefits for the college and be an innovation in assessment. This idea underpinned a study day that my friend, Elvin Box, and I ran for many years, for MBA students studying Creativity, Innovation and Change. We challenged the students to enjoy and look forward to the exam rather than dread it. I had happily accepted the challenge of giving the talk, but a couple of weeks after accepting I became a little nervous, wondering what I would find to talk about that would interest and be of use to the audience. I didn’t realise how nervous I was until one night, I had a dream. In it I was delivering the talk and in front of everybody, could not think of a thing to say. In the dream, (this is absolutely true) Piers Brosnan , ex – James Bond and erstwhile singer in “Mamma Mia,” appeared and sagely told me all I needed to know. He may even have sung it, I don’t recall because when I awoke, I had forgotten all he told me! However, some of you will recognise the type of dream as the “examination dream”, one I used to have regularly before appearing in plays, constantly forgetting...

Tackle issues more effectively [Yes! And Blog #145]

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius Use Reflecting Teams to find better insights and solutions for an issue or opportunity Imagine you have an issue and want to obtain input from others to broaden your perspective and gain ideas. If you do this in a typical meeting it can often result in frustration as some people throw in ideas prematurely, others dominate the conversation and the talk spirals in endless circles. If that is your experience, you might find it useful to use the Reflecting Teams tool I describe in this article. I have experienced Reflecting Teams many times in UK chapter meetings of the Association for the Quality Development of Solution Focused Consulting and Training (see the web site here, http://www.asfct.org/) and have found it to be an excellent tool, both for the person with the issue or opportunity and the team. How it works There are a number of variants on the tool I describe here, however, this is the one I have experienced most. Appoint a moderator Choose someone who will run the process and moderate the team so that everybody can contribute equally. This is an important role. Form the team Assemble the team so that all can see and hear the client clearly. This can be around a table or might be a half circle of chairs facing the client. There is no ideal number but it needs at least three people and, for reasons of time, probably no more than 12....

How to Facilitate Creativity [Yes! And. Blog 100]

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic. Will never find it. ROALD DAHL – THE MINPINS Everyone can be creative; with the right process, techniques and a little magic … Footballer scores 99 goals but stalls before the hundred. Cricketer hits 99 runs and stalls before the hundred. Brooker writes 99 articles and stalls… After the 99th article, I decided to write something “special” for the 100th. I thought I would review all 99 articles, identify the themes and write about them. I didn’t realise how busy I would be and how long it would take to review 99 articles. And, when I had done it, I had no enthusiasm for it! So tonight in my hotel room I gave up on the idea. My 100th goal would not be a thirty metre volley in to the top corner of the net. My 100th run would not be a six in to the crowd. Instead, I would scramble the ball over the line, sneak a quick run, write on any topic and… Just write it…! And a question arrived. In the three months since writing the 99th article, what was the stand out moment about creativity that has stuck in my mind? Here it is. I was running a residential weekend on creativity with MBA students. Two of the students were, I suspect  (I didn’t measure it), adaptive rather than innovative in their style and they were both more introvert than extrovert. They were great people...