effectiveness, Leadership, Learning, Sample Tools, vision, visual mapping

Not necessarily digital

I was told last evening to keep my presentation short. In other words, the fewer words the better. I knew that there was an overly-tight agenda.  I had doodled a few words in the morning but I didn’t know if there would be a projector. So rather than taking the time to create a slideshow, I used the photocopier.

If I were more confident I would draw this while speaking. Doing it this way though means that people have a take-away. The principle is that what we remember what we see better than what we hear. This is the doodle and an approximation of the script:


It’s the year 2020.  The leaders have a vision.  They see us with 225 people in the parish church every Sunday (compared to 150 now) a balanced budget  about $150,000 higher – and the place full of people.   They went to our parent body over here on the right. (I held up a copy of the full proposal)  The diocese has similar goals and they have money to help.  So they did – the carrot is money for new staff. We will expand from one-full time and two-half-time people to three full-time and two half-time.  That’s a big jump in a single year.  The stick is accountability.  That comes with a coach who guides us for the seven years.  He helped us clarify what we want to do – which is to:

  • Have more members
  • Have more money
  • Make our parishioners disciples who reach out –  and by their example welcome and nourish others. That’s our mission.

Our next budget reflects these goals along with a road map for 2014.  The road map, called a work plan, describes what to do, who does it and when.Each goal has its own swim lane.  We report to the coach every quarter.  The last doodle bottom right is the org chart. (I held the real one up). It shows all the key players.  You are on the edge supporting the inner circle along with your working groups.  I’ve attached a sample of the 2013 work plan so you can see how it’s laid out.  We’re still improving the one for 2014. I’ll send it to you in digital format to save paper.

Even though I couldn’t spell accountability correctly, the points got made – in 273 words.  While this is a specific context, you can adapt the pattern to your own needs.  Try a word count on a typical written report and compare. It’s not what you write or say that matters,  The real test is whether anyone hears, reads, gets it or remembers.

Creativity, mind mapping, visual mapping

A new year of possibilities

Happy New Year!

And a quick reminder – thanks to Creative Confidence from the Kelley brothers of the famous Ideo – a company renowned for its innovative design. It’s a good read.

The brothers remind us that Mind Mapping is a great tool to expand and generate new ideas – making notes instead of taking notes.  The further you go in adding words and ideas to each branch the more innovative the ideas because of the mind’s incredible ability to make links and associations.

Lists, on the other hand, are excellent reminders of what you know already.

In a recent session where the objective was to generate new ideas, the facilitator suggested that we make lists first – and then turn the contents into a mind map.  but the reverse process will actually work better.  If you are using mapping using software, of course, you can turn any map into a list with the flick of a button or two – a way to deal with your list loving friends.

I’ve started the year by making a map of all the things that I want to do in order to have more fun.  That’s different than making resolutions and we’ll see how it works.

Creating, Reflection, remembering

Christmas Greetings

At the time of year when Christmas is celebrated, it’s good to remember one of the most enduring traditions. And for anyone who thinks that success is totally predictable, this story follows its long and winding road. Worth watching!

Creativity, Education, Net generation, Technology

Thinking About Learning

A re-broadcast by TV Ontario inspired the creation of this slide set.  The book, A New Culture of Learning, and a .pdf summary is also available and is well worth a visit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beauty, Creating, Innovation

An intimate look at design

The designer of the Olympic Cauldron talks about other designs of Heatherwick Studios and how he creates them.

Creating, Innovation, Leadership, purpose, vision

The Leader’s Real Job

The prime responsibility of the leader is to provide the vision and mission of the enterprise – whether it be a business or an organization. Sometimes the job is to create it. Sometimes it is inherited and the task is to foster it and in some cases refine it. More than anything the leader is accountable for it.

A major responsibility is not only to define the values but to be able to articulate them. An organization needs to become even more of what it is. It is easy on a day to day basis to become deeply mired in administrivia, but the leader always has to commit us to our highest purpose – one that always seems just beyond our reach. If the purpose and the principles are right, the rest will follow.

Cardinal Newman was not the best marketer of change. Fewer people all the time sing the words of his hymn, “Change and decay in all around I see”, but the link between change and decay has stuck – especially in the heads of those who were old enough to ever sing the words. But we don’t go backwards. Instead we have to focus on the impact of our actions for future generations and manage for the innovative and diverse world we now inhabit.

When we redefine change as creativity, some will respond positively. It is not enough to think that we can stop with making problems go away. We might have nothing left. and it is not so much what the vision is but what the vision does. We need to encourage tangible prototypes and build positive results that become stepping stones to the next stage.

Beauty, Creating, Creativity, Innovation, purpose, self realization, Teamwork

Where arts and technology meet

This inspiring story shows how using what we have – or don’t have! – can lead us in positive new directions. It’s all about convergence of different kinds of capability coming together to produce a beautiful thing.