JUST ADD PICTURES

“You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

We love to work with pictures in all sorts of ways!  Because truth be told, they can sometimes be worth even more than 1,000 words. They enhance our creativity to improve communication, generate new ways of thinking, jump-start stalled projects, and take us to places we didn’t know we could go to amp up our imagination.

We built pictures into our facilitation practice and the teams we work with asked for them, so we created the Let the Picture Pick You Deck, inspiring images that can transport you to new places of understanding and knowledge.

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Here’s some Team Activities to get your started with pictures:

“Getting to Know You’ Warm Up – Invite each team member to choose a picture that represents something about themselves. Ask them to find someone else they don’t know very well. Then instruct everyone to share with their picture and how it represents them to their partner (share only what they want to). Invite everyone to switch partners and share again. Repeat one more time, then have everyone share one thing about themselves to the whole group.

Pulse Check – Invite each team member to choose a picture that captures how they are feeling and/or what they are thinking.  Ask everyone to share in pairs, clusters or with the full group.

Envisioning Success – Invite each team member to choose a picture that represents their personal BEST and BRIGHTEST expectations for the meeting or project. Give everyone a few moments to think of a title for their picture.  One by one, ask each person to share their picture, title and what Success Looks Like for them.  After everyone has shared, as a team, identify the common elements of success and capture on a chart pad or graphic template such as Circle Around or Success Looks Like.

Just add pictures and enjoy the boost in team CREATIVITY!

Fast, Powerful, Incredible

I just had an overwhelmingly powerful team experience in my small town community.

Over 5 weeks,  8 core team members met with 25 people a total of 6 hours face to face;  connected with 50 people by email; and inspired 100 volunteers to support a dinner fundraiser that raised $28,000 (the goal was $10,000).  Why was this so FAST and POWERFUL?  We

  • HAD VISION AND AN OUTCOME – support a local family in need financially, emotionally and physically.
  • SHARED OUR UNIQUE GIFTS – we had facilitative leaders that created structure, inspired others to give, followed their own passion and hundreds of others followed – and Super Cool T-Shirts really helped people get involved.
  • SPENT TIME TOGETHER, reflectively and actively – Our first informal get together to discuss how to support our friend instantly became once a week work sessions, one hour at a time.  We split our time together between REFLECTION and ACTION.
  • DIDN’T SKIP THE TEAM & PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT WORK (REFLECTION).  This is important.  Some wanted to skip it and they pushed hard, but we gently asked them to participate. This is how you speed up your process!  Don’t let your busyness, your GO FAST energy lead you down a path that skips this part.  This is when and how people get to know each other, begin to trust each other, begin to know they are connected even if they didn’t feel a connection before. We made it easy, something different each week —  draw a picture from the Let the Picture Pick You Deck to represent a successful fundraiser,  pick an Angel from the Angel Deck to hold during the week as you approached the work,  pick a quote and share your own awareness of yourself right now.  Not too hard and very powerful.
  • COMMUNICATED ORGANICALLY — There were amazing communicators and they came forward, fully.  They are the people that share and build ideas in the moment with others that then share and build ideas with more people, who then think, link and build ideas into action.  There was no ego or turf owning, just pure desire to accomplish the vision and outcome.  Communicating involved a email, texting, conversations during walks, shared documents online – if you haven’t used dropbox or google drive you might want to try them.

REAL RESULTS:  Dinners were served to the family every weekday night, the first fundraiser brought in $28,000.  8 core team members met together with another 15 people for only 6 hours over 5 weeks, communicated out and gathered 100 volunteers (including kids!).  We served 800+ dinners, auctioned 100 baskets and 12 big ticket items, and inspired real community.  We also spent time together in gratitude by writing 200 thank yous!

Our friend and her family are feeling our love!  We all enjoyed the power of an aligned team!  I got to continue building my facilitative leadership mastery and I made some new friends along the way. As I said, overwhelmingly  powerful team experience.

 

Are you Accessing the Power of NOW?

Recently I’ve really been tuning in to conversations I’m part of and conversations around me.  And, I became acutely aware that I’ve not been accessing the Power of Now … a lot of us aren’t. So, here’s what I asked myself:

What is our fascination with reliving our past stories, mostly those that are not our favorites?  And, why do we let the emotions of fear and anxiety of the past creep in and cloud our current experience?  How does our this focus on our past (particularly the negative past) impact and influence our communities, our organizations, our teams, even our families?

My awareness led me to reconnect with the teachings and writings of Eckhart Tolle. I started with the books I had.  A little search online gifted me with even more – a whole website of Tolle teachings with present moment reminders, free stuff and Tolle TV – a really cool place to go to create a renewed awareness that “NOW: is the space in which life happens.”

So, I started looking at all aspects of my life including my work as a graphic facilitator. And you know what?  I realized what I love most about graphic facilitation and graphic templates*. I realized how those BIG beautiful pieces of paper with an image of a mountain or a house or a circle, magically bring us to NOW in our conversations – what we know NOW, what we vision NOW, what each participant in the conversation is aware of NOW.  And the best part is through these visual tools, we create a record of the NOW so when we are in the next NOW we can simply be fully present there … NOW.  Woooo Whooo!

Want to access the power of NOW in your teams and groups? Try a graphic template or two (you can get them at the Grove or IdeaConnect stores) or hire a graphic recorder or a graphic facilitator or get out some big paper and draw a guide for conversation yourself.

Let us know what works and what you’re aware of NOW?   We promise, we’ll respond from our NOW.

* You know! Cool Tools – big paper on the walls with a graphic or metaphor to engage guided conversation!

Are You a Tourist or a Traveler?

“The difference between landscape and landscape is small, but there is a great difference between the beholders.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s this tourist and traveler comparison I love when I think about consumer research approaches. Here goes:

As a tourist I go to some far off exotic land and I have an agenda of activities, I observe the culture at a safe distance, go to the must-see places, maybe a museum or two, eat at restaurants recommended by the hotel concierge or chain restaurants familiar from home, look for newspapers and TV from home, take lots of beautiful pictures of beautiful things to post on FaceBook, and I probably only spend a day or two or maybe three in each city – you get the idea. I’ve had a great experience, but how much new did I learn about myself, about the culture, about the people who live there? I feel like I just touched the surface. This is parallel to my experience in a traditionally formatted (really good) consumer research process.

As a traveler, I immerse into the culture. Move into the rhythm of the place, slow down, spend some time, learn some of the language, wander maybe even get lost in the city, meet regular people doing regular everyday things, have totally unplanned unexpected experiences And, if I’m lucky I may even be invited for a meal at someone’s home. I connect. I know when I leave I have been touched by my experience deeply. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the culture, about the individuals I’ve met. I have stories to share that make me laugh and cry and desire more and more and more of that! This is what we need – this is what the human heart longs for. This is GREAT Consumer Research.

At IdeaConnect (and our alter ego Ah Ha!), in our practice of consumer research (aka LearningConnect), we love to be travelers and guide our clients into the learning experience of a lifetime. Our workshops are face to face (no backroom) and whenever feasible we send our client team out to visit people in their homes, to shop with them, to get to know them, to travel into their world.

And yes, sometimes if they’re lucky, they’re even invited for a memorable meal at someone’s home. Each team member is touched in a different way. They come back with pictures and treasures and stories that make us cry and laugh and want more and more and more of that!