Visual Training

Visual Training

Robyn M. Bolton shares an evergreen post on the benefits of thinking visually for business, and how to do it. 

Last week, I wrote about Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a process of using art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills.

Typically, used in primary school classrooms, VTS has made its way into the corporate setting, helping individuals and teams to build and strengthen their problem solving and critical thinking skills, ability to communicate and collaborate, and effectiveness in delivering and receiving feedback.

While I did my best to capture the Why, What, and How of VTS in that post, there’s no substitute for learning from an expert. That’s why I asked Suzi Hamill, former Head of Design Thinking at Fidelity and the woman who introduced me to VTS, to share her experience using the tool.

Hi Suzi. Thanks for sharing your VTS wisdom and experience today. I understand you’ve been doing a fair bit of VTS-ing lately.

Suzi: Yes! Just a few months ago I was at Oxford University coaching 30 Chief Marketing Officers from large global corporations on how to apply Visual Thinking Strategies to their work and their teams. And just last week, I led a session with a group of women on the West Coast of the US.

 

Key points include:

  • VTS for business leaders
  • How it helps people quickly internalize new insights
  • Moving from knowing to doing

 

Read the full article, VTS with the Best: An Interview with Suzi Hamill, on LinkedIn. 

 

Robyn Bolton explains why Visual Thinking (VTS) sessions improve creative problem solving and critical thinking skills and provide major benefits to executives.

“It was quite a sight! A dozen senior executives from a big, conservative financial services firm, all sitting on the floor in front of a painting, talking about what it could mean and why they think that.”

On a typical dreary November day, and Suzi and I were sitting in the café inside Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. She had just left her job as Head of Design Thinking at Fidelity Investments and I was taking a sabbatical before deciding what would be next for my career. Introduced by a mutual friend, we decided to swap stories over lunch and a walk through one of the museum’s special exhibitions.:”

 

Included in this article:

  • The benefits of VTS
  • Visual thinking strategies
  • How to do VTS

 

Read the full article, How Looking at Art Can Make You a Better Thinker, Communicator, and Leader, on Medium. 

 

 

Jared Simmons provides a concise post that identifies the three most common factors that impede progress. 

Whether you are chasing profit or purpose, a team’s ability to make progress is critical to achieving its objectives. There are many obstacles that keep a team from operating at its full potential, but the three most common (and solvable) ones are ambiguity, apathy, and amateurism. The challenge is recognizing them in action.

 

Discover how the following three A’s impact your team:

  • Ambiguity
  • Apathy
  • Amateurism

 

Read the full post on the, Making progress: The three silent killers, on the Outlast website. 

 

 

Azim Nagree provides three factors that can help determine whether you need a single, mixed-function team or two separate teams when it comes to account management and customer success.

‘What’s the difference between Account Management and Customer Success? And more importantly, when do I need separate AM and CS teams?’

I’ve been asked this question multiple times in the last few months so it’s clear that many people are grappling with this problem. The short answer – it depends. Specifically, it depends upon your product, your P&L and your customers.

What’s the difference?

Most people know that Accounts Managers are different to Customer Success Managers. But what precisely is the difference? It lies in the relationship they have with the customer.

 

The three factors discussed are:

  • Product complexity
  • Profit and loss
  • Customer feedback

 

Read the full article, Account Management? Or Customer Success? Or Both? on the Nagree Consulting website.

 

Carlos Castelan shares how to improve the customer experience and team collaboration.

In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

 

Points covered include:

  • How to facilitate team conversation
  • How to get ahead of functional issues

 

Read the full article, Leveraging Your Company’s Greatest Asset to Improve the Customer Experience, on the Navio Group website. 

 

 

Kaihan Krippendorff takes a left turn off a straight road to discover the benefits of not planning as a fundamental benefit to innovation.

 

Twenty years ago, long before we had children, my wife and I decided to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Tuscany. We were living just a two-hour flight away in London at the time, so leaving on a Friday and returning on a Monday would still mean two days and three nights of rolling hills, wineries, and amazing cuisine.

We booked our flights and rented a car, but our search for a hotel revealed nothing really inspiring within our budget. We narrowed our choices down to a property a little larger than a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Lucca. But we still felt it was a “plan B,” our fallback plan.

We had dreamed of a hotel that would be truly memorable, not necessarily luxurious, but that would give us an authentic and memorable experience of the Italian countryside. So we set out, without confirmed accommodations, in the hopes of stumbling upon our ‘plan A.’

 

 

In this article, Kaihan explains:

 

  • The limitations of data to predict outcomes
  • The benefits of flipping your mindset
  • Engineering luck
  • Discovering Plan A

 

Read the full article, For 2020, Consider  the Wisdom of not Planning, on Kaihan’s blog.

 

With New Year in the rear view mirror, are you driving forward with your resolutions? 

Robyn Bolton provides five ways to improve your resolve.

 

According to research by Strava, the social network for athletes, most people will have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by Sunday, January 19.

While that’s probably good news for all the dedicated workout enthusiasts who will be glad to get their gyms back, given that the most common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, it’s a bit discouraging for the rest of us.

But just because you’re about to stop hitting the gym to drop weight and build muscle (or whatever your resolutions are), it doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on improving other muscles. May I suggest, your innovation muscles?

Innovation mindsets, skills and behaviors can be learned, but if you don’t continuously use them, like muscles, they can weaken and atrophy. That’s why it’s important to create opportunities to flex them.

 

 

In this post, Robyn shares what you can do to build and sustain innovation:

 

  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily

 

Read the full article, 5 Resolutions to Make 2020 the Year that Innovation Actually Happens, on Medium.

Susan Drumm provides four steps to ensure you will get honest feedback from your team.

Do you think you can get your team to give you honest feedback? Like no-holds-barred honest?  

Many of my clients tell me they struggle to get real feedback from their direct reports and I’m not surprised.

Does this story sound familiar? One of my senior clients recently received the results of his 360 report and was surprised to learn that his team felt they weren’t being mentored effectively by him.

None too pleased with this, he walked out into the office and proceeded to go desk to desk. “Was this comment from you? Do YOU think I’m a good mentor? Do you have a problem with the way I mentor?”

 

Points covered in the four steps include:

-Create a culture of feedback and honesty from the outset.

-Dig in when asking for feedback.

-Be honest and genuine when asking for feedback

-Once you get the feedback, do something with it.

 

Read the full article, How to Get Honest Feedback from Your Team, on the Meritage Leadership website.

An evergreen post from Gaelle Lamotte to kickoff 2020 and help you prepare for what lies ahead. 

In a world of disruptive businesses, overwhelming information and relentless change, companies have to master the art of strategy execution to be agile enough to capitalize on growth opportunities. Excellence in execution is what makes the difference between good strategies and success in the marketplace for your customers, partners and employees, and ultimately investors and shareholders.

 

Points covered include:

-Understanding the organization’s capabilities

-Discipline in managing strategy

 

Read the full article, How do you prepare for what’s ahead?, on LinkedIn.

To inspire successful innovation, Kaihan Krippendorff explains why the composition of the founding team is crucial and why the first step should be to find a sherpa. He provides six questions to help you assess and secure a powerful advocate to lead the team.

That historic moment when the perfect team unifies beyond an opportunity, pregnant with possibility, is the essential scene of any great innovation legend: think Jobs and Wozniak when they created Apple, Gates and Allen with Microsoft, or Page and Brin with Google.

This is why so many books and professors and venture capitalists focus on the composition of the founding team – you want more than one person but fewer than seven, the right mix of personality types (Roger Hamilton offers a useful framework), and a balance of skills (the hacker, hustler, and hipster).  But here is the problem. More than 70% of society’s most transformative innovations have come from employees, not entrepreneurs, and forming a team around an innovation idea as an employee is a fundamentally different challenge.

 

Read the full article, Your Innovation Needs a Sponsor… Here are 6 Signs You Have the Right One, on the Outthinker website.

Geoff Wilson explains what Andrew Luck’s recent retirement from football should teach executives about protecting top talent.

If you are an organizational leader who is leaning on a few star talents surrounded by a supporting cast of also-rans to ‘gut it out’ on a daily basis, you are playing a very dangerous game. Because when your top talent has had enough–when you have extracted enough of their soul by asking them to jump on yet another grenade dropped by a poor performing organization–it will be fully justified to go elsewhere.

And, if you aren’t doing this explicitly, it might be good to take a moment and reflect on whether you are doing this implicitly.  Take a look at the team you lead and ask whether you are leaning a bit too heavily on a talented few.  Take a look at the organization you lead and ask whether you are counting too much on a few talented teams to carry the rest of the organization.

Do this not because you have the time to do it.  Nobody does.  Do it because you can’t afford to grind your top talent down to a joyless nub.

 

Read the full article, What Andrew Luck just taught us about protecting top talent, on Wilson Growth Partners’ website.

Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.

 

When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like?

For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone cheers, ‘Yes!’

Now, I love a smoothly run meeting as much as the next person, but I also know you do not want a completely conflict-free team. It’s not good for your company (or your clients or margins) to be staffed exclusively by people who share the same worldview, the same personality type, or the same approach to business.

In fact, every company would benefit from hiring for cognitive diversity — even if it creates conflict.

Why? Because the conflict that arises from cognitive diversity is good conflict.

It’s conflict that results in better products, happier customers, more effective systems, and fewer missteps.

 

Points covered in this article include:

-What cognitive diversity is

-Types of conflict that arise from cognitive diversity

-How to make sure you have a cognitively diverse team

 

Read the full article, Why You Need Cognitive Diversity on Your Team – Even if it Leads to Conflict, on the Meritage website.