Tag: energy

A majestic city (agenda)….with visible ‘water’ flowing in it

Facillitation, Improvement, Meetings No Comments

Keeping the watery (and summery) theme of the last blog going, what makes for a great city?

Last year we considered what gives a place a good vibe. I have travelled to lots of cities over the last year. I think there are a few things that stand out in the most special ones, those with a great ‘Feng Shui’ – from UK regional cities to foreign capitals:
1) Great buildings, often with a mix of striking new architectures, as well as some great old designs too – sometimes with supplemented grandeur from the surrounding mountains or forests.
2) A sense of movement in the place, often due to water running through the city (or when on the coast, around it). This movement of water seems to have a positive impact on the flow of people and energy (from the practical use of ferry’s to culture of the city)

We have written before of the useful lesson from good design: function and beauty – something worth considering in product development, workplace creation and event design.

Additionally, I think a truly majestic city is due to a mix of structure and flow: the visible beauty of both the natural and created environment plus the way that water (and people) move through it.

So The Great City can be a metaphor for an event. The agenda, the structure (the stone, the wood) is one thing – we might think of this as the anatomy.

The water is the other – the physiology, the life, the movement, the surprise.

So, thinking of cities with water running through them, (such as London, Sydney, Paris, Cambridge, Amsterdam, Newcastle, Shanghai etc.) we might want to think of how to moderate meetings to bring the agenda to life.

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The decade of disapointment

Plan No Comments

In technology circles, people talk of the ‘decade of disappointment’ – the lag between the awareness of the benefits and opportunities of a new approach or gadget, and the time of its widespread adoption. For example, digital interactive TV was much discussed in the early/mid 90s, but it took a further decade for the availability to be rolled out. I recall asking ‘Cambridge Cable’ in 1993 to be part of their ‘on demand’ service, that I had seen discussed in the national media. It was a decade (and 2 companies later), before something approaching the vision was available through Virgin.

Another example is the awareness of a likely convergence in computing and telephony – this happened a decade or so before the ubiquity of iPhones and the like. In health care, the potential of genetics and its application has a lapse of two decades or so – maybe due to the complexity and regulation of the science as well as other factors (such as staff attitudes and funding).

The lessons:

1) Where do you need to hold your nerve? On that change or engagement project? It is true leaders (and by that we mean anyone seeking to influence the attitudes and actions of others) need to repeat their key message and vision – and not give up ahead of the tipping point. It is the case that some loose heart just before the moment where action is just about to start.

2) What are you spotting now where some ‘what if’ planning would increase the robustness of what you are rolling out and also speed the adoption of the new and noteworthy?

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A new energiser

Plan No Comments

Student loan protestIn our facilitation skills training course, we teach the importance of using energisers in meetings to shift the mood, energy and attention.  We get someone to have a go with an energiser of their choice. Recently this has involved someone trying Laughter Therapy with their colleagues and Pair Charades (acting out an important theme from the morning’s work).

However, this week we came across an entirely new form of energiser. During a session with a charity in central Westminster on Thursday 9th December, we had to schedule regular dashes to the window to observe the state of the Student Loan protests: cat and mouse chases with the police and, at times, a near-riot outside (see the photo from a movie of the action).

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3Ms for successful mass meetings

Do No Comments

Are you planning on gathering together a large group of colleagues or collaborators? Maybe to work on a critical issue or develop your plans for the coming year?

Here are three things we think go towards making successful ‘mass meetings’:

1. Mix them up – make sure that people sit with and get to know those they haven’t met before or don’t spend much time with. Do this right from the start to create an atmosphere that encourages new conversations.

2. Move them around – always create space (both in terms of time and room layout) to get people out of their seats. This increases energy and gets people thinking differently. Try having them stand up to talk or work together.

3. Motivate them to do something different afterwards – focus people in on one thing they can change themselves that will help achieve your shared aims. Show them (or create together) a vision for what they can personally contribute and then help them work out the simple first steps to achieve this.

These 3Ms can work for smaller meetings too if you’d like to put some life back into tired gatherings.

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