Just Thinking
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Just Thinking

Let’s See?

Two Very Important Words — If You Want Success

The Dirty Secret Of All That Strategy & Planning Stuff?

It’s a dark art — all that thinking in closed rooms, by partial and highly invested people. I know it’s not always done like that. But whatever your ‘strategy-development’ poison — post it notes, written up meeting notes, a business plan and some slides it’s not going to cut it.


Here’s The Thing

Transformation and change is a thing — a hard thing. Transformation doesn’t work — people work. And without some fundamental things in place it’s really not likely to work. That’s the thing.

  1. REAL ownership, around an inspiring vision — by the whole company.
  2. The SAME definition of things in the heads and hearts of everyone.
  3. The SAME meaning/value of things into the heads/hearts of everyone.
  4. A STORY that makes sense and can be shared across the whole company. (In the different contexts of the diverse audiences)
  5. A collaborative/emergent approach to develop the plan in the first place. And a platform to keep it alive after it’s been designed.
  6. A visual/fast way to get the simple and complex across to everyone.
  7. The proof/justification for the reasons why the choices have been made.
  8. Authentic exhausting of all hunches around how to get to the vision.
  9. Visual explanations of the tangible AND intangible concepts of any plan. Make the intangible REAL & the tangible meaningful/connected. EG: business models, operating models, visions, cultures and strategies.*
  10. Objective and Critical Thinking.

*In simple terms let’s see the ‘way’ the company should work (operating model) and how the company should ‘think’ (mental model) — and I mean let’s see it.

Let’s see what’s actually happening. Let’s see what’s happening before we jump into deciding what needs doing. Let’s see what it will actually take to solve a problem and exploit an opportunity. Let’s see all the ideas, key words and phrases created visually so everyone shares in the same meaning. Let’s see what emerges as we develop the thinking and close any gaps. Let’s see if all our preconceptions and opinions make any sense whatsoever.


Let’s See

It’s quite literally what I do, and as someone who draws the results of the right conversations I can see how it works every time. I can suggest to the audience — let’s see? — This works because ‘Let’s See?’ is emergent — it’s open, it’s impartial.

“Seeing things makes sense to me. It’s how we approach all our work at Group Partners — we practice ‘seeing’* across the world.”

* The simple approach of ‘let’s see’ allows creativity and engagement to happen — in a human way. No one really knows the answer to anything these days so let’s work together to figure stuff out.


What’s Driving This?

It struck me (recently) that a lot of things are striking me. When I’m least expecting it I just get struck. And right when I think there’s nothing left to struck — I get struck again. It’s all strucked up.

It’s not especially clever to observe that a lot of things aren’t working. It’s not much of an insight to see that lots of people are complaining/upset by what’s going on around.

“We all have one foot in a fairytale, and the other in the abyss.” — Paulo Coelho


Seeing Dumb Stuff — Everywhere

There’s senior people in a position to make change happen — they are not doing. For whatever reason — complacency*, ignorance, self preservation, arrogance — greed. They aren’t for changing.

On Complacency:

Outdated businesses with outdated systems, making outdated stuff for legions of people who aren’t thinking about the damage they’re doing. The reality is they are doing mindless damage to themselves and the planet — they don’t consider the many alternatives they have. Don’t they see? No.

On The Actual Future:

There’s an impervious inertia — far too many people who aren’t curious enough to engage with this new world. They seem happy and ignore the new models and tools as nothing to do with them. In the process these idiots do nothing to make their own/others lives better by paying attention to progress.

On Strategy… WTF?


Let’s See — The Light

My biggest frustration with how badly the world works in places is that we know it’s bad but we appear incapable of doing anything about it. It’s just not true — we can but we choose not to. People don’t do even the simple things that could make the difference.

“I see the same old techniques applied to brand new challenges — how will that ever work? The realisation that it won’t work doesn’t even seem to matter to some of the old leaders. As a consequence many of those in position to do something differently can’t see it. It means we carry on doing the same wrong stuff…

And When We Can See —

As we start to see (by working more visually together) we can literally share what we’ve seen. We’ve ALL been involved in making it. We can share it because it’s visual — therefore others can see it too. Because they can see they can understand far better. And because they understand they can engage and contribute to what needs doing.

Let’s See

Thanks For Seeing



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John Caswell

I'm John Caswell - The founder and CEO of Group Partners. We Help Clients Make Strategies That Work. I’m The Head Of Crayons.