Causing Value Through Conversation

The Art Of Structured Visual Thinking™

CREATING SPACES FOR CRUCIAL CONVERSATION

Our business is designed to make you think.

Without the act of ‘thinking’, all of us — humans/businesses/societies — are at risk. We become dulled and immune to what’s happening around us. We miss opportunities and we are not properly prepared for the future.

The challenge we have is making people think in the first place.

“As a western society we live in a time of abundance — yet when it comes to gaining people’s attention we have terrifying scarcity…”
This Has Become A Major Feature Of Our Own Thinking:

Creating Attention

In the context of strategy or planning for the future — the attention we need is that of the hearts and minds of those making decisions. Every decision is an important one if we want to create the successful future for the firm. This means the future beyond the specific challenge being solved or the opportunity that needs to be exploited — anything that affects the future of the firm.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Imagine if meetings (of any size or shape) were quite literally transformational. That level of discussion would be an exchange of knowledge through thoughtful and respectful discovery by all parties.

In our world this is often described as collaboration or co-creation but these words are loaded and run the risk of becoming jargon. Our frameworks and the entire approach encourages everyone to think through questions. Often open ended ones that have have no immediate answer. This requires everyone to listen and think in a safe place and space.

“As conversations evolve we naturally come up with ideas — these ideas become the ‘build’ within the conversation. This is the raw material of creativity, innovative thinking and ultimately this ‘process’ unlocks one of humans most innate skills — ingenuity…”

Creating the environment for conversations like this leads to greater things. We emerge with more insight, more well defined scenarios, better connection between teams, shared perspectives and more trust amongst those who were involved.

Our business rests on our ability to cause the right conversation.

Through conversation human beings come alive. We become encouraged to engage in the topic, there’s a debate. Sometimes argument. That’s healthy. As we engage we develop new ideas. In turn we create fresh experiences for ourselves and become more creative and animated people. We collaborate, we think, we become teams — it helps us to work together and that makes for more progress.

Conversation leads to the right decisions.

We work with leaders and decision makers. In our experience it’s normal to start with those in the driving seat. We can’t do anything without their permission. We want to help them figure out where they think they are driving to. Then we need to integrate that with everyone involved as much as possible.

Conversations help everyone connect.

Everyone in the modern enterprise can be connected — but often they are not. As the rate of performance required increases then so must those involved be better connected — connected via tools and technologies that make the business work. By talking with all those in the enterprise — the grass roots — and enabling everyone to succeed then we increase the chances of success — the future reality of a modern day business lies in how well this works.

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” — Ralph Nader

The systems thinking world of digital.

Because we live in a digital world our clients are starting to understand the need for thinking within systems. Increasingly they are digital systems — automation, AI, ML and more — all powered by data and smarter and smarter connectivity. This is new thinking for many people.

We need to make how the business operates better able to deliver the business outcomes. The business outcomes should drive what things get done — but very often they don’t. By designing everything as a system we can improve the chances of achieving the outcomes.

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” — Peter Drucker

Conversations make more sense when they are based on objectivity and impartiality.

A challenge for many of us and especially senior executives in corporations is the lack of objectivity. Objectivity and impartiality are at the root of critical thinking. Critical thinking is required for strategy and transformation.

How We Work When ‘Unplugged’

A more unstructured and informal way to work with Group Partners — to create safe places and spaces for Leaders to think through the scenarios and possible futures of their business.

Conversations change the mindset.

Conversations stimulate the brain. Discussions that prompt ideas and challenge conventions can alter our behaviour forever. It’s important for people to contemplate in a safe place sometimes — without the glare of their peers. People need to see for themselves what maybe they should already know. It’s less embarrassing.

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” — General Colin Powell

Conversations encourage spontaneity.

The most valuable things that we experience in conversations are often to do with the spontaneity of a discovery or a new idea. This means conversations of this nature are more valuable and enjoyable than a ‘planned’ thing.

Conversations drive engagement and ownership.

Meaningful dialogue is the most important thing in getting people’s attention. It has to be seen as entirely relevant and therefore it has to be set in terms and language that people understand. People have to literally be able to see how change affects them. We need the people who are going to make the important choices to have a chance to truly know what’s going on.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

How to have powerful conversations

Meetings are often the last places for high quality conversations. Although a preferred method and often all there is — it’s not often where the right level of idea or inspired creativity emerge. Unfortunately it’s often the default way people seem to work.

“Analytics are Just Numbers, Unless You Solve a Business Problem.” — Anonymous

The Way Our Approach Works

Click here to see the overall engagement approach. How we get started and how we work in generic terms.

Find Out More On How We Work ‘Unplugged’

A more unstructured and informal way to work with Group Partners — to create safe places and spaces for Leaders to think through the scenarios and possible futures of their business.

The Ways In Which This Can Work

Click below to see how we apply Structured Visual Thinking™ and our conversation approach.

The 2018 Summary Page

This link takes you to a summary page.