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Podcast | May 22, 2024

In this episode of the Facilitation Lab podcast, Douglas Ferguson talks with Jim Kalbach, Chief Evangelist at MURAL and author, about his facilitation journey and expertise in mapping. Jim shares a pivotal experience leading a workshop at LexisNexis and how it propelled his career. He discusses the influence of room setup on collaboration, the power of visual maps for team alignment, and his interest in Wardley maps. Jim also reflects on the evolution of facilitation with technology, the shift to remote workshops, and the future of facilitation as a widespread skill. The episode emphasizes the transformative role of facilitation and visual tools in improving group collaboration.

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Meeting Culture | May 22, 2024

Effective leadership requires navigating and adapting to complex team dynamics and organizational cultures. As workplaces diversify, leaders must understand these elements to guide their teams successfully. Google's Project Aristotle highlights psychological safety as crucial for effective teams. Leaders should align their styles with cultural types like innovative, hierarchical, or supportive, tailoring communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution accordingly. By embodying organizational values and using digital tools and interpersonal skills, leaders can enhance performance, satisfaction, and loyalty, driving continuous improvement and success.

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Meeting Culture | May 20, 2024

Effectively managing conflict and fostering dissent are essential for innovative and resilient organizations. Leveraging conflict and structured dissent can prevent groupthink and inspire new ideas. This article delves into creating a safe environment that benefits from managed conflict and structured dissent, exploring strategies for conflict resolution, tools for fostering dissent, and the importance of trust. Key components include psychological safety, open communication, and structured conflict resolution strategies like mediation and structured dialogue. Additionally, fostering authentic dissent through open forums, anonymous feedback, and training in effective communication is crucial. Building and maintaining trust through transparency, consistency, and approachability ensures a collaborative and innovative team environment.

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Alumni Stories | May 17, 2024

Discover how a designer's passion for collaboration evolved into a mastery of facilitation in "The Unexpected Journey." Initially focused on design, Jim’s career took a transformative turn towards facilitation during a pivotal project at LexisNexis. This experience sparked a deeper engagement with facilitation techniques, leading to significant roles at Citrix and Mural. The blog details Jim’s journey of learning and growth, culminating in a certification in facilitation, and highlights the profound impact of structured facilitation on professional development and collaborative innovation. This odyssey not only enhanced Jim's skills but also broadened their influence in the field of collaborative design and facilitation.

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Meeting Culture | May 17, 2024

In today's globalized business environment, diversity, inclusion, and psychological safety are essential for fostering a workplace culture that enhances well-being and productivity. Collaborative leadership, characterized by open communication, shared decision-making, and empowerment, plays a pivotal role in creating such environments. This leadership style contrasts with traditional top-down approaches by involving team members in decision-making, harnessing their unique insights, and fostering a sense of ownership. Organizations that prioritize these elements benefit from improved decision-making, enhanced creativity, increased employee engagement, and a better understanding of diverse customer needs. To implement collaborative leadership, practices like encouraging open dialogue, seeking diverse perspectives, creating safe spaces for feedback, involving team members in decisions, delegating authority, and fostering cross-functional collaboration are crucial. Additionally, leaders should model vulnerability, promote a blame-free culture, and celebrate failures as learning opportunities. Providing training, setting clear goals, and continuously adapting strategies based on feedback are key steps for organizations to realize the benefits of collaborative leadership. This approach not only improves the work environment but also provides a competitive advantage through innovation, retention, and engagement.

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Meeting Culture | May 15, 2024

Inclusive collaborative leadership is crucial for innovative and sustainable success as workforce diversity grows. Leaders must harness varied perspectives and skills, with technology, especially asynchronous collaboration tools, playing a key role in bridging gaps across time zones, locations, and work styles. Integrating diverse team members into decision-making enhances engagement and business outcomes. While inclusive leadership improves problem-solving and innovation, it faces challenges such as resistance to change and communication barriers.

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Susan Wilson Golab's workshop at the Facilitation Lab Summit, "Narrative Transport: Discovering Identity Through Storytelling," was a profound exploration of identity through personal stories. Susan, an experienced educator, led participants through reflective exercises, including writing "Where I'm From" poems and engaging in constructivist listening. The session emphasized deep listening and empathy, fostering trust among attendees. Participants created character profiles of military families, guided by real-life stories and the "Think, Feel, Care" framework from Harvard's Project Zero. This transformative workshop highlighted the power of storytelling in personal and communal growth, leaving a lasting impact on all participants.

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Meeting Culture | May 13, 2024

As businesses adapt to remote and hybrid work environments, effective collaboration is vital. This article outlines key strategies and tools to enhance collaboration among distributed teams. It covers the importance of regular communication, leveraging technology like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and fostering an inclusive virtual team culture through activities and casual interaction channels. It also emphasizes the significance of acknowledging team and individual achievements and providing the right tech infrastructure and training. The piece further explores the need for flexibility, autonomy, and continuous adaptation to improve collaboration and employee well-being in remote settings.

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Podcast | May 10, 2024

In this podcast episode, Douglas Ferguson hosts Neallie Kani, a UX Specialist from Hogan Assessments, who shares her facilitation journey and the impact of leadership classes on her career. She discusses the importance of creating a comfortable environment for teams, inspired by Erik Skogsberg's calming facilitation approach. Neallie applies techniques like icebreakers and working agreements to enhance her meetings, emphasizing trial and error and monthly check-ins for continuous improvement. She uses visual aids like PowerPoint to align her team and stresses the significance of consistent reminders of team values. The conversation also touches on the importance of feedback, individual connections, and the transformative power of facilitation certification. Neallie encourages embracing learning and networking for professional growth.

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Meeting Culture | May 10, 2024

Explore the transformative power of empathy mapping in design thinking with our detailed guide. Empathy mapping goes beyond simple observations, allowing designers to deeply understand user experiences, feelings, and motivations. This guide delves into the essentials of effective empathy mapping, providing actionable strategies and best practices. Learn how to create meaningful user personas, gather diverse insights, and engage cross-functional teams to enhance innovation. Discover the importance of visual clarity, the identification of emotional triggers, and the iterative refinement of empathy maps. Whether you're a seasoned designer or a newcomer to the field, this guide equips you with the tools and insights necessary to translate deep user understanding into successful, user-centered design solutions. This summary emphasizes the strategic and practical aspects of empathy mapping within the framework of design thinking, targeting SEO optimization by highlighting key concepts and benefits.