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Visual Explorer™: May 2008

May 18, 2008

Visually mapping the Culture Development Cycle

>>click here to open the map and images

Abrasive Technology Inc. (ATI) held a workshop during which the associates explored their roles in the learning culture of the organization. The did two rounds of selecting and discussing VE images, first for the question "What is your role in the learning culture?" and then for the question "What is your understanding of the learning culture?"
Both groups got into arranging their VE images into a cycle--independently, without instruction or communication between the groups. Tanya leans over to me and says "that the culture development cycle!"
The Culture Development Cycle (CDC) is a research based model from the Center for Creative Leadership on how leadership cultures can be intentionally transformed over time. The map above, created in Compendium, shows the CDC in the middle with the VE images from the first group from ATI as they track the cycle.

For more on the evolving leadership culture at ATI see the research report Interdependent Leadership in Organizations: Evidence from Six Case Studies, CCL Press, 2008.


May 16, 2008

“What is the top leadership talent challenge that your organisation is going to be facing over the coming years?"

Our colleague Natalie Pothier, leader of the Center for Creative Leadership's coaching practice for Europe / Middle East / Africa, used our new Visual Explorer™ Post Cards at The Talent Challenge 2008 Conference, in London, to help the audience explore the question:

What is the top leadership talent challenge that your organization is going to be facing over the coming years?
"I asked the group to pick a card from the laid-out set of Visual Explorer images that spoke to them in this respect. I then gave them 5 minutes individually to take down some notes on what they see in the card and how it relates to the talent question in their company.
"Then they shared the description of the card and what they see in it and the relation to the topic to the others in the subgroups- with group members adding to it if they saw more or different things.
"Part 2 of the interactive session was to ‘coach a partner’ in your group ( pairs of 2 ) on the topic and by the end of the 10 minutes session to come up with one thing they would do differently or do about tackling that challenge when they will be back at work next week.
"The VE cards worked very well. You could feel the uplift of the energy in the room when they had to discuss the cards they chose and the topic. It seems that it may be a good idea to ask a question like that at the beginning and then by the end of the conversation and exercise to ask participants to look back at their card and see whether they would describe what they see on the card differently after having had an exchange with peers. That may be a great way to really utilize the power of the VE tool to its full potential and to show immediate effect of the learning power of the tool to participants.
"The group's feedback was that the cards really helped them to associate with the issue, to launch a productive exchange and discussion between the group members and to give a different space for thinking about the topic, generating ideas from a different broader angle then from a traditional question and answer angle."

For more information about leadership coaching from the Center for Creative Leadership in Europe, contact Natalie Pothier, coaching practice leader for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

>>more at Exploring a talent strategy, using Visual Explorer™ and Leadership Metaphor Explorer™.

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May 01, 2008

Visual Tools for Social Change Leadership at RCLA

In their May 2008 newsletter the Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at the Wagner School, NYU, announces the Social Change Leadership Network: "The Network will sponsor a dynamic set of activities and facilitate important connections among leaders that advance their knowledge and work ... We hope the Network will help leaders and their organizations become increasingly effective in advancing social change." more>>

The same issue talks about using visual tools for "facilitating difficult conversations, building connections among diverse groups of people, and convening leaders to problem solve or address the challenges of critical social issues." The newsletter links to a terrific Practice Note on "Visual Tools in Facilication ... our experience and learnings with three visual tools: Visual Explorer, Graffiti Wall, and Murals/Tapestries." open the Practice Note>>

RCLA researcher / practitioners report outcomes from these visual tools that reinforce and extend what we have experienced in using Visual Explorer:
"In our experience, the use of visual tools in facilitation has been valuable in:
• Encouraging inclusion and participation;
• Tapping into artistic and creative ways of expression that are often ignored or disregarded;
• Tapping into tacit knowledge;
• Triggering thoughtful conversation and dialogue;
• Allowing groups to discuss or express complex issues in a non-threatening way;
• Building group cohesion;
• Aiding memory recall and retention;
• Varying energy and format in group processes."
Of special interest to Visual Explorer users is their combination of murals / tapestries and VE. "A mural or tapestry is a visual collage of ideas, issues, or questions that revolve around a common theme." In a program targeting young leaders and encouraging their involvement in the policy making process,
"The youth were asked to conceptualize a policy area/social problem that interests each of them, by using Visual Explorer. After this exercise and subsequent discussions, each person was asked to draw the envisioned solution to his/her issue of interest with the intention of creating a collective mural. The ‘pieces’ were then placed together into a mural that represented all policy issues of interest to the group, the solutions foreseen, and the connections between the issues, as well as the complexity faced. At the end of the process was a collective creative work that connected individuals’ interests and desired changes." more on VE at RCLA>>
The Connected Leadership Project at the Center for Creative Leadership is proud to be a collaborator with RCLA in building relational leadership theory, research and practice, most centrally with the Leadership for a Changing World Project.

See also
Visualisation in Participatory Programmes (UNICEF)

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