26 different ways to meet with your team

The word ‘meeting’ likely conjures up an uninspiring image for you – talking through an agenda (if there is one) point-by-point, some people dominating, others zoning out. The typical format is so easy, it’s almost automatic, without really thinking whether it’s what we really need to make progress. We’re getting of tired meetings. We have too many of them, and when they’re not run well, they’re unproductive with no real outcomes.

But teams still need to get together to have discussions – whether virtually or physically. So when you do meet, how can you make sure it’s meaningful?

An effective meeting starts before the calendar invites are sent out and the agenda is written. It starts with asking two questions: 1) why are we meeting? 2) what’s the best format for it?

The team at Nordnet Design Studio have taken a proactive approach to clearly defining the types of meetings they have, and have built these into a rhythm. Inspired by this, here is a list of 26 different ways to meet. There’s something in here whether you need to communicate updates, generate ideas, have high-level strategy discussions or even just get to know each other better.

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Designing better teamwork

Research has shown time and time again that how teams work together has more of an impact on its performance than who is on the team. A clear way to increase chances of your team’s success is to explore the habits, routines and rituals that will enable you to do better work together.

This is what I covered in a 25min talk – Designing your way to better team collaboration (video) – at Mind The Product this year. I featured practical examples of teams that had created methods and processes that made a big difference to their work.

These are the areas and some examples that I shared: Continue reading Designing better teamwork

How to strike the balance between deep work and collaboration

What does your typical work day look like? For many of us, it will be punctuated by meetings, emails, chats with co-workers, notifications from collaboration tools, and if we’re really honest, browsing the web and getting sucked into social media. Our days are often spent switching quickly between the items on our to-do list.

But when was the last time you were able to carve out a good chunk of time from your work day to really concentrate and focus on a task? That might feel like a distant luxury.

Enter “deep work”

What happens in these long, uninterrupted stretches of time is what Cal Newport calls ‘deep work’ – “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit”. In his book of the same name, Newport argues that our tech-driven culture is making insane demands on our attention, and also reducing our ability to focus. But for those that are able to engage in frequent deep work, it’s hugely advantageous for developing expertise, increasing productivity and advancing professionally. Continue reading How to strike the balance between deep work and collaboration

5 tips for facilitating your next workshop [video]

Sometimes the smallest actions can make a big difference.

In this video, I share five tips to help you facilitate your next workshop, that I’ve picked up through trial and error in the many workshops that I’ve run.

They will help you to ease your participants into a collaborative mindset, encourage ideas from everyone and get your workshop back on track. Continue reading 5 tips for facilitating your next workshop

Motivate and re-focus your team with this 2-hour workshop

How often does your team get a chance to look at the bigger picture together? It’s likely that you’re often all so busy delivering work, meeting deadlines and handling customer needs, it’s a challenge to find the time to step back and take a look at the overall direction you’re going.

A strategic discussion with your team can be valuable in many ways, providing the time and space to learn from each other, share ideas, and reconnect with your team’s purpose – a great way to improve motivation.

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Three ideas for the future of work

This is a summary of a talk I gave at Social Fabric’s regular event series on my vision for the future of work:

  1. The workplace will look more like a network of freelancers

For the creative industries, the “future of work” has been here for a while. Books like “The Independents” (Leadbeater & Oakley, 1999), “The Creative Eonomy” (Howkins, first published in 2001) and “The Rise of the Creative Class” (Florida, 2002) described how the creative industries were characterised by independent workers, portfolio careers, temporary teams and project-based working. Fluid, flexible working structures brought together the right expertise at the right time to drive innovation.

Continue reading Three ideas for the future of work

5 tips for better workshop follow-up

Have you ever attended a fantastic workshop where you left feeling motivated to take the next steps, only to wonder, a few weeks later, what happened to all of those great ideas everyone developed?  

Although we pay a lot of attention to the design and facilitation of workshops, the workshop follow-up is often left as an afterthought. Even a great workshop will lose its impact if you don’t make the most of the momentum that was created on the day.

If you’re the person leading the workshop, it’s also your job to take care of the follow-up. Here are some tips to make sure you get the results you need:

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How to kickoff your team project: what research says [and template]

In this post, I’ll explore some of what the research says about creating great teams, and what you should include in your project kickoff as a result. At the end of the post you can download a PDF template for you to plan your next session.

If the future of work is about small, multidisciplinary and temporary teams (sometimes called The Hollywood Model) then knowing how to launch projects in the right way will be even more important. This way of working will require teams to align quickly and spring into action. The need for highly effective project kickoffs has never been greater.

Luckily, there’s increasing amounts of research available about what makes a great, creative and productive team, and you can use this to structure a successful kickoff session. It’s all about tapping into the expertise of the team and creating a good plan for how you’re going to work together.

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Why running better workshops will make you a better creative leader

Improving your workshop facilitation skills might have more of an impact on your work than you think.

study of top management teams across 500 organisations showed that CEOs had a specific role to play in encouraging creativity in their teams. The researchers, Abraham Carmeli and Paul B. Paulus called this ideational facilitation leadership which they described as:

“leadership behaviour that cultivates openness, exchange of ideas and effective discussion for creating thinking and work in top management teams”.

Research has identified that to enhance creativity, teams need to: share knowledge, be aware of each team member’s expertise, and communicate effectively. Carmeli and Paulus conclude that the leader is crucial in creating the right environment for this and ensuring these interactions happen, particularly in meetings.

Continue reading Why running better workshops will make you a better creative leader