We often describe our work to others as “group process on steroids.” It’s like organizational development, community organizing, and other related practices done really, really well. Except that it’s also somewhat different. What exactly does that mean?! It means doing whatever you can and leveraging whatever tools are at your disposal to enable groups to work skillfully together, to help them come alive. Where exactly do the steroids come in?! (My business partner, Kristin Cobble, took a pass at this […]
What Does the Collaboration “Field” Look Like?
Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about how to describe my “profession.” I usually describe myself as someone who “helps people collaborate more effectively.” People usually either give me blank stare in response, or, they jump to a wrong conclusion. (The most common is that I sell some sort of software.) This hasn’t simply been a branding exercise. It’s been about looking systemically at what we need to do to improve how we collaborate, understanding what people in my “field” […]
Lessons from Olympic Gymnastics: What Makes a “Team” a Team?
Last night, the U.S. women won their second ever gymnastics team gold medal at the summer Olympics in London. After the win, the team’s coach, Marta Karolyi, and her former coach husband, Bela, said something interesting about this team: Whether these 2012 gold medalists are the best group of American Olympic gymnasts can be debated — though U.S. coach Marta Karolyi says they are — but they are almost certainly the best team. “That [1996 gold-medal squad] was a beautiful […]
Talk vs Action
Last September, we designed and facilitated a kick-off in Zurich for an organizational change initiative within a global corporate IT division. The meeting was large (200 leaders participating) and complex (both logistically and content-wise), one of the hardest with which I’ve ever been involved. It succeeded because our design was strong, Kristin’s facilitation was skillful, and our client was exceptionally competent. As evolved as I found this particular client, I still noticed some old-guard mindsets. The biggest was around the […]
Brown Bag: The Secret Life of Groups
Have you ever worked on a good team that you knew had the potential to be a great team, but somehow just didn’t happen? Are you curious about why groups — be they a family, a leadership team, or a project team — sometimes get stuck? Do you ever wonder how to un-stick them? If so, come to this Thursday’s brown bag lunch, where I will be sharing a framework that makes visible the invisible dynamics of groups, based on […]