The Advancing Leadership Blog

Winnipeg SHIFT 2012: CEOs and Sticky Notes

At our SHIFT 2012 Winnipeg event on January 25, 2012, TEC members participated in a fantastic day of learning and networking. On hand to present was award-winning, world class innovator Tom Wujec as our morning speaker, and Anne Graham, profit maximization and corporate growth expert, as our afternoon facilitator.

Tom is a recognized thought-leader and pioneer in business visualization – the emerging practice of using images, sketches and data-driven infographics to help teams solve complex problems. In his presentation, he shared that successful leadership is a reflection of clarity, which is the direct result of creativity, collaboration, and the ability to understand the mental models of others. With outside-the-box exercises, Tom worked with members to visualize their own leadership capabilities and business models using sticky notes – and a lot of them!

Here are some photo highlights of the day:

“If you can imagine it, you can create it,” says Tom. “Success is clarity of six important components: content, vision, strategy, process, culture and measure.”

In Tom’s first exercise, members individually wrote down the essential capabilities of a business leader on sticky notes and posted on the wall.

“The sticky notes are a great way to visualize your business model so you decide what works, what doesn’t, how to revise, what to add/eliminate, re-structure, etc…,” says Tom. “It’s a highly collaborative process. It creates architecture. Overall visual logic helps provide clarity and coordinates action.”

Once the attendees posted their leadership capabilities on the wall, they were asked as a table to arrange all of them into themes. The rules: Anyone can move anything anywhere. And NO ONE can speak! Members described the task as non-confrontational and democratic. Furthermore, Tom explained this exercise determines the values and expressions of each individual in the group through other modalities and shifted focus away from WHAT each move was, and onto (more importantly) WHY the move was made.

Among many valuable takeaways, Tom prompted attendees to build the foundational step to establishing clarity and moving their organizations into what Tom refers to as “Sticky Noting Together.” In the sticky note process, teams are able to individually express thoughts and ideas and put them into models that others can understand. In an organizational setting, this process helps groups decipher the most common drivers of their business. Once mastered, the group can use the sticky note process for any complex issue. “What takes weeks of work,” Tom says “Can be done in 20 minutes.”

In the afternoon session Anne Graham, TEC Speaker and Managing Director of the Legendary Value Institute, was on hand to facilitate a workshop where members broke out to discuss topics such as Change Management, Creativity Innovation, Customer Focus, Employee Engagement, Finding & Developing Talent, Productivity and Profitable Growth.

With their topics, groups had to identify their vision by collaboratively drawing a picture that represents the “ideal future state” of their topic.

Tying into the morning session and Tom’s strategy of visualization and using other modes of communication to establish clarity, members creatively brainstormed songs, tastes and smells to describe the opportunities and challenges of their breakout topic.

To complete the breakout session, members analyzed the drivers for their topic – aspects that help, hinder or need to be changed and/or leveraged to achieve vision and drive results.

In closing, the overall themes of clarity, collaboration, creativity and visualization were well practiced by TEC members throughout the day – as demonstrated by the sticky notes that blanketed the room. A big thanks to Tom Wujec, Anne Graham and our TEC members and chairs for making the day a huge success!

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