About the Canvas
What is the Canvas for?
This Canvas is a model to help executives, internal consultants and process artists to design and prepare for a strategic conversation. Whether you are an experience facilitator or a beginner, the Canvas will support you to look at what is important.
10 Important things to Reflect while preparing
It is a guide with 10 important points to reflect upon when you are designing a high impact gathering. Using the canvas you address the key questions for a good preparation.
Build your Conversations Collaboratively
Try to build your key conversation collaboratively with others, making the key questions visible to everyone. Contact me so we can schedule a time to fill in the canvas together.
Steps into the Canvas
Click on the section of the Canvas to get some input about it
- Build Shared Understanding
- Clarify or Design Options
- Decision Making
Gatherings to inform decisions, ask for more information on an issue or a simple social get together are all important conversations, but are not defined as strategic moments.
Inquiry to have clarity on why this conversation should happen and what are the signs that this is the appropriate time. Signs that the moment is timely are an urgency perceived by the collective, an external change that will cause a great impact medium or long term or the existence of two competing narratives in the same environment.
Each strategic conversation should be focused on one of the three purposes. It is very common to try to address two or all of them in one single gathering. Resist the temptation.
Read more about Clear Purpose.
A book was published recently that shows the importance and key characteristics of strategic conversations. From this book came the decision to suggest only three types of key purposes for this kind of conversation. See more at Moments of Impact.
Previously defined things do not cripple important conversations, but pay attention if restrictions are abundant or if there is a big resistance in changing things without clear explanation, both may be suggesting this is not the right time for this type of intervention. Check if a different and previous conversation would be more appropriate.
Explore if it is a genuine invitation and people will participate because they are interested and have a stake. Check carefully the cases in which people are summoned. If a few, talk to them personally and invite face to face to understand their relationship with the issue. If there are many, consider another intervention before you call for a strategic conversation.
Let’s say you are dealing with a situation with low level of hierarchy, informal and a delicate issue that requires calm and deep reflection? What is the most inviting surroundings for this type of conversation?
Read about Allow for Unlearning Structures.
Our result is a picture of a specific moment where a conversation created a perceived collective step forward in the form of a new agreement. These agreements, to become effective and to last, must be concise and represented in a clear visual form.
In some cases it is possible to imagine in advance a structure to harvest the meaning coming out of a meeting, in other cases this structure will only become clear during the process. Regardless of the case, don’t leave the room without a collective appreciation of both insights that were shared and the collective clarity around key issues.
We are looking for an open question that gives more or less orientation depending which strategic conversation is in place. To ‘build shared understanding’ usually asks for a more neutral question while ‘making decisions’ might need a more oriented one.
A good source to explore powerful questions and its characteristics is the classic The Art of Powerful Questions.
Aim to have the whole system in the room means to explore which are the perspectives about the purpose that will oxygenate the conversation, generating new questions and new patterns and definitions.
It is not possible to change a system from within, so it is key to look to neighbour systems in search for perspectives that can contribute to a really new point of view. Those are the actors in the border of the system, people who are not part of the system, but share some things in common with it.
On changing systems from within read: Bummer, We Can’t Change Society After All
This sequential flow is raw material for your agenda, but unlike the former, you don’t necessarily need to expose an agenda for the participant. The essential point of this step is that our ‘reader’ will be following the story being told and not how interventions are unfolding or if we are on schedule.
This preparation aims only to generate empathy towards the sensible questions in the room and to support the creation of contextual questions in a language that is perceived as clear and straightforward for the public.
You are not trying to become an expert in the topic, to analyse ‘group dynamics’ or, worse, to carry a predefined opinion or position.
If one is looking inside, which structure can support exploring external effects? If deep in the problem, a process to inquiry strengths and current assets.
To set a broader perspective to a conversation and/or to connect the current perspective with others are possibilities to generate insights for deep and transformative conversations.
Include conversations to re-visit the Canvas and perform a reality check.
People who have worked with me
Still buzzing after my meet with Augusto, where we talked workshop proposals and facilitation. My wellbeing workshops may be just emerging, but the illuminating chat with Augusto gave me so much hope, so much faith. He listens, informs, and supports. He works from his heart, and there’s magic in that.
Augusto was an excellent facilitator. He met with us prior to the workshop to better understand the overall goals of the project, specific objectives of the workshop, to review the agenda and make suggestions for the sessions, room format, exercises, and other useful guidance.
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