Top 8 Ways Our Clients Are Empowering Effective Teams

Recently, Laurie Durnell, Principal Consultant for The Grove, facilitated a user-group session with some of our clients who have fully implemented The Grove’s Team Performance System. All of the HR professionals we invited are in talent development, learning and organization development, or are dedicated to team development as their key role. They represent a range of organizations. Here are the top successes this group revealed about using Team Performance in their organizations.

1. “The journey of our team culture process starts with the Team Performance Model.”
Organizations multiply the power of team effectiveness by having a consistent, accessible model for teaming.

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A Conversation with Trent Wakenight

In April, The Grove was thrilled to announce the addition of Trent Wakenight to its consulting ranks. For the past twenty years, Trent has helped to form and lead executive and work teams through vision and strategy development, change management and team-building processes, employing many of The Grove’s visual tools and methodologies in the process. He is already well versed in our core workshop offerings, so look for him in one of our workshops in the coming months. Following are excerpts from a recent conversation with Trent as he reflected on his origin story, The Grove’s impact on his work and Saturday-morning cartoons.

What have been the major influences in your work? 

Saturday morning cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s have been a major influence for me— simplified, bare-bones storytelling that takes the viewer through the framework of a story from A to Z within minutes. Those simplified cartoons set a clear context from the start, the problem to be solved, the success vision, a strategy, who should be involved, and an implementation plan. Cartoons, like the “Superfriends” and “Scooby-Doo,” brought together the entire team to solve a problem and leveraged each team member’s capabilities. And, it was all done with pictures!

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9 Tips for Lightening the Load of Zoom Fatigue

 

 

During this past year of isolation, video-conferencing platforms have become a crucial way to stay employed and stay in touch, but they are increasingly leaving us overwhelmed and exhausted. Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson has been studying the phenomenon of Zoom fatigue and outlines the four causes in a new study. We briefly describe the causes below and provide some of The Grove’s best practices for lightening the mental load of virtual meetings.

 

EYE GAZE AT A CLOSE DISTANCE 

Staring at people directly in the face for stretches of time is unnatural and unsettling. In in-person interactions, the social norm is to look away while still engaging with one another. The norm on a video conference is to stare at the screen in order to appear engaged.

COGNITIVE LOAD

In virtual meetings, your brain is working a lot harder to process social cues and therefore not working optimally. We often miss or misinterpret body language that we would easily understand in an in-person setting. This difficulty, combined with our tendency to overcompensate with our own social cues, adds to the cognitive load.

THE ALL-DAY MIRROR 

Self evaluation can be consuming. It’s easy to get distracted by how bad your hair looks or the way your forehead crinkles when you concentrate. This takes precious focus away from what you want to accomplish in your meeting.

REDUCED MOBILITY

Our brains function better when we get opportunities to move. In video conferencing, you usually stay within the camera’s field of view and close enough so that everyone can see your face. This results in a statue effect that is the opposite of how we behave in an in-person meetings, in which we are free to move our heads and bodies depending on who is speaking.

 

The following are some simple suggestions for combatting Zoom fatigue and running more engaging, productive meetings.

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The Cat Who Sent Everyone Into Breakout Rooms and Other True Tales From Working at Home

 

Have you experienced a Zoom fail? Working virtually for over a year now has been, well, interesting. We’ve faced challenges we never could have imagined, and some of them have fallen into the category of ridiculous. Please enjoy our collection of virtual meeting goofs and surprises.

 

The Cat Who Sent Everyone Into Breakout Rooms
By Laurie Durnell
Principal Consultant, The Grove

I was leading the Facilitating Virtual Collaboration Workshop and preparing breakout rooms while my co-instructor finished up a topic. I set Zoom to “Automatically move all assigned participants into breakout rooms.” That way, once I click on “Open All Rooms,” participants are whisked into the breakout rooms without having to search for the “Join Breakout” button. On this day my cat, who enjoys snoozing beside me on his own chair while I work in my home office, decided to take a walking tour of my desk. I was in mid-sentence when, poof, all the participants disappeared. My cat had launched the breakouts by stepping on my keyboard! I quickly closed the breakouts, and we all had a good laugh at my internet savvy feline.

 

Snack Time Anyone?
By Tiffany Forner
Creative Director, The Grove

After a rainstorm, the roof in our home office sprung a leak. This meant that for weeks I had to work in the kitchen. This wasn’t ideal, especially because I was working next to the snack cupboard. When I was in Zoom meetings, my teenage son would army crawl behind me and reach up and open the cabinet. I found myself saying, “just ignore that hand behind me grabbing a bag of chips.”

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Evolving, Adapting, and Growing Our Practice: An interview with Erin Gordon

 

We recently caught up with Erin Gordon, who will be leading the upcoming Digital Graphic Recording Intensive. She talked about her professional journey in visual practice and shared helpful tips for those starting out.

 

How did you get into this field?

I was a consultant—on paper—for the majority of my early career. I enjoyed the partnering piece of my projects but quickly learned advising didn’t work. My curiosity led me to other ways and methods to best be a thought partner with my clients, which led me to facilitation. I grew into data visualization and analytics and started training others. I particularly loved helping folks visualize their ideas and concepts. 

While consulting with the U.S. General Services Administration, I stumbled upon graphic recording by another consultant, Trent Wakenight, and was intrigued. He encouraged me to “help out” with a recording on a wall, but I thought the paper and markers thing was pretty cumbersome. I ended up taking a class in graphic facilitation with Deirdre Crowley and started working with a Surface Pro and stylus. It was love. 

Speed up to 2021. I now work as a graphic facilitator and recorder with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I keep a Surface Book close by as my backup.

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