Three Ways to Refresh Your Strategy for the New Year


What can you do to get your team in sync for 2018? When people get lost in the details of week-to-week implementation, it is easy for them to get disconnected from the big-picture strategy. Early in the new year is a natural time to reconnect, review, and renew. Here are three ways to focus your organization or team and develop strategic insight for the coming months.


Option One: A “Bridge to the New Year” Session

Time Involved: 2–3 hours

Bring the new year into focus with a visual planning template (see sample above and instructions for drawing below.) Use this process when you want to facilitate a single focused session to envision the year ahead and get everyone aligned on action.

This approach is better suited for a team or a project than for a whole organization. It is particularly useful when the scope of your endeavor is not overly complex. Although it does not allow for a deep dive into strategy, it can put the focus on the most important priorities to move forward.

How to Draw a Template: For a co-located team, draw on a whiteboard or big paper. For a remote team, sketch the template and fill it in using a tablet. Start by drawing a bridge image in the middle to signify the transition to the new year.  read more…

“Hit the Beach”: VMware’s Storymap Opens Up Internal and External Communication

Recently The Grove worked with VMware to develop a Grove Storymap® about its digital workspace product, Workspace ONE.

The Digital Workspace Communication Challenge

VMware developed an amazing product but was running into some communication obstacles. As Kevin Strohmeyer, senior director of Solutions Product Marketing, describes, “We had been talking about the digital workspace both internally and in the marketplace for 18 months, but there was little consistency. More importantly, we were asking our customers to make transformational changes to move to a digital workspace, but while we could describe problems and solutions, we couldn’t consistently describe the journey without jumping to technology challenges.”

What is digital workspace? As VMware defines it: “Digital workspace provides the necessary infrastructure to securely deliver the apps and data employees need across any device, whenever and wherever they choose to work.” In layman’s terms, one can be at work, home, the ballpark or anywhere with any device (cellphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, etc.), and gain access to every app and data necessary to do one’s job. No matter what device one chooses, you just log in and voilà, you have what you need. And here’s the kicker—it is all secure.

The Beach Scene Takes Shape

To facilitate alignment in Workspace ONE communications and messaging, VMware asked The Grove to lead a Storymapping process. read more…

Allan Drexler: In Appreciation

I was saddened to hear that my friend and colleague Allan Drexler passed away recently. He was 88. In the 1980s, he and I co-developed the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model® (Model) and the facilitative methods and tools connected with it. Without Allan we would not have this model. The depth of his field experience with teams, coupled with his deep understanding of group dynamics developed in sensitivity training at National Training Labs, kept the work grounded in the real world of working teams.

How the Work Began

I first met Allan in 1982, when I gave a workshop about facilitation that included Arthur M. Young’s Theory of Process. Allan shared a team-building model he had developed with Jack Gibb, an influential social-science researcher, and Marv Weisbord, a thought leader in organizational development. It laid out predictable questions people ask when joining a group: Why are we here? Who are you? What are we doing? How will we work together?

read more…

Managing Team Integrations


Increasingly teams are being mashed together: different specialties or functions, or different parts of organizations being merged as a result of leadership experimenting with cost-cutting or efficiency initiatives. This new landscape of teaming benefits from focused approaches to syncing up these newly formed teams. The goal is to integrate their efforts smoothly and achieve the organizational benefits they were reconfigured to achieve.

For example: in multiple organizations we have worked with recently, functional teams previously based in the divisions were centralized in corporate headquarters. Then a magic wand was waved and bingo, a new team was born. Extra responsibilities were added to already full workloads. Team members looked around at each other and said, “Okay, we’re a team. Who the heck are you?”

“We Used to Do It That Way”

When different functions are linked that may not have worked together previously, the newly integrated team needs—in a time-efficient manner—to get acquainted with one another and make agreements about the work to be done, who is going to do it, and how it will be accomplished. The risk is that people will revert to old patterns and relationships as a survival tactic in the face of uncertainty and lack of clarity.

“We used to do it that way” is a fallback approach that reflects more than resistance to change. read more…