Role Mapping for Team Clarity

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Do you know, I mean really know, what your teammates do? Do you know how they produce information they give to you and what they do with information you give to them? Do you understand their roles to the point where you could fill in for them for a day?

The better you and your teammates understand each other’s roles, the more effective the team will be overall. Points of intersection, where people’s work either overlaps or provides inputs to other team members’ work, are where the team will feel the greatest impacts from clarifying roles.

Map Your Team’s Roles

Mapping the intersections of roles will give your team clearer insight into how to work together more effectively. The following is a process that I have found useful for this.

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Art, Community and Culture: SF Museum of Modern Art’s Public Dialogue Workshops

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is undergoing a substantial expansion that will more than double its exhibition space (1). While closed for construction, its Public Dialogue Department is engaging with the Bay Area arts community as a “Museum-on-the-Go.”

Recently the department convened four day-long Public Dialogue workshops with local thinkers, artists, designers, and others working to nurture community arts and culture. This was an opportunity for reflection about the issues that impact Bay Area visual artists.

The department requested The Grove’s graphic-recording services to support discussions in each of the four workshops and weave together their inputs into a coherent synthesis. Senior Consultant Giselle Chow was The Grove’s project lead, teaming with Senior Associate Paula Hansen to record four days of rich conversation.

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Taming the Virtual Collaboration Challenge: Tell Us What You Think

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We have heard from many of our clients about the frustrations they experience when working with people who are not co-located. In response, we are developing new resources for working virtually—especially for managers, team leaders, and facilitators who need to help groups complete complex collaborative projects at a distance.

As a central part of this offering, Rachel Smith, The Grove’s director of digital facilitation services, is preparing to write a book on virtual collaboration. It will include interviews with master facilitators who are working with distributed teams, using best practices and tools that you can apply in your own virtual work environments. Supported by digital resources, the book will be full of ideas about how to bridge the gap and make collaborators feel that they are working together in the same physical space, even when they are not.

You don’t have to wait until the book is released, though!
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Exploring Metaphors of Change Management

At the 2015 Association of Change Management Professionals conference, The Grove’s Gisela Wendling and David Sibbet led more than 800 participants in an hour-long general session exploring how to use metaphors to communicate about change management. David’s reflections on the experience follow.


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Metaphors provided the doorway into an exciting community conversation at the recent conference of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). The organization challenged Gisela Wendling and me to lead a provocative and interactive hour-long general session, aimed at finding a clearer way that participants could respond to the question, “What is change management?”

Setting Up the Dialogue

Designing a session for 800 people was a challenge—metaphors provided the solution. Our strategy was to facilitate three simple conversations that were supported by a standard Grove tabletop template, customized for exploring change-management themes.
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Envisioning a Geography of Hope

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At the 2015 Geography of Hope: Women and the Land conference, The Grove’s Laurie Durnell and Associate Kathy Evans drew from an unusual mix of visual facilitation methodologies to listen, engage, and reflect participants’ thoughts. A final summary image was the fruit of a rich collaboration among the participants, poets, artists, and visual facilitators.

This conference takes its name from Wallace Stegner’s famous “Wilderness Letter” to Congress in support of the 1964 Wilderness Act. In it he described wild landscapes as part of our “geography of hope.”

Now, as humanity navigates an unknown terrain with potentially fearful hazards, where do we look for hope?

Two Core Questions

First, Laurie and Kathy created a large graphic for the plenary session of the conference that was designed to hold sticky notes containing participants’ contributions. Like a braided river, the template symbolized a weaving of participants’ answers to these two key questions:

What do you love too much to lose? and

What will you do to protect it?

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