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Novel Ways to Help Employees Understand the Need for Change

By July 15, 2011December 20th, 2015One Comment

Colleagues at an office meeting

I’ve always been a big fan of what people are calling “graphic facilitation,” the practice of trained group facilitators creating real-time graphic representations of a meeting, strategy session, town hall, or some other collaborative event. I was introduced yesterday to a company called Root Learning.  What they do is help leadership teams “make strategy actionable” and “make learning actionable.”  They accomplish this by facilitating strategy sessions to get all issues on the table and  develop a strategy for action.  Then, they create visual “learning maps” to illustrate the strategic direction along with all kind of learning tools to help people understand and engage with the map.  The learning is fast, meaningful, and personal–therefore “actionable.”

How I discovered Root Learning was through a demonstration of their work from one of their clients.  I was meeting with a senior executive of a large, old corporation.  Their markets are in flux and a new strategic direction is required.  In order to map this new direction and help their employees understand the need for change, they engaged Root Learning to take their executives through strategy sessions, and then Root built the Learning Map and teaching tools.  I got to experience the facilitation of a learning session using that map and tools with a team of people and could fully understand the method’s power.  Root Learning trained 20 people from the client company to facilitate 2-hour “learning map” sessions with employees in groups of 8 to 12; they introduced the company’s new stratgic direction to 2500 employees in 2-weeks time!  Every employee had an opportunity to question, contribute,  learn, and begin to understand their role in this change process.

Innovation Labs is another company with powerful facilitation skills and tools to lead groups through problem solving, generating new ideas, planning for change and growth.  I have personally experienced group sessions that they have led and have participated as a facilitator on a number of occasions.  They usually have teams build 3-dimensional models as well as incorporating all manner of visual representations.

You should also know Nancy White of Full Circle Associates .  Nancy is a brilliant facilitator and graphic illustrator who also teaches the art of graphic facilitation.  Participants are always amazed at the quality and quantity of work they have been able to produce as well as the visuals that help to represent their decisions.


When you combine expert facilitation with visual representations of the outcomes that were achieved in a collaborative manner, you have a living reminder of the work you accomplished together.  And most important, you have a map that you can use to help the rest of your employees understand why it is important to change the way the company is doing something.

The Whale Hunters process for business development through large account sales creates a culture transformation within companies that implement it.  The process creates changes that may be uncomfortable for employees and which some may resist, especially if they do not understand their role in the change.  We use a visual model to represent and help us teach the nine phases of The Whale Hunters Process™:

Have you ever used methods like these to develop new strategies and to communicate the need for change?  We’d love to hear your point of view!
  • Nancy White says:

    Barbara, thanks for “bringing in” the visuals. I’m using them now, online and offline and for far more than “big meetings:” telephone calls, regular staff meetings, EVERYTHING!

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