Team Performance Facilitates Cross-Cultural Teaming at W. L. Gore

This article was co-written by The Grove and Gyung Hee Han, a longtime HR business partner at W. L. Gore. Based in Korea, Gyung Hee is the Team Performance lead for Gore’s Asia-Pacific region. The article is the fruit of a conversation in which she shared stories and insights from her extensive experience working with Asia-Pacific and global teams.


As W. L. Gore has grown, its teams have become bigger and the teaming dynamics are more challenging. The team environment in the Asia-Pacific region is especially complex. Many teams function virtually. People work from dispersed locations, navigating Gore’s culture and wide-ranging local cultures while communicating in a language that may not be their first language. Team composition, roles and responsibilities may be in flux. Working in cross-functional teams adds even more complexity. Gore has found the Team Performance System to be especially useful in situations like these where the teaming environment is complex, diverse and global.

Videoconferencing: Twelve Rules of Order


Seriously, look at the camera.

I used to dislike using video in remote meetings. All the social cues we get from following another’s gaze simply don’t work on computer video. No matter where other people look, they seem to be captivated by something just out of view.

Surprisingly, I’m getting comfortable using video—sometimes I even enjoy it. Still, I’ve noticed that it often is used ineffectively. Since I’ve found myself in more video conferences than usual lately, I have been noticing what works and what doesn’t and thinking about why. This led me to write Rachel’s Rules of Order for Videoconferences, a work in progress.

These twelve guidelines actually are not about order so much as about reducing the confusion and disorientation that people feel when meeting remotely. These are useful for any kind of meeting, not just videoconferences.

The Next Generation of Visual Leaders: Malgosia Kostecka Joins The Grove Team

Editor’s Note: The Grove is delighted to welcome Malgosia to our consulting team. This article is adapted from several get-acquainted conversations about how she found her way to this work.


Q: Do you ever wonder if you were drawn to visual communication because English is not your first language?

Malgosia Kostecka: I was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to the Bay Area from Switzerland when I was four years old. Growing up, my parents upheld our Polish heritage through tradition and storytelling.

Assimilating to a new culture and language taught me how we can communicate a great deal without necessarily understanding the language. From a young age, I was fascinated by the way images create a universal language and metaphors bridge a cross-cultural gap. Processing information visually became my dominant mode of learning.

Q: You seem to have a special knack for helping people feel at ease with their creative self-expression.

MK: I graduated with a double major in psychology and fine arts, with the intention of practicing art therapy. People are told at a certain age whether or not they are good at art. I have met many people who have closed themselves off to their creative expression and have gone into a default mode of “I can’t draw.”

Overcome These Nine Planning Challenges with Strategic Visioning

Laurie_tinyIs strategic planning on your horizon? In my consulting work with organizations over the years—across sectors and from a single team to enterprise-wide—I have seen extraordinary results using Strategic Visioning (SV), a Grove visual-planning system. I have used it to facilitate many creative, engaging, agile and effective planning processes for client organizations.

Here are nine common planning challenges that Strategic Visioning can help you resolve:

1.  Accomplish planning without a months-long slog. Strategic Visioning achieves results in a time-efficient manner. Even when the pressure of keeping the ship afloat may not seem to afford the time for a big strategy process, the anxiety may remain: “Is all of this feverish rowing taking us in the right direction?”

Autodesk Storymap: Visualizing the Future of Making Things


Autodesk provides a great case study for tapping the full potential of The Grove’s Storymap® offering. Being so at home in a design-oriented milieu, the software company intuitively understood the power of visuals and was quickly able to leverage that power when it came time to roll out a visual communication within the organization.

Michele Wolpe, director of Employee Communications at Autodesk, was the project lead. She joined the company at a time when it was experiencing quite a bit of change with its business model and with changing market factors. Engaging in a Storymap process would provide a framework for employees to understand and navigate these changes.

Touring Autodesk’s Museum

As a project kickoff, The Grove’s David Sibbet and Bobby Pardini did a walkthrough of the Autodesk Gallery, where some of the amazing results created by people using Autodesk software are showcased. The diverse innovations and range of impacts displayed was fascinating and helpful. We don’t usually get to go into a museum and see what a client has done before we embark on a Storymap process! A great deal of what we saw ended up being reflected in the Storymap.

A Client’s Perspective: Seven Tips for a Successful Storymap Project

At The Grove we see the importance of strong, thoughtful internal leadership when undertaking a Grove Storymap® process (1). We spoke to one of our recent clients to hear her perspective on how to make the process go smoothly and get a fulfilling result.


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If your organization wants to align on its strategy and vision and is thinking about doing a Storymap process, here are seven tips to set your organization up for success:

1.  Engage a great team of people and a great outside partner who are interested in the project and motivated to move things forward. Involving the right people early lays the groundwork for a streamlined process and prevents time-consuming derailments and delays down the road.

2.  Ensure that the person driving the process has a clear vision for the project. Otherwise, a plethora of opinions can easily pull you in so many different directions that you end up with something without a strong design quality to it.

Escaping the Despondent Pit of Techno-Despair

pit_of_techno_despairHave you ever been in the Despondent Pit of Techno-Despair?

You know what I’m talking about if you’ve been there. You’ve been trying to get some type of technology to work, usually in front of other people. It probably worked yesterday, or even earlier today when you tested it by yourself, but the controls are now mysteriously incomprehensible and you’d swear they look different from how they did just an hour ago.

Possibly a lot of people are waiting to do some very important work supported by the technology you’re fooling with. Time stretches and warps in a weird way, and it feels as though everyone else is holding their breath and staring at you with saucer-sized eyes. You start to feel that you are at the bottom of a giant black hole.

Yeah… welcome to the Pit.

Role Mapping for Team Clarity


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A sample map for three roles in a consultancy

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.

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 daylong 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.

Taming the Virtual Collaboration Challenge: Tell Us What You Think

Virtual-WorkWe 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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