Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Change at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration
Recently the dean of The College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona called The Grove for help. The college of six academic departments and more than 5,000 students needed to move beyond a culture of silos, update some of its administrative processes, and address what seemed to be a lack of opportunities for innovation. As the college was getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary and was shifting from a quarter-based to two-semester-based system, the timing was ripe for a major renewal process.
To address these challenges, I teamed up with Laurie Durnell, The Grove’s co-president, to design and facilitate a visioning- and culture-development process for the college. This is a story of how change methodology, dialogic practice, and visual facilitation combined to achieve a successful result, symbolized by the completed Grove Storymap® (see above).
For more than 40 years, The Grove Consultants International has pioneered and supported a worldwide wave of interest in visual learning and facilitation. Now The Grove has launched The Global Learning & Exchange Network (GLEN), a network of process consultants, facilitators, team leaders, change practitioners, organizational leaders and more. Its mission is to increase people’s ability to collaborate across organizations and cultures by providing a learning community dedicated to inquiry, insight, and collective action.
Exploring Unknown Territories
At the heart of The GLEN is a synergistic learning community. It develops through Exchanges (face-to-face and online gatherings) and Collaborations (small-group projects) on topics such as design thinking, neuroscience, visual facilitation, collective wisdom, sustainable food systems, and leading change.
More than 50 authors joined in a three-day global book sprint to create The Visual Facilitation Field Guide, a project launched by Jeroen Blijsie in The Netherlands. The book’s co-editors are Jeroen, Tim Hamons in Singapore, and Rachel Smith in the United States. The authors represent a broad spectrum of the field of visual practice. Their goal: to write a book that raises the profile of these methods and makes them accessible for both practitioners and clients.
Contributors worked around the world (and some around the clock) in The Netherlands, Singapore, and San Francisco, with authors in other locations connecting virtually. The North American contingent gathered at The Grove in San Francisco. The Grove’s Laurie Durnell, Tiffany Forner, Malgosia Kostecka, David Sibbet and Rachel Smith participated, with Rachel facilitating the North American portion of the sprint.
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…
Happy New Year from The Grove! Our 2018 illustrated calendar is now available. The Grove’s Malgosia Kostecka and Tiffany Forner have populated each month with a playful combination of text and image. We hope the calendar inspires creativity for you in 2018.