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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 17: Drawing

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight

It's not so long ago that I wrote a post on how one team on a category management workshop used drawing as a means of getting new insight on a situation. It involved barbed wire (see image below), and ended up with a discussion about whether Procurement were as much to blame for putting the barbed wire between them and their stakeholders as their stakeholder were.


The process is simple.
  • Pick an issue you'd like more insight on
  • Draw a picture that represents the current situation - using as much lateral thinking as possible  
  • Either draw a picture of the end result (ie the outcome you want or solution)
  • Or make changes to the original picture to make it as you'd like it to be
  • Or even just see what happens as you make changes to the image (not dissimilar to the collage process I wrote about a few days ago)
  • Identify an action plan of how to apply the insights gained from the exercise, and apply them to the current situation, or notice how the situation already feels different, or perhaps a totally unrelated thought has come to mind about what you need to do to resolve the current situation.
Here's a quick example, showing how we don't need to understand the content of the situation to provide advice.

Current situation (no judgement - no logic either - if an image has come to mind there will be a part of you that knows how it relates):
Outcome (again no judgement - here I wanted to draw one non stick person and had thought perhaps they needed to be a different colour, and as I did that it started to look like an angel, and so I added the halo, the wings and some colour) 

Actions/Advice I've given myself as a result of reviewing these images:

  • Less doing more being.
  • Focus on being me (which was supported by the insight in window 12's tool - which demonstrates that the subconscious will make it's message heard what ever tool we choose to use. It's also why you may get other insights - because you'll notice something that you need to remember that relates to your situation. Whilst I've noticed what I need to remember). 
  • Remember I can say no - in fact I am entitled to say no - nor I am obligated to say Yes.
  • Do what gives me joy daily. 
To help bed in the insight, and because I know this works for me personally, I may use the image as wallpaper on my phone. I may even make a collage to help bring it alive too.

Perhaps you noticed different insights altogether?

Remember, this is my image, and so may make no sense to you. It's simply an example to demonstrate how the process works. It's only by embracing the process, and trying it for yourself, that you'll truly understand its effectiveness.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator
alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 16: Games

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight
This is a bit of a cheat, as metaphor has already made it onto the advent list of fabulous coaching and facilitation tools - that is we explored what we could learn from cooking to help resolve a challenge we were facing behind window 8.  You could also say that window 4's role model exercise was also metaphor. 

There's more about why metaphors are so powerful in helping us find solutions to challenges in this post. Basically they bypass resistance and the "That wont work" long enough for us to realise there are options available to us.

In today's festive example I want to prove that solutions can be found during any every day activity.

Let's look at the family games that will be played up and down the country this festive break - the games chosen perhaps say a lot about my age too!

Before reading further think about a situation you'd like more clarity on, now put it to the back of your mind as you reflect on your own insights from the following games.

Monopoly



Aim of the game: to buy and trade properties and make everyone else bankrupt!

Potential insight: Perhaps we need to be more selfish in the current situation and aim to win, and not worry about other people. They're playing the game, they know the rules, everyone for themselves.

Please note: Our minds are great at bringing to our awareness the analogy that makes most sense for us at this time. So the above insight may make no sense to you, and you may think it's about something else entirely. Which is why metaphor is such a powerful tool - it's already written into the rules that it's personally relevant. 

An alternate means of using this, or any other, game to provide insight to a situation would be to play the game, and unravel the insights from each move. You may even want to ascribe each player a different role in the situation. Player A might be Procurement, Player B might be Finance, Player C other internal stakeholders and Player C suppliers. Just make notice what you notice as you play along, make notes and unpick the game at the end. How can these insights be applied to the real life situation? (Do let me know if anyone would like to try this by webex/skype early in the new year before we get too busy to even consider such playful problem solving!)

Cluedo
Aim: to find out who murdered who, with what and in what room!
Insight: The intention is very clear ie to find the solution. People ask questions and based on the answers make guesses, and keep going until the solution is found. This perhaps links to yesterday's advent coaching tool: Intention.

Dobble
Aim: to win all the cards by noticing which 2 images on a pair are the same (Very addictive and this year's present of choice for me)
Insight: Pay attention to what's the same in this situation to other situations you've resolved in the past.

Jenga

Aim: to remove bricks and keep the structure upright ie not for it to topple on your turn
Insight: things aren't as precarious as you think, take care with every move, weigh up your options 

Twister
Aim: To be the last player standing
Insight: Weigh up your options carefully, consider how this move may support the next move ie thing more long and short term  

Trivial Pursuit
Aim: to answer the most questions right across a range of areas
Insight: the best teams are those with a wider range of age, experience and interest.

Do any of the above insights provide the necessary guidance on what might enable you to find a solution for the current situation? Did any other insights come to mind for you that apply? Perhaps another game came to mind - in which case explore what opportunity that might be highlighting for you at this time.

What game will you be playing this festive break, and what insight might it's rules provide for the situation you'd like more clarity on?

NB: I did write some time ago about not playing games at work which takes this metaphor in a different direction.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator
alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 15: Intention

25 coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight



As I wrote on LinkedIn earlier in the week, one persons unconventional is another person's weird. I should have added, one person's conventional is another persons unconventional.

Today's coaching and facilitation tool is very conventional and ordinary for many, and yet for others it's straying into weird.

It's a tool I've used since the late 90's. I remember hearing a number of years after I'd left Lloyds Bank, that the team still used this tool when they were struggling in a meeting, usually after someone had just asked "What would Alison have done?" It's also something we often start workshops with.

Setting an Intention.

Yep - it's simply about starting the day/meeting either thinking about the qualities needed to make the session a success, or about the outcome, in terms of how you'd like to feel, or what you'd like to be saying, or doing, at the end of a successful session.

You can do this on your own or as a group.

You can do this logically - thinking of your own answers to the question.

You can pull a word out of a hat/bowl.


You can ask others for a word for you.

You can open a book or magazine and pick the first word you notice - like we did behind window 12.


You can have one word, or many.

You can even have sentences.

You could add a picture or two.

You can build it up over a week - reinforcing the intention every morning


No rules as such, just a desire to focus your mind on how you'd like the outcome to be. Because rushing about like a headless chicken, and worrying, and focusing on the negative, or even worse what you don't want to happen isn't helping your mind support you in getting to your desired outcome.

As with all the tools in this advent series, it's going to make much more sense if you try it for yourself.

Do please let me know how you get on.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator
alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.