Boosting Your Team's Clarity Discipline

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So many of our clients tell us that they want their teams to use structured thinking disciplines, but don't know how to make it happen. They introduce the principles to their new hires and expect them to use the techniques going forward, but find that in the rush to get documents to their clients the teams forget what they have been taught.

This pack outlines simple and proven techniques that you can apply either as a whole. or one at a time, to boost the discipline around your team's focus on clarity.

If you see your teams applying any of the techniques listed below, you will know this pack is for you:

* Spreading all of the pages created during a project over the boardroom table and then walking around cherry picking key ones and then putting them barely changed into the final pack
* Building the pack one page at a time during the project and then "whooshing the titles together" to create a contents page
* Describing the work the team did rather than clearly articulating a cohesive set of recommendations
* Team leaders - partners included - accepting that they will have to redo the pack at the eleventh hour as this is easier than getting the team to do it themselves

This pack has been prepared by a team of communication specialists who are passionate about helping their clients create clarity in their problem solving and communication more easily and more often.

Trained in these disciplines as communication specialsits at McKinsey & Company, they now coach and train consultants and strategy teams on a range of communication issues primarily across Australia and the Asia Pacific.

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Boosting Your Team's Clarity Discipline

  1. 1. Helping your team consistently create clear communication is easier than you think Clarity 101 for team leaders
  2. 2. Robust techniques for embedding structured thinking disciplines How can we help everyone understand the value and purpose of structured problem solving and communication? How can you create long term sustainable impact through better and easier application of structured thinking in your team? How can we ensure staff have the skills to use structured thinking techniques in their work? How can we provide clear role models for your people to follow? What systems and processes do we need to implement to encourage the consistent use of structured thinking techniques? Structuredthinkingisatickettothe gameinconsulting,howeverfewer andfewerfirmsareskilledenoughto benefitfromittoday.
  3. 3. How can we ensure staff have the skills to use structured thinking techniques in their work? • Include structured thinking in standard new hire training • Identify people who are really good at structured thinking and nominate them as mentors • Hold semi-regular „brown bag lunches‟ to collaborate on boosting the structuring of specific pieces of work while also building skills • Offer coaching for team members with potential • Provide access to online learning tools as a reinforcement mechanism • Build a library of structurally excellent examples from successful projects for people to refer to How can we help everyone understand the value and purpose of structured problem solving and communication? How can you create long term sustainable impact through better and easier application of structured thinking in your team? How can we provide clear role models for your people to follow? What systems and processes do we need to implement to encourage the consistent use of structured thinking techniques? Robust techniques for embedding structured thinking disciplines
  4. 4. • Ensure all communication from leaders in your organisation is structurally sound (even the small stuff: see aclient‟s gastro warning at the back of this pack …) • Don‟t be afraid to parody structured storytelling techniques in your inhouse comms (we saw a very funny Christmas party invite in this vein last year) • Personally acknowledge “champions” from Chair, CEO, Office Managers • Build Library of best examples – Hall of Fame • Communicate all wins actively across the entire firm • Sign your team up The Big Idea for free at www.claritysecret.com How can we help everyone understand the value and purpose of structured problem solving and communication? How can you create long term sustainable impact through better and easier application of structured thinking in your team? How can we ensure staff have the skills to use structured thinking techniques in their work? How can we provide clear role models for your people to follow? What systems and processes do we need to implement to encourage the consistent use of structured thinking techniques? Robust techniques for embedding structured thinking disciplines
  5. 5. Use storylines to drive clarity around decision making and communication Situation Complication Question Today‟s fast pace of decision making poses risks to businesses that we are all to familiar with. Some of these risks can be mitigated by consistently applying some simple structured and logical techniques early in our decision making processes. What simple and structured techniques would underpin fast and effective decision making? Combine mind mapping with Aristotle’s narrative structures and logic to clarify your thinking before you make decisions and communicate your recommendations. Use structured mind maps, or storylines, to clarify your main ideas before you communicate Using a storyline makes it easier to • Focus on the big picture • Check if you are telling the right story for your circumstance • Clarify your ideas quickly • Check whether you are still clarifying your thinking for yourself or whether you are ready to communicate your recommendation • Collaborate with others to confirm your ideas before preparing your communication Adopt Aristotle’s narrative techniques to begin powerfully Aristotle‟s ideas help today‟s people as much as they helped the ancients by teaching that simple and persuasive communication must • Start in the right spot, with a clearly articulated situation to establish the right scope • Focus around a trigger, or a complication to ensure the author‟s thinking progresses in the right direction • Answer just one single question to drive clarity and logical rigor Implement logical principles to confirm and defend your ideas • Two forms of logic underpin clear thinking: induction and deduction • These two forms can be represented visually in a logical storyline to help you quickly and rigorously test your ideas before you communicate • Once the storyline is ready, it is easy to convert it into a range of communication forms from short emails to long reports with neosi (www.neosi.co)
  6. 6. Where to go if you would like to learn more Websites • www.claritysecret.com (sign up for our (free) elearning academy to receive occasional tips for getting the most out of structured thinking disciplines • www.neosi.co (sign up for a free trial and you will be able to create storylines with great ease and then export each storyline to any one of a number of Word and PowerPoint document types) • Rhetoric and Poetics by Aristotle (available on (www.amazon.com) • The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools by Dr Linda Elder and Dr Richard Paul (free on www.amazon.com) • Logic, Inductive and Deductive by William Minto (available on www.amazon.com) • The Power of Logic in Problem Solving and Communication by Linda Long (available at www.scc- llong.com in both textbook and workbook form) • The McKinsey Engagement by Paul Friga • Say it with Presentations by Gene Zelazny (available from www.zelazny.com) • Problem Solving 101: a simple book for smart people by Ken Watanabe (available from www.amazon.com) • The Minto Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto (available as a book from www.barbaraminto.com and as an app at the Apple App store) Other sources • Oxford University school of continuing education podcast series on logic and reasoning • YouTube (search inductive and deductive reasoning … start with this one (it‟s even entertaining …) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiUrSFAIktY&list=PLA121EF8990EA9C48
  7. 7. 1 Flevy (www.flevy.com) is the marketplace for premium documents. These documents can range from Business Frameworks to Financial Models to PowerPoint Templates. Flevy was founded under the principle that companies waste a lot of time and money recreating the same foundational business documents. Our vision is for Flevy to become a comprehensive knowledge base of business documents. All organizations, from startups to large enterprises, can use Flevy— whether it's to jumpstart projects, to find reference or comparison materials, or just to learn. Contact Us Please contact us with any questions you may have about our company. • General Inquiries support@flevy.com • Media/PR press@flevy.com • Billing billing@flevy.com

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