Insights

Getting email feedback ‘just right’ is essential (and easier than you think)

It is easy to go to extremes when giving email feedback: either so harsh that your recipient is upset and is either so offended or angry they ignore your suggestions or so soft that they miss the point altogether. This can be because we are either too cautious about upsetting …
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Winston Churchill nails it again

A client recently passed through a gem which is just too good not to share. Yet again, Winston Churchill ‘nails it’. Written sixty plus years ago, it’s fabulous. I also love his closing remark: Reports drawn up along the lines I propose may at first seem rough as compared with …
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Kurt Vonnegut had some great things to say about patterns that are relevant in business

I found something wonderfully useful this week that I wanted to share with you. Revered American writer Kurt Vonnegut penned these seven storytelling tips that reinforce not only what a wonderful writer he was but also that it is possible to communicate complex ideas while remaining deceptively simple. As a structured thinking …
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Sometimes three stories are better than one

Getting out-of-cycle funding for new projects can be difficult, particularly if – even though mandatory – they won’t immediately add to your bottom line. Elizabeth, a project manager with a large Australian finance house, recently proved how fully understanding each of your gatekeeper’s concerns and pitching them individually at their …
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Engaging Multiple Audiences: The Tale of Two Stories

We often help clients engage multiple audiences around the same set of ideas. I recently helped the head of strategy for a large industrials client to complete a strategic review. To get sign off on the strategy, he needed to package his findings for two audiences with different levels of …
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4 ideas to make structured thinking stick

Structured thinking techniques are powerful for those who need clarity in their problem solving and cut through in their communication. They help confirm the precise nature of the problem you are solving and provide a framework to map and manage the work that needs to be done to solve that …
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Modern Day Dr Doolittle Does Lots for communicating with humans

I laughed when I saw that the inspiration for Hugh Lofting’s children’s book series on Dr Dolittle came when he thought that actual news was either too horrible or too dull. This made me think of some of the horrible and dull presentations I have sat through – one last …
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What do you do once you have a great story?

As our readers know, we help people clarify their thinking so they can communicate a compelling story. But, what do you do once you have a great story? Many of our clients need to tell that story using a PowerPoint pack and run the risk of creating charts that look …
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Bizarre but Beaut: Can structure actually stimulate creativity?

When we think of creativity, it is easy to think of freedom, a lack of rules – even to the point of anarchy. Creativity after all is all about finding new and different ways of doing things, whether through visual art or other forms. And yet even artists like Picasso …
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Why do most training programs fail?

Learning new skills is an often pleasurable part of working. Attending training courses is interesting, low in pressure often fun and also quite social providing opportunities to network with others within our own companies or potentially others with similar interests outside our own company. Unfortunately, precious little usually changes when …
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