Feedback, critique… What do you think?

I’m curious about your thinking!

I’m up to my eyebrows in thoughts and questions around the topic of feedback. I engage in giving feedback almost every day, and I often articulate the context of my approach yet I want to dig deeper…

When I look up the dictionary definition, it feels incomplete—it’s not big enough or inclusive enough or human enough… so I am on a quest to re-define it for myself and enhance the processes I offer my clients.

And, I want your help. Would you share the following with me?

How do you come to the topic of feedback? What’s your framework—philosophically and practically?

In my world, it’s about lifting people up, sharing what they’re doing well, and imagining what they can do, perhaps even better.

It is within the context of the vision of what is to be achieved and the creation of criteria for assessment.

And, it

  • asks people to stretch/asks big questions
  • it’s always congratulatory and constructive
  • takes into consideration people’s styles of interaction
  • is verbal and visual (drawn and/or written)

I’m going to think and write about this more… will you expand my thinking by sharing your ideas, questions, and resources? I’ll circle back with new ideas next week, so please respond to my request, as soon as you are able.

Synchronicity and Sense-making…

Don’t you love it when an idea that has been bubbling, just at the edges of your consciousness, springs forth in full bloom from a completely serendipitous encounter? I sure do!

Habits from “before” are supporting me now…

For the past few months, I have taken to listening to a podcast early in the morning—specifically those that feed my soul and inspire my thinking. It’s become my time to quietly enjoy the start to the day… it is such a treat!

What are your rituals—whether they start your day, are a breather during your work, or a nighttime delight? In this time of disruption, what habits are you leaning on to support yourself?

Today’s spot-on experience ( it felt like it was meant just for me!)

I am loving my latest find, Julie Fei-Fen Balzer’s Adventures in Arting podcast. This morning’s interview with Lindsay Weirich was wide-ranging and showered me with ideas. It opened up the part of me that sometimes gets left behind in my focus on day-to-day work… What do I think about my work and in the various roles I play, what is important for me to keep top of mind, and what do I want people to know and understand about how I do, what I do, in the world? Listening to the podcast was like a strong wind blowing through an open window in my mind, stirring up ideas that I hadn’t thought about for quite a while, spinning them about, and revealing possible inconsistencies— providing new perspectives.

The conversation was wide-ranging and shifted throughout the hour:

  • defining what it means to be an artist—how relevant to my work as a visual practitioner and Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) — wherein, I do not consider myself an “Artist” yet I believe that everyone is an artist (if that’s confusing/I am not being clear/it feels inconsistent, let’s chat)
  • determining what is art — who does it, how does it happen?
  • the value and process of critiquing artwork — my head became filled to overflowing with images that represent how I envision and engage in feedback with participants in my sessions.

And, I LOVED the authenticity of Lindsay’s remark, “I am always very interested in doing things that I am absolutely not qualified to do.” And, then she finds a way to do it! I feel the same way, and that’s probably the reason why my life, both professional and personal, has been so multifaceted, as I wrote about in the chapter, My Journey as a Visual Facilitator, in The World of Visual Facilitation. My interests are diverse and yet connect to my big vision of who I want to be in the world.

How about you? What questions are you asking yourself at this time? Or, are questions feeling too big to tackle right now, with a greater need to be more connected to the real challenges of our day-to-day lives.

I hope that you will share what you are discovering about yourself during this unprecedented time. How are you nourishing and taking good care of yourself so that you can engage with your world?

One last thought…

I have found that offering Zentangle, a meditative art form (no skills required) is one of the ways in which I relax. Offering Zentangle sessions to colleagues on Saturday afternoons has been one of the ways I am consistently connecting with others. If you’re interested, contact me to learn more, look on the Graphic Facilitation FB page for more details, or just sign up here, I hope we’ll tangle together!

Art (or at least my visual) illustrates (my) life!

As I pondered the subject of today’s post, I was struck by several ideas simultaneously. I want to

  • create a visual of what I am living/experiencing right now in my life
  • use a new technique in Procreate to illustrate my vision
  • share a shift in my thinking about living my life/our lives right now.

So, of course, this idea for creating the visual came to me last night, as I was reflecting on a conversation I’d had just the day before with a potential client about how/in what ways visuals can be used in the workplace. I had waxed on about the work of the group in the most recent Bikablo Basic one day training… We came together on Friday the 13th/the deadline for nonessential workplaces and gatherings to shut down in NYC. Each individual created a poster that they would be taking back to work. It was fantastic!

  • Diversity—Inclusion—Belonging
  • Curving Covid-19
  • A process map illustrating Engagement to Delivery

The visual that sprang into my head was of my current family situation and how we are working with it every day. Here’s the rough sketch of my thinking…

In thinking through and envisioning this piece, I realized that for the two weeks that we have been together—Steve, Jaclyn (who lives in Brooklyn yet is here with us for the outbreak), Gus and me—I have been thinking tactically about our lives together: handling the details, responding in-the-moment, working to establish some normalcy and routines.

What occurred to me this morning—as I reflected on my vision and remembered how exhausted I was yesterday from the drama of living under these circumstances—was that I need to make the shift to strategic thinking. My crisis management skills and my daily plans for self-care, work, connection with family, friends, and colleagues, and my ability to put out fires‚ were really getting in the way of looking at the big picture and developing the vision of who I wanted to be and what I hope and want, for our family during this crisis.

I was excited to get up this morning and get to work… thinking that I could learn how to make stamp brushes on Procreate and incorporate them into my final design before the deadline for posting today… Alas, life intervened, as it has every day for two weeks, with further news of import and distress. So I have learned the new technique and will use it later when I have more time to really play with what I have learned and use it as I imagined. I also need to learn to draw Gus… I’ll post the final, digital version of my vision here before next week!

Now that I have a little distance and perspective on what I want to achieve, I have to chuckle. I do love it when the patterns of who I am—creativity, zest, curiosity, and energy show up and teach me the same lesson again… I always want to create—right up until my deadline!

Juicy Insights from Coaching with a Colleague!

You know how you do something for so long… that you don’t even think about how you do it—it’s second nature? Then someone changes the way you think about it or approach it and well… then it’s really different?

A colleague, whom I know through bringing Bikablo to her neck of the woods almost a year and a half ago, is working on her coach certification. In our wide-ranging conversation about what’s new since we last spoke and planning future Bikablo sessions, she asked if I would be one of her practice clients. Who doesn’t love a free coaching session (with someone you know and trust), so I said “Yes!”

We met over Zoom last week—just as the change in our world in the US was becoming starkly clear. Early in our session together, she asked me to not only envision but to draw what I was imagining about what I was telling her. I was struck by my responses to the request:

  • Mmmm, I am not sure I can do that very well… I use templates for my sessions with all my clients that support me in capturing critical information—this was different.
  • I didn’t have my symbolary at the ready to make the pictorial representation easy — I was imagining bits and pieces, and constructing parts to make up a whole that was coming from my head.
  • This was more stream of consciousness rather than a prepared canvas or recording—it felt like I was creating my own universe with galaxies and constellations
  • I didn’t love some of my drawings
  • I did like explaining a loud/to another person what I had created, which is something I don’t often do… It gave me another avenue for reflecting on my thinking. And, it reinforced my love of doing it during Bikablo trainings.

I committed to re-drawing my thinking in a week and sending it to her… I am about to do that now…

What have you done recently that’s been a twist on an established way of doing things? What was it like for you? Did you feel the same disequilibrium as me? Please let me know!

I wasn’t sure we could do it….

Our Setting—Agile Coach Camp at the South Patio Club in Gurugram, India

Imagine a lovely, warm, setting in a venue created for small events… people are milling about, drinking coffee, getting to know one another or reconnecting with colleagues, and there’s a sense of anticipation in the air.

Our Task

Agile Coach Camp, (an initiative of Agile Alliance), uses Open Space Technology to enable participants to easily share questions, experiences, discoveries, learnings, and offers opportunities to generate ideas for solutions to the challenges put forward.

Honestly, I find OST to be a gamble… I have had both excellent and less than stellar experiences as a participant in the process… So I decided to influence the outcome by suggesting a topic, 100 Ways to Use Visuals @ Work.



Our Actions & Results!

Happily, we had an initial group of eight to ten people interested in the topic. With two pieces of flip chart paper taped to the wall and a marker, I enthusiastically wrote the title of the challenge at the top of the page and asked for ideas.

We started strong, ideas bubbled up, and we soared to 17 answers… we paused. People started to look doubtful. With a little prompting, we leaped ahead to 37 answers and then there was a palpable lull in energy… the Law of Mobility started to enter into the mix and we lost a member or two—and we gained a member or two. We were off and running again!

When we reached the high 50’s and the pause lasted a little uncomfortably long, I thought we were done—and I was close to sharing my appreciation for everyone’s good efforts.

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at waiting for people to settle into whatever unfolds, and my patience paid off! We roared ahead to 87 ideas and we all started to believe that we could make it to 100—and we did! We reached our goal! It was amazing!

Upon Reflection

As I transferred the ideas from chart paper to computer file and teased out some of the answers—I discovered that we generated 105 ways to use visuals at work! Okay, MAYBE one or two might be deleted from the list upon closer examination… What do you think?