A Common Language

Eight of you are sitting around a table and you all know that there’s enormous potential in a possible collaboration. You represent diverse disciplines, functions, companies, and organisations and have got different skills and backgrounds. And you know you need to find brand new ways of working together.

But you can’t quite understand what the others say and you repeatedly talk past each other. You have all developed your own complex, internal technical lingo. During the meeting, you spend all of your energy trying to find consensus on what the collaboration should be about when, suddenly, time is up and you haven’t agreed on anything. When you say goodbye, you feel a combination of disappointment, frustration, anxiety, and doubt over whether the collaboration is even possible.

Now, imagine that instead of just talking, you all draw a simple picture story together, allowing everyone to provide their views on the current situation, needs, challenges, business opportunities, etc. The drawing develops into a visual representation of your common pictorial language, with common analogies that everyone understands and can relate to. You have now created a strategic common story to build your future collaborations upon. The cognitive threshold is lowered, and your focus and commitment suddenly focus on “How?” instead of “What?” and you can meet on equal terms to explore the possibilities. It’s as simple as that!

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