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Strategy Facilitation Tips

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42
Chris Do
Published
March 26, 2017

Chris Do gives tips on facilitating strategy meetings that help overall effectiveness.

Read Transcript
This episode, 42 and this week, we're going to talk about facilitation, preparation and agenda setting. And this is a reaction or a solution to some of the conversations were happening within the group. That's typically how we do these things. I kind of listen to see what's going on. People were having questions. Some people here are purchase core. Some people out. Not so I'm not going to go over the core parts. I'm just going to talk about the parts that potentially haven't already been addressed in core. Now, if you haven't bought it, don't worry, this is prep that you can use for just about any meeting, and we'll get into this in a little bit. Ok? and I made some notes here, so there are certain supplies that you guys want to get. I'm going to give you guys the list of my slides right here, and I'll tell you why I have these certain supplies. Zoom H1 recorder. You can use any brand of recorder you want. Some people use their iPhone. IPhone does not have necessarily the best mic, so if you're going to use your iPhone, I suggest buying an attachment like a road mic that you can plug into your iPhone. But I like a dedicated recorder, and it's also good for conference calls. So that you can have it with you all the time. This one's 129. Sometimes these things go on sale for less than $100, ok? It's an audio recorder, and it allows you to capture the audio in the room. So in case later on, there's an issue. You can go back to the tape, if you will, and you can have an assistant or you can have somebody transcribe the entire meeting for you. And then there's this little thing called the tarmac TR 404 zip shot mini tripod is only 15 bucks. It's like three tent poles strung together with a little ball head at the top. Do not put your camera on this. This is for the Zoom recorder. The Zoom recorder is small. It's only a few inches long. And if you attached it to the mini tripod, excuse me, then you can position it at the level in which people are speaking gives you a little bit more flexibility. And there's a little adjustment so that you can angle in the proper direction. Next up is the post-it easel pads. 25 inch by 30 inch. They're not cheap, they're not cheap. They're $45 and they come in a two pack. I think a little bit cheaper, like $80 if you buy the four pack. And I have these for a reason. I'll tell you how I bring them to. Sometimes it's quite often the case that we're going to meet up with a client. I have no idea what the conditions of the room are. If there are white boards, if there's anything I could write on, I don't expect any of that. Oftentimes there's glass walls and sometimes there is just standard walls. So use the posted easel pads. You can have them pre printed or you can write them up ahead of time or not. What I do then, is I beforehand show up half an hour earlier, an hour early, set them all up just in case you need them, just in case you need space to write. And I'll explain why in a little bit, ok? Next up is the Sharpie flip chart markers. There are a variety color pack for $7. Would I even bother telling you guys to get specific markers because these markers don't make that streaking sound? They're very quote unquote juicy, and they allow you to write really fast. And that's important, as you've noted in some of our videos, when Jose was using a nonstandard marker. He tends to press really hard when he writes it's almost like fingernails on a chalkboard. Very difficult to listen to. OK, of course, you're going bring your laptop and your assortment of video adapters don't depend on where you're going to have the appropriate connections for you. So I've listed all the popular ones, of course, hdmi, NDVI and then hopefully not VGA because it's really low resolution, but you should have all those things prepared just in case. And last but not least, a brand that I recommend is the Kensington wireless presenter. There are links here so that you guys can go pick it up. It's 30 eight, 95. The reason why I like the Kensington wireless presenter is it's got some heft to it, and it's shaped like a giant peanut, like a figure eight. And it fits within my palm pretty nicely. It's got a laser pointer to it as well. And the cool thing is, the USB dongle is not a separate little piece. It's spring loaded within the body of the remote. So you never lose it. never misplace it. You pop that boat, that boy out, you plug it into your laptop and then when you're done, you put it right back in. They stayed together. OK next up, as I'm talking about these things, you guys, if you have some questions about tool supplies or recommendations or anything along the way, please just unmute yourself and say something and we'll take pause. OK who should be present, not, who should present, who should be present in the room? So here are the people that I like to invite the key stakeholders. And if you're dealing with a really kind of a legitimate business, it's going to be the CEO, the CMO, the CIO, CTO, marketing director or VP of marketing, those kinds of people. And typically, it's better if you have a few people, so I don't like to meet with just one person because the brainstorming session can die. Also, you reliant on one person to give you all the information, which is tricky because it's a biased point of view. So, you know, when you get beyond 12 people, it becomes really unmanageable. Even 10 is really difficult to manage because everybody has an agenda. They feel like this facilitation is an opportunity for them to move a different political agenda. And it's hard to manage and have strategies on how to deal with that. If somebody wants to learn how to manage large groups, we can talk about that later, ok? I also like to invite and I insist, if I can, that they bring one relatively new person to the organization who's worked there less than a year. And my rationale to whoever's organizing is on the client side is that they don't have all the bias and in historical legacy stuff, baggage that everybody else has. They see the company in the freshest possible eyes and their most open to change. And the reason why I invite this person very specifically is because when I'm managing the room, I'm also practicing very selective listening. Meaning if 7/8 of the party is stuck in a thing and I can't get them out of it, I'm hoping that there's not one person who says something that challenges the other seven. And I then turn the microscope, if you will, a magnifying glass onto that person and their comments. So that way, it's not me inserting these dots, but how I pay attention to people and not pay attention to them allows me to move the conversation a little bit. And that's really critical. OK, guys. Your role as a facilitator? Is not a note taker. Now I know a lot of you guys are out there that have purchased core, you facilitate and basically you ask the question, you sit down, you just write everything, you're there to connect dots, you're there to challenge your assumptions and you're there to be the advocate for the customer ahead of the interests of the corporation. And I have a slide on that a little bit, and I'd like to bring one other person with me just because if I have nerves, if I need something, if something blows up my phone's ringing, I got to deal with it. At least that person can help deal with that and what I asked that person to do. They have a very specific goal is to take notes, but to read the room. So when I say something and my back's turned to the group and I'm writing something on the wall and there's a weird reaction, like some of these eyebrow furrowing together, somebody leaning back or leaning forward or crossing their arms or exhaling deeply. I want them to pay attention to that and ask a question to the group. That's my. Prompt to turn around and address an issue that I cannot see, so they're reading the emotions and the body language of the room. This person's job is very critical. They don't say much during these meetings, but they help me to gauge the energy in the room. OK, now we're going get into the keynote deck, what you need to bring, why you need to bring the keynote deck. OK I like to bring a keynote deck because these are things I don't want to rewrite on the board. Every single time. And there are things that I need to say and some things I need to show. OK, so we'll start out with intros and everybody's going to introduce themselves, but it's important that you introduce yourself first and you start to tone in the way that you introduce yourself. OK and these things are in gray here, and I didn't make them too dark because I want you to be able to read them. But this is just a note for you, not part of your Keynote presentation. So I want to tell you to start with you to even say, I want to set the intention for the meeting that I'm here to facilitate, align the different stakeholders in the room. Hold space for you guys to be able to share openly and freely. And when we get into it, we're going to define the brand, the goals and the customers. Now, please introduce yourselves and then that's how you would do it. OK, so then if you see it like that, someone's going to say, well, I'm the Chief Technology officer, I'm here to make sure that the products we build, blah blah blah, et cetera. OK the nature of the meeting is we're going to have a transference of knowledge, what you guys all know in this room within a structured conversation, and that's what facilitation is because the tendency is for everybody to tell me their life story, historical nature. It's a brain dump. They're dumping the entire contents of their brain out, and I'm sitting there trying to categorize 100 pieces of information. Not sure at this point in time what's important? What's not important? And then it becomes a total mess. But if I have the structured conversation, then everything that you say is relatively important and we filter out the things that are unimportant to us. Nothing that I like to do, and Jose definitely does all the time because he wants to ask for permission to control the agenda and this schedule this way you can tell somebody we need to move on from that and have to be OK with that. OK, here's the real slide it says ground rules, things that we all need to do if we're going to go and have a successful strategic discovery session together. OK, first rule everyone participates, everybody gets to have a voice here. And the way that we do that, the way we hold space is we let everybody know you're not allowed to criticize or judge anyone's idea. You can add to it, but you can't negate it. And it's not always easy to be able to do that. The next thing I ask people to do is to avoid jargon, which when you're in a room of seven or eight executives in a company that's been there really a long time. They tend to go deep on the jargon. And it's hard, it's hard if this is not your industry and it's hard to understand what it really means, so I just asked them to me like a fifth grader, speak to me in a way that your mom would understand because I'm the translator of this to the world. Because when I go to write your copy, your messaging and your value proposition, I need to strip away all the jargon and explain it to normal people. And chances are. And when I'm speaking to them, you guys hired me because there's a communication problem, and I'm here to solve your communication problems. Ok? lastly, respect the time box, let's have a lot of fun. OK, then I turn to the room and this is a very important process to say, what are your goals? What are your goals? What's the most important thing you need to take away from this session today? Like, what can we realistically, hopefully, what can we realistically accomplish within this time period? This is very important because people are coming into the room because they were invited, demanded or told to come to the session and they have no idea what they're stepping into. You made the deal, most likely with one person, but now there are seven people in the room. And now you have to contend with them because they're sitting there thinking, I got to send out that new marketing brief, I got to go after the team, I got to go build the next version of this app where I got to debug something. They're all not here. And so by asking them what's important to them, you can make adjustments to the agenda. But they also feel heard, which is really important because you need these people in the room to be connected to what's going on when their eyes are looking elsewhere. You've got problems. When they're checking emails and texting, you've got problems. OK, so we're here. We all have a common goal. The problem is we all are well-intentioned people. We want to do something to help further the organization. But the problem is, if we don't have a shared and clearly defined goal, our efforts can be in vain. So what are your goals? And so we go into the room, right? And then everybody says what they need to say, and I try to keep it really, really short, like in a sentence or two. Tell me what your goal is. And here are some examples I wrote down. And this is typically what it looks like. OK we want to look like $100 million company when we're at $10 million company. Great design. It's great for doing that. We want to tell our story. So you guys want to tell your story. You want to differentiate yourself from your competitors. We need to close the gap between the customer experience and how it's communicated. Very common one. We need to know what to build. That's usually from the technology people. And from the marketing people, we need marketing assets, man, I've got Bob on my back and had nothing good to put out there, and so then he has unrealistic expectations on me. And if it's in the digital space, we need to increase conversion, we need to go from x to y. And we need to do in 3 months, how do we do that, chris? OK, got it. OK, now that we all have. You know, the line goal, which is the intent of this discovery session, we can go and build something wonderful together, something almost impossible. All right, the agenda, this is pretty straightforward. Now I get into it. And this is how I do it. My time box, everything. And typically, you want to do everything in 15 or 30 minute increments, nothing less than not. Give yourself a 15 minute buffer. So if you think something takes an hour at 15 minutes because it will run over and inevitably OK. So typically, I have an agenda, and the agenda starts with some context. Then we get into customers. I start with customers first with their challenges and pain points are, what their objections might be. Then we talk about benefits and features. We have lunch, which is usually catered so that we can eat and keep working. Then there's the brand, the customer journey, the wrap and the review. Now, lunch is very strategic for me specifically. Everybody's eating lunch. Everybody's having a good time. I'm the guy who's assessing that moment. Are we moving too slowly or are we moving too fast? Do we need to regroup somewhere? So I would recommend that you order something that you can wolf down pretty quickly. That's not going to make your stomach upset, because then you have to refocus why everybody is doing their thing. All right. Now, this is a very compressed schedule, 10 AM to three PM is not typically what we do. That is not enough time. As I've said before, somebody had asked, how long do you guys spend on Discovery and the different phases of engagement discovery for us on the loan is about six hours on. The high end is about 12 hours. Sometimes it's hour sessions. Sometimes it get it done in hour day, but it's rough. At the end of the day, everyone is exhausted and that's the way it should be. So if you're not exhausted, you're not doing it right because it takes a lot of power, power of concentration, and it's exhausting to listen to what people are saying. So here's the context. Now this is something that I've been doing, and depending on who it is, I will make sure if I have this in there, why does it depend on who it is? If they're unfamiliar with our process, if they're unfamiliar with facilitation and what we're doing, I want to show them the end results. This is a sneak peek that when it's all done. These are the results that you can have. And once you tell them this or show them this, people tend to calm down because remember, they're all thinking, I've got a lot of work to do, I can't afford to be part of this discussion. So here we go. Context so here's some of the results that we did for q. What we did here was strategy, identity design, messaging, web design, development, and we produce a video for q. So this is the Logo and the reason why we're doing discovery so that I can figure out what the voice of the brand is supposed to be. And once we are done with the discovery, what we do here today, I'll go away and I'll make three style escapes, and this is kind of what they look like. They're intended to be quick, iterative kind of projections about where the design in the brain is going so that you guys can make an informed decision as this feels right to us or it doesn't, and it's relatively inexpensive for us to course correct during this period. So there are three escapes here. Our client ultimately chose the one at the bottom. It's kind of got that new Hollywood modern feel. And here are the examples of what we were able to produce and how we're able to write copy. We found that in Hollywood, they need to stand out there trying to lure the movers and shakers, and that gave birth. This a lot. This concept of the epicenter for the movers and shakers playing off of the earthquake factor in Southern California. The fault line and the power players. The power brokers in Hollywood. And so these are some examples of what we produce. Following the style escape. And what we tell them is we don't like to just show you identity design in a vacuum, we like to do these mockups so that you can see how it lives and breathes. Typically, we do not produce all these components, and if we did, we would charge you for it. But this way, you're not just looking at a logo on a white page. That's half inch, half inch, square. OK some of the design and there's these even a little animation, everything. I think Emily made that. Execution in digital. Mobile, everything we do is responsive. And of course, there is a brochure component to it. OK, now I need to remind you guys my role as a facilitator is to be an advocate for the customer and user. What does this mean? I prioritize the user's needs and behaviors over the ingrained views and risk averse assumptions of the organization. Without customers, there is no company. So then we launch into now defining the customer's defining the brand, et cetera. OK, now I don't have that much more to this deck. This is all the prepping agenda, my mindset, and there's a lot more to this, and I'm happy to open this up to more of a discussion. I hope I was able to give you guys enough for you guys going to bite down on and ask a few questions. So I'm going to break out of the deck and turn it over to you guys. Anybody have any questions or thoughts? And is this the same or different than how you guys do it? Fire away, man. Myth how long did this session to the mockups like time period? Revise the mockups after the identity design? OK, so the session, I have all this information already, Zach. Look how long it takes us to do discovery, how long it takes to do stiles, Gabe's identity design and all that stuff. OK but typically it's probably a month long process from beginning to end, maybe five weeks. OK the style escapes can happen within a week, and then if they make a decision really quickly, we get into design and if there's no weird hiccups, we can produce it pretty quickly. Now, Matthew led the project, the design and development of it, and I remember the team showed me the logo and I was like, this is a really cool logo, and the logo is super simple. I don't know what typeface is. Maybe it's avanir or something. Ok? it's very simple typeface with one little modification, and we kind of modified the e. That's all we did. Now I had a sneaking suspicion if we came back to the client and showed them just that logo, they're going to say, well, Chris, that's just guys just type that out. Come on. I'm not paying 18,000 for that. That's when I went back with our designer, Emily, and said, Emily, I need to figure out the entire system, show me backgrounds, Comp this up, do something because I want them to buy this logo because I think this is the best solution. The thing that you're going to realize is the graphic designer as a business owner that you can come up with the world's greatest mark, but you can't convince your client to buy it to use it. You're not the world's greatest designer, so this is where you have to flip into like, strategically, what do I need to do to tell a story around the logo? This mark so that the clients feel really good about it, and that's a critical difference. I call it giving it context for what you've created because sometimes people don't have that same vision that we have as creatives, right? So as a result, until they see it in situ or in something that they can connect with, it just means nothing to them and it completely changes the landscape of how they view the logo. So anybody else? Well, one challenge I've been having is getting more than one other body in the room. When you've got all these people that are hustling with the business, trying to do different aspects, which is probably one of their biggest problems getting more than just the CEO in the room. It's been an issue for me, ok? I have a solution for that. How much are you charging to do this work? Around 2,500 right now charge 10,000 more people show up. People need to make a commitment to this process for it to be successful. I think when you charge little and I'm saying $2,500 a little, that's still a lot of money. The less you charge, the less they think. I'm just going to humor Philip because this is what he wants to do, and I don't find value in that. Yeah, but when you connect a lot of people in the room, and the reason why I say this quite often is if you're not getting a hug from everybody in the room afterwards, you're not doing your job. Why is that? Because they feel for the longest time they've been trying to say something and nobody will listen to them. Now I'll give you an example for tango, the new marketing director chief revenue officer Michael. He was trying to tell the CEO we got to spend more money, but that's a delicate thing to try to walk to the CEO. And so during the brainstorming session, we come up with all these ideas and we're putting a price next to each thing during the goals prioritization exercise. He said. Well, we need to do that. We need do that. You guys need more money. Michael looks at me and smiles, OK, this is what is supposed to happen. That cannot happen in a vacuum. There's no one there to challenge the CEO. Your role is not to challenge him. Your role is to listen and connect the dots and to make ESHWARI SWAHA" saying is congruent, consistent with the mission of the company and their goals. Now it's hard to do that by yourself. So my suggestion and try this, you guys charge more money. I also say to I won't move ahead with the facilitation unless I have three people, there you go. If they can't make it, then I say we need to reschedule. And I'm just. You draw the line in the sand and say, this is what it is, we need a couple of people in the room because we need to brainstorm. I find when they start dictating the rules, then they have power, so you have to really be strong with them. That's just my experience. Fierce, very fierce. Anybody else? Any other thoughts and questions? Go ahead. We are there to represent the clients or users. All right. So what do you do when the CEO or stakeholders tells you? Yeah, I agree with you. The clients are important, but we need to take care of the company. First, all at the same. A level, at least, so how do you approach that? OK this is an issue of branding. And my response to that would be. Who are we without our customers? Do we not believe that customers are our number one priority? So what I'm here to do is to help you build a stronger relationship with your existing customers, but more importantly, help you find new customers, and the more we serve our customers, the more they become champions of us and we become champions of them the test of a charismatic brand. This is a term that I read in Martin Kumar's book. We want to have a charismatic brand. The definition is one for which people feel there is no replacement for. There are many companies that make cell phones. There are many companies that make personal computers, but there's one that a lot of us hold dear to our heart that if that company were to go away, we would mourn and eulogize the passing of this company, for example, when Tower Records went away, I was a little sad. I really was, but I wasn't out there protesting or anything because I also found that I could buy things on Amazon for a lot cheaper. So Tower Records failed to meet me somewhere. But I love that aspect that I can walk into Tower Records by a graphic novel. Listen to some band I've never heard of before, and the chance of discovering new music was thrilling to me. That's because we built a relationship with the customer, and until we do so, we will not have that. So it is in your best interest. To do what's right for the customer. And there are numerous companies that have failed to make this transition to serve their customers, and they're now part of the design or the business history books, they're no longer relevant today. Let's not be that company. And I'll give you an example, and this is an example I bring up all the time. Did you know that there was an engineer at Kodak that invented the digital sensors? That was the idea behind all digital cameras. Now he was thinking he was thinking. This is kind of the future. And what did the company do? They looked at it like, this is going to cannibalize the sale of film. So they killed the project. And that very thing that would have served our customers, could you imagine now all cameras would have been kodak? Or using license technology from Kodak. That's what a couple of decades. That idea of self-interest that we want to protect our products and not give our customers what they want is the thing that destroyed them. And so then they went bankrupt and somebody resurrected the brand. But film is not the way it used to be. ServSafe a customer as well. Everything else will fall in place, and it probably behooves you to have a few of these case studies to read them when the company has failed to serve their customers. And then they have gone out of business. And the way that you win this argument, too, is you ask them a few questions, you can ask them, is anybody remember a warehouse or blockbuster? You may remember Blockbuster. Oh, you do, right? What happened to them. And then you get them all talking about it and laughing, and then they're like, Oh yeah, that's right. When people wanted just to rent a movie for a day or to keep it, they did not take care of the customers. That created an opportunity for more nimble, agile, forward thinking company to walk in and take their lunch. Hello, Netflix. Now, do we want to be blockbuster or do we want to be netflix? Now I would say all of that without the attitude I'm throwing at you right now. I'll say it with a smile and say, yeah, it's blockbuster enough. You know, I would do a little differently. OK but the same kind of content people think I'm a jerk because when I'm talking to camera, I'm super direct, trying to tell you guys what up. But when I'm in the room with people, I'm much more nuanced in this. I think Matthew is like, no, but whatever. OK, all right. Anybody else? Yes, you're welcome. Far away, you guys. Prince yes, sir. Is it a good idea to divide the session into days or is that? Well if it's going to be. A big project, and you need a lot of work done. I would do it in two days, but two consecutive days, because if there's too much time that passes between each day, it's going to be a problem. Having two days is important for you and I'll tell you why, because that night you're going to go back to the hotel room or wherever you are and you're going to think like, OK, that didn't go so well. I should have said this and I need to readdress this, and that gives you an opportunity to have a do over the next day to say, look, something wasn't sitting well with me yesterday, you guys. When we said this, I failed to recognize something and I want to bring it up right now. When you said this, is it more we can do with that concept? And Mary said something that was really important, and I just didn't feel like I held the space for her to speak. And I apologize, so I take it. I throw myself on the sword, ok? And this allows everybody to come into the conversation again, like, wow, you know, a lot of times when I'm lying in bed at night and right, as I get up in the next morning, lots of things are connected in my brain. It's very clear to me. So give your subconscious, your unconscious brain, some time to process the information. All right. All right. Anybody else? Yeah, I have a question. The hand-off, how does that work for you? Can you tell me a little bit more about what the handoff means? Sorry. OK. After the meeting, and you're wrapped up and you're ready to execute or whatever, give it to your team. What does that look like? How do you present that to them? OK typically, what I do is after and this is an important. Thank you for saying this. Ooh, Oh OK. Here we go. After we finished this document, right, and we've taken all the notes and it's in there, I usually spend half a day today going over it, adding words, changing words because I was reading it, re familiarizing myself after having some distance from the discovery session, trying to be more precise. It is not a literal translation now of what was recorded during the meeting, so it goes through layers of evaluation and refinement before I even give it to the team. This is also the time in which I write the positioning statement and it takes a little while like I'll write something and it's really long and convoluted, and I'll keep chipping away at it, reducing it down to its essence. You kind of boil it down. And then I have a statement, and at this point, I now can go to the team and say, here's the entire strategy document, you guys. Here's the important part of it. Here's what I want you to do. So I want each one of you guys to go and create a style scape based on this voice. This tone, this look. This feel. And in this direction. You go this way, you go that way and number three, you go bananas. And then I'm going to check in with you guys at the end of the day and we'll look at the work and we'll redirect if necessary if you guys are overlapping, which isn't usually the case. And then I'm able to push them, you guys know, and I hope you guys can see the difference when we do style shapes. It's a little bit more intense than the way that Jose does it and maybe even the way you guys do it, I don't know, but we really try to design these things, like the images and the creation of the images is really important to me. Typically, when I look at stylish capes designed by some of you guys, especially if you're doing for the first time, you will put very big broad images in there and just call the day because it fills up a lot of space. I tell my guys, reduce scale crop. Get me as much information. So I can look at and say, like, I can build a hotel off of this. That's what I want. I can see a menu in there in terms of something for the restaurant. I can see a sign in there. I can see a package. I can see lots of things. And if you're going to give me an image, I want you to be able to point to me in that image. What's important in that image relative to what we're trying to do? So that background stuff, I need you to crop that out or I need you to go into Photoshop and cut it all out because that's distracting. I do not want anything in there unless it's directly direction for us to go down that way when we go to design this thing. You already have the bulk of the design thinking done for you. So we're not trying to redefine this every single time. At each stage, it's a refinement process. So I do do that. And there is a little bit of that going on. And I also make available to them the audio recording, which they never listen to, which I don't expect them to because it's 10 hours of talking. It'll knock you out cold. But sometimes I do see people listening to it while they're working just to help them. Whatever helps to move the creative gears to lube that that's what we do. Does that answer your question to you? Yeah, that's perfect. I wouldn't. I wouldn't have thought you would have make style escape for the marketing portion of it, because this is mainly for a client that's focusing more on marketing than just branding. But that really, that makes sense. I mean, that would work for that, too. Yeah at the end of the day, what I think, what separates the way we do discovery versus how traditional consultancies do discovery is it's very boring PowerPoint pages and pages of text that people have to read. I find that most people don't read that. So what I want to do is reduce it down to its essence. The key insights and make it visual because people will look at that and they'll get really excited. Now here's one way, here's a hot tip for you guys, even if you don't deliver all these creative services and you don't want to. If you want to expand the scope, make potentially more money and grow your agency, do the stylus games, get them excited about other things. That wow, we need this and why did we not hire you instead of the other company? Because what they showed us was terrible. They don't have taste, you guys have taste and what you'll get yourself into is a position where my clients now call me for really weird things because they realize one is I am an advocate for their customer and I'm their champion. When you hire me, I work really hard for you. And I have good taste and I know how to tell stories. So anything that needs any one of those four things they call me for. So I got off the phone a couple of days ago with one of my clients, and I'm consulting for a VR experience. And there's a little tension between myself and the vendor they hired to do the VR like how to build all the CG work, right? Because they were going. They wrote their treatment and the client came to me and said, yeah, they're not that creative. They can execute it really well, but we need your brain and we're willing to pay you for your thinking. And this is new territory for me. Like, how much do I charge for this, like consulting in the VR space that I don't know what I'm doing. Derek, how about five grand? Like five grand sounds fair, and if it's too much work, I'll tell you and we'll charge you more. Is that ok? Yeah, that's fine. It's the first time I'll do four five. So I'm doing this. And as soon as we get off the phone with the vendor, I called up the client and said, hey, how was that for you? They're like, well, you know, there's obviously like the scope and going out of scope, and I'm concerned that some of the ideas are more expensive that you're coming up with. You know what? Let me deal with that. You can be the good guy. I would be the bad guy. I will push and push and push until they said, oh, that's enough. We can't. That's too much. And then you can say, well, let's discuss this later. So I'm really trying to maximize their investment in me in getting more value out of that if I can help earn more than $5,000. This is a win for them, either in creative services, higher production, new thinking, whatever it is, that's what I try to do. So if you guys put yourself in this position, you do the style soundscape you're doing, the thinking consulting, you've got great taste, which I know many of you guys have. This is how this ought to work with you. It will expand beyond, oh, you're going to build me the website, right? Oh, you can help me do the marketing campaign, right? This can open up a world of opportunity for you guys. Thank you. That was excellent. Thank you, Tina. Great question. I love the engagement. So far. So, Adam, you're up on deck. Go ahead. You said it after the meeting and before starting to make the stats helps you work on the values and sort of a belief. Do you ever get after showing the style feedback that makes you have to change and go back to the belief and we walk the values? No, if I understand your question correctly, Adam, the style escape comes from the thinking. So the tail does not wag the dog, but the thinking is done after the meeting. So like the stakeholders might say, you'll decide that this or decided that without us, I see no, no, we don't really do. I don't. I might have misstated. So let me clarify, ok? The thinking is done in the meeting. Then there's a refinement process like I try to make it sharper, clearer, cleaner, more reductive. It's not to change the direction. I'm not trying to sabotage it because the whole point of having discovery was for me to learn. And I'm not going to go, then unlearn and just impose my will. So if you guys are thinking that this is what you're going to do, that discovery is whole smoke and mirrors to do what you want, then you're not doing service to the client or the process. I let the discovery lead every decision that we make from that point forward. It's just about refinement because, say, in the meeting, this is a classic example. How would you describe, OK, let's just do this. Anybody who wants to participate, you guys can turn on your microphone as long as you don't have too much background noise. Let me just ask you guys this question and you guys don't have a laugh, I think is how would you describe the voice in the tone of our brand? I'm going to ask you guys, how would you describe the voice and tone? So anybody that's ever had this conversation with the client throw out a few words for me. How would you describe the voice and tone of this brand? The common answers you heard before? Go ahead. Fire away. Bold bold, Yes. Thank you. Anybody else? Young young. OK passionate. Excited all bold, somebody said. Bold, bold. Young, excited. Passionate every year, innovative, Oh yeah, come on. OK, so right now, just with the first one two three four five six the most generic words ever. What do you mean? Bold? you mean like, irreverent look like. Is that what we're talking about? So this is usually where if I'm not that sharp during the meeting and I'm not pushing back and saying, give me a word that really describes that. That's too broad for me. Give me another word. And if they can't come all the words in the room, especially if there's only one or two people in the room, they're kind of stuck. This is where I go away afterwards. I'm like, well, we didn't come with great words, but as I'm rereading all of it, I think the word is this. And it's a more precise word. And I forgot to tell you your assistant coordinator, producer or project manager or whatever that's in the room should have the source nj.com open just in case to help it along so they can plug-in the generic word and really find the right word. That's the amazing thing. And the frustrating thing about the English language is it's very precise. There are like 38 ways to describe hot, and they all mean slightly different things, some other languages, a little bit broader. So that's what I mean. When I'm going away, I'm trying to find the word, and there's usually a word that captures the sentiment of what we're trying to say in a much more precise way. So you can take three words and smash them into one if you find the right word. That's what I'm saying. Scott, you're on the camera. Let's go. OK just to piggyback on that there are questions that are good questions to ask like and it'll get you to where you want to go. You know, yes, there are the best kinds of questions are open ended questions that show empathy for what the client's going through. Now, I don't know where we're at, but some of the people in this group have been invited into the sales foot platform, and there are videos that Eli has produced to talk to you. There's a whole deck he's done on how to ask good questions. You're trying to look for something. I want you guys think of yourselves as gold miners and you're panning for gold. Anybody ever done that in the river? It sucks. You panic. You scoop a bunch of rocks in a pan. You shimmy, shimmy, shimmy, and then the gold kind of settles because it's heavier. And then the other stuff moves to the side, you're looking for gold. So now we're talking about like panning techniques, right? Because you're going to get a lot of stuff and this stuff is not going to help you. You need to be able to quickly discern this is going to help us. This is insightful. This is something we're going to learn or not. And then you latch onto it as soon as you hear. Wow I think we're missing something here and I can give you two examples and then we'll get into the questions. I think somebody wants to say something. Example number one more meeting with the Trojan clients, Trojan storage. And I ask them, like, who are your customers like? They're mostly women. I'm like, what do you mean? Mostly? mostly, it's kind of an abstract word like 98% like, Wow. 98% are women. That just surprised me. I thought more men did this like, nope, it's women. And a lot of them are single moms because they're divorced. Whatever has happened. And they need space, so that to me, was just the insight in itself that your customers are women and single mothers and their lower middle class income. OK, great. We can figure this thing out because all of our voice, the branding now is going to appeal towards women and children. Absolutely we want the place to feel safe and to have a little sense of whimsy to it all. Even though you would think storage tough, strong, there is that aspect to it. But we want to design the interiors to be welcoming. Ok? and those guys just sold their company for over $200 million. And they're big advocates for us, that's example number one, example number two with the tango clients. They do it expense management, which if you didn't get into that conversation, that doesn't mean anything to you. But they mostly work with technology directors, people who run Fortune 500 companies from the backbone like deployment of laptops, cell phones, infrastructure, ethernet, data services, all that kind of stuff. And we were joking a lot about how. They're tough, they're ego driven, really negative, negative stuff. And then the inside came like, do you realize how hard it is to be this person that everybody expects to be perfect all the time? And when you're perfect, you get no credit. And when things break and inevitably, technology breaks. The blame. And in that moment, within the room, I saw the energy shift from one of ridiculing and possibly even taking for granted. Their customers to one of appreciation and empathy to the point in which the CEO said in the room, man, we need to send that tech director we've been talking to like some flowers. And he was being serious. If you can help your clients come to that point of clarity and recognition, the inside man, then the whole campaign shifted now towards treating their customers not like the ego driven people that they had previously painted. But these underappreciated superheroes and that changed the entire brand in the messaging. And once you hit that point, you're like, wow, that's good. And it becomes really addictive because your next session, you're like, did I get to that point or not? If I didn't? I'm failing right now. OK, now I think, peter, did you want to say something? Your hands were moving a little bit like you do a little dance or something? OK, go ahead. I was wondering, say you've successfully pulled on that thread and the discovery and the goal setting section and you're just being flooded with lots of information and people are giving you great stuff. How do, when to cut it off, drive towards a point and move on to the user profiles? OK, if you're having this, you're in the flow state when ideas are moving, it feels effortless and everybody's super excited. I say screw the agenda at that point. Just forget about it. It's not that important that then you do the next thing. OK you can also reschedule the goals. Prioritisation exercise is one of the most important things because it defines the scope and the budget of the things you're yet to do. I would not skip on that one. What I would do is if I were you is to try to consolidate. I just mash them into one because they're not really three different exercises to me. What do we need to do collectively to increase awareness efficiency and revenue for this entire company? Any and all ideas, we just write it down. So I try to optimize those three exercises into one. And if we're in the flow state and things are working really well, just stay there. It's OK, just stay there, OK, because it's going to be helpful to you. I promise you will be. Now, if the meeting is dragging on and people are talking so much and it's not helpful to you anymore, you still we got to move on. It's 230 now and we're half an hour past due and I need to take control back again of the agenda in the schedule. If you guys don't mind. And then people are cool. Cool, let's go. You are the captain of the ship. Back to you, sir. Is that what you're asking? Yes, sir. OK awesome. Rob Mack is up on deck. Hold on. Rob, come on up. All the exercise is the one I struggle with. The most is the gold ones, too. And I also consolidate like you do. But I'm wondering, do you have any great follow up questions or ways to pull that thread? Because that's the one where everyone pauses or I have the hardest time with in terms of the goal. It's just like we need to make more money and it's like, OK and like, OK, OK, everybody is doing core lean in a little bit here. I start with the customers first. It's really, really important, and we argue about this. It's all about the brand and like, well, who are we as a brand if we don't serve anybody? Let's find out about customers. So you guys will notice the way that I do facilitation. It's all kind of like driving them into a chute and at the end of the shoot is all the things that we need to build. So when I understand the customers, the demographics and the psychographics, when I assume the pain points, it challenges things of trying to get done at work and at home, their attitude towards us. The solutions become quite clear. So now when we're looking at the solutions part, we're dreaming up different ideas. So there's an exercise. It's a little different than the one. You guys do. It's something like the problem, the symptom and the solution. So you guys imagine a three column grid. The problem? The symptom and the solution. Imagine the tic-tac-toe 3 by 3 grid. The problem of symptom and the solution. So I say you guys tell me an issue that we're having and they'll tell me something, and then I'll either put it in either the problem or the symptom. Most of the times they're diagnosing the symptom and not the root problem. The problem is customers aren't really happy. They're waiting in line for too long because that's a symptom. That's just that's the end result of something else that's failing us in the customer journey. Is it because the menus are designed in a way that is confusing, so they're standing in line for a really long time? Could that be the root problem? Yes what's the solution to that problem? And they usually mirrors of each other like Harvey dent, the toothpaste guy. They're mirrors of each other. OK, so if the menus are poorly designed, what do we need to do? Well, we need to fix the menu, Chris. Like great. We can fix menus. Maybe we can have an app. So they can order ahead of time, and then we can also have an express pickup line. Those are three solutions to one problem. So when you go do the goals, prioritization, exercise, those things just transfer right over. So now we've got to build an app. We've got to fix the menu. We've given them an idea for their business in terms of maybe rethinking the flow and express pickup line. Can we do that? Yeah What's that going to do for our business? going to do wonders because we have an issue with the line being jammed up and this is going to be more convenient. Imagine how many busy working people that we just profiled and one of their goals is to get back to work faster if you have an express pickup line for them. We can dedicate one person on minimum wage to just go to curbside and deliver it to them. By doing that, we potentially can increase revenue by x percentage. This is the role the facilitator you guys understand so far. So far, so good guys. This is why I structure the way that I do, and I'm hoping that will help you guys. I would not do the brand first. I typically do the brand last because it's a lot easier now. Now we know who our customers are and how we know how to be their champion. It becomes really easy. The problem symptom solution thing is that in addition to the prioritize needs, is that. Another exercise that you're doing? Yeah, I'll explain this. This is kind of my life theory philosophy, ok? And Joey Kaufman, who teaches animation. He says everything is oscillation because he's like an animator and like everything is on or off. Things move in and out, right? The world is oscillation. For me, everything is in transitions because I come from a storytelling motion design background. When you have two scenes that don't fit together and it's very jarring, I try to find a way to make it flow. So there's that thing in the middle. So when I'm talking to my students, it's called a jump cut when something's happening here and it goes over there, and that's really weird. The transition helps to make it smooth, so you don't realize that there's a cut. So when we're looking at a framework like this and you're like, all of a sudden, everything is going super smooth. And it grinds to a halt. What happened? Either you have to make more frames in between or I need to change the order. So it makes sense. And that's all I do. Change the order, refinement, refinement because every time you guys go and do facilitation and you get stuck and the energy and the good vibes and the flow stage, Duran comes to a halt. Something broke. Fix it, tailored to your style, tailored to your clients. Change something I knew, and you can tell, even in the documentation from Jose the goals and prioritization exercise just the least amount of love. It's just like, there it is, but we're done. That's why I have the most hard problem with it. OK, so what I want you to do is try this. Go look at your deck again, because I'm not trying to teach core to you guys. I'm just trying to focus on the facilitation. Part in the prep is try this restructure the exercises to do the user profiles first and then go into the solutions, which is goals and goals, prioritization, exercise and then do the brand last and then figure out like, how do I make this flow? If the end result is to figure out what to do, what to make reverse engineer the steps, hopefully that'll make sense to you. All right, we've got another question here. There's a hand coming up. It's Christian. Christian, jump on in men. One question is, how do you prep actually for the kind of questions you ask? So just as an example, I did the first take session last week and what we had a client and what we discovered that a lot of the questions that we asked were actually what is clients actually doing for work? But he didn't know that, and it's pretty clear why, because it's not really relevant to his business. So he's a restaurant owner. These people come there for pleasure, for the experience that they actually provide, and they're like, awesome doing it, but it doesn't really matter to him what these people actually do. So now for watching all these videos and being really in this kind of stuff. So basically, that's what you do and all you emulate. And I've told, actually, that's kind of my fault. I didn't really prepare myself in advance. More on what would be the relevant questions for his business. We have something this what you should be doing if you're going through. Yes, OK. You know what I realized? Christian, Thanks for asking that question. Your question? I did not sufficiently answer Scott's question. Like, why do those wheels ask, OK, this is less about memorization of a script and more of a basic philosophy. So if I gave me the philosophy, you can ask any question because it doesn't matter how it sounds. It's just at the end of the day. This is the result you want to have. OK, here's how it works. Very straightforward. OK a person has a problem. There's a need. Now this person happens to be the customer. They have a problem and they have a need and they can't get what they want. So we have to help them figure out how to give them what they want. OK, so if I'm. A customer I have to eat, everybody has to eat, but I can't decide which place I'm going to eat because there are too many choices or choices that don't fit my dietary needs or whatever the problems are. If I'm busy, I got to get in and out. Or if I'd like to just be able to unwind. And I don't like noisy restaurants. We have a problem, so everybody wants something. What do you want. So we can define what they want and we can define what gets in their way of getting what they want. The solutions become very straightforward at that point. So all of your questions should be structured around surfacing what the customers truly need and want. That's really all. It boils down to everything that I do, from teaching to facilitation to marketing communications. I'm trying to figure out what the customers want and need. Let me make this more concrete. So you can understand this a little bit better. You guys, all my customers, right? I'm trying to figure out what you guys want to need. The better job that I do that today, the more customers that I have that are happier. That's why I listen to what you guys are saying and doing all the time. And I'm reacting to that because if I hear a problem, I want to be able to solve that. Your client wants more customers, everybody wants more customers just about. So you have to help them figure out how well you disagree. You don't think everybody wants more customers. Actually, I think in this case, actually, they have enough customers. That's a problem. They solve it every day. So that's not a problem. They have an awareness problem. They don't have a my honest assessment of the main problem that they have is that the one we're talking to is actually doing the business for them. He actually needs to get off his ass and spend the rest like build a new restaurant or do this franchise thing. OK, no. OK, so you see hold on. Hold on, hold on. See, they still want more customers. They just can't house that many customers in that space. So the customer's problem is you're always booked. I can't get in. I would like to just eat at your restaurant, but I just can't get it. And I don't want to deal with advanced reservations. I want to be able to drop in. So there's two problems. We need to be able to get customers in and out quicker if we can. If that's not possible, OK, then we need to expand our location to house more people. They still want more customers. Almost everybody wants more customers. I've rarely run into the situation where somebody is like, you know what? I don't want any more customers when they're saying that. That means they want higher paying customers. Like, I have too many customers of a certain type, I need a different type. So then when you understand those customers that want to pay more? Like, for example, this is a bad use case here. But let's just say I have more money and I don't want to wait in that line. If I paid a $10 advanced booking fee and I can just get in and get out. I'd be happy to because now I have more money than the other people. So they could change their business. That's a horrible example, but this is how it works with concerts. It's how it works with events where if you don't wait in lines like at Disneyland, you have this VIP access, so you pay double the price you just cut in front of every line. So now I have more money than I have time, so they create a different experience for me so that one customer is worth two or three customers that are paying the normal fare. So there's lots of solutions here. We just got to get into OK, if we have all these customers, how do we grow the business? You can just ask them that what's getting in the way of you having more customers? Well, we have all the business we can get, Christian. Well, what's the problem? Well, they can't get in. How can we solve that problem, how can we give them what they want? So it almost always boils down to the same two or three questions. I've referred to them before as my three golden questions what does somebody want? What's getting in their way? And then we challenge the assumption to find the solution process that a little bit OK. Hopefully, I've killed two birds with one stone because I've taken care of Scott's question at the same time. All right. Anybody else have a question about this stuff? I got two more questions. Obviously, the question is what do I like? I feel like I have to tell them, dude, like we can build your website, but you don't need it. What you need is to find a way to actually. So to hire people that I can actually express you and start planning five years ahead when you open the next restaurant in which place and how you want to manage it. And so on. Right so and that's a conflict, obviously for me now. Well, there are some. Potentially this is a very common thing. Actually, if they hired you to build a website, you could make money. The conflict is like, OK, I can build this, but it's not going to really help you. And this is important and your question you're thinking is correct. I want to do something that's actually going to help you build your business, not something. Just because I can make some money. What you have to do is help them not to prescribe their own solution. We have a lot of customers and they can't get in. Oh, let's do this other thing. And help them to realize are those to the problem and solution? Are they connected? This is why I do the whole problem. Symptom solution if you don't own core, if you've never done anything like before. Just try this with somebody. Problem symptom solution. The symptom is we have too many lines for too long. People can't get in. It's packed. And so then they're like, well, the solution is, let's do an e-commerce shop. Well, let's try to understand what the problem is. If there's too long of a line of wait, it's because physically we're maxed out, we're just maxed out. We could get no more customers in here. So what do we need to do to solve that problem? So we move the solution to a different thing because it doesn't solve a problem we have. It's like I have a rash. Well, I have a new jacket to sell you. It's like, what does that have to do with my rash? I need a cream to deal with my rash because I have dry skin. Oh, how about a hat? Like, no, you guys, you're not. You see it. They're not really connected to a real problem. And the way I would phrase it is this on my end it on. This is, look, I might be an idiot because I'm going to try to point out to you that building an e-commerce shop, even though it's against my best interest because I want to make money doing this for you, we probably should really focus on what the real problem is and after which. If you want to make the decision when to build a website, I'll build it for you happily. But I would like to help you kind of solve this thing. And this is where you have to exert a little bit of your business strategic thinking muscles and show them like, see, is there a connection here? This is where more people in the room help you. Does everybody in this room believe that having a web portal is going to be the solution to the long lines that we have out the door? Does anybody have another solution? So you use the room in the energy and you control that somebody is like, you know what? That's insane. Why are we doing this? People are not coming to us today to ask us to buy essential oils. Doesn't make any sense, right? We can dive deeper into that a little bit. Thanks, guys, for joining in.

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