Beat Summer FOMO! ImageThink’s Annual Workshop at GISC is back

Led by our co-founder, Nora Herting and supported by GISC faculty Sky Freyss-Cole; these visual leadership classes start from August 7-9

Master Leadership Skills with Visual Literacy 

It’s summer already and the pristine beaches are calling. It’s time for our annual Visual Leadership Workshop in Cape Cod. Led by our co-founder, Nora Herting and supported by GISC faculty Sky Freyss-Cole; these visual leadership classes from August 7-9 will empower you with strategic tools that will help you clarify goals, energize meetings and enhance your skills to manage multiple teams. This visual leadership workshop at GISC stands out from other management classes as it is designed for anyone who wants to incorporate graphic facilitation as a tool for greater effectiveness in leading and engaging groups. In a candid conversation, Nora uncovers some frequently asked questions on why visuals can be such a powerful leadership tool. 

1) What are the key learnings you want attendees to take away from their time with you at the Visual Leadership workshop? 

Tools to augment their work as leaders. It is not about making pretty pictures, but about effectively and quickly communicating that visuals can be the bridge from ideation to execution. 

2) What are some of the stumbling blocks to being a good leader, and how can a visual thinking toolset help overcome them? What does it help them do with their team? 

When you are at the front of the room, holding a marker, you hold the power. Not only are you the one active person in the discussion, you are actively deciding what is memorialized in words in pictures. This is a powerful way to shape a conversation. Managing teams requires having a vision and helping others all see that shared vision. An understanding about how to create a visual metaphor that inspires and serves as a framework for your team to collectively build is a powerful way to lead and to get results. Encouraging more reticent team members to contribute can be a challenge. Often the loudest person’s idea sets the tone or the direction. Recording what someone says gives it weight.  If the person keeps contributing, attention can be drawn to the fact that their idea is already documented for everyone to see. Quieter members can then be encouraged to speak up. The end result is a visual that reflects a more balanced perspective. 

3) Can you talk about a time that graphic facilitation really helped pull together a team? 

We worked with an organization that had gone through a merger. This division was struggling with new processes and the quality of their work. Using the visual metaphor of a high bar jumper everyone was asked to write down responsibilities and then rank them on a visual of a high bar from low to high performance. What would normally be a very difficult and lengthy discussion, became a quick visual exercise. The group could step back and see where their collective work fell on the scale. Then they worked to identify ways they could “raise the bar”.  

What will participants learn in this interactive workshop:

Participants engaging during a visual thinking workshop session

Visualize ideas and stimulate participation

  • Present your ideas visually and get buy-in from your leaders, team members, partners or clients 
  • Use templates and learning maps to engage colleagues or stakeholders in idea development and decision making to ensure high level of ownership 
  • Make complex issues understandable by making the connections visible

Clarify and align goals, actions, and outcomes 

  • Increase the ability of your group to envision the future and to create a shared picture of what it looks like 
  • Use visual tools to help your team and partners to get on the same page with clear goals, roles and commitments

Increase your leadership impact 

  • Energize meetings 
  • Improve skills managing difference on teams 

How to practice your newly acquired skills at the beach:

Learn to explore and practice your newly acquired skills on the sandy beaches of Cape Cod.

Image Courtesy: Thrillist

Through exercises, case studies and reflection you will gradually hone your skills and develop materials that can be used in your current work or volunteer projects. After the workshop, you will be able to create visual presentations, plan a project visually, and help lead the members of your organization or team in meaningful dialogue and reflection. 

This leadership workshop will incorporate some free time each day to explore the area, practice your new skills or relax at the beach. 

And as we get closer to this year’s retreat, lets reflect on some key takeaways from Senior R&D Manager at SAS, and Visual Leadership grad Lisa Morton from our previous workshop at GISC

Why did you decide to enter the Visual Leadership workshop? What challenges were you hoping it would help you overcome, and what skills were you hoping to gain? 

I’ll be honest. I wanted to take the workshop primarily because Nora was co-teaching it.  I look up to her as a mentor and admire her work very much.  I reasoned that Sky would be just as strong a teacher as Nora.  And I was right.  Knowing that the workshop was going to limit the number of participants was also a plus.  I was looking for a few days of focused practice in a different environment to learn how to better think on my feet in front of a group and better trust my abilities. Traveling to Cape Cod from North Carolina to do this sounded like a great adventure to me. 

What was your favorite visual leadership exercise from the workshop? Why?  

Oh!  I always like a good icon jam.  It was so fun to gather a list of words that me and my fellow graphic recorders struggled with depicting.  It was great to have someone point to one of my icons and say, “Wow!  That’s perfect!  Can I use that?”  And it was equally great to see someone else come up with a solution sketch that I could point to and say, “Wow!  That’s perfect!  I’m so stealing that!”  It felt as though we were building a community. Also Pictionary was a great way to blow off steam, get to know other people in the group and laugh a lot.  To see a bunch of graphic recorders and visual thinkers split into teams to play Pictionary was not for the faint of heart.  We really threw down and it got quite competitive.  It was a hoot! 

A group photo with the team at the visual leadership workshop at GISC last year.

Be an early bird and secure your spot today:

This is an intimate workshop with limited spots. Click on this link to secure your spot at a discounted rate which lasts only till 31st May! If Cape Cod is not on your schedule this August, not to worry; be sure to visit our Workshops section to acquaint yourself with our other learning opportunities.  

For more information, please visit the page on GISC as the space is limited.  What are you waiting for? Reserve your spot now! Follow the details for more on the venue details of the leadership session: 

Where: South Wellfleet, Cape Cod, MA 

When: 7-9 August, 2019 

Duration: Wed 9 am to Friday 4 pm  

Hope to see you there!

Ready to change your thinking?

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