People complained. Sometimes they have no idea what I am talking about.
I say. Ok.
Time for a Glossary.
A couple of years ago I started creating different labels for some familiar project concepts.
A ragtag crew instead of team.
I introduced a few techniques that are centered around storytelling, metaphors and visualization.
Words and techniques you use to create a resilient team culture. But with fun and non-intimidating language and rituals. I would say without a Management Culture.
A lot of people are put off by certain Management Language.
Not you off course.
But for The Others, that’s a shame. Because it can offer Good Things to them.
So. Bootstrapping. And Big Adventures. All around.
Reframing also has another advantage. To avoid people answering in ways they assume is expected, you can use a metaphor for your endeavor and frame all activities in an entirely different setting. One where there are no rules about how people ought to behave.
When you put people in a (virtual) room and let them discuss Adventure Maps, their perception of the project landscape, you create environments that limit the influences of “what other people think”, or “what society assumes I should do”.
So. Without further ado … Le Glossary!
Adventure Map – A highly playful, interactive and intuitive way of communicating complex elements in your Big Adventure. Or just an excuse to go overboard on the lame jokes and awkward analogies. In it you imagine your project as a map through unknown territory in search for The Quest. The Adventure Map allows you to focus on the sequence of events in an adventure. Following a chronological timeline. The events that lead up to The Quest.
Big Adventure – A temporary endeavor to fulfill a certain goal. Some say “project”. Like. Think about your project as a Big Adventure. You are trying to find a treasure. You are going to retrieve a stolen secret document. You are going to set the princess free. It’s a journey.
Bootstrapping – revealing a group culture. “Creating” a culture can be creepy. Having to be committed to the corporate manifesto, having a shared enemy, awkward rituals. Culture is an expression of a shared identity. Everybody has an identity. If you want to have a “shared” one, you just have to let people reveal their identity and determine what is in common.
Dorothy – You. At least when you are leading a ragtag crew. In The Wizard Of Oz it’s Dorothy who leads her companions along The Yellow Brick Road.
Flag – Ragtag crews have flags. A flag represents a visible element of a culture that identifies that culture and the ragtag crew that is part of that culture. Flags are expressions of a group that identify the ragtag crew and can be seen by The Others. The Others associate a person with the social group when recognizing the flags. If wearing party hats is a big thing in your group culture, the party hat becomes a flag.
Frau Shrink – The Amazing Simone Peerdeman.
Gathering – The initiation ceremony where all members of the ragtag crew bootstrap. A ritual to reveal culture. Workshop.
Legacy – The Legacy is the contribution to the culture of the host organization of the Big Adventure. Stories. Flags. Rituals. Habits. Values. Within the folklore of the organization, how will the temporary tribe be remembered by the natives?
Lori Croft – Lori Kane.
Natives – Members of the host organization in which the Big Adventure takes place. Some natives may be Steak Holders.
Ragtag crew – Team. Not a carefully selected SWAT team. But just your ordinary folks you get assigned to your Big Adventure. With individual complementary skills. In movies it is always “a ragtag crew of misfits”, as mentioned in “Yoube: An Insider’s Guide To Climbing The Charts”, including “… one guy … who seems like he’s going to get everyone killed. … often Steve Buscemi”. That’s why… Ragtag Crew.
Resilience – The ability for a ragtag crew to absorb disturbances and still maintain its focus on The Quest.
Shockwave – Send an important part of your culture in advance through the host organization. So they can get used to it. And to see if their is any hostility, so you can prepare. If your culture has a high level of transparency, but the host organization is all dark and secret, you have to prepare.
Shrinkonia: a place where ragtag crews find connection and flow, so they can create amazing things together. Like Utopia. But way cooler. It’s located all over the world. And mobile. So it moves around. And people come and go. They move to Shrinkonia fluently and leave as they have done their thing. Also home of The Project Shrink. And MacGuyver. Although they do not live together.
Steak Holders – Those with an interest in the Big Adventure but not part of the ragtag crew. Also not Dorothy.
Steak Holder Map – The normal Adventure Map has a focus on events, the Steak Holder Map does focus on, you’ve guessed it, Steak Holders. It provides information on Steak Holders and their relationships and expectations.
Tent – Your ragtag crew needs some kind of protection. If you’re on a Big Adventure you need a support structure. Adventures create change. Change makes waves through the organization. And change creates stress for people. Your tent is a temporary structure within the host organization. It offers protection and at the same time allows stuff that needs to enter in.
Quest – The pursuit of something worthwhile. Dorothy goes with a ragtag crew on a Big Adventure to pursue a Quest.
Whiches – Steak Holders in a flip-flopping mood. For the project, against the project. Like in The Wizard Of Oz, the Whiches will block progress. At least some of the Whiches. Note: I originally made an error. I meant ‘witch’ but I leave it like this because John suggests in the comment “… that many Stakeholders who facilitate in the decisions want to succeed in different polar-opposite alternatives as they flip-flop, thus making them the noun of their indecision . . “Gee, WHICHES choice would I like to pronounce to the team as today’s goal?” These stakeholders themselves are the WITCH of the EAST or the WITCH of the WEST, but are WITCHES of WHICHES.”
Yellow Brick Road – The trip along the Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard Of Oz is long. Just like your Big Adventure. With a lot of turns and twists. And mountains that block your view. From where you are standing you cannot see the end. How do you know you’re on the right track? This technique tackles that question.
Border control – Making sure that you’re comfortable under every circumstance. Using personal development practices you can solve this by creating a bubble for yourself. Create a zone in which you feel comfortable. Creating boundaries with the language you use, the social cues you sent out, the identity you choose to express, the room you sit in, the music you play and the songs you sing. This applies also to your work. You create an awesome working environment for the ragtag crew you are having your incredible adventure with. This working environment, this culture, works as a boundary. Some will like it (hopefully your team) and some don’t. People in and people out. See also: Tent.
Temporary tribe – A group that together pursue the fulfillment of a certain outcome. And after they reach their goal, they stop being a group. An important element of a temporary tribe is the communication infrastructure they work on. It’s digital, it’s mobile and it is global.