About The Grove Consultants International
How does The Grove's way of working differ from that of other facilitators and consultants?
The Grove offers consulting and design services, workshops, and do-it-yourself tools. Our large-format graphics are at the heart of our facilitation and consulting services. We create panoramic visual environments that are productive, creative and highly memorable. In addition, The Grove's products for group-process design and facilitation are unusually adaptable and the most comprehensive in the industry.
Why do you emphasize models so much in your work?
We believe that models—frameworks that guide the design and implementation of any level of group process—work like lenses and mental “keyboards”. They help people to see things from different angles and invite new ways of looking at things.
How long is a typical engagement with The Grove?
A project with The Grove can range from a half-day design session to an organization-change process that entails multiple meetings over several months or longer. We work with many of our clients on a variety of different issues year after year.
How did The Grove get its name?
The Grove used to be called Graphic Guides, Inc. and shared offices with CoVision, now a leading groupware consultancy. Informally, we called the combined group “The Grove.” With an increased emphasis on consulting in the 1990s, we sought a new name, and everyone loved “The Grove” as an apt metaphor for the way in which we collaborate with like-minded organizations in a business “ecology.” We added “International” to recognize the global reach of our work.
Your location, in the Presidio of San Francisco, seems to fit your name and brand. Is that just a coincidence?
No, it isn't. When the Presidio Army Base was first turned over to the National Park Service in the early 1980s, The Grove facilitated the visioning process. As part of this transition, The Tides Foundation created the Thoreau Center for Sustainability at the old Letterman Hospital for some forty environmentally-oriented organizations. During its later expansion, Tides recruited The Grove as a tenant, knowing that our work would be compatible with this community.
What is the most common feedback you hear from your clients?
“We love your people”,“we love your processes,” and “we love your tools.”
Whom should I contact to discuss my organization's various needs and to see whether The Grove is a good fit for us?
Please call us at 1.415.561.2500, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to discuss your needs and make recommendations based on your specific challenges and situation.
Graphic Facilitation and Recording
What is the difference between graphic recording and graphic facilitation?
Graphic facilitation integrates facilitation, interactive graphic recording, and graphic templates to lead groups toward agreed-upon goals.
Graphic recording documents a group's conversation and key ideas in real time on flip charts, large poster paper, graphic templates, murals, tablet PCs, and other visual media. This is also known as “scribing.”
Who first developed graphic facilitation?
In the 1970s, Grove founder and president David Sibbet, Geoff Ball, Fred Lakoff, Michael Doyle, and Jennifer Hammond Landau began experimenting with the application of the visual techniques used by architects and designers. Originally branded “Group Graphics®” by The Grove, the general name for this highly visual method of leading groups gradually evolved into the term “graphic facilitation.” This work is also called "visual facilitation."
What should we do with all the charts that are created during our graphically facilitated meeting?
Take digital photos of the charts and create a graphic meeting report. (Grove designers can help you with this, if you like). If you need to use the charts again, roll them up, tape and label them, and store them for use in your next meeting. Recycle any materials you won't need to refer to again. You can also covert the information into a digital format using our Digital Graphic Guides®. This is particularly useful if your charts are difficult to read at a reduced size.
What is the value of creating a meeting report from a meeting that has already been graphically recorded?
A meeting report helps participants to remember the event, to tell others the story, and to do follow-up work. An 11-by-17-inch reproduction of a wall chart looks virtually identical to the original, increasing retention dramatically. Add pictures of people and annotations next to the original charts, and you have a robust capture of information.
How can I communicate the value of this work to my own organization?
Focus on your organization's needs and how you can address them. Some standard needs are for group engagement, big-picture thinking and innovation, and productive implementation. The Grove's products and services deliver on all three. If you can, tell a story about a situation where you saw these methods work. The Grove website has many examples of our work with clients; see Case Studies.
Isn't it distracting to have a graphic recorder at a meeting?
No. A graphic recorder helps people to remember complicated information. If presenters are using presentation software, the graphic recorder usually stands off to one side. In planning discussions, the charts are the focus, not the graphic facilitator.
If I already know how to facilitate a group, is it just the graphics I need to learn in order to become a graphic facilitator?
No; much more is involved in this work. Graphic facilitation combines facilitation and interactive graphic recording skills. It requires significantly-above-average competency in listening, knowing how graphic work affects other activities, and knowing how to design both the process and the physical environment so that panoramic visualization is effective. The Grove offers public and customized workshops to teach these skills.
How can I get into this line of work? Where do I start?
To learn graphic recording and facilitation, take a Grove Principles of Graphic Facilitation workshop, then practice in low-risk settings such as committee meetings or community events. Practice makes better... try scribing a television presentation, a YouTube talk, a classroom session, whatever opportunities come to you. The Grove Store also has lots of resources to draw upon. To run more effective meetings and processes, you can start by incorporating Graphic Guide® templates into your work.
Digital Graphic Recording
Can graphic recording be done for a Web conference?
Yes; this is called digital graphic recording. It is done using a tablet. The graphics appear on the screen in real time, reflecting key ideas being shared and serving as a facilitative focal point for the group. Most web-conferencing software also includes whiteboards that allow for simple interactive recording.
What are the benefits of using graphic recording in virtual work?
A meeting that incorporates digital graphic recording is much more engaging and interesting for participants. It is an especially helpful best practice for large, significant meetings for which participants are not co-located.
Team Development and Team Performance Model
Briefly, how does the Team Performance System help teams that are struggling to get back on track?
Often teams can be so involved in “the work” that they don't understand the root causes of obstacles they continually run into or know how to find solutions. The Team Performance Model opens up teams to all the critical components of teamwork that support accomplishing “the work.” Teams tend to focus on execution and getting results. The Model gives team members the big picture and a set of success factors to overcome the predictable challenges that teams face. It provides a common and productive language, which is especially important when things go wrong. Having non-blaming language and a shared framework helps the team come together to work through its difficulties.
I'm starting a new team. How can I learn to incorporate the Team Performance System into our work?
We recommend our Team Performance Workshop. You will learn essential practices and visual tools that will prepare you to create and sustain high-performing teams.
The Grove's Strategic Visioning™ Process
What is involved in a typical Grove Strategic Visioning process?
Strategic Visioning combines the best of strategic planning and visioning, employing The Grove's Graphic Guides® to lead users visually through the planning process. Each planning process is customized to each client's unique circumstances, but usually involves facilitating a group by assessing its past, understanding its current situation, imagining a desirable future state and planning to reach that end.
Who from my organization should be involved in a visual planning process?
At the beginning of a planning process, participants should include key leaders seeking results from the process and operational leaders and mid-level managers who will be involved in implementing visions and goals. Outside experts with macro-economic or other industry information can also be useful. Eventually, others in an organization will need to be included in the process as is appropriate.
How can I make sure the valuable work done during a visual planning process lives on after the meeting?
Ultimately the success of strategic visioning and other visual-planning processes relies on the commitments of the participants. That is why it is so important to involve people in the design of the process, as well as to make specific agreements about goals and action steps. Visual meeting reports make a world of difference for successful follow-through
What are Grove Storymaps®?
A Storymap® is a panoramic visual history, context map, strategy map, vision, or roadmap created to help leaders and managers tell consistent, compelling stories that sustain aligned action.
What is the advantage of doing a Grove Storymap® process vs. simply hiring a design agency to illustrate our vision?
Grove Storymaps® are more than just visual artifacts. The value of our Storymaps is as much in the collaborative development process of the maps as in the maps themselves. Everyone who is involved in developing a Storymap gains a sense of ownership, which is invaluable to realizing any vision
Digital Graphic Movies
What is a digital graphic movie, and how are these used by companies and organizations?
A digital graphic movie (also known as "graphic recording movie") features rapid hand drawings in video format. These are in growing use as a way to communicate key messages and draw attention to new visions, plans, and concepts.
Using Graphic Guides® to Facilitate Meetings and Strategic Planning
What are Grove Graphic Guides® and why are they useful?
Graphic Guides® are pre-formatted graphic templates, printed on charts of various sizes for recording group communications in real time. Graphic Guide templates provide simple, flexible visual workspaces for planning. Their clear headings support easy scanning of a day's worth of work when posted around a room. Their field-tested categories guide inexperienced facilitators through important topics. Afterwards, they make it easy to create a shared visual synopsis of the meeting that aids follow-through.
I've never worked with Graphic Guides before. Which ones should I start with?
If you're new to graphic facilitation, we suggest you start by using templates that are the easiest to facilitate, such as Meeting Startup, Graphic History, and Cover Story Vision.
What if groups think Graphic Guide templates are "cartoony" or not serious enough? How can I address that kind of resistance?
Being able to visualize major steps in the planning process builds focus, alignment, and capacity for follow-through. Visual thinking is the key to whole-systems thinking; there is much strategic value in seeing patterns within the information. Visuals (especially fun, engaging visuals) make the planning process more memorable and give the outcomes more "sticking power".
My organization tends to get stuck in the vision and can't get to the action stage. What Graphic Guides do you recommend for us?
Make sure you develop an action plan as well as a vision. We have developed several Graphic Guides expressly for that purpose:
Use Five Bold Steps to help determine key initiatives.
How can Graphic Guides help me develop a strategic plan?
In meetings, Graphic Guides support panoramic visualization, which is the most effective way to present the big picture in order to think and plan strategically. Developed in conjunction with The Grove's Strategic Visioning™ Process, our Graphic Guides are now the key elements in our Visual Planning Systems.
Digital Graphic Guides
What are Digital Graphic Guides and how do I use them?
These are Microsoft® PowerPoint® versions of the Graphic Guides that enable you to type in the information from your meeting charts and create digital documents that you can then share with your organization by e-mail. They are useful as templates for virtual meetings. They also serve as presentations of research and as a way to capture ideas and plans.
Does my Digital Graphic Guide user license allow me to share these with others?
Yes, you can e-mail filled-in Digital Graphic Guides or post them to a company's internal web page. (Note that if multiple people will be using the slides by typing into or editing them, each user will need his or her own license.) We would be happy to discuss a multi-user license; please email email@example.com or call +1.415.561.2500.
Does my user license allow me to print the Digital Graphic Guides?
Yes, you can print the slides in sizes up to 11" x 17."
The Digital Graphic Guides were not designed to be printed larger than 11" x 17."
We have several options for you to obtain wall-size prints:
Visual Facilitation Products: Getting Started
I am interested in becoming a graphic facilitator. What products will be useful?
The best place to start is with The Grove's Facilitation Guide Series, written by Grove founder and president David Sibbet.
Principles of Facilitation (book): Includes forty basic principles, organized around the four flows of activity that a facilitator needs to manage in any group process.
Graphic Facilitation: Transforming Group Process with the Power of Visual Listening (book with CD-ROM): The definitive guide to this methodology.
Best Practices for Facilitation (book): A collection of 175 activities that a facilitator can suggest to a group to help achieve its goal together.
If I cannot attend a workshop to learn graphic techniques and skills, which products will help me get started?
Here are several Grove tools we recommend for beginning graphic facilitators:
Strategic Visioning Agenda Planning Kit: Comprised of four key tools: Agenda Cards, Best Practice Cards, an Instruction booklet, and a detailed Strategic Visioning Process Outline. The Strategic Visioning Agenda Planning Kit makes it easy for leaders to plan effective one-day and two-day meetings or a series of virtual meetings.
Fundamentals of Graphic Language Practice (book): Moves step-by-step from basic strokes and lettering to improvisations.
Pocket Pics (book): Contains more than one hundred icons for some of the more difficult-to-draw concepts.
Graphics—Just in Time (video or DVD kit): Teaches you the basics of flipchart graphics, lettering and simple icons.
Graphic Improvisations (video or DVD kit): Teaches you how to combine simple shapes to create a lexicon of graphic images and icons.
Charters® Markers and paper: For practicing your newly learned techniques.
What makes your Charters Markers better than other markers?
The nib and the ink. Sturdier-than-usual chisel tips allow for variable line thicknesses and retain their shape. The inks are vibrant, nonpermanent and odor-free. We have also increased the ink-carrying capacity so that our markers last longer. A triangular base keeps them from rolling off tables.
What is the benefit of using large sticky notes?
Our large sticky notes work well for brainstorming sessions and for getting a group engaged. On these oversized Post-its®, words and drawings are more visible from a distance, as well as being more readable in follow-up meeting documentation.
Do you recommend the 25-yard roll or 50-yard roll of paper?
The 50-yard roll of paper is more economical but heavier than the 25-yard roll of paper. The 25-yard roll is easiest to manage. It will support a full day of recording and approximately nine 8-foot displays.
Grove Workshops and Training
What does each workshop cover?
Advanced Visual Facilitation is a three-day workshop for experienced visual practitioners seeking to deepen their facilitation skills and their command of graphic frameworks. Prerequisite: the Principles of Graphic Facilitation workshop or a similar graphic facilitation skill-building workshop, and experience applying visual skills in meetings.
Designing and Leading Change, a three-day intensive, builds capacity to design and lead organization and social change processes, within and across organizations as well as across sectors. Prerequisite: some training and experience with change process consulting.
Facilitating Virtual Collaboration is a seminar-style online workshop that will prepare you to facilitate successful collaborative work at a distance. Teams and workgroups are increasingly asked to work with colleagues located around the world. This workshop will prepare you with practices that support effective creative and collaborative work when participants are not all in the same room together.
Principles of Graphic Facilitation is a three-day immersion in graphic recording and graphic facilitation skills. It is ideal for consultants, team and project leaders, managers, facilitators, and trainers experienced in facilitation who want to use visual displays to engage team members and meeting participants, capture ideas, focus their group's work, and improve implementation. Prerequisite: background of some sort in facilitation, and/or some type of facilitation-related training.
Strategic Visioning is a two-and-a-half day workshop for organizational strategists, process managers, facilitators, and other team and project leaders who want to learn how to use visuals to focus direction for groups. This provides a skill development workout in using the "big seven" Graphic Guides: Meeting Start-up, Graphic History, Context Map, SPOT Matrix, Cover Story Vision, Five Bold Steps, and Graphic Gameplan. It is ideal for those who seek to incorporate large-scale facilitative visuals in their work without having to work from a blank sheet.
Team Performance is a three-day, hands-on immersion in the essential practices and visual tools to create and sustain high-performing teams. Learn how to use the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance&trade Model, the Team Performance Survey, and associated best practices to help your teams work more effectively and enjoyably together. This workshop is useful for team leaders, managers, HR specialists, and consultants who work with teams. It is a certification workshop.
Can The Grove run a customized workshop for my team/organization?
Certainly. We believe that the best way to develop Grove skills within your organization or team is to have an internal group that is learning together and sharing best practices. The advantage of running a workshop within your organization is that participants can tackle real challenges while learning Grove skills.
Can I register and pay online?
No. Registration happens by phone or email. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.415.561.6145.
What is your policy for transferring to another workshop?
What is your policy for cancellations?
NOTE: In the event you do need to cancel and have paid the deposit, the 10% amount to hold your seat is non-refundable.
You may transfer your registration to a colleague or friend at any time for no charge, as long as they attend the same workshop for which you were registered.
What is The Grove's copyright policy?
The Grove is committed to sharing our ideas, processes and tools in order to foster collaboration. Anyone can use the ideas in the ways described below. Digital and print versions of our models, templates and other tools are the intellectual property of The Grove, and cannot be reproduced beyond one use by an individual without written permission or an explicit licensing agreement. We expect anyone who uses our tools and concepts to acknowledge their source and to purchase any materials that display a Grove copyright from us or from one of our partners.
We permit reproduction of our Graphic Guides and models in the following situations:
Any other reproduction of our copyrighted material without express written permission from us is a violation of our copyright.
If you wish to use our copyrighted material for uses other than those described above, we would be happy to assist you with a purchase or discuss an appropriate licensing arrangement. Please contact us at 1.800.49.GROVE or (415) 561-2500 between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST, Monday through Friday, or e-mail email@example.com.
About Grove Tools, Inc.
What is the relationship between The Grove Consultants International and Grove Tools, Inc.?
The Grove's product-fulfillment business is located in Novato, California, just north of San Francisco. The Grove and Grove Tools Inc. are two distinct business entities working in close coordination. Grove Tools Inc. focuses on product fulfillment and licensing. The Grove Consultants International continues to reside at the Presidio offices in San Francisco with a focus on consulting, design services, and workshops.
Whom do I speak with if I have product-related questions or I need to arrange in-person pick-up at the Novato office?
Email Grove Tools at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1.415.561.2500, ext. 1 to reach Thom Sibbet or Andrew Underwood at Grove Tools.