Five Surefire Signs You Need an Outside Facilitator Now

A professional facilitator brings not only expertise in guiding conversations, but a neutral perspective free from self interest and political agendas. For most companies, taking the leap to hire facilitation help can be a hard decision. Consulting firms are often given a bad rap, and leave your team open to criticism: shouldn’t your team be able to do this work themselves? With fees ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for multi-day experiences, how can you guarantee that the investment will pay off?

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With Increased Team Diversity, Establishing Your Ways of Working is More Critical than Ever

I once worked on a team that agreed on several foundational principles: they collectively valued transparency, trust, and speed. With shared values like that you would assume that we were high-performing team, right?

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How much does it cost to hire XPLANE for consulting?

10-11-2017 | Sara Mesing | Consulting Costs

 Last month, 32 professionals from over 7 states and 2 countries arrived in Portland to attend XPLANE’s Visual Thinking Workshop.

As a global consulting partner for Fortune 500 organizations, our consultants usually fly to corporate headquarters to talk strategy, vision, process, and culture. This week, instead of parachuting inside, we had the professionals come to us.

A few attendees were interested in hiring XPLANE to help guide their organization through big changes in their companies, and they had questions about how much that would cost.

The purpose of this article is to address how much it costs to hire XPLANE as a consulting partner and provide guidance on how a design thinking consulting firm estimates budgets.

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Five Best Practices for Implementing Your Strategy

10-10-2017 | Lauren Gantner | Strategy

For most companies, execution is where strategies go to die. The Harvard Business Review reports that 75 percent of organizations struggle to implement strategy. Mckinsey finds that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals. And CEO Magazine even says that the number one factor behind 750 bankruptcies in a 25-year period was poor strategy.

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Why you can't execute your strategy.

You developed the strategy. It’s the right strategy. You clearly explain it on a company-wide Webex and send the PowerPoint out to everyone all-company email: “We are going to put customers at the center of our strategy and create the best customer experience.”

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If you can teach your team one skill, let it be this.

08-28-2017 | Kathryn Jarrell | Culture

Giving and receiving feedback is paramount to building a high-performing team. Yet, it’s a skill we often don’t think about intentionally developing.

You know you have a thriving feedback culture if you can see people openly sharing different perspectives, working hard to understand each other, and taking time out to work through conflict. Conversely, if your team resorts to passive aggressive quips to express their differences, only gives feedback behind one another's backs, and resorts to the “meeting-after-the-meeting” to voice what they really think (this is absolutely impacting your team’s performance and results!), you’ve got work to do.

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How-to: Request Professional Development Funds for the Visual Thinking Workshop

08-16-2017 | Sara Mesing | Visual Thinking

Are you hoping to attend the Visual Thinking Workshop in September, but need to get professional development funds to cover it? We are here to help!

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Super Summit: Smashing Silos and Stretching Minds

Even though XPLANE likes to wear our Great Place to Work badge with pride and love to brag about our consistent 4.25+ out of 5 employee satisfaction rating, we still face a lot of the same challenges that our clients in organizations of all stripes face as the landscape evolves. When departments are stuck working in silos, employees are feeling anxious, and the overall company culture is in a slump, how do we turn our organization around?

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Design Consultants vs. Regular Consultants: The Thinkers, Makers, and Doers of Strategy

There are a lot of jokes about consultants, and in the last 20 years I think I’ve probably heard them all. The crux of most of these jokes is that consultants have their heads in the clouds. They are impractical; they're good at thinking but not so good at doing. A good strategy is, after all, only half the battle. The rest is execution.

This reminds me of the story about the mice who held a meeting to figure out what they should do about the cat. Have you heard it? The mice get together and after much discussion, they decide that the solution to their cat problem is to put a bell on the cat. That way all the mice will be able to hear when the cat is nearby, and the cat will no longer be able to sneak up on them. All the mice agree that this is a perfect solution, and they are about to adjourn the meeting when an old mouse speaks up:

“But who,” he asks, “will put the bell on the cat?”

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Dear Exec Team: Truly Engage Your Employees by Going Beyond the Chart

An interview with XPLANE founder Dave Gray on why and how visuals drive business results.

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