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"Fast Frames"

In this section of the website, I describe frameworks that I have found useful for dealing with problem solving, change, strategy, and other management challenges.

In this first group, the videos are animated and narrated PowerPoint shows.

This second grouping is “chalk talks” at the flipchart for a more informal tone.



Determining your approach to addressing any particular issue (2 minutes)

This delightful little model comes from Russell Ackoff, a crusty professor of organizational systems theory at the Wharton School who died in October 2009 in his 91st year. You can read more about this astounding man starting at Wikipedia.


The change curve (3 minutes)

A traditional view of what happens to organizational and individual performance when change is introduced into the organization.


Complexity (30 seconds)

This is an animation derived from a set of overhead transparencies put together by the late Don Burnstine, an old IBM friend. The main message to me is that it can be useful sometimes to break down the “whole” into its component parts to understand the basic structure we’re dealing with. This is not to lose sight of the beauty of the whole.


The Consciousness-Competence matrix (5 minutes)

How do we go about changing a “habit” that no longer works for us into a new “habit” thatdoes work for us?


CoRe/HBO/Team (5 minutes)

This framework talks about three features of a hierarchical organization that are used to help ensure an operation works smoothly and energetically.


The modified Grief Curve (5½ minutes)

Building on the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief model, looks at the flow of emotions we all go through during change – something that all organizations going through change need to understand.


Creative Problem Solving (11 minutes)

This 11-minute video describes an approach to business problem solving – and creative problem solving in particular – that is both powerful and easy to use. One user describes it as “simple, straight-forward, complete, actionable and understandable.”


Alignment and Decision Making (13 minutes)

This 13-minute video describes an straightforward approach we encourage clients to use to support the decision-making process in their organizations. The approach embodies all the essential elements to ensure thoughtful consideration to support sound, collaborative decision making. It is especially powerful in today’s context of transformative change.

There is also a workbook that helps document the dialogue around any particular decision. This will be posted shortly in the CYOR Resource Centre.


Basic Coaching (3 minutes)

Every manager is a coach. This simple and straightforward model introduces the five steps that need to be covered in every managerial coaching “event.”


The Work Triangle (3 minutes) 

This model comes from Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Work, and describes how we need to keep in mind elements of the job beyond just performance.


Height and Horizon (2½ minutes)

Strategic thinking is not always long range, and tactical thinking is not always short range. Use this 2-by-2 matrix to identify what you need to talk about in your team.


Definitions of Strategy (3 minutes)

As we move ahead from thinking of strategy development as a scientific exercise, I find these three definitions of strategy useful to keep a strategic mind-set in place.


Commitment and Compliance (4½ minutes)

When you’re trying to assess how much support there is in the room for an initiative on the table, use the commitment-compliance hierarchy to engage your supporters and ferret out those who – perhaps for very good reason – do not fully support it.


Breathing Space (2 ½ minutes)

Based on McKinsey’s model of Solution Space in the 1960s, this model was developed for a Management Development course in the DMR Group (now Fujitsu Consulting). It attempts to visually depict some key aspects of accountability and the nature of the relationship between a manager and the manager’s subordinates. With this model as the base, the Fast Frames coverage of Degrees of Freedom (just below) brings some more practicality.


Degrees of Freedom (3½ minutes)

This model pairs nicely with the Breathing Space Fast Frame, and identifies how a manager and subordinate need to lay out the “rules of delegation” at any point in time.

This is also in line with Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard’s concept of Situational Leadership – which I may have to do a Fast Frame on soon, since there’s not much “quick and easy” coverage yet on YouTube.


Rights and Obligations (2½ minutes)

Whenever two parties are laying out their relationship – or reviewing it – this 2-by-2 matrix is a useful tool for establishing what each party should expect to get out of it, and must put into it, to make the relationship work smoothly and effectively.


Commitment Continuum (3½ minutes)

Whenever we introduce significant change to the organization, there are lots of folks who will like it – “It’s about time!” – and several who won’t – “This is going to be more trouble than it’s worth!” The Change Leader needs to be able to identify where key people are along the continuum and take action to leverage the support and mitigate the risks of opposition.


Introducing Change (3½ minutes)

This chalk talk outlines a simple and straightforward four-step approach to gaining broad support for a significant change initiative in the organization that can be completed in a half day with cross-functional groups of 20 participants. You can find a supporting one-pager of the approach here: Gaining support for change.


Managing Emotional Hijacking (4 minutes)

From the Vowels of Personal Power book (see it on, this little model describes how to prevent oneself from being emotionally hijacked by events and comments from others.


Project Risk Assessment (coming soon)

Based on Warren McFarlan’s work back in the 1980s, this is a useful upfront test for non-technical executives to gain some sort of handle on the risk of a project coming in on time, on budget, and to specification. Used thoughtfully, it gives the executive or board member some questions to ask the project director about the nature of the project and the resulting risk profile, and what they are doing about it.


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