The Beach Ball – The brilliantly simple metaphor for getting reality on the table

Prefer to watch on video?  Just click here (3 mins with captions)

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein questioned whether there is such a thing as private language.  Can something that can only be understood by one person be considered to be real?

Beach Balls

Well…good news…we don’t need to figure that out. Instead, we can use the brilliant metaphor of the beach ball from Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations.

It goes like this – if I hold up this ball – what colour is it?  Blue and white.

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A Simple Change for the Buy-In, Accountability and Agility You Want

Prefer to watch the video?  Just click here.  4 minutes, with captions.

Your people want more communication.  I know this because your latest staff survey had this as the second-biggest issue behind cross-functional work.

You want more buy-in and commitment.  You also want more accountability or ownership taken, and you want your team, your division, your organisation to be more adaptable, responsible, or dare I say it….that ‘a’ word.

The good news is there’s a simple step you can put in place that lays the foundation for this (not the panacea…but the foundation)

Be networked they cry!

If you’ve been alive and in organisations this century, you’re tired of being told that you need to go from this:

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Weekly team meetings taking away your lifeforce? Just try this.

Is this the scene at your work when another meeting is called?

Is this the scene at your work when another meeting is called?

Just because team meetings can be a soulless drain of vital lifeforce doesn’t mean they are not important.

For many people, the conditions for work being a satisfying experience is that we are ‘alone together’.  Oxymoron fans are digging it the most, but what I’m getting at is that most of us like some sort of autonomy/authority/control over what we do and how we do it, and at the same time, most of us need some sort of connection to other people to feel OK.

Work lets us do both.

And in most organisations, meetings are the primary forum in which we have the chance to form a connection as a group, meaning the chance to satisfy one of the fundamental conditions for work being OK.  Or better.

Which is why they are important.   And why it’s worth trying something new if your meetings are driving you into the gutter of existential despair.

So try lean coffee!

Lean coffee (which is a trademarked thing) is a ‘structured, but agenda-less meeting‘ in the words you’ll find on the website itself: .  Better yet, check out co-originator Jim Benson (he of personal kanban fame) talking about it for 3:37 on YouTube right here. Read more…