Main menu


The answer is this Graphic Facilitator can, so let’s start by…


Why spend time, effort and cash establishing core values?

Perhaps we should start with what happens if you don’t!

‘When we become unhinged from our values BAD things happen, BAD THINGS HAPPEN!’
(Said in a shouty voice) I love that line from Dan Pinks Drive Animation. He’s so right. If you look at the banking crisis, or some of the news hitting the headlines from Hollywood then map that behavior you have to ask, ‘did those organisations have explicit shared values and if they did, were they languishing in the bottom drawer?

The trouble is bad behavior can be contagious. There is a saying that culture, which is
underpinned by values, is how we do things around here. Doing them badly sometimes happens in good organisations, particularly when people don’t know where the boundaries are. I know, I know it should be common sense, but as we all know sense sometimes just
isn’t that common!


Maybe you’ve done pretty well on defining vision and strategy but there are some behavioral problems leading to inconsistency in the employee and customer experience.


Perhaps the early start up vibe of your organisation has got lost as its grown. It no longer
feels like family where everyone has a strong sense of belonging and you’re noticing some of those new management recruits don’t seem to realise they are breaking your great start up culture.


I’m guessing you want a lovable brand, loyal customers, engaged employees, great performance and the competitive edge.


you need a bunch of people in your organisation who really get the values. They are values
heroes and you want them to create contagious behavior based on their role modeling.


wouldn’t it be great if your leaders told wonderful stories about how the values are lived on a day to day basis.

The good news is, you don’t need to make up a random set of core values mimicking what you’ve heard elsewhere. There will be pockets of great values led behavior in your organisation. The trick is defining where and how values are being lived now so you can articulate what you want for the future.

This is where my experience as a corporate facilitator and graphic facilitator starts to serve my clients in a powerful way.


You may know this iceberg model. We only ever see the tip of the iceberg. What is underneath? Same goes for people and organisations. What we see is the behavior, what we don’t see is what drives that behavior. So, values are at the bottom of the iceberg. Values are ‘what is important to us’. They motivate us to behave in the way we do. It’s worth knowing that all behavior is to either gratify, fulfill or to protect our values. Knowing this enables us to find what is commonly important to the organisation and people within it and of course, we want values alignment between people and employer.

If people are unaligned to their organisations values and have to compromise their own to go to work, this can be very stressful. So, defining your organisations values is speaking to your own people as well as the outside world.


Phase 1 – Visual Story Telling, the best of what is…

Firstly, we bring together a team of people who really buy into the idea of crystalising and
introducing values into your organisation. Let’s call them the Values Team. They will take part in a workshop which will have output that will transform your organisation. It works best when there is a cross-section of people with different roles and experience.

We begin by ‘drawing out’ the team’s stories of what already exists that demonstrates the best of the values led behaviours as they are now.

Yes, we really draw and often encourage the team to join us in visually representing their values discovery stories.

The values we discover in this way may not have formal names yet, but good people are
doing good things. We help discover:
 Where great values are already prevalent
 What actual values are being demonstrated
 How those values underpin and enhance day to day working

We then look for underlying themes within the stories of when the organisation is at its best. What are the underlying values that drove the behaviours in those situations? How do we summarise them into 4-6 short values statements?

Phase 2 – Draw the Values Dream

Then we help the Values Team work out what they could do with this information and encourage them to dream what it would be like if these values were clarified, enhanced and consistent across the organisation. The team relay their vision of what their world would be like if that was the case.

A rich picture of their DREAM is then produced, in collaboration with the team who will
share their metaphors and vision for a values led workplace. We work together on this because this large-scale graphic is going to be the organisation’s visual map and compass.

The interactive development of the rich picture using the services of a Graphic Facilitator is a remarkable way of engaging the values team. They thoroughly enjoy seeing their contributions carefully synthesized and captured ‘real time’ in simple graphics, metaphors and words. The end result is a large compelling picture that can be reproduced onto PVC
and displayed on your office walls to creatively capture the serious intention behind the values.

Phase 3 – Communicate, communicate, communicate

Well yes, that could get a bit boring if you simply keep repeating the word-smithed values statements hoping they will be learned by rote. It’s important to get a bit creative with how the values are communicated.

Remember engaging, hearts and minds requires a story. People just love a good story and
they will like it even more if there is a beautiful drawing that captures the nub of the story. So, getting values based stories out into your organisation along with some supporting displayed visuals will ensure the values really speak to people and engage them on a deeper level. So much better than receiving a powerpoint!

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

OK so the workshop was a great success and since then with a little help from your facilitator you are delighted with the values that surfaced from the stories told. You love the graphics and the values language and the energy of those early days but now things seem a little flat.

Here is the big but…!

It can take up to three years to truly embed values into your organisation’s DNA. There will be times of acceleration and stagnancy unless properly managed. Often organisations go on a little sprint up front, get some feel good data and then think JOB DONE. But we know from our experience that even leaders can forget the intention let alone the actual words of the values they created ages ago. So how do we ensure values endure.


1. Hold Leaders to Account. Set each of the leadership team a values related objective around how they will breathe life into them and ensure they are given feedback if they fall short of being a values ambassador. If it slips at the top that behavioural norm will cascade down.
2. Leader as story teller. Keep refreshing the stories. Get the leaders to integrate values based stories into their communication. Find the stories from lots of different sources. Feature a specific value each month.
3. Keep it fresh. Update the largescale visuals as the stories are refreshed.
4. Plug the values in. Lead each meeting with a discussion of that month’s value, and have each department make suggestions as to what it can do to exemplify that value.
5. Liberate the champions. Set up a network of Values Champions who could be responsible for a promoting the values for a fixed period of time, eg. one year. Give them free rein as to how they will champion that value and support their suggestions,
recommendations, etc.
6. Values based training. Work with your training providers to ensure they are a role model for the values and that they integrate values into their training.
7. Loud and proud. Print your values on T-shirts, on a plaque in your Reception area, in your employee newsletter and on your website (intranet and internet).
8. Make it fun. Have values-related theme days, quizzes and competitions – when people are enjoying themselves, learning improves
9. Gold Medals. Hold yearly Values Roadshows, recognise the accomplishments of the Values Champions and highlight any noteworthy achievements.
10. Refresh the filter. When you have tough decisions to make remember to put the values to the front of the group and use them as a filter through which to think and make choices. Recognise those values based choices may sometimes have a cost BUT stay true to your values and over time this will pay back.


I’d like to offer you a free 45-minute Discovery Call to help bring your next event to life with Graphic Facilitation – at a time of your convenience. Click the link here to book a date and time that suits us both.

Contact: or phone (00 44) 07961 134 741

Drawn to Learn is keen that you get the best value possible when working with a Graphic
Facilitator. Our free checklist will be an invaluable resource to support this.

Be sure to share this information with your friends and colleagues who may be considering
using a Graphic Facilitator or who will attend a meeting with a Graphic Facilitator. They may be missing some key ingredients
in making sure they optimise the value of their investment.

What do you think of this information? Is it useful? Comprehensive? Have we missed
anything? Can you add to it? We would like to turn this blog piece into the ‘Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Graphic Facilitator’
so your ideas would be very welcome. Please scroll down and leave a comment. We will get right back to you.


Jackie Forbes has an international career as a development designer and facilitator. She brings over 20 years’ experience of helping people contribute to organisational success to her role as Principal of Drawn to Learn. Drawn to Learn has an overflowing toolkit, including learning and development programmes, team development, facilitation solutions and visual practices.

Jackie Forbes is Managing Director of Drawn to Learn – the graphic facilitation consultancy for all event, meeting and team development needs …

As members of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP), Drawn to Learn has over 20 years’ experience of helping people contribute to organisational success. With an overflowing toolkit, including learning and development programmes, team development, facilitation solutions and visual practices, Drawn To are poised to transform your next group event.

Comments are closed.

Social linksFacebookTwitterLinkedin


Get your free Checklist!

You have Successfully Subscribed!