The Stinky Fish Canvas is a visual way to address the problems teams carry around: the longer we void the conversation, the stinkier our issues get.
1. Identify issues affecting team members
2. Align on issues affecting the team
3. Prioritize and address key tensions
Here's a brief description of how to facilitate this method. For a more in-depth approach, including the different ways to make people feel safe to share, visit: https://www.fearlessculture.design/blog-posts/uncover-the-stinky-fish-canvas
- Introduce the goal of the exercise. Set a safe space for people to be candid and speak up. Clarify that the intention is to uncover silent problems so that the team can solve them. It’s not a venting session, though.
- Share one canvas with each participant. Let each one fill theirs on their own; providing post-its and markers so people can write things without filtering and also move things around.
- Ask people to put all of the canvases up on the wall.
- One by one, allow all participants to share theirs.
- Discuss commonalities, tensions, and contradictions. Prioritize the key issues that the team wants to address. Use color dots for voting. Give each participant three votes (the issue that’s hurting us the most, the one that’s the easiest to fix, and the one that will help us the most).
- You can then move on to brainstorming solutions or table them and follow up.
Download the Uncover the Stinky Fish template: https://www.fearlessculture.design/blog-posts/uncover-the-stinky-fish-canvas