Frequently Asked Questions

Grove Consulting and Design Services

If we can’t afford a graphic facilitator, what other options are available for support from The Grove? View Details Hide Details
The Grove offers do-it-yourself products, both public and customized training workshops and coaching services.
How does The Grove’s way of working differ from that of other facilitators and consultants? View Details Hide Details
Our large-format graphics are at the heart of our facilitation and consulting services. We create panoramic visual environments that are productive, creative and highly memorable. In addition, The Grove’s products for group-process design and facilitation are unusually adaptable and the most comprehensive in the industry.
What are Grove Storymaps™? View Details Hide Details
See Glossary.
Why would I come to The Grove for a Grove Storymap™ instead of simply hiring a design agency to illustrate my vision? View Details Hide Details
Grove Storymaps are more than just visual artifacts. The value of our Storymaps is as much in the collaborative development process of the maps as in the maps themselves. Everyone who is involved in developing a Storymap gains a sense of ownership, which is invaluable to realizing any vision.
What is the difference between graphic recording and graphic facilitation? View Details Hide Details
See Glossary.
If I already know how to facilitate a group, is it just the graphics I need to learn in order to become a graphic facilitator? View Details Hide Details
No. Graphic facilitation combines facilitation and interactive graphic recording skills. It requires above-average competency in listening, knowing how graphic work affects other activities, and knowing how to design both the process and the physical environment so that panoramic visualization is effective. The Grove offers a variety of public and customized workshops to teach these skills.
Who first developed graphic facilitation? View Details Hide Details
In the 1970s, Grove founder and president David Sibbet, Geoff Ball, Fred Lakoff, Michael Doyle, and Jennifer Hammond Landau began experimenting with the application of the visual techniques used by architects and designers. Originally branded “Group Graphics®” by The Grove, the general name for this highly visual method of leading groups gradually evolved into the term “graphic facilitation.”
What is the value of creating a meeting report from a meeting that has already been graphically recorded? View Details Hide Details
A meeting report helps participants to remember the event, to tell others the story, and to do follow-up work. An 11-by-17-inch reproduction of a wall chart looks virtually identical to the original, increasing retention dramatically. Add pictures of people and annotations next to the original charts, and you have a complete capture of information.
Why do you emphasize models so much in your work? View Details Hide Details
We believe that models—frameworks that guide the design and implementation of any level of group process—work like lenses and mental “keyboards”: they help people to see things from different angles and invent new ways of looking at things.
What is involved in a typical Grove Strategic Visioning™ process? View Details Hide Details
Strategic visioning combines the best of strategic planning and visioning, employing The Grove’s Graphic Guides® to lead users visually through the planning process. Each planning process is customized to each client’s unique circumstances, but usually involves facilitating a group by assessing its past, understanding its current situation, imagining a desirable future state and planning to reach that end.
Who from my organization should be involved in a visual planning process? View Details Hide Details
At the beginning of a planning process, participants should include key leaders seeking results from the process and operational leaders and mid-level managers who will be involved in implementing visions and goals. Outside experts with macro-economic or other industry information can also be useful. Eventually, others in an organization will need to be included in the process as is appropriate.
How long is a typical engagement with The Grove? View Details Hide Details
A project with The Grove can range from a half-day design session to an organization-change process that entails multiple meetings over several months. We work with many of our clients on a variety of different issues year after year.
Can graphic facilitation be used in a Web conference? View Details Hide Details
Yes! Tablet PCs allow live facilitation/recording, with graphics appearing on the screen as people speak. Most Web-conferencing software also includes whiteboards that allow for simple interactive recording.
Isn’t it distracting to have a graphic recorder at a meeting? View Details Hide Details
No. A graphic recorder helps people to remember complicated information. If presenters are using presentation software, the graphic recorder usually stands off to one side. In planning discussions, the charts are the focus, not the graphic facilitator.
How can I make sure the valuable work done during a visual planning process lives on after the meeting? View Details Hide Details
The ultimate success of strategic visioning and other visual-planning processes relies on the commitments of the participants. That is why it is so important to involve people in the design of the process, and to make specific follow-through agreements. Visual meeting reports help a lot!

Grove Tools

If I cannot attend a workshop to learn graphic techniques and skills, which products will help me get started? View Details Hide Details

Here are several Grove tools we recommend for beginning graphic facilitators:

Strategic Visioning Agenda Planning Kit

Comprised of four key toolsAgenda Cards, Best Practice Cards, an Instruction booklet, and a detailed Strategic Visioning Process Outlinethe Strategic Visioning Agenda Planning Kit makes it easy for leaders to plan effective one-day and two-day meetings, and a series of virtual meetings.

Fundamentals of Graphic Language Practice (book):

Moves step-by-step from basic strokes and lettering to improvisations.

Pocket Pics (book): 

Contains more than one hundred icons for some of the more difficult-to-draw concepts.

Graphics—Just in Time (video or DVD kit): 

Teaches you the basics of flipchart graphics, lettering and simple icons.

Graphic Improvisations (video or DVD kit): 

Teaches you how to combine simple shapes to create a lexicon of graphic images and icons.

Charters® Markers and paper

For practicing your newly learned techniques.

I am interested in becoming a graphic facilitator. What products will be useful? View Details Hide Details

The best place to start is with The Grove’s Facilitation Guide Series, written by Grove founder and president David Sibbet.

Principles of Facilitation (book): 

Includes forty basic principles, organized around the four flows of activity that a facilitator needs to manage in any group process.

Graphic Facilitation

Transforming Group Process with the Power of Visual Listening (book with CD-ROM): The definitive guide to this methodology.

Best Practices for Facilitation (book): 

A collection of 175 activities that a facilitator can suggest to a group to help achieve its goal together.

I’ve never used a Graphic Guide before. Which one should I start with? View Details Hide Details
If you’re new to graphic facilitation, we suggest you begin by using one of our less challenging templates, such as Meeting Startup, Graphic History or Cover Story Vision.
What is the difference between the Team Performance Model Overview and the Team Performance Abstract? View Details Hide Details
The Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance™ Model Overview is a four-page brochure designed to orient teams to the Model. The Team Performance Abstract is a twenty-four-page booklet that provides an in-depth description of the Model, including its history, background and theoretical foundations.
I’m starting a new team. Which Team Performance System products should I purchase? View Details Hide Details
The Comprehensive Kit includes tools to support you as a leader, plus tools for conducting your initial meeting and action plan. The Team Startup Kit provides only planning tools, such as the Graphic Gameplan Graphic Guide. You can also start with just the Team Leader Guide from the Comprehensive Kit.
Can I use LearningConnect® templates for something other than focus groups or market research? View Details Hide Details
Absolutely. For example, “Success Looks Like” is a great icebreaker for a team kickoff. Or, you can use “Side-by-Side” to examine what worked and what didn’t when debriefing a meeting or to compare and contrast ideas.
What are the benefits of using The Personal Compass with my team? View Details Hide Details
The Personal Compass can help team members first understand their own vision and then develop a shared vision for the whole team. Coaches and career developers also use The Personal Compass.
What are the benefits of using The Personal Compass in my organization? View Details Hide Details
The Personal Compass can help individuals understand where they fit within an organization and what their future direction might be. It can also help individuals understand their own goals and aspirations prior to any work done at the organizational level.
What makes your Charters Markers better than other markers? View Details Hide Details
The nib and the ink. Sturdier-than-usual chisel tips allow for variable line thicknesses and retain their shape. The inks are vibrant, nonpermanent and odor-free. We have also increased the ink-carrying capacity so that our markers last longer. A triangular base keeps them from rolling off tables.
What is the benefit of using large sticky notes? View Details Hide Details
Our large sticky notes work well for brainstorming sessions and for getting a group engaged. On these oversized Post-its®, words and drawings are more visible from a distance, and more readable in follow-up meeting documentation.
Do you recommend the 25-yard roll or 50-yard roll of paper? View Details Hide Details
The 50-yard roll of paper is more economical but heavier than the 25-yard roll of paper. The 25-yard roll is easiest to manage. It will support a full day of recording and approximately nine 8-foot displays.
What are templates? View Details Hide Details
See Glossary.
Why use Graphic Guides? View Details Hide Details
Graphic Guides provide simple, flexible visual workspaces for planning. Their clear headings support easy scanning of a day’s worth of work when posted around a room. Their field-tested categories guide inexperienced facilitators through important topics. And they make your follow-up meeting documentation a critical visual synopsis of the meeting!
What are Digital Graphic Guides and how do I use them? View Details Hide Details
These are Microsoft® PowerPoint® versions of the Graphic Guides that enable you to type in the information from your meeting charts and create digital documents that you can then share with your organization by e-mail. They are useful as templates for virtual meetings. They also serve as presentations of research and as a way to capture ideas and plans.
Does my Digital Graphic Guide user license allow me to share these with others? View Details Hide Details
Yes, you can e-mail filled-in Digital Graphic Guides or post them to a companys internal web page. If there will be multiple people using slides by typing into or editing them, each user will need his or her own license. We would be happy to discuss a multi-user license. Please contact, or call +1.415.561.2500.
Does my user license allow me to print the Digital Graphic Guides? View Details Hide Details
Yes, you can print the slides in sizes up to 11" x 17."
The Digital Graphic Guides were not designed to be printed larger than 11" x 17."
We have several options for you to obtain wall-size prints:

1) Purchase our wall-size Graphic Guides� from our website,, or by calling us at +1.415.561.2500.
2) Send us your filled-in Digital Graphic Guide and we can convert it into a format that will yield a high-resolution print.
Please contact for pricing and turn-around information.
3) Sign up for a licensing agreement with us for printing our wall-size Graphic Guides. Contact for more information.
How can Graphic Guides help me develop a strategic plan? View Details Hide Details
In meetings, Graphic Guides support panoramic visualization, which is the most effective way to present the big picture in order to think and plan strategically. Developed in conjunction with The Grove’s Strategic Visioning Process, our Graphic Guides are now the key elements in our Visual Planning Systems.
My organization tends to get stuck in the vision and can’t get to the action stage. What do you suggest? View Details Hide Details
Make sure you develop an action plan as well as a vision. We have developed several Graphic Guides expressly for that purpose:
  • Use Five Bold Steps to help determine key initiatives.
  • Use the Graphic Gameplan to identify objectives and a high-level set of tasks to reach them.
  • Use the Graphic Roadmap to depict commitments and milestones on a detailed timeline.
What should we do with all the paper used during our graphically facilitated meeting? View Details Hide Details
Take digital photos of the charts and create a graphic meeting report. (Grove designers can help you with this, if you like). If you need to use the charts again, roll them up, tape and label them, and store them for use in your next meeting. You can also covert the information into a digital format using our Digital Graphic Guides. Recycle any unused materials once you are finished.

Grove Workshops and Training

Which workshop should I attend? View Details Hide Details
Introduction to Visual Planning Systems is a good introductory workshop if you want a one-day “quick start” with Graphic Guides, starter agendas and an overview of visual tools. Visual Planning: The Art of Strategic Visioning is ideal for those who want to incorporate large-scale visuals in their work and want real skill development in using Graphic Guides. You’ll practice using six basic templates over 2 1/2 days. Principles of Graphic Facilitation is a three-day immersion in graphic recording, facilitation and design skills for people who want to learn to draw and work professionally with a wide range of media. Team Performance Workshop is for team leaders, managers or consultants who want an introduction to the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance System.
Can The Grove run a customized workshop for my team/organization? View Details Hide Details
Certainly. We believe that the best way to develop Grove skills within your organization or team is to have an internal group that is learning together and sharing best practices. The advantage of running a workshop within your organization is that participants can tackle real challenges while learning Grove skills.

About The Grove

Whom should I contact to discuss my organization’s various needs and to see whether The Grove is a good fit for us? View Details Hide Details
Please call us at 1.800.49.GROVE, or 415-561-2500 if you are outside the United States, or e-mail We will be happy to discuss your needs and make recommendations based on your specific challenges and situation.
How did The Grove get its name? View Details Hide Details
The Grove used to be called Graphic Guides, Inc. and shared offices with CoVision, now a leading groupware consultancy. Informally, we called the combined group “The Grove.” With an increased emphasis on consulting in the 1990s, we sought a new name, and everyone loved “The Grove” as an apt metaphor for the way in which we collaborate with like-minded organizations in a business “ecology.” We added “International” to signal our intention to work globally.
Your current location, in the Presidio of San Francisco, seems to fit your name and brand. Is this just a coincidence? View Details Hide Details
No. When the Presidio Army Base was first turned over to the National Park Service in the early 1980s, The Grove facilitated the visioning process. As part of this transition, The Tides Foundation created the Thoreau Center for Sustainability at the old Letterman Hospital for some forty environmentally oriented organizations. During its later expansion, Tides recruited The Grove as a tenant, knowing that our work would be compatible with this community.
How big is The Grove? View Details Hide Details
The Grove is at the center of a worldwide network of more than 100 consultants, associates, collaborators and strategic partners. This network includes 18 full-time staff at our Presidio offices, another six senior associates who work on contract, and a growing number of affiliates who sell Grove products on their web sites.
What is the most common feedback you hear from your clients? View Details Hide Details
“We love your people,” and “we love your tools.”
How can I get into this business? View Details Hide Details
To run more effective meetings and processes, just start incorporating Graphic Guides into your work. For graphic facilitation, take a Grove course and practice in low-risk settings, such as PTA meetings and community events. For organizational development work and team development, a good starting point is to enroll in a Grove course. It’s a learn-by-experience business, so don’t be afraid to start.

Communicating The Grove’s Products & Methodologies

I worry that groups will think Graphic Guides templates are “cartoony” or not serious enough. How can I overcome that kind of resistance? View Details Hide Details
Remember that visual thinking is the key to whole-systems thinking, which is very serious work indeed, and the reason computers moved to graphic interfaces. Point out the value of seeing patterns in information and the links between major steps in planning. Remind your colleagues and teams that visuals (especially fun, engaging visuals), are much more memorable, and that remembering is key to implementation.
How do I sell this way of working inside my organization? View Details Hide Details
Focus on needs and how you can address them. Some standard needs are for group engagement, big-picture thinking and innovation, and productive implementation. The Grove’s products deliver on all three. If you can, tell a story about a situation where you saw these methods work, or guide others in your organization to The Grove website and walk them through some examples.

Ordering and Shipping

Do you accept corporate purchase orders? View Details Hide Details
We can provide an estimate including accurate shipping costs to help facilitate your request.  Once we have received your P.O. by fax or email we will process your order. Please provide complete billing and shipping information.
How soon will you ship my order? View Details Hide Details
All Next-Day, 2-Day and 3-Day orders submitted before 3pm Pacific Time will be shipped the same business day. UPS Ground orders will be shipped no later than 2 business days after receipt. Customers wanting to pick up orders can visit our warehouse in Novato, CA between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Please call before arriving to make sure we have your product available: 1.415.561.2500 ext. 1.
Is UPS my only shipping option? View Details Hide Details
While we strongly recommend choosing UPS shipping, we are flexible and can make alternative arrangements for some orders.  Contact us at (800) 494-7683 or for more information.
If I am in San Francisco, can I pick up my order directly from The Grove? View Details Hide Details
Yes. Orders are available for pick up between 9 AM and 4 PM PT.  Please call ahead to guarantee that your products are in stock, or simply place your order online and contact us to confirm that you will be picking up your order: 1.415.561.2500 ext. 1.
Are there any special things to consider if I am ordering from outside of the United States? View Details Hide Details
International orders arrive in 2 business days to most European destinations, 2-3 business days to most Canadian and Asian destinations, and are traceable via UPS. International shipping charges shown on your sales order are an estimate. Many orders cost less to ship than the total shown at checkout, and in these cases ship costs are adjusted.  We will contact you if the shipping amount is more than what is shown. If you would like an exact shipping cost, please contact us at (800) 494-7683 or
NOTE:  Import tax, brokerage & additional fees will apply at time of delivery. Canadian customers may calculate these charges in advance, here:
If I’m ordering from the United States, how soon will I receive my order? View Details Hide Details
Orders must be received by 3 P.M. Pacific Time to guarantee same-day shipping of in-stock products. 

•  UPS Ground shipping will arrive in 1-5 business days depending on your location. Contact us at (800) 494-7683 or for more information.

•  UPS 3-Day Select will arrive in 3 business days following the date of your order, by the end-of-day (i.e., an order placed on Monday will arrive on Thursday).

•  UPS 2-Day Air will arrive in 2 business days following the date of your order, by the end-of-day (i.e., an order placed on Monday will arrive on Wednesday).

•  UPS Next Day Air will arrive the following business day by 10:30 A.M. to any business location, and 12:00 P.M. to residential addresses. 

UPS does not deliver to P.O. Boxes.  Please use a street address when entering the shipping address.

If I’m ordering from Canada, how soon will I receive my order? View Details Hide Details
Please choose either the “Canada Express” (arrives in 2 business days) or the “Canada Ground” (arrives in 5 to 10 business days) shipping option.
If I’m ordering from Hawaii or Alaska how soon will I receive my order? View Details Hide Details
UPS Ground delivery is guaranteed to arrive within 6-10 business days. UPS 2-Day Air and UPS Next Day Air are available to all Hawaiian and most Alaskan locations. For small items (i.e., Charter Markers, etc.) UPS 2-Day Air is often the same price as UPS Ground shipping.
What is The Grove's return policy? View Details Hide Details
We offer a full refund on products returned within 30 days of purchase as long as they are received in saleable condition.

Terms and Policies

What is The Grove’s copyright policy? View Details Hide Details

The Grove is committed to sharing our ideas, processes and tools in order to foster collaboration. Anyone can use the ideas in the ways described below. Digital and print versions of our models, templates and other tools are the intellectual property of The Grove, and cannot be reproduced beyond one use by an individual without written permission or an explicit licensing agreement. We expect anyone who uses our tools and concepts to acknowledge their source and to purchase any materials that display a Grove copyright from us or from one of our Affiliates.

We permit reproduction of our Graphic Guides and models in the following situations:

  • Reproduction under the provisions of a licensing agreement with The Grove.
  • Reproduction of Graphic Guides purchased from or licensed by The Grove that have been filled in with relevant information you wish to share with others. However, such reproductions may not be offered for sale.
  • Tracing or drawing Grove templates on a trial basis for the purpose of experimenting with using them or practicing your recording skills. However, you may not draw or otherwise reproduce the templates for actual work with groups without an explicit agreement from The Grove.

Any other reproduction of our copyrighted material without express written permission from us is a violation of our copyright.

If you wish to use our copyrighted material for uses other than those described above, we would be happy to assist you with a purchase or discuss an appropriate licensing arrangement. Please contact us at 1.800.49.GROVE or (415) 561-2500 between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. PST, Monday through Friday, or e-mail

Affiliate Sales Program

How do I get started? View Details Hide Details
Read and agree to the Affiliates Program Operating Agreement, then complete our brief online registration. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, we’ll send you a welcome e-mail with a unique URL and instructions for linking your site to ours.
What are the benefits of participating in the Affiliate Program? View Details Hide Details
Benefits include being able to generate revenue through your web site, being able to offer your customers a wide range of innovative Grove products, and being connected with one of the leading visual-thinking consultancies.
What does it cost to become an Affiliate? View Details Hide Details
There is no charge to apply, and there is no minimum referral requirement or quota you must reach before earning referral fees with our program. You start earning right away. Please refer to the Affiliate Sales Program Agreement for additional information.
Can I participate if I live outside the United States? View Details Hide Details
Yes, we have Affiliates from all over the world and are working hard to add even more. To participate, you only need a web site that does not violate intellectual property rights or promote sexually explicit materials, violence, illegal activities, or discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
I have more than one web site. Can I link to The Grove from each site? View Details Hide Details
Yes, you can participate in the Affiliates Program through multiple web sites. To track the performance of each web site separately, e-mail Affiliates Customer Service to request multiple unique tracking URLs. You can then use each tracking URL to measure the performance of a different site, promotional strategy or layout.
How does The Grove track orders coming from my web site? View Details Hide Details
Once your application has been reviewed and approved, we will assign you an affiliate ID. We will then send you a welcome e-mail that includes a unique URL that includes this code. You’ll use this to link from your site to ours. This unique URL enables us to track every purchase that comes to The Grove’s online store through your site.
How will I know how much I’m earning? View Details Hide Details
We will send out an earnings summary at the end of each quarter.
How often do I get paid? View Details Hide Details
We will mail you a check every quarter, provided that you have earned more than $100. If your referral fees total is less than $100, we will send you a check once you’ve reached that level.
Will I earn referral fees on my own purchases? View Details Hide Details
No. Personal purchases are not eligible for compensations and should not be placed through your referring links. For additional information, please see our terms and conditions.
Will I earn referral fees on returns? View Details Hide Details
If a user returns a product for a refund, or if credit card charges are reversed due to a dispute or credit card fraud, then your account will be debited for any referral fees earned for that transaction.
How can I get in touch with you if I still have questions? View Details Hide Details
E-mail us at
© 1996–2009, The Grove Consultants International. Conditions of Use
Copyright Policy

The Grove’s models and templates are the intellectual property of The Grove Consultants International and are based on best practices drawn from more than thirty years of fieldwork. The Grove is committed to sharing its ideas, processes, and tools in order to foster collaboration, and while we strive to make these easily accessible, only authorized licensees may use our proprietary information and materials. Such licensees must acknowledge The Grove as their source by displaying a Grove copyright notice and may reproduce such proprietary information only with our express written permission.

Any unauthorized reproduction or use of our copyrighted material without The Grove’s express written permission is a violation of U.S. copyright law.

If you wish to use our copyrighted material, we are happy to assist you with a purchase or discussion of an appropriate licensing arrangement. Please call us at 1.800.49.GROVE or (415) 561-2500, or e-mail us at We are happy to help you collaborate with us.

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