Every month the Tekara Community gets together in our Vancouver office (our Toronto office joins us via Google+ Hangout) to connect and share the learnings we are experiencing with clients, on projects and in our lives. Within this meeting of the minds there is always some incredibly fruitfull learning for all and we wanted to share the highlights with you here!
1) The Power of Storytelling
How do we as leaders of teams and organizations influence those around us?
One of the most effective and under-utilized tools is storytelling.
Exercise: As an introduction to our community meeting, Peter guided us through a storytelling check-in exercise. The purpose of this exercise was to check into the meeting in a way that gets everyone engaged and present in the room – sharing at a meaningful emotional level. At the same time this was positioned as a great way for all of us to practice our storytelling skills.
As leaders, there is a lot of room to improve and practice our storytelling skills by consciously structuring stories in archetypal patterns.
The greenlight story pattern is a great example: A relatable hero encounters roadblocks, experiences a catalyst and emerges transformed.
Telling stories from an archetypal structure is the most powerful way to emotionally engage your audience. This is how your team and organization will emotionally connect and engage with your organizations mission, vision, and values.
Takeaway: Before you share your next story, identify the key pieces highlighted in the greenlight pattern and structure your story accordingly.
2) Striving for Greater Impact
A common theme in the stories that were told around the table was “having greater impact beyond ourselves”. Magic happens when we are able to align our core values and passions with the impact we are having in the world. When this has a positive influence on others we are filled with intrinsic motivation and a major release of dopamine which increases happiness. Here are some of the highlights:
- Having the opportunity to save a life by being a national guard lifeboat member.
- Building self esteem in our youth through positive encouragement and support.
- Greening our office to becoming more environmentally conscious and sustainable.
- Speaking and presenting at conferences to add value to the business communities we work in.
Takeaway: We challenge you to continue to define what this looks like in your life, and pursue it with vigor!
3) Engaging Employees in Strategic Planning
When supporting our clients through the strategic planning process, there are always opportunities to engage employees in the process. This can be a key component in developing a shared vision and creating a strong organizational culture.
So how can you engage your employees in the strategic planning process?
Exercise: With a recent client we structured a “world cafe” exercise where we split employees into small breakout groups and sent them to separate tables in a large conference room. Each table had a different word or phrase that represented one of the organizations core values. Employees were asked to give their input, tell stories that highlighted these values, and also talk to how these values could be inspired in the future. These small groups would work from table to table, with one key moderator at each table to capture all of the themes and inspiring stories.
The leaders of the organizations were then able to see how these values showed up in the workplace with employees. This becomes powerful informing data in the strategic planning process.
Takeaway: engage employees authentically, and make sure you communicate how the input is being used. Email us if you want to learn more!
4) Immunity to Change
Our colleague Donna Howes is one of two Immunity to Change certified facilitators in Western Canada and she was kind enough to give us a peek into what this program was all about.
As you may know, we as human beings really struggle with change. Whether it is personal (taking vitamins) or professional (becoming a better listener), the challenge is the same. The developers of Immunity to Change have dug deep into the research of why we do this and have developed a professional framework that allows us to uncover what is going on below the surface.
Donna highlighted that while the intention to change actions may be there, there is often times a competing intention underneath the surface that inhibits us from moving forward. Immunity to Change is all about checking in at this deeper level and then working through a process to remove these barriers from our lives through small tests that lead the way for big change!
5) The Digital Revolution
Remember the days where you would ask the audience (whether in a presentation or a board meeting) to silence and put away their phones?
Those days are changing.
Have you heard of the second screen revolution?
We had a lengthy discussion regarding how technology is changing the way we engage and communicate with others. This presents an interesting paradox for us at Tekara. We profoundly value being fully present in conversations with clients and colleagues. However, we acknowledge that the world is changing, and especially in the generation entering the workforce, asking for 100% undivided physical attention is a foreign concept.
Instead of fearing this transition, we are framing this change as an opportunity to enhance and augment our audiences experience by finding valuable ways to join them in that second space.
Exercise: I recently had an opportunity to deliver a keynote at Social Media Camp Victoria. Mari Smith was the opening keynote who did a brilliant job of joining the audience in the digital space by scheduling tweets using the hashtag to enhance her presentation. At one point an audience member stood up and screamed “I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA” only to have the room fall quiet and 700 confused faces look towards the enthused fan. Mari had joined the audience on that second screen and had actually built in a fun exercise.
Takeaway: Whether it is in the board room or on the stage, find ways to meaningfully leverage technology and engage your audience to enhance the experience. Embrace the opportunity to augment and deepen the experience through technology!
6) Your Turn
What is the biggest learning or insight you have had this month in your business or personal life? Please share a story or experience in the comments below, or find us on Twitter!