Friday 3 February 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Self Portrait
Recently, I took on a consulting assignment to co-design and facilitate a two-day team meeting. Why did I do it? First, I had worked with the leader before and knew it would be fun.  Second, it's been a while since I worked on a change project and I didn't want to become rusty. Third, based on an initial phone briefing I knew I could help.

Getting dressed for my first meeting I remembered that tying ties is not a strength. Wearing a suit, however, felt good. As I entered the office building I felt 'corporate.' As I waited in the lobby I mused that these spaces are the same around the world - the seating area layout,  employees briskly walking with purpose, a courier dropping off a package, and a receptionist directing a call - I could have been in any city.  In the meeting, I could feel energy. There was a puzzle that needed solving and we were gathering pieces to do so. As I drove home, my mind was full of questions, facts, and possibilities. I was alive.

There is a unique confidence felt when doing something you have done successfully many times before: you know the raw materials, you can sense what works and what doesn't, and you don't stop until you get it right. This is how I felt when I was working on the design. Facilitating was great, too. Interacting with a team reminded me how much people have to give. 

Setting Up
After the event I made the following notes:

- Everything effects mood, e.g., location, tone, pacing, language, etc.
- People can't absorb all the information they are given (no matter how you give it to them)
- Individuals need to be understood and validated (including me)
- Energy is contagious
- A team with a common goal is extremely powerful
- Change work is exhausting 
- Helping people build a better future is the biggest thrill 

Now it's back to editing my second draft and writing additional stories. I have missed my book over the past couple of days. Would I take on another assignment? Absolutely, if it had the same elements as this one. You always get more than you give.



  1. Next time, a tag team old pal!


  2. I just went to a conference about teaching reading and apparently the lastest Brain research says that you can only instruct for a certain number of minutes to students and then they will tune out. The ratio they say is 1 minute per year. Now this may work for 7 year olds - to teach for only 7 minutes, then break off to an activity, but what about people our ages Phil? I'm sure that it starts working backwards by the time we turn 15. ;)

  3. Mairin, I bet you are right. Do you think there is a parallel ratio for the length of time a teacher/facilitator can instruct before he or she tunes out? I hope not! Thanks for your comment. Phil