What’s Driving The Action?

September 23, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Are you participating in Steptember? Or do you follow already how many steps you take each day? There’s definitely a growing awareness around the benefits of 10,000. It seems to be becoming a valuable reminder of the importance of movement within busy and sometimes sedentary 21st Century lives. But when it comes to wellbeing initiatives within our spheres of influence, what’s driving the action?

“It’s not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?” — Henry David Thoreau, in a letter to H.G.O. Blake

What got me thinking about this recently was two workplace initiatives I was told about. Both were crafted with the seemingly same intention, but appeared to elicit very different feelings as each initiative went on. Leaders are always striving to notice and then act on opportunities to engage, challenge and inspire those around them. But sometimes a seemingly well intentioned driver doesn’t align with the intended ripples that were being sought out through the individual or group action that follows.

“Leadership is intentional influence.” – Michael McKinney

One example left me feeling so inspired. It also really inspired the person who was sharing the story with me. It comes from within an organisation that has leadership teams that are geographically dispersed. In an effort to encourage positive wellbeing and movement over the course of a month, an initiative was developed for these leaders that focussed around the theme of collective achievement. As each leader contributed their daily steps reading, it was then being collated into a group reading and celebrated through mapping how far around Australia they were walking.

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” – Henrik Johan Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, Billing, Act I

What we (I and the person telling me about the initiative) found most inspiring was what happened next. Not only were there health benefits being created as some leaders became more active, increased communication and connection was also being experienced. Certain leaders began sharing facts, stories and quotes within the group channels to encourage and build on what was starting to ripple. Leaders began learning more about each other as they chose to be vulnerable within their wellbeing journeys. And really importantly it brought the leaders closer together as success was linked to what they could achieve by working collectively.

“Cooperation is always more powerful than competition.” – Bob Proctor

Now let’s contrast this with the other example that was shared with me. Same idea, encourage positive wellbeing and movement over the course of a month, but very different ripples created. This organisation chose to break participants up into four teams, who would compete against each other to see which team achieved the most steps over that time. Each participant paid to join the challenge, with the winning team being given all the money collected as the prize. Team captains were responsible for chasing up and recording the team’s daily reading, with screenshots required as proof of steps taken each day so there was no cheating.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

You can probably guess some of the things that happened next. As I was being told all about them my heart sank as to the potential missed opportunities for these participants. There was tension around who was grouped with who. There was judgement around who had or hadn’t pulled their weight for their team. There was a sense of resignation early in the initiative for some as they believed they were too far behind and couldn’t win. There was frustration created as participants were being chased for their entry fee well after it had all finished. Success seemed to be linked to being the winner, not a loser.

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek

What’s driving the action really matters. It’s how we engage, challenge and inspire those who we share our journeys with. If we want change, growth and development to be lasting, particular feelings need to accompany ongoing practices if they’re to be integrated after the initiative as well. No initiative is perfect, or will appeal in the same way to every member of a group participating. But as leaders we’re courageous enough to keep trying. So what do you want to get rippling within your spheres of influence? And what will you use to drive the action towards that goal?

“We’re all working together; that’s the secret.” – Sam Walton

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What’s Happening After We’re Gone

September 3, 2018 at 6:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We love what we do. And I think if a particular conversation the other week is anything to go by that oozes out into how we do it as well. An organising teacher and I were chatting during the first break when she shared an interaction she’d had with one of the participants during the morning session. One of her students had sidled up and whispered at one stage, ‘Have you noticed how many times he’s said the word love?’ The teacher whispered back, ‘You can tell he loves what he does can’t you?’

“If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.” – Trey Smith

How can you create lasting impact if you’re not there all the time though? This is something we’re very mindful of as we seek to most effectively support the development of leadership potential within our client schools. We definitely want to have an impact on each of the individuals and the group as a whole while we’re there, that’s a given (whether it’s a day, multi day or multi year connection – some client schools we see the students right throughout their school years, while some we see while they’re within a particular year group). But lasting impact, leading to participants more effectively acting as difference makers within their spheres of influence is what lights us up most. Relationships matter, and it’s why feedback like we received below always leaves us feeling so humbled. (Find more examples of what our clients are saying: https://www.explorediscoveract.com.au/testimonials)

‘Over the years, Cameron has developed a relationship with our student body based on respect, responsibility and having fun! He actively engages with staff members to develop programs based on our student’s needs and provides ongoing support and lesson opportunities throughout the school year through regular email correspondence.’

So lets fast forward to last Sunday. We’re in the process of sending out our next set of ongoing communication to our client schools. It’s all part of our commitment to connection to meaningful action beyond our program experiences. So many clients share with us what aspects of this communication they find most helpful. But it was two particular emails that came bouncing back to us that had us smiling all the way into the new week. The first had the extra surprise of something to watch. We loved the short video they’d created, and can’t wait to see the students next term to tell them in person as well. This particular client school we support through our L.E.A.D. with Courage: Stage 3 Leaders Program and Transitioning to Stage 3 Program each year.

‘Thank you for your newsletters – I look forward to them each term and always try to share at least one thing form them with the students. This newsletter featured the kindness boomerang and it reminded me of the wonderful work our Year 4 teacher has done with her students about kindness. The link is unlisted so you will have to click below to watch it – I just wanted to share some of the wonderful reactions that your work is having.’

The second email came a short time after from an Assistant Principal within one of our client schools. Both sets of students that she was talking to had participated in our 10 week L.E.A.D. with Me Program over the past two years. We love the transformational journey that this program takes the participants and ourselves on. And are again left feeling so humbled by the ripples still being felt by the participants as they continue their journeys of potential. I know they had the same impact on me as well. I often reflect on aspects of how I’m changed by their wisdom, courage and growth that they displayed as we learnt together.

‘I just thought I would let you know that I had to meet with a group of Year 5 and Year 6 students as part of the Cyclic Review. I asked them a few questions about the school and they spoke so highly of you. They said that you made a great impact of them. It’s interesting that the students who were the Year 5 representatives were the students that you worked with the previous year when they were in year 4 and they still recall what you did with them. It’s nice to know that your work is still being spoke about even when you leave.’

As the quote goes, ‘It takes two flints to make a fire’ (Louisa May Alcott). What a privilege it is to be able to establish, build and foster these types of relationships that start with exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically, together. Thank you!

“If you want to achieve widespread impact and lasting value, be bold.” – Howard Schultz

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