As part of my goal in January to do more "Working out Loud," I'm experimenting with doing a Friday Roundup, sharing a few thoughts, links, etc. that have emerged from my work during the week that I think could be useful to you too.
Earlier this week, I ran across this article from Thomas Koulopoulous on a 30-Day plan for disrupting yourself. It outlines a simple and fun process for doing something different every day to get yourself in the habit of moving yourself out of some of your ingrained habits and patterns.
In this process, you are experimenting with both inconsequential habits (like using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth) and meaningful behaviors (like reading a career-related book for 20 minutes one morning).
Doing these activities is going to be on my February goal list. I also think it would be a great exercise to do with a team or mastermind group. For the meaningful behaviors, you could work together as a team to identify some different things to experiment with or you could each work on your own to come up with some activities you want to push yourself to try. Each week, you could then talk with your colleagues about how it's going and what shifts you might be noticing.
Although I'm a big believer in establishing some good habits that eliminate a lot of daily decisions to free up brain space for creativity, I also think that disruption as a habit makes a lot of sense, so it's something I want to experiment with doing.
Knowing When to Stop
One of my ongoing projects is a Business Leadership Academy I run for a local Chamber of Commerce. Our sessions are scheduled from 9-3 and I try to have a mix of activities going on to keep people's energy levels up.
In yesterday's session, around 2 p.m., the energy in the room shifted. About half the group started shutting down and you could feel things just get heavier. A few people tried to help me keep things moving, but we just had too many others who were disengaged.
I made a decision awhile ago that when I'm facilitating things, I'm not going to keep going because "we have material to cover." It's a waste of time for everyone. So I cut our session short yesterday and sent everyone on their way.
One of the participants came up to me afterward to thank me. He said "I really appreciate that you ended things rather than insisting on keeping us here. I've been in too many meetings and training sessions where people just insist on continuing and it's the most painful thing about working sometimes."
I take this kind of monitoring of energy and knowing when to stop for granted--it's become something I'm always scanning for in group work. The conversation made me realize, though, that not everyone does this.
Knowing when to stop something is a skill. How do you do with knowing when it's time to end something?
Learning Out Loud at a Conference and Using Appreciative Questions to Learn and Connect
I've been working with NYCETC to put together their annual Policy Forum, designing the breakout sessions, putting together a lunchtime discussion based on appreciative inquiry and planning for how they will document learning throughout the conference. I ran across this great chart that I wanted to share:
I also wanted to share the Appreciative Questions we'll be using during lunch at the Forum. They focus on:
- Exceptional Partnerships
- Strategic Opportunities
- Technology that Serves
- Continuous Learning
- Integrity in Action
Our plan is to have these questions at all of the tables and we'll be inviting people to discuss one or more of these with their group as a different way to engage with each other as they are eating. I'll let you know how this goes in next Friday's Roundup.