Archive for June, 2011

Free Improvisation Exercises

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Due to popular demand, we now have a section that features FREE improvisation games that you can use with your training and course design. These exercises, along with some debrief points, are your to use. Just click here and check in periodically (perhaps mark as a ‘favorite’) for more games as we post them. Many of these are great for leadership debriefs (especially the 3 Up/Freeze Tag), change management, and innovation as well as team building. Enjoy!


Thursday, June 16th, 2011

The reason that behavioural interviewing is so popular is that it is predicated on the very logical belief that past performance indicates future performance.  It is the same with most performance.  We can look at the what has or has not worked in the past to make a fair determination of whether it will or will not work in the present/future.  Thus the famous quote that insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a differrent result.  That is why I found this article by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review so interesting.  Hanson talks about President Obama’s economic policies and how he is trying to turn the clock back to the 60’s and 70’s to policies that did not work.

What I find interesting is that so many very smart people believe that centralized economic planning can work.  It has never, in the history of mankind, done anything but create poverty and war.  The problem is that mankind and our economy is so fluid that nobody can ‘control’ it.  The reason that some people have is their own hubris and ‘false ego’.  They think they are smarter and/or want more power that they want to control everything.  These leaders often end up creating their own demise as we see time and time again.

The problem with ideology is that people hold onto beliefs no matter what the evidence is.  It is the same for people on the ‘other’ side of the political spectrum.  For instance, the idea that government should not do anything.  This extends to healthcare.  There are some things that should be provided by government.  The facts, for instance, on healthcare in systems that are government funded (i.e. Canada) versus fully private (i.e. U.S.).  The facts speak for themselves.  Canadians spent less per capita for healthcare than Americans do.  The infant mortality rate in Canada is significantly lower than the U.S. and the average lifespan in the population is higher.  Yes, there are wait times for ‘non emergency’ services (i.e. MRIs), but overall it does work better.

As I write in Flexible Thinker, the problems we have to overcome are the ones we ourselves control (i.e. preconceived ideas, false ego, etc.).  Can the Canadian healthcare system be improved by some type of competition?  Yes.  However, when we shut ourselves off to looking for solutions that work (and have worked) because of ideology, we become the problem and not the solution.

Learning as a “Holy” Expericence

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Learning is an intregal part of organizational development because it allows organizations to adapt and compete. It can be used to build a culture that is efficient and competitive. It allows change. The problem is that most organizations really have no concept of both how to design courses and how to implement them as part of a strategy.

I recently had two recent events which coincided against each other. My daughter had her Bat Mitzvah at the end of May and the following week I had the great honour of delivering the morning keynote to the International Alliance of Learning conference in Akron.

What do these events have in common? My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah was exceptional. I expected to be moved because, after all, it is my daughter. However, afterwards a number of people (including the Rabbi) told me that the event deeply moved them for some reason. It was, as they said, the intangibles that happen.  They are not sure, but sometimes an event is so deeply moving that it changes a person.  In terms of brain activity, it is creating a new neural pathway.  I have found it sometimes in workshops (not very frequently but it has happened).  That got me to thinking.  If the goal of learning is to create long-term sustainable change that is part of a defined organizational strategy, how do we create an environment where people work in their alpha state (which is optimal for learning) and will benefit both the individual and the organization.  Here are ways that we can create a “holy” learning experience.

1.  Greet People Before the Program Starts

This makes them feel welcomed and wanted.  Right away, they feel special and a part of the learning experience.  By asking them a few questions and getting to know them before the session, they feel a bond to you and are in your corner.

2.  Walk the Talk

One comment about my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is that people knew that my wife and I are involved in the synagogue and active as teachers.  That meant that people knew that this was not just a formality for us but had meaning.  It is the same with learning.  When people know you are involved in what you are teaching and practice it yourself, it makes a huge difference.

3.  Preparation

My daughter worked very hard and went well beyond the minimum.  She did everything flawlessly and ‘wowed’ the ‘audience’.  It is the same with workshops.  The more prepared you are, the greater your ability to ‘wow’ them.

When both the material and the people matter to you, both you and the material will matter to the participants.  That combination can go a long way in helping to create a “holy” experience in learning.