Recently, the president of an international technology association asked me for a couple of ideas on how kick off her upcoming board meeting. She was looking for something that would prepare the group to be open and ready to work together to address the tough discussions on the agenda.
As I began to consider how to best advise her, my thoughts turned to just how important the start of any meeting really is. After all, it is the start of any meeting that sets the tone for the quality of the interaction that is about to take place. It establishes the conditions for success. In general, however, this familiar part of a businessperson’s day usually gets the least amount of focus. Most meetings begin with a brief overview of the agenda and then a leap into “the important stuff”. The issue is that this jump takes place before everyone is on the same page, putting at risk the successful outcome of the meeting.
My two Working Improv partners and I had a great time in the workshop we ran at PCMA’s Canadian Innovation Conference this past week. And how could we not? The creative group of professional meeting and conference planners in our workshop enthusiastically jumped into the exercises we put forward. They made new best friends, went on exotic adventures, discovered multiple uses for socks, and told stories like champions.
For those who could not join us, I thought I would summarize some of the lessons and questions that came out of the session.
I am excited to join my colleagues in presenting at PCMA’s Canadian Innovation Conference on November 22 – 24. The aim of the conference is to provide professional education for the 500+ professionals attending the event. In preparation for the event, we have been thinking hard about how to deliver a high-impact session for a group of people whose job every day is to design and deliver awesome experiences. Meeting and conference planning is serious business. Big bucks are at stake and the pressure is on to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Fortunately, the choice of what to do for our session could not have been clearer—we… are going to play.
I really enjoyed a video I recently came across from TEDx Victoria. It was Improviser Dave Morris presenting what he coined, “The Ways of Improvisation”. In the video, he describes improvisation as a way of doing things that can be used in everyday life. He makes the clear distinction that improvisation is not a single thing, but rather a process that is followed.
In the last week, I have received a few comments from people who have been introduced to the concept of leading with “Yes” and they have expressed how challenging it can be. I think it is an interesting topic worthy of additional exploration and so in this post I will do my best to uncover what it really means to lead with “Yes”. Continue reading
During my frequent incarcerations, I’ve texted friends to find out where we are meeting for dinner, checked stock market quotes and calculated whether I can afford a European vacation next summer. My detainers were paying no attention and had no idea that these activities were going on right under their noses. On behalf of corporate prisoners of meetings being held captive in board rooms for countless hours around the globe, I’m pleading for release. Continue reading
“What do Executive Presence and the Loch Ness Monster have in common?”
There were a few smiles and then one of the ladies in the workshop volunteered the answer I was looking for, “they are both difficult to define and elusive”. The fact that the concept is challenging gave my colleagues and I the recent opportunity to spend a morning exploring the meaning and importance of Executive Presence (EP) with 20 women from various professional backgrounds and experiences. Continue reading
Seeking to improve skills in the corporate environment often involves training or studying the latest books and articles with methods and approaches for leadership, communication, innovation or problem solving. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, it looks like I’m in good company with top tier business schools in thinking there could be more right with it. Continue reading
A last minute cancelation by another speaker resulted in my first opportunity to come in contact with the Transportation industry at the recently held Transport Conference. Preparing my talk, I asked the conference chair about the attendees and the nature of their business challenges. He described a highly competitive and constantly changing environment where survival is usually the first item on the daily agenda. I’ve asked this question quite a few times and have learned that the safest bet I can make is that I will get this same answer whenever I ask about workplace challenges. It seems that whether it is public sector or private; large or small organizations, everyone is feeling pressure and stress. While we are a more complex version, we have the same reactions to stress as the animal kingdom. Continue reading