Posted: 12 Dec 2010 11:34 PM PST
Last week I was facilitating a corporate leadership and teamwork event. As is usual in this kind of event there are, as one of my colleagues describes them, three types of participant – explorers, vacationers and prisoners.
Explorers are those who come to find out whatever they can to learn, connect and develop. Vacationers see it as three days out of the office and an opportunity to kick back. Prisoners feel that they are not there through choice and will just endure.
Our objective as facilitators is to engage all three groups to such an extent that the event becomes transformative, in terms of their leadership and team working capabilities, in this case.
Part of the way we do this is to set ourselves a daily “brand” benchmark. For the first day our brand included “fun”, for the second “inspiration”, for the third ‘transformation”.
Fun, because when people are having fun they are engaged and engagement is required for learning. We are inspired when some input has personally relevant value to our life. We are transformed when we can embed the learning to the extent that it becomes a permanent change in behaviour.
Here is the key though, as facilitators, to make the first day fun, we need to be inspiring, to make the second day inspiring, we need to be transformational and to make the third day transformational, we need to be transcendent.
This is the challenge, the test and the opportunity of transformational teaching and communication.
With good materials and a good event design, inspiring should be reasonably easy. Transformational is altogether more challenging. Being transformational means that through the exercises, conversations, materials and experiences participants are able to re-wire their brains. They do this by opening up neural pathways that may have lain previously unused, to the extent that they become habits.
Transformational teaching is interesting across multiple learning preferences (kinesthetic, intellectual, emotional, auditory, visual etc), repeated often enough to land without getting boring and has enough distraction free time around it to be processed into habit.
Transcendence is another whole level. It requires a level of authentic immersion in and passion for the subject that enables the teacher, facilitator to maintain a state of transcendence. Perhaps like an artist, musician or athlete, getting into the zone and being at one with their medium and their audience.
My own experience is that working at other levels is transactional, there is a contract that offers a certain value in exchange for attention. Transcendence is captivating, it draws people in, even the vacationers and prisoners. It is compelling, even those who are highly resistant to the messages find it hard to counter.
I aspire to do my teaching from a transcendent space. To make that profound connection with myself and the audience that helps them to fully connect with their authenticity and apply it wholeheartedly to their work and their organisation.
Best of TED this week: Shimon Shocken talks about the transformative effects of mountain biking on prisoners in Israel. Watch his TED talk, put it on your web site, link to it and talk about it to everyone you meet. I have put it on www.neilcrofts.com
If you would like help in finding your authenticity, give me a call.
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