Category Archives: Training

Leading Change: A New World Baked Fresh Every Day

On my early evening walk I came across the mountain laurel, pink-budded and ready to bloom. Beauty! And in the warm late sunlight I heard crickets for the first time this year. Noticing is like that – it’s easier when something’s new and fresh to your awareness. And every day brings something new. I once started – yet to be finished – a song called New World Baked Fresh Every Day. And it’s true! Every day we’re alive is baked fresh, whether we notice it or not. And change is like that. It’s always happening. We, myself included, can regard looming change with a mix of suspicion, reluctance, anxiety, and whatever other emotion the word ‘looming’ inspires. The unknown by definition can be pretty scary. But, the unknown by definition is also an adventure, a daily hero’s journey. This is the quest – a journey for something larger and better to benefit ourselves and everyone we touch and the greater world. To do that kind of work requires a great deal of change – both internal and external. This is the kind of work I explore in our change training sessions like Change Quest, 40 Days to Change For Good, and How to Lead Change. Spring into summer is a perfect time in nature and in life to encourage us to see how beautiful and welcoming change can be. Here’s to you connecting with all deep, benevolent forces all around you and them fueling your quest for fresh changes to bring what your heart truly desires.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Change Quest – Time for you and your team to evolve quickly, whether you’re driving the change or the rest of the world is. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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The Limitation/Innovation Connection – How to Put a Contact Lens In With One Hand

Here’s a great story that Dick Anderson, an inspiring harmonica player from Colorado, sent in. Happy limitation/innovation!   I was struck by the quote in your latest newsletter “The best art is made within strict limitations.” It came at a time when I’m experiencing some discoveries in the innovation process.  I’m preparing for a shoulder surgery which will immobilize my right arm for 6 weeks.  Since I’m right handed, I’ve begun to learn how to operate with only the left arm/hand. Among the many tasks at which I am trying to be more proficient with the left hand, putting in my contact lenses was particularly worrisome.  For 25 years, I’ve used two hands to pull my eyelids open while I insert the contact. I resolved to try with only the left hand while learning how not to blink when I inserted the lens.  To my surprise, I found a new technique using only one hand in which I slide the top of the contact under the upper eyelid and then continue to press the remaining surface to my eye.  This works much better than my old method and my “first try” success rate is even better than with the old method. Your note about limitations/constraints resonated with my experience.  My old technique for contact lens insertion was not the best, but it was not until I was limited to one hand that I discovered the better method. It also seems to be the case for group creativity exercises in which the tool or material is limited but the objective is difficult.  By reducing the number of degrees of freedom, we naturally dig deeper for methods which might have been overlooked when a custom tool is available.  (If the only tool you have is a hammer, you might find ways of using it as a plumb bob, a screwdriver, or an apple picker.) Thanks for the great newsletter and thanks for listening…. -       Dick Anderson, Colorado   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Innovator’s Quest – How can we inspire a culture of innovation? How can we take risks, be bold and allow for ‘mistakes’ that have the potential for great leaps in productivity?

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Five Dysfunctions Team Building – A Team Trust Story

I recently led a ‘Five Dysfunctions of A Team’ team building and training with a small group. We focused on the base for any team – trust. They did brave, difficult work in an intense day of focus – no email, no cell phones, just a beautiful view (the importance of setting can not be overstated) and people together trying to forge stronger connections. They emerged at the end of the day a team transformed. I went home proud of the work we had done together and slept the sleep of the exhausted. If you’re ready for your team to transform, I’d like to help facilitate that. There’s good work in the world do be done by all of us together. It’s not easy work, but the growing is worth it.

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The MBTI, DiSC, StrengthsFinder, Firo-B and Second Intelligence Smarts

I use lots of different assessments with teams. Four that I use frequently are MBTI, DiSC, StrengthsFinder and Firo-B. If you’re wondering, out of those, the MBTI is my favorite, StrengthsFinder my second favorite. Why? That’s the story for another day. What I’m most interested here is what they give people. These assessments give people a glimpse at what hides in plain sight, their second intelligence. The Persian poet Rumi says, “This second knowing is a fountainhead from within you, moving out… one already completed and preserved inside you. A spring overflowing its springbox.” This second intelligence is in our DNA, as unique to us as our fingerprints are. But there is little to no reinforcement in external life to access this intelligence. When you feel empty, missing something, not-enough, not-good-enough that’s a sign your second intelligence is being ignored. We’re often unused to putting our second intelligence in charge, or even knowing what that intelligence is for us. Personality assessments are a gateway into that world. Each person on a team begins to realize, “I am unique. I am different than these other people, and that’s a wonderful thing.” The Medicine Wheel teachings say that each of us entered the world in a unique spot on the wheel. Your second intelligence has much in common with mine, but it is unique to you. Your MBTI result may have a lot in common with mine, or not, but it’s unique to you. And even if we have the same result, how we live in that neighborhood is uniquely different. What unique way through your day will your second intelligence guide you through?   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: MBTI Team Quest – Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together. Firo-B – Unlock the mysteries of human interaction. Improve working relationships within a team and individual effectiveness. DiSC – Help team members assess how they can best use each dimension of four behaviors – dominance, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness – to better communicate and work together. StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.  

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Amygdala or Neocortex? Fear or Love? Which Path is the First Intelligence Taking?

The first intelligence is, according to the Persian poet Rumi, the “one acquired, as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts from books and from what the teacher says…you stroll with this intelligence in and out of fields of knowledge.” As with so many potentially helpful things, how you use it is more important than what you use it for. By how I mean: what’s the intent behind it? Here’s an example from when I was preparing to travel in Costa Rica. There was an element of fear and anxiety as I attempted to cram Spanish in, hoping to stay safe by preparing more fully. The how here is from fear. The amygdala in my brain was in charge, working hard to stay safe and avert potential disaster. This is fear-based first intelligence. It’s a sad place to be – we’ll never prepare enough to satisfy the amygdala. We’re not ever going to be perfect enough. The day after I landed I had a four bus ride to get to Cahuita, on the coast. I listened to Spanish lessons for several hours of that ride, dreamily staring out of the window as fresh and new landscape unfolded. I was relaxed, my amygdala was relaxed – it knew I was safe for a few hours. My neocortex perked up, the part of my brain that is interested in happiness and connection. It was excited to learn Spanish! And it didn’t care what kind of progress was made, it just felt like exploring. That’s love of something showing up. The same Spanish lessons, two very different internal environments, two very different first intelligence experiences. Fear or love – two different paths through the same territory. I’ll take love!     Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Emotional Intelligence Works – EQ is twice as important in contributing to excellence as IQ and expertise combined. Learn how to effectively manage your emotions and those around you for sustained success.

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Four Lessons Learned From Collaborative Team Building With Cisco

Here’s a review of a collaborative team building activity we led with Cisco recently. I’m including it here because it’s such a helpful reminder to hear four things that the team there found really useful. Which learning is most helpful for you to be reminded of today? “It was fantastic. The facilitator did a great job. The games were spot on for what we needed. A few antidotes from my team. Here are a couple “lessons learned” that you shared with us: – “Solicit feedback from the team to see the bigger picture” – “Every contribution is important” – “Communication is key” – “Remember to level set, if you jump ahead too quickly things can get lost” – Cisco, Team Collaboration Quest Here’s the primary activity we did with them. Give us a call if you’d like to remind your team of what’s most important. Picture This Team Collaboration Building Activity You have some of the information but can you communicate what you know? Who will see the big picture? Each person gets images that are part of a larger sequence. Together the group must decipher the sequence and get them laid out in order without any person seeing anyone else’s images while the clock ticks! Will the group see the big picture in time or will they get bogged down in details…or worse yet, fail to notice a crucial part of the image in time? This complex verbal communication skill builder has a powerful “a-ha” factor that makes the grand unveiling unforgettable! Outcomes: Discern how does looking at the big picture affect outcomes Explore the balance between precise, accurate communication and big-picture solutions Examine individual strengths within the context of a team Look at how communication affects strengths Look to each other to share resources and generate solutions     Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Team Collaboration Quest – Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication.

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How To Set and Complete A Sprint Goal

Of all the tools that I’ve mentioned, this one has been the most successful so far in getting me to take action and complete the work necessary to a project’s success. This tool is used in Scrum and has famously been used by Google for design work. You can read more in-depth overviews here and here. I’m using a very simple form of it here, and aimed at individual work, not teamwork. Simply decide what you want to accomplish by the end of the week. Then at the end of the week review your goal and note if you accomplished it or not. Lastly set a goal for the next week. Make sure the goal is SMART: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time-based. It helps to have a support buddy/accountability partner that is also doing his or her own sprint goal. If you’re smart/lucky enough to have that in your circle, set up a weekly call with the person to review goal progress, relate triumphs and challenges and witness the coming week’s goals.   My Example: Sprint Goal: Next month’s blog posts pre-written, next month’s newsletter pre-written. Accountability partner: Mike Brown and I each set a weekly ‘sprint’ goal on our particular projects and talk once a week to discuss our progress. It’s been simply the most helpful strategy to complete project work. Here’s a link to a form you can use to help you with this part of your change project. Directions are on the first page and the form is on the second page.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:  How To Complete a Project – Teams learn innovative tools to manage a project from start to finish. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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Action Steps to Take To Complete A Project

Once you’ve listed and prioritized big picture tasks, take the first priority. Break it down into small action steps – things that need action taken in order for completion. Ideally these are actions that can be completed either in a matter of hours or days, definitely not longer than a week. This is another form that will be most effective if revisited often. Order: This column helps with making your actions linear. You can either mark down the exact order of all actions or just note which one’s next. This helps prevent overwhelm and disorganization. Action step: Is each step SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-Based? Date: Target date for action completion. Support needed: What do you need to get the action done? Done? : Mark when it’s done and move on.   My Example: Gather my computer files to write the revised home page text. (This is first priority for two reasons: I need to know what I’m working with, and it’s small enough to easily begin.) Revise the existing text to more accurately reflect the company’s current identity – who we are now. Read a short overview of current SEO strategy. Incorporate current strategy in that first page.   Here’s a link to a form you can use to help you with this part of your change project. Directions are on the first page and the form is on the second page.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:  How To Complete a Project – Teams learn innovative tools to manage a project from start to finish. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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Action/Thinking/Feeling – What’s Most Needed to Complete a Project?

Quite simply, all three are needed. Action, thinking and feeling are a three-legged stool to support a project. Take a leg away and you fall down. Note every time you take action on your project (Fake it ‘til you make it). “Energy follows action…you act first and the inner reality follows. Your action is the call.” – David Spangler. You may want to list the action you took, just mark down that an action was taken, or note every time a specific action was taken. Note every time you constructively think about or actively visualize the project process. Also note whenever you confront lurking self-defeating thoughts. Note every time you savor positive feelings about your project attempts. You may also wish to note when you have negative feelings about your attempt, so you reveal more enemies. Enemies lose their power in the light.     My Example: Action: Writing these words Thinking: Pondering what to write about Feeling: Excitement about sharing my ideas with you and excitement about completing something that’s meaningful and important to me.   Here’s a link to a form you can use to help you with this part of your change project. Directions are on the first page and the form is on the second page.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:  How To Complete a Project – Teams learn innovative tools to manage a project from start to finish. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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Journal Your Way to Project Success

Research has shown that journaling is a powerful tool to motivate and integrate material more deeply. Day = Which day of your 40 days is it? Date = What’s the date today? Did it? = Mark if you did. Time = What time of day did you work on your change project? What Got Done? Insights = What ‘a-has’ did you glean from today? Play? = Did you have fun or approach your work playfully (even a little)? “Are we having fun yet?”   Here’s a link to a form you can use to help you with this part of your change project. Directions are on the first page and the form is on the second & third pages.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:  How To Complete a Project – Teams learn innovative tools to manage a project from start to finish. 40 Days to Change For Good – Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts. How to Lead Change – Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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