The company invested heavily — creating innovative games and technologies to help people understand the business, bringing in big ticket leadership speakers, and investing in expensive development methodologies by some of the world’s best-known leadership gurus.
When asked what they found most valuable about the program, these high-potential leaders said they loved having unstructured time to talk with one another. Despite the millions invested in the program, what they found most helpful is something that costs little.
Having time to talk with one another was the best part of the program. We had some great conversations during those unstructured 20-minute walks and over meals. We hardly ever get the chance to talk with peers from other divisions. And we hardly ever get the chance to talk without a formal agenda. Getting to know one another — and know we can talk with one another about issues — was invaluable.
We’re under more pressure than ever before in business, with seemingly every minute booked in meetings and conference calls.
Yet carving out occasional, unhurried time to think out loud with colleagues we rarely spend time with — without an agenda or dreaded PowerPoint presentations – may be one of the best uses of our most limited resources: time.
I’m participating in a 31-day blogging challenge called reverb10, responding to writing prompts that are designed to elicit reflections on 2010, and hopes for 2011. You can find out more about it here.
Today’s prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Courage to Lead
One community that rocked my world is a group of leaders who have come together for an 18-month Courage to Lead program. I was attracted to this program out of a desire to learn more about how to help leaders become more effective and to reclaim my own leadership mojo.
The program was positioned for executives in “serving” professions: there are 13 people in our group: seven physician leaders, three executives of health care organizations, one amazing shoe designer, me, and our wise and talented facilitators Drs. Hanna Sherman and Penny Williamson.
I was attracted to the “serving” angle because I believe that the most effective leaders in ANY industry serve their employees, their customers, and their communities. What has become clear in our little community is that in order to lead a person must be passionately aligned to a sense of purpose that is meaningful, so meaningful that it compels you to serve and lead. Finding, or in some cases, reclaiming that professional focus, energy and joy is what this community is about.
At the conclusion of our first four-day, long weekend session on Cape Cod, the words “profound,” “counter-cultural,” and”powerful” permeated our conversation.
I’m grateful to this community for their selflessness and generosity. Of course we know how to party, too. Can’t wait to see how our professional journeys will deepen as we as a community help each other help ourselves.
The speed writing community
Last spring I joined an online writers group where every morning for 28 days we’d get a prompt, write our story in 10 minutes or less, share with the group online, and read and comment on our fellow — and anonymous — writing members’ stories. (We were loosely connected as most of us had taken writing workshops from the incredible Ann Randolph.)
The stories floored me because they were so honest, real, insightful, funny, tragic, questioning, mysterious and sometimes blunt.
Even better than the treat of reading these strangers’ stories was the helpful, non-judgmental comments everyone so generously offered to one another. Our community had two simple guidelines for giving feedback:
1. What did you enjoy?
2. What would you like to read more about?
I looked forward to every one of those 28 days of stories. I hope to find a way to be part of a similar writers’ group next year. It was so much fun.