Years ago I attended a workshop on change. The facilitator asked each participant to introduce themselves with some tidbit about their morning start-up routine. Some reported they began with making a pot of coffee, others talked about showering. I recall saying that I reach for my glasses.
Through a day of exercises, we were challenged to think about the impact of varying our routines. What differences would show up in how we felt or what we observed if we changed the ways we moved through our day?
Taking a new direction hones agility
I was amused with some of the impact I experienced in the days following the workshop. One day I took a new way to work and parked in a new section of the parking lot. I found myself paying close attention to the road signs rather than my typical automatic-pilot driving. I recall noticing some wooded park land for the first time and making a mental note to come back there for a picnic. When I arrived at my office, I felt more alert than usual. After all I had needed to keep on my toes to avoid getting lost! I felt accomplished and surprised at the same time. I noticed how big a deal it was for me to change such a simple thing. I wondered what else was I missing by approaching things in a routine way?
Tachi Yamada, president of the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, believes that people who have lived in many different places are more agile than those who have stayed in one town their whole lives. Having the experience of adjusting to something new convinces Yamada that a person will be able to thrive in the changing environment of global health.
So, what is your relationship to change? Are you agile when confronted with new challenges or new points of view? What changes can you make in your life to increase your experience with needing to adapt? Try the experiment of altering one simple practice you have in your life. See what it opens up for you and then please tell us all about it.
While exploring the attribute of agility, I discovered a another doggie sport! For fun, here are a few pet-inspired videos demonstrating successful (and not so successful) collaborations. Notice that each collaborator has a different motivation.
First the fabulous performance so that you understand the goal
But, as with collaborations, it doesn’t always go that smoothly!
Dogs are initially trained with doggie treats but cats have a different motivation:
A fun toy and a willing owner! I have to go and try that on my kitties!
What motivates you?
If you’re hooked and want more of an explanation of the sport follow these links:
Why We Love Cats and Dogs – Video: Cat Agility Show | Nature.
Posted in agile, collaboration, just for fun
Tagged agile videos, agility, cats, collaborative techniques, Debbie Exner, Debra Exner, dog, fun, goals, Maddie Hunter, motivations, sport
We’re often asked if collaborative partners have to be motivated by the same things — or at least have the same end goal in mind for the collaboration. We think that the answer to that is No, not necessarily.
by melilab at Flickr Creative Commons
We have interviewed many people about their collaboration experiences. One question we asked is “What criteria do you use to choose a collaborator?” One person, whose job is facilitating community collaborations, said she looks at her organization’s “ethical manner of doing business and the directives that are given to us. I usually look for alignments in collaborators mission, values and purpose. So I probably won’t collaborate with a gun association. However, I might if it were to prevent gun injuries. You have to do a balancing act. What is it that we can both wrap our arms around? Look for the points that you can all agree on.”
So even though it can be nice to share similar motivations and goals, the overall goals of each party don’t have to match. It is important that the end goals are not at cross-purposes.
Another example is when my husband brought disparate political parties together to identify and collaborate on the initiatives where they agreed.
Have you been agile enough to collaborate with people who have different motivations and end points?
Watch for our next blog post to see a fun exploration of collaborators who have different motivations.
Posted in agile, business, collaboration
Tagged agility, choose collaborators, collaboration, community collaborations, criteria, Debbie Exner, Debra Exner, goals, Maddie Hunter, mission, motivation, political parties, purpose, values
“I think they will hear the message differently if it comes from you,” said my client.
The message she hired me to bring to the leaders in her dispersed healthcare organization — “Effective teamwork can create better results.”
My client is known for living this message herself but at this annual leader retreat she wanted to bring more emphasis to the critical need for her staff to think beyond their location or function to effect the care for patients.
Taking advantage of the premise that the outsider can get away with ideas that insiders can’t, I suggested that we create an interactive format to the retreat where people were working in teams and reflecting on their experience. This was a significant change over the business-like retreats held in the past and my client wondered aloud whether her organization would resonate with it or judge the activities to be too game-like. After all, they all had been quite serious students earning advanced degrees in their specialty.
I could feel my client’s dilemma. She wanted to spearhead a successful event AND she wanted to ignite some new energy around teamwork. To her credit, my client decided to jump into the new interactive approach. The risk she took was a testament to the degree of agility she has as a leader. She changed an approach for a desired result. This agility has been labeled, “Situational Leadership” by Ken Blanchard and can be further studied in his newest book, Leading At A Higher Level.
Last Wednesday was retreat day. The assembled group took part in a round robin ice-breaker, “Knot the rope” team exercise and simulations devoted to teaming. The energy in the room was high throughout. Some of those who my client least expected to be energized by the team-building activities rated the day with high marks. People typically known to be hesitant in large groups were seen as leading. Some who usually are out-spoken took leadership from others. Agility abounded.
When have you purposely placed yourself in a new situation and adapted to it? When have you delegated a task in order to help someone’s flexibility develop?
Posted in agile, business, Case Studies, collaboration, non-profit, team
Tagged agile, agility, Debbie Exner, healthcare, ice breakers, leaders, Maddie Hunter, retreat, simulations, situational leadership, strategic ability, teaming, teamwork
During this year’s winter Olympics, the highlight for me was watching the figure skater, Kim Yu-Na of South Korea. The agility she displayed as she skated to win a gold medal was both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Not only did she show her well-trained body’s flexibility but her life story demonstrates how adaptable her spirit is as well. Click below to see her in action.
Video Library Player: A Nation Awaits Gold in Figure Skating
Like Kim Yu-Na, collaborators need to be agile. Websters defines agile as 1) marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace and 2) having a quick resourceful and adaptable character. In business, one doesn’t need to learn how to do a triple lutz jump but it is vital to know how to quickly adjust to and build on the numerous points of view on any project or team. If you are able to influence and be influenced, you avoid the ineffective spinning that comes from people talking at one another.
Collaborative Agility is demonstrated when we change how we relate to someone in order to better communicate. It occurs when we can reframe a problem into an opportunity. We are agile when we don’t have an answer but improvise with others until a path becomes clear.
In the next few blog entries, we are going to look in more depth about the value of agility in collaboration. You can begin thinking about the value of agility in your collaborations. We’d love to know some of your stories.
Posted in agile, collaboration
Tagged adaptability, adaptation, agility, collaboration, collaborative agility, Debbie Exner, flexibility, improvise, influence, Maddie Hunter