Presenting with impact and authenticity.
20 January 2016 By Boroondara Leadership Program
Reflections from the Boroondara Leadership Program.
We spent the first few sessions of the day interacting with each other rather than more formal presentations; sharing insights, achievements and challenges with our inner and outer circle. Not sure if everyone had finished their morning coffee as the first activity, involving moving around the room, provided a bit more of a challenge for some of us than it perhaps should have.
Regardless, at the end of our circle of sharing we were in the zone and ready for action.
We then moved into our last workplace challenge session where we listened to our colleagues and attempted to provide some semblance of guidance on how they could deal with their difficult situation; it's always fascinating to hear about the different challenges faced within the organisation providing us with greater insights into the complexity of our organisation and with learning opportunities.
Communicating with Impact: Stories from the Field
Three guest speakers joined the group to present their own personal leadership learnings and experiences:
- Gail Davidson - a recognised educator who was able to provide an international perspective
- Dr. Brenda Holt - an educator in both secondary and tertiary institutions
- Jon Kerr - with success in building networks
Boroondara Leadership Program participants and guest presenters.
Each presenter provided insights into communicating with impact both positive and negative outcomes.
Gail made the observation ‘seek first to understand before you can act to be understood’, quite a profound statement.
Brenda noted that you should always approach everyone positively, even difficult people.
Jon made mention that you could never underestimate the importance of research and investigation and that the development of relationships depended on being honest and demonstrating trust.
Following these presentations we had world cafe session with the speakers, something that has been one of my favourite activities of the leadership program as you have the opportunity to ask detailed questions in a small group setting of how different leaders have dealt with, or behaved in, their own workplace challenges. I have always found these sessions to be very practical as it provides an opportunity to ask specific questions that may align with issues you are currently facing and, in doing so, solutions or options become practical and memorable.
"Seek first to understand and then to be understood" was something we all took away from Gail's story. The other insight was patience. "All progress is based on relationships...and you can't hurry them."
Jon talked about his experiences working in a new team or organisation. Establishing trust and report is key to good relationships. "Be prepared to open up and also to shut up".
Brenda spoke of the importance in positively approaching people; and don't ignore difficult conversations. She finished on some sound advice that can be difficult to follow; don't always seek advice from people that agree with you, as you want to get the tough issues out early.
Following lunch we had a two-hour interactive presentation from Shawn Callahan (Anecdote Pty Ltd; Author of Putting Stories to Work) on the use of story-telling to sell our ideas and strategies. Shaun explained that stories are facts wrapped in context and delivered with emotion. He also spoke about the concept of ‘push versus pull’. We were also provided with a participation workbook Storytelling for Leaders - How to influence, engage and inspire.
Following afternoon tea we worked on our individual and buddy reflections, considering and discussing our progress on our individual development plans.
The close for the day was an acknowledgement to others within our cohort on things that particularly assisted us through this journey. There is no doubt that each individual is an amazingly talented person with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that we have been able to draw on during our journey to date.
Boroondara Leadership Program participants, 8 December 2015