In Tom Rath’s Strengths Based Leadership, he outlines what Gallup found most followers want from their leaders:

  • Trust
  • Stability
  • Hope
  • Compassion

Yesterday, I facilitated an all day session designed to solve a problem the organization is facing.

That is 180-degrees different from what I usually do with my days.  My days are typically filled with helping people seize big opportunities.

The contrast couldn’t be more stark between the two scenarios: fleeing from a problem or running toward an opportunity.

Run! Gabriela Camerotti via Compfight

Though both contain people hungry for wins that show them a better tomorrow, many things were different.

The most notable difference was the almost total absence of hope among the attendees.

The absence of hope could be seen via their body language, the way they engaged with the exercises, and their relative lack of creativity when asked what sort of solutions (discrete actions) they wanted to take.

Now, I’ll throw myself under the bus and offer that I could have (and will next time) improve the structure of the day.  Yet, all night I tossed and turned because I just knew that wouldn’t be enough.

Next time, I think I must address, name, and describe the difference between fleeing from a problem and running toward an opportunity.

I must allow the attendees to admit the lack of trust, the absence of stability, the denial of hope, and the yearning for compassion.  When they do, I must validate that these feelings are real, recognizable, and worth addressing.

Without that recognition and permission to feel they ways they are feeling, I don’t think they’ll be able to see any opportunities or have any energy left to actually seize them.

Thank you to Sara for giving me a chance yesterday to do something well away from my usual routine.  The contrast has proven fruitful for my personal learning, and via this blog, I hope been fruitful for the learning of others.

For more information on the day, the learning, and what you might do if you are faced with facilitating a group fleeing from a problem, contact me at enginef0rchange@gmail.com.




3 thoughts on “Hope”

  1. I’m currently reading a book on the importance of organizational health. [http://www.amazon.com/The-Advantage-Organizational-Everything-Business/dp/0470941529/] It is meant to be a practical application of his previous books (5 Dysfunctions of a Team, et al.). It has some good exercises that can help build trust that may be helpful for kicking off a workshop like that.

  2. Melissa Lamerson

    🙂 Sounds like my life and the life of our Learning Organization Facilitators at PHNSY&IMF. We constantly face these types of attitudes and behaviors and after awhile, it gets a little discouraging when you are trying to be the champion for change in the organization. At the end of our work with the team, their perspective shifts (most of the time) and they find themselves embracing the opportunity. Your organization is lucky to have an optimistic facilitator like yourself who champion’s and challenges them in the quest to continually improve, learn and grow. 🙂

  3. April K. Mills

    Melissa – Thanks for the lovely comment. I’m so glad we found each other so we can offer this kind of support to each other to keep both of our engines for change moving forward. The world needs our changes. Have a great weekend!

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