Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Archive for July, 2013

Balance – what does this mean to you?

2012-07-08 17.14.28Work life balance is a topic regularly discussed … Considered …stressed over… What’s right and what’s wrong? Is it really a fallacy that we should move on from?

There are many ways to approach the topic. For me it’s a question of values, purpose, passion and taking care of ourselves.

Values: if we are clear about our core values they can guide our time. Family is very important to me and prioritising time for them is something I strive to do.

Purpose and passion: if we know what motivates us to jump out of bed in the morning, looking forward to our day, and spending time on activities se love we will be happier people. I love my work, it is my passion to develop people skills in others. People look at my often crazy lifestyle and think my work life is out of whack… And I don’t deny that sometimes it is!

Taking care of ourselves or energy management: what do we need to do to mange our energy levels? The answer will be different for all of us and depend on our workloads, age of our dependants and personal needs. For me taking time out is a walk on the beach, some time to write, to read or create something, what is it for you?

Getting in the Go Zone and the No Zone … I recently heard Mark McKeon speak about time management and I liked his concept of the Zones. The Go Zone being about maximum productive time and the No Zone – when you are not at work and not thinking about work. The important part of the No Zone is time when you are not thinking about work – time when you are focused on something completely different and relaxing. After a weekend of Silversmithing classes this weekend I have caught up on some No Zone!

Next time someone tells you how busy they are – ask them if they are enjoying what makes them busy … if they are then perhaps their life is not so out of  balance – we are all different.

I’ll be happy when….

2013-06-09 14.46.39How often do we hear people say “I’ll be happy when……” Time to change our point of view!
Let’s all be happy now!

People are as happy as they make up their minds to be” Abraham Lincoln

I have been inspired by the work of Professor Martin Sellingman and Kathryn McEwen about happiness and resilience.

So what makes us happy? It’s all about attitude and importantly an ability to be present and enjoy “the now”.

Positive emotions – we have more control over our emotions than most of us believe we do. We can chose how we look at situations and how we might respond. The simple “gratitude” task, of identifying three things we are grateful for each day will make us focus on what has worked well, rather than what hasn’t, and make us feel happier with our lives.
When you go to bed tonight… go to sleep thinking tomorrow will be a great day – it’s amazing how changing our thought patterns can affect how we see the world.

Engagement – doing activities where we work in “flow” – the time simply disappears. What are the activities that you love to do, the ones that bring enjoyment and fulfilment? Understanding your strengths can help to identify this. Visit Martin Selligman’s website and do the VIA Strengths questionnaire to find out your signature strengths.

Relationships – I like to surround myself with positive people. People who give out energy, who enjoy life, are optimistic and fun to be with.
Having people in our lives we can rely on, we can off load on, to celebrate with and to cry with is important for our general well being and happiness.

Meaning – this is a sense of purpose – a connection to something bigger than ourselves and that we are making a contribution. This includes the application of your unique strengths and the development of virtues towards a larger end than yourself.

Achievement – Martin Selligman talks about Grit – the determination to work hard at something and to see it through. This sense of achievement of completing a task makes us happy. Our greatest motivator is a sense of progress and some recognition for this progress.

Martin Selligman has written several books about the art of happiness – Authentic happiness, Florish and Learned Optimism. I was very fortunate to hear him speak in Adelaide last year.

“The very good news is there are quite a number of internal circumstances, under your voluntary control, – if you decide to change them, your level of happiness is likely to increase lastingly – Selligman 

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Planning for success

2013-04-11 14.20.35The biggest mistake made with workshops is cramming too much in. If we genuinely want people to develop new skills and knowledge which they can apply after the workshop use the KISS principle. Workshop developers often seem to think they must impart as much knowledge as possible in the shortest time frame possible, agendas are packed so full that by morning tea we have forgotten what was discussed first thing that morning.

When planning workshops I like to use  Bennetts Hierarchy, it provides a useful framework to refer to when you are developing the  agenda. I have simplified and modified Bennetts to make it practical for me.

Outcome – what is the intended outcome of the workshop, what is the big picture we are aiming to achieve? Gaining clarity about your outcome will help you design the right approach. Are you building skills or is your session about creating awareness?

Practice change – what do we want people to do differently as a result of attending our workshop or session. What tangible measurable change do we want them to make.

KASA changes – this is a very important step to consider

a. Knowledge – what knowledge is essential for the outcome and practice change. Lets not overwhelm people with everything we know and try to pump them full of every bit of knowledge on the topic we have collected over a lifetime! The trick is to make it simple to understand and impactful – provide links to extra information for the data hungry person, provide books for people to look at, and keep the information provided simple, easy to understand and apply and useful. What do they really really need to know!

b. Attitudes – this refers to the feelings/attitudes we are generating in the learning journey. What feelings do we want to create – confidence to make the change and meet the outcome, a positive, open approach to learning, a can do attitude?

c. Skills – the hands on doing. What do we want our participants to be able to do as a result of attending our workshop? How competent do we want them be when they leave to implement their learning’s? Remember knowledge doesn’t always lead to practice change where as skills development can.

d. Aspirations – what motivations do we want to instil in our participants. How do we want them to approach the practice change once they leave the workshop?

Activities  – once we have thought through these steps then we can start to think about the best activities to achieve our practice change while keeping the KASA in the front of our minds.

Resources – what resources do we need to complete our workshop activity; this can include our facilitation kit, venue, speakers, funding etc. These are the tangible requirements, which will make the workshop a success.

Now you have determined the knowledge and skills you would like participants to have and the activities to achieve the practice change the next step is to plan the agenda and think about the time frames required.

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