July 7, 2019•935 words
I think I'm ready to plan for the second iteration of an experiment I conducted earlier in 2019. Some background first.
As a partner at LeadIN, one of my roles has been to engage people in peer led learning circles. The circles are designed to create a space outside of work, personal routines, and social obligations, in order to ponder, experiment, and iterate on your leadership path. Like most things worth taking the time for, it's simple, there are no stage productions, no headline motivational speaker and deep bass or drums to get the blood flowing. It's taking the time to breath, to learn, to have a conversation, to take action, and to be held accountable to your leadership goal.
The challenge for LeadIN has been, that it's growth primarily relies on word of mouth, because like most things that really matter to me, and perhaps, to you, is that we're really not very comfortable promoting something, unless we're sure about it or respect it. This has worked wonderfully well for LeadIN in D.C. The space where people gather, once a week for 10 weeks is provided by the Chicago School of Psychology, D.C. campus. Facilitators, like myself and Zarko, the founder, spend our time, without pay, with each cohort. The costs outside of our time are negligible, and we like it this way. Because our intention is to introduce our leadership peer learning format to organizations. Can you imagine, mixing and matching departments, regardless of rank, or position, into 10 week cohorts that they are responsible for partly delivering. We know it works, we have the measures to demonstrate the shifts in teams, but again, the challenge is, anyone that's believed in us and invited us, has either attended LeadIN or has been invited to learn about LeadIN by alumni.
So my experiment. In Dubai, I was able to convene people to attend a teaser workshop, the subject was first time managers. There are a few obstacles related to this particular format. Some of which legal. More importantly, there is a glut of free personal development workshops in Dubai. And I've not been able to position LeadIN in a manner that makes us stand out. So I opted to experiment with an all remote format while I was in D.C.
I invited people from the Creative Bunch, so sticking to what works, inviting people I have a relationship with. Out of 110 people, 7 people signed up. Out of the 7, 4 were able to make the first 2 meetings. The third meeting? Didn't happen. Part of the challenge was the nature of our geography, with restrictions to video conferencing software, participants in 3 time zones, and possibly way too much upfront work that was required to be a part of the group. People needed to do a Strengthsfinder test, then fill out a questionnaire that became a benchmark for their current state, then film a video 2 mins long, about a current challenge they have, then review the videos of the other people, and then show up for the call. You wouldn't be wrong to assume that the 4 who showed up for the first 2 meetings, had more interactions with me, than did the others. Meaning to say, they knew me well enough, to be present, and support this initiative.
I spent the better part of today, downloading stock video footage, because I realised, even though it's oft repeated, people are also simple. There are a lot of things vying for a person's attention, and something as important as your leadership path, and it's growth, doesn't register high when there are more pressing needs, or louder distractions.
So I hope to create a series of 1 minute teaser videos, that will try to appeal to people's need to congregate, alluding to rituals, and how they've evolved from creating a meaning for the world, and our place in it, to being removed from our daily lives and rituals being subsumed by likes and swipes.
I've downloaded 120 royalty free stock footage, and now I need to write a script of what feelings trying to solicit from people, and what action I'm trying to have them take. I've committed $500 to this project, which will include a website, and advertising funds, since the copy editing, sound mixing and video editing will be learning project.
I need to first publish the results of the first cohort, I've had three people complete their outgoing questionnaire, and remarkably, there were positive changes, I didn't expect this piece of data to give me good news. I need to think of how I should share with them their results, so that they can easily share it with others, and that way I make it easier for them to be excited about sharing what this space is all about.
So two things need to happen, first, invite the creative bunch to nominate people for the upcoming cohort in the fall, a friend who attended a recent gathering shared the following quote, "If I keep doing the same thing with different people, in different places, at different times, it's always an injustice." I need to be more actively listening to people's needs, and have a hearty mix of zeal and heart, so that I can better understand how needs can be addressed.
I can also offer that anyone that can't physically attend, can be funnelled into an online mastermind option, the growth tribe dxb. It's a weak name, and googling growth tribe only confirms that. What are some names that evoke the warmth of a fire and the strength of community?