01 Jun Teamwork and Shared Vision: A Workshop Recap

Last week I spent two energizing days delivering an evening keynote address and a half-day workshop for the Administrative Staff Group of the Peel District School Board.  These are the ‘behind the scenes’ folks who do the necessary work to make the school district run smoothly – human resources, finance, learning and development, technology, etc. Once a year they gather for an off-site conference where they learn new skills and come together as a team.

Read to the end to learn about a great technique one of the team’s leaders shared with me… it’s a great one that could really benefit your team.

The event was held at the beautiful Hockley Valley Resort and Conference Centre outside Toronto. After spending Thursday morning in a variety of activities (nature hike, painting class, yoga, etc) it was time for a Laughter and Happiness workshop delivered by Marjorie Moulin.  Marjorie presented some compelling data around the value of laughter in the workplace, then got the whole group laughing.  (Look for my interview with Marjorie in the coming weeks.)

Dan Presenting the Workshop

I was honored to deliver the evening keynote address on The Magic of Thinking Differently About Leadership. I’ve presented a lot of after-dinner keynotes and absolutely love doing so because by the end of a day of meetings (not to mention a great meal with wine), groups tend to be relaxed and animated. The Peel team was one of the most interactive and responsive groups I’ve worked with in a long time. I love when my rhetorical questions actually provoke a verbal response! I think the ball started rolling when the director of Peel DSB volunteered his $50 bill for the opening piece of magic. He got a bunch of laughs and I was happy to share the stage with him.

 “You were, hands-down, our best keynote and workshop ever. Many, many thanks! “ – Carla Pereira 

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After my keynote, everyone moved to the hospitality suite for some fun karaoke, games and conversation. I stopped by with a deck of cards and did a trick for a few folks.  Before long, I had about 30 people crowded around my table and I did one of my favorite card routines. Here’s a little glimpse…

The conference culminated in my Communication and Teamwork Workshop. I spent 3 hours helping the 70 participants embrace new ways of thinking about their work and teammates.  It was a lively group with lots of great ideas and insights, eager to learn new ways of approaching their jobs. As in all my work, I use magic tricks, optical illusions and group activities to tap into the different learning styles in the room.

As is usually the case, I learned from them. One of the managers, Cindy Ryan, shared a great idea with me and I’m happy to pass it on to you – the Shared Vision Conversation. At the beginning of the fiscal year, she and her team sit down and formulate their Vision for the coming year. Once they’ve identified it, they come up with a list of major priorities and tasks that will help accomplish the Vision. She prints up the results and each member of the team gets a copy that they keep in full view on their desk. By concentrating their efforts on the vision, they are able to keep focused as competing priorities come up throughout the year.

The Shared Vision Conversation is a really simple and effective way to be sure your entire team is on the same page. While it certainly is useful on a yearly basis, I’d suggest that it’s just as powerful when heading into any project.  Sit down, get clear on your team’s vision and priorities, then move forward secure in the knowledge that you and your team are all working together.

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Shift Perspectives In Your Organization

During my keynotes and workshops, I challenge participants about the perspectives that they hold onto that can be causing them to resist change or hinder projects. Through the use of magic they experience how their worldview is just one of many. See The Magic of Thinking Differently to find out more.


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