Being a team building facilitator one of my most sought-after program requests is for "Leadership Development." As we know, we can run some amazing experiential leadership programs with a wide variety of team building activities and we can connect almost any leadership theory to the process and outcomes our groups encounter.
I just finished reading, The Courageous Leader (2017) by Angela Sebaly. (Angela, among other endeavors, is one of the owners - with Michelle Cummings - of Personify Leadership. A company that helps leaders reach their full potential.)
I've read a great deal of leadership theory over the past 20 years, moving along with the ebb and flow of ideas weaving them into my team building programs. What I really like about Angela's perspective on leadership is the aspect of courage and how it relates to leadership development. And, I love the parallels (I can see) between being a courageous leader and being a courageous (team building) facilitator. Here are some of the ideas from early on in the book that speak to both the leader and facilitator:
You will fail. You will fall down and scrape your knees, break a bone, and maybe even end up in a body case (metaphorically speaking, of course). There will be pain. Courage is the willingness to do something in the face of fear, discomfort, and pain. As a result, courage is what separates those of us who want something from those of us who achieve it. (xv)
As human beings, we are meaning-making machines. We do not leave the situation [we are in and experiencing] as data. Instead we add meaning, which creates emotion. The emotion we choose [or comes up for us] is based on the meaning we give the situation. Or, said differently, the meaning we give to a situation creates the emotion we feel. (p. 11)
Another honest realization that Angela tells us is that being a courageous leader [and I will add team building facilitation] involves pain. Most people will wince at this honest expectation of leadership [and facilitation] development.
The Courageous Leader is about being courageous in tough times. So, what are tough times, and what exactly is courage?
The fear of that pain is what stalls most leaders [and facilitators]. (p. 5)
Each of the main chapters in The Courageous Leader is filled with stories and lessons from Angela's personal experiences as a leader and from the leaders she's worked with and interviewed. The chapters also emphasize how courage, along with aspects of "pain" are vital for exponential growth and success. Here are the courageous chapters in the book:
If you deliver leadership development programs or you have the opportunity to develop leaders within your company or program, I recommend The Courageous Leader. It's a smooth engaging read with great take-aways. Not only for the leader in you and others, but for team building facilitators and their awareness of how they can present themselves to their groups. (Another Question: Are team building facilitators leaders?)
Listen to Angela (in this two-minute video interview) tell us about the "Big Temptation" - as leaders we are tempted to avoid pain, but in the long run, it often creates even more pain.
Reviews of The Courageous Leader Check out the Amazon sales page to read the rave reviews (found below the book details). Over 5000 copies have already been sold in just a few months.
Be courageous my friends! And, keep me posted.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
In December of 2016 I posted a basic presentation of the activity ZOOM along with a newer variation I learned from my friend Scott Goldsmith. A while back I tried a variation of ZOOM that was new for me - I made it up prior to a particular program. (Now, this doesn't mean I was the first one to come up with the idea - you know how they float around once someone thinks one up.) I forgot about this variation until today when I ran across some video footage I took of some ZOOMers in action. So, after a little editing on my phone I have the video for you and the step-by-steps below.
As ZOOMers know, there are about 30 usable picture pages from the book (after you cut off the spine of the book and laminate all the pages). For this example (as in the video) I'll set up play using all 30 pictures.
ZOOM: On The Spot
Rules of Play:
Please let me reiterate one thing. Be sure your put down the reference pictures in the right place so that the pictures, placed down by the group members, will connect appropriately to ones visible. (I'm guessing you can guess why I know putting them in the wrong place is not fun!!)
Your discussion(s) will be related to two possible outcomes (or three if you misplaced a reference picture): 1) All the pictures are in the correct order (based on the order of picture pages in the book), or 2) two or more pictures are out of order. Know you will be able to discuss what led to their success, what led to them being "mostly" successful, as well as what participants focused on most when they were not successful - being mostly or not at all successful. Of course, there will be a lot more group dynamics during the activity, so pull out what relates the best to the group's objectives.
Get the Book(s) You can also play this variation with the book ReZoom - find both books at the Training Wheels Gear store.
Have FUN out there! Do you have a ZOOM variation you like? Share it with us in the comments below.
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
The first Riddle Me This Post went up in May of 2016. In it I shared how I like to use riddles with groups. When presented as a group challenge, riddles can help us learn about asking good questions, listening to, and for, important information and provide an opportunity for a group to solve a problem, or “challenge” together.
I have another set of ponderable problems for you here (and a downloadable PDF of the same so you can have them with you on your smart phone or tablet). Once the answers are discovered to the riddles below, they can be used to open up a conversation based on the topic of the riddle - I provided some suggestions to get you started.
Spoiler Alert: Don't scroll down to the bottom too fast if you want some time to try and figure out the answers - you'll find them below.
1. What appears once in every minute, twice in every moment, but not once in a billion years?
How do you spend your free time? What time of day is your favorite? Why? Why does time go faster when you’re having fun and slower when you’re not? If you could go back in time for one day, where would you go and why? What is your opinion about wasting time?
2. What grows down when it grows up?
What are the things you have in your life that come from animals? What are your thoughts about “animal” products? What are substitutes for animal products?
3. What can travel around the world without ever needing any gas?
Where have you traveled to, and why did you go there? Where would you like to travel to someday? Why do you want to go there? What is your favorite way to travel?
4. What gets larger the more you take from it?
What would you say a “hole” is good for? When holes are not good? What does it mean to get yourself into a “hole”? Have you ever gotten yourself into a hole? What’s the story and how does it end? If you could did holes for a good cause, what would it be?
5. What do you leave behind only after you take them?
What do you want to “leave behind” from your life? What do you think you’ve left behind already? What is something left behind by someone else that you find important in your life? If you could leave behind some advice about life right now, what would it be?
6. What has four legs, a head, and leaves?
Thinking about your daily meals, where do you tend to eat these meals? Do you like to eat alone or with others? What meals do you tend to spend with family? When’s the last time you sat down around the table for a meal with others? What are some of the important details about sharing a meal with others – why might this be a good thing?
7. What can run but can't walk?
Tell us a “water” story in your life? What sorts of water sports are you involved in? How did you get involved in water sports? (Who got you started?) What do we “know” about water? What are some of the ways you can “save” water in your life? How would your life change if you had to walk two miles a day to bring water to your family? (This happens!)
8. What never was, but always will be?
When you think about tomorrow, what do you think about? What’s happening in your life tomorrow that’s important to you? If tomorrow was the same as today, what would you change? If anything was possible, what would you do tomorrow?
9. What is the difference between here and there?
How would you describe the “here” you are in right now? What is here in your life that you appreciate? What is here in your life that you would like to change? What do you believe is out “there” for you? Describe some things that are over “there” – things outside your reach. How can you get closer to those things out of reach? What resources do you need to get “there”?
10. When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?
What holidays do you celebrate in your life? Which holiday is your favorite? Why? What is your overall opinion about holidays? If you could add a holiday, what would you call it and what part of the year would it be celebrated?
PDF Download of Riddles and Suggested Topics for Discussions
Spoiler - Answers Below...
Answers: 1) The Letter M, 2) A Goose, 3) The Moon, 4) A Hole, 5) Footsteps, 6) A Dining Room Table, 7) Water, 8) Tomorrow, 9) The Letter T, 10) In the Dictionary
Do you have some favorite riddles? Share them in the Comments below. I love to hear from you all!!
All the best,
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.