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Here are a range of activities which will help you to extend your learning beyond what we we covered earlier in the year.

Bold choices

It is easy for us to forget the control we have over our own destiny. We can get caught up in the day-to-day, in the habits and behaviours that prevail in the organisations we work in. But we always have a choice - this activity helps you to explore your options. 

Activity: Bold Choices

Purpose: to help build the case for change, and understanding of how the choices we make influence the outcome. 

  • Watch the film and consider the bold choices you have made in your life. 
  • How have they served you? 
  • What support did you need to help them to succeed?
  • What bold choices can you make in terms of leading your team?
  • What support do you need?
  • Create a plan for action

Personal investment model

Every day we have a choice to bring with us either a positive or negative attitude, and we can apply to that attitude either a low or high amount of energy. Whatever state we arrive in will have implications to our own performance and that of those around us, so we need to ensure we understand our impact and what we can do to ensure it is a positive one. 

Activity: Personal Investment Model

Purpose: to identify where you and your team are currently and what you need to do to move towards or sustain more 'Player' Behaviour

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  • Print off a copy of the worksheet 
  • Explain the two axes, and explore each of the elements, in the order of Cynic, Spectator, Victim, Player. Ask the team "What are we seeing/hearing when people are operating from each place?"
  • Ask the team to assess where they are spending most of the their time now.
  • Discuss: What has created that situation?
  • If the group is large enough break into four smaller groups, asking each to explore one of the four states - ask each group to contemplate and make notes - “What do we need to do in order to shift into more consistent player behaviour?” – Consider this from both a personal perspective (What do I need to do?) and also from a team perspective (“How do we need to work together to be more Player?).
  • Have a discussion in plenary with regard to the team question. Identify between 1-3 actions that you can all commit to.
  • Ask everyone to share 1 thing they are going to do personally that will help them maintain Player mode.
  • Add item to next team meeting to share progress.

Driving performance

Being able to give and receive feedback is an essential part of managing performance - both ours and that of our teams and colleagues. But how many of us can honestly say we always speak our truth? How often do we solicit (and listen to!) the opinions of others? 

Activity One: Feedback Skills

Purpose: Understanding how to give and receive feedback

  • Ask the team why they think feedback is important and list the benefits. The goal is always to help the other person - either to help them to sustain behaviour or to improve performance. 
  • Ask them on a scale of 1-10 (1=terrible and 10=outstanding), how good you are as a team at giving each other feedback (think both motivational feedback and developmental).
  • Remind them of the benefits they have identified and ask them to think of practical ways that you could collectively get better at giving feedback.
  • Introduce the team to 3 models that help to give and receive better feedback – BOOST, AID and DERAC.
  • Pair people up in a way that they can give each other some meaningful feedback.
  • Ask them to think about both a piece of motivational and developmental feedback that they can give each other, give them a few minutes to prepare and then in their pairs they share their feedback (this may feel strange and uncomfortable but ask the team to be brave and experiment with it to see how it can be useful).
  • In plenary, ask the team to share their reflections on what that felt like.
  • Let the team know that feedback is essential to helping improve engagement and performance. Schedule in a session at your weekly team meetings and ask your team to prepare a piece of motivational and a piece of developmental feedback for one person in the team (as leader you prepare some for everyone so that you ensure everyone leaves having both given and received feedback).
  • This can be repeated until you are providing each other with feedback on a spontaneous and regular basis

Are you above the line or below the line?

Something leaders often ask themselves is ‘Where am I?’ 

A simple line can provide us with some insight - are you above the line or below the line in terms of how you respond to what is going on in any given moment?

Below the line:

  • This state is characterised by being closed, defensive and committed to being right. When we are below the line we are heavily invested in certain beliefs and the need to be right about them.
  • Scarcity belief is strong, that there is not enough (fill in the blank)... time, money, space, love, energy.
  • There is also a belief that someone or something is a threat to our need for approval, control or security.
  • The view from here is serious and the deeper below the line we are, the more serious the situation is.
  • We know when we are below the line because we behave in certain ways - we find fault or blame elsewhere, we gossip, explain, rationalise and justify,  get overwhelmed and either avoid or pursue conflict all for the sake of winning.

Above the line:

  • This state is characterised by being open, curious and committed to learning. When we are here we believe that learning and growing are more important than being right.
  • We believe that all people and circumstances are allies and here for our growth.
  • We believe that at a distance, almost everything can be funny.
  • In this state we behave with curiosity, listen deeply, speak unarguably, question our beliefs and experiment.

Interestingly, we are hardwired to go below the line. Our brains are pattern recognition machines scouring the world around us for perceived threats and as they do this a chemical cocktail courses through our veins forcing us below the line. This reaction is part of our evolutionary history and is designed to help us react to a real threat to our physical survival.

A difficultly in the modern world where our physicality is less threatened than when were were hunter/gatherers is that our brain can’t distinguish the difference between a threat to our physical self and a threat to our ego or identity. So whilst we are hard wired to go below the line, it isn’t a particularly useful state for us to be in when the modern working world needs us to be creative, collaborative and innovative.

Building Awareness

The first step is self awareness. So some questions to help you:

  • When are you above the line? 

  • When do you go below the line?

  • What is going on that triggers you to go below the line?

  • How might you be able to take responsibility (focus on the things that are in your direct control - your business) to help move you back above the line?

Watch this video by Navy SEALs for some useful insights into how to move your thinking and behaviour above the line.