It seems that getting together in the flesh remains a novelty.
Notwithstanding the fact that I’m writing this on July 19th as Britain turns to mush in a heatwave - which means a hefty proportion of our esteemed citizens default to the national baseline of wearing (and burning) flesh and not much else – work colleagues have been generally used to Covid-induced remoteness rather than proximity.
This means that whatever the client gives you in a smart, measurable outcomes brief for a corporate away day gig the bottom line, dear Workshop Lead, is this: We just want to enjoy being back together again in one place, OK?
Just make sure you give us the insightful, bespoke learning-by-stealth stuff as well though.
Such was my responsibility with Active Lancashire
recently who were getting their 50 or so senior folks together for the first time in bloomin’ ages at a rather delightful venue in the Lancashire hills https://thewellbeingfarm.co.uk
Managing the attraction of the resident Farmers Llamas proved an unexpected challenge, but hey -you just gotta play with what’s in front of you, right?
The afternoon was squared away with Ye Ole Skool Sports Day which put me as the extended warm up act in the morning. ‘Emotional Resilience*’ is a pretty broad church but the difference this year is that I’ve found myself being asked to present this in the context of Covid, hybrid working and the so-called new world of work for which the rule books are being frantically written (and re-written).
*What I Think This Means: How to behave and think in order to feel more in control of more of your sh** for more of the time.
This is because we’ve all been on the receiving end of a forced experience which means the precedents and learned good practice are playing frantic catch up. Right now there are still way more shades of grey here than black and white.
This is great for someone like me who is blissfully happy with shades of grey ‘cos it gives me a licence to go digging and be creative and then present with a floursh the Complex Made Simple solutions.
And I really like being my own boss.
Not so good for folks who like certainty – or leaders who are tasked to choose just what should actually be black, white or grey in this forced new workplace realty AND get their people to buy it.
Given that I make my living positioned as a so-called expert in my chosen fields it has been beholden on me to seriously figure out some stuff on stuff I’ve never had to seriously figure out before in all my decades of hopping in and out of boardrooms, classrooms and team away day er, rooms:
Help – my staff want to stay working from home!
Help – my staff want to come back to work!
Overwhelm: How the f**k did that happen so easily?
Overwhelm: Why the f**k is it so damn difficult to get out of?
Silo remote working and the Collapse Of Workplace Culture
Chain of Command v Chain of Communication
How do I take the temperature if I’m not physically walking the floor?
I know what they’re telling me – but how do I really know (what they feel)?
Sacrificed on the alter of remote working: Innovation & Creativity
We can’t actually re-write our rules – can we?
Trust me, there’s way more!
Safe to say the full answers are all very much a Work In Progress – except the problems are real and pressing right now which means WIP is no good to the people who are tasked to wrestle with this and at least get it in a temporary headlock.
So: Back to basics – and that ‘give us a good time’ brief.
Photos of my extended warm up by Steve Wiley, Active Lancashire
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