I Showed Up At My Workshop with Nothing But a 12-Foot Pole. And Here’s What Happened.

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Last week I facilitated a team building workshop for one of my favorite clients. Typically, I only deliver training on customer service, but my client had a special request.

My client explained that “We need to work together, make decisions together, and communicate according to the styles of each person. In essence, we need to build a strong cohesive team.”

So I designed a unique Team-building Customer Service event built around a 12-foot pole. Here’s what I did. I showed up with no workbooks, and after 19 years of delivering workshops, training sans workbooks is a first for me.

I stood in front of the audience and pulled out my pole. And I told my group of 13 people that their task was to merely lower the stick to the floor. It sounds simple. Incredulous, the group stared at me, like, seriously?

I divided the class up into two groups and explained the rules. You’ll start with the pole waist high, you cannot lose contact with the pole at any time, and only gravity can move the pole (that is, the pole couldn’t be pushed or pulled down).

After my instruction, I stepped back and watched. Within seconds, the group learned that this exercise was anything but simple. Continue reading “I Showed Up At My Workshop with Nothing But a 12-Foot Pole. And Here’s What Happened.”

Two Perspectives Are Better Than One

Last weekend my brother and I photographed our cousin’s wedding. We aren’t professional photographers. We’re just a couple of photography enthusiasts who got lucky when our cousin needed a photographer for her big day. When my cousin approached me about shooting her wedding, I immediately thought to ask my brother to join me. I wanted his help because he’s such a great photographer and because I knew that having two cameras would be better than one.

Today I’m sitting in my home office sifting through the nearly 2,000 shots my brother and I took at the wedding.  We took pictures of the same people and the same things, but our photos turned out so very different.  He angled and framed his shots in a way that gave him a completely unique and distinct perspective that was unlike my perspective. I zeroed in on candid shots and captured people in the moment unawares. My brother beautifully captured the traditional moments of the bride and her father coming down the aisle, the cutting of the cake, the toast and the first dance. My photos of the ring bearer helping a flower girl with her shoe, the groomsmen looking GQ as they walked through the church parking lot and the bride’s sister lovingly carrying the bride’s train as they approached the back of the church are priceless moments that would have been otherwise forgotten.

Two people see the same things very differently. The combined perspective of two people is synergy and is far better.

My photos alone, while precious, would have been an incomplete story of my cousin’s big day. My brother’s traditional and expected shots would have delighted the happy couple, but my surprise candid shots help make for an amazing picture story. Two people see the same things very differently. The combined perspective of two people is synergy and is far better.

The point: When working on a project, more perspectives are better than fewer. Hear out the ideas of all members. Look for the gems in everyone’s contribution. The more diverse the team, the better the perspective and the better the final project outcome.