As you think forward into the fall and on into 2012 and contemplate your work life on a day-to-day basis, what images come to mind?
If the future looks a bit grey, a bit like a “conveyor belt day” of nonstop meetings, emails, deadlines, committees, more meetings, budgets, projections, plans, conference calls, errands, files, too much to do and not enough time (sounding familiar?), you might just be missing an opportunity to tap into your unique gifts.
Often in the workplace, we tend to set aside our hobbies, unique interests, and hidden talents while we go about being diligent in our professional conveyor belt lives. And this is a huge loss. The fact of the matter is, your greatest strength as a professional lies in harnessing your unique gifts and bringing them into the workplace.
In a breakout session I do titled The Prism Effect™ & The Art of Teamwork, I explore ways that leaders can apply their own unique gifts, talents, passions and hobbies in their everyday work lives to improve teamwork, presentation skills and communication skills.
Hmmm. Let’s look at your life.
First, what are the activities you love doing? Not like. LOVE.
The answer might range from photography to video editing, camping to racquetball, singing to scrapbook work, football to blues guitar, dancing to sailing.
Second, how can you — even on the smallest scale — bring this into your work environment? Maybe it’s a photo on a wall, an analogy in a presentation, or a prop you use when explaining an idea or concept.
How does dancing relate to education? What’s the connection between film making and putting together a pitch? How about cooking and sales? Comedy and….?
When I do this with groups, the room lights up as people share their passions and brainstorm on ways to incorporate these passions in a work environment. And this type of energy and joy represent what is often missing from teamwork today.
People think of teamwork as a serious endeavor. They think of sports and war analogies such as rowing and crew or fighter pilots and flying Teamwork, however, can (and should) be fun and engaging. People perform at their best when they are using their unique gifts and having fun, not just when they are under insane top down pressure.
And what better way to access this level of performance than to tap into the activities that make people happy outside of work and weave them into organizational & corporate communications–as a PowerPoint image, a metaphor, a group activity, an example regarding complexity or structure, or even as room decor.
- What if you loved golf? What if you started your next meeting holding a golf ball and compared this to the complexities of education and funding? It’d be MUCH better than starting a speech with a slide titled, “Education Outlook: Funding Issues in 2012.” Snooze.
- What if you loved sewing? One woman in my workshop came up with the idea of creating a quilt with patches made by each person in the office, whether fancy or simple, and then framing it.
- What if you loved running? One man’s team came up with the idea of his using the analogy of preparing for a race to explain to his team the importance of training.
- What if you loved comedy? One professor I know starts his classes with either a comedic video clip or his very own Letterman-style “Top 10 List.” Fun, eh? His students run across campus to be sure to make it on time to his class.
- What if you loved drumming? What if you put two drumsticks on your desk in a pencil holder? It might lead to some pretty interesting conversations. And you might find yourself drumming between phone calls on your stack of file folders. If this image makes you smile, welcome to the power of The Prism Effect.
Tapping into The Prism Effect™ energizes and inspires your teams, your organizations and most of all, yourself. What are you waiting for? Take one small action tomorrow — one tiny step — that brings a creative idea to your world of work…and tie it into your message, your teaching, your leadership vision, your theme. Then, watch what happens next. People are soon going to be talking about how fun you are, how smart you are, how inspiring and creative you are.
And guess what? You’re already all these things. You’ve just been holding yourself back.
Now…you have permission. Go get ’em. And write me with the results. I might just feature you in the new book!!