“Everything matters. Think about what each participant will see, hear and feel as they enter the room.”
– Jon Berghoff
At Insight Solutions, we’re committed to helping our clients perform at their best. In order to honor that commitment, we recognize the value in continuing to evolve the skills and knowledge we use to best serve our clients.
In order to sharpen my own skills, I recently attended the “Learning Exchange and Accelerated Design” retreat hosted by the Flourishing Leadership Institute (FLI) on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Facilitated by Jon Berghoff, this event brought together 25 of the most experienced XChange facilitators to learn from each other and spend time designing upcoming client events.
Jon Berghoff, Co-founder of FLI, is also the creator of XChange, an approach used to facilitate conversations that deliver exponential outcomes. The approach is used to design events and facilitate groups of people through immersive, experiential activities which accelerates the creation of psychological safety, creates deep connection through meaningful conversations and naturally elevates the levels of engagement, commitment and support among the group for the initiatives they co-create together. FLI has partnered with some of the most influential organizations on the planet to help align their resources around their biggest opportunities, including Facebook, BMW, Habitat for Humanity and TEDx.
The People in the Room
This event started, as many XChange events do, with a connection to purpose. This activity is so important and so powerful for a great number of reasons.
It allows the event to start with the participants’ voices, which is deeply symbolic. It invites people to reflect on, connect with and then share why they are present and what they hope to gain and give while at the event. All too often a meeting, retreat or conference starts with participants passively listening to someone tell them why the event is important. Instead, we chose to ask why it’s important. It sets the foundation for the entire remainder of the event, whether that’s a matter of hours or days. By facilitating this activity with an “active learning sequence” the engagement is dramatically increased, often by 200% to 300% according to the research. By inviting participants to stand, move and form small groups, we introduce positive changes in physiology and create energy, rather than the default, disengaged “sit and hide behind a laptop” which has become so commonplace in meetings today and I’m sure you can relate to that! This activity simply doesn’t allow you to be disengaged!
Asking “why are you here” is such an important and powerful question. But this time at the LEAD retreat, there was a twist. After we answered that question, Berghoff posed an even more powerful and transcendent question: “why are we here?”
This is how the people in the room answered!
“A greater purpose”
“A new earth”
“Shift the way the world works”
“From me… to we”
“Community and connection”
“We are a small rock, starting a large ripple effect”
“Facilitate positive change”
“Develop our tools in the service of what is good”
“Energy, inspiration, amplify our work and change the world!”
What kind of learning might be possible when you bring together 25 of the most experienced XChange facilitators, to learn from each other and then amplify that learning throughout the entire community… perhaps even the world?
As any good facilitator knows, when you bring a group of people together, you must have a proven process and methodology to manage and move the group efficiently through an experience, to ultimately create and deliver the intended outcome. As you do this, being aware of and managing the energy in the room is critical to the event’s overall success. There is an inherent “energy circuit” that is formed in the room among the participants that the facilitator, as the leader, is entrusted to manage with the utmost care.
So, how do you bring together 25 (or 200, or more) people, all from different backgrounds, varying levels of expertise and types of application and determine how they might learn from each other most efficiently and effectively? The XChange answer to this dilemma is what we refer to as the “Application Grid”.
The “Application Grid” is a way to very quickly uncover and visually depict how and where people are applying the work they perform. We use this to hear and see what projects and types of events community members are working on and then form design teams accordingly. It allows people who are working on similar projects to collaborate and co-create together, it allows people with expertise in certain areas to say “come see me, I can help you” and it also shows where our community as a whole is having the most impact with our work.
As a side note, it’s also wildly inspiring to start with a blank canvas and within minutes see bright colors filling the space, each colorful square a representation of the powerful and positive impact of the work. Just take a look at the pictures!
Intrigued… inspired… curious how the Application Grid or Connection to Purpose activity may be applied in your organization?
Contact Insight Solutions to learn how!
Whether you’re designing a user interface for the next cutting-edge mobile app, a new consumer product or a transformative client experience, there are a few best practice philosophies and principles to follow when designing. Berghoff leverages the core principles of design thinking to incorporate powerful “design sprints” into XChange client experiences. This allows large and small groups to prototype ideas in real time and then create action or deployment plans which bring these ideas to life.
Berghoff teaches these best practice principles at the LEAD retreat, which allows participants to apply them in the design of the events they work on while there. Participants move between highly structured and then progressively less structured design sequences, being given the freedom to work independently at first, followed by the option to work in small groups. The key design thinking principles used are: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Iterate.
At the LEAD retreat we see ideas and concepts transform into written plans and frameworks. These plans are then iterated and built upon multiple times with input from other experts and as new ideas are born from their creators. It is not uncommon to see someone enter the room on day one with nothing more than a confirmed engagement date and list of client outcomes and by day two they have a fully crafted, well vetted and highly effective event designed and ready to go. Often these events are then executed within days or weeks of leaving the retreat.
How to Get Involved
Where else can you gain access to so many experts, effectively leverage their collective wisdom to benefit your own design and have the opportunity to give back to the community by coaching and supporting your colleagues in the process? The answer is the XChange community and our LEAD retreats!
If you’re a leader, facilitator, change agent, coach, convener or community leader of any kind, explore what FLI has to offer through their XChange training. It’s truly the future of leadership and the most effective way to create exponential outcomes through powerfully crafted experiences and meaningful conversations! Download a free book chapter by Berghoff here to learn more about the XChange approach.