The Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, CA is where some of the most talented athletes in the world call home while training to compete in the Olympic Games. Insight Solutions recently facilitated as part of a world class team to deliver an experiential leadership development program like no other.
This program uncovered and shared the experience, wisdom and insight of medal winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes with the nearly 1,000 participants who enjoyed this unique program over the course of three days!
In “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” Chip and Dan Heath (authors of “Made to Stick”) talk about a three-part recipe to create extraordinary and memorable moments.
When looking to create a memorable and impactful experience, these 3 ingredients help create the conditions necessary to solidify the experience in our memory and encourage us to share the experience with others. All three ingredients aren’t always required, but their research shows that the more ingredients present, the stronger the moment becomes.
The three ingredients are:
Boost the sensory appeal
Raise the stakes
Break the script
Let’s look at how these three ingredients were leveraged in this program to create a truly memorable experience.
Boost the Sensory Appeal: In order to manage over 300 participants per day, every element of this event was precisely choreographed. Sensory appeal was immediately elevated as eight full-size tour buses entered the campus of the Elite Athlete Training Center and participants from around the globe entered the immense indoor archery gymnasium for the opening keynote. As U.S. Paralympic Medalist Lex Gillete and his Paralympic Guide Runner Jerome Avery took the stage, the audience was invited to wear blindfolds as they were led through a visualization of what it would be like on the starting line of the 100M dash at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo… as a blind athlete. After the opening keynote, attendees were whisked away to various locations of the training facility for sessions which took place where athletes actually train. Being surrounded by the equipment and facilities used by Olympic medalists is not something that happens every day and certainly elevated the sensory experience.
Raise the Stakes: Several of these immersive experiences actually invited competition among the attendees. Imagine receiving instruction from an Olympic Archery Coach and then being challenged in a shooting competition with your peers! Or consider the stakes if you were quickly shown several rugby maneuvers by medal-winning athletes and then put up against another team to see who could execute better. Creating an environment of friendly competition encouraged people to bring their best and execute on the new skills they had learned only moments ago.
Break the Script: Challenge the status quo, deliver the unexpected or defy expectations – these are all ways to “break the script” according to Chip and Dan Heath. What would someone typically expect of a leadership development experience? Perhaps hearing from a consultant, experienced leader or other industry recognized figure. But what if… instead, the person who entered to talk about world class leadership was a medal-winning Olympic athlete, world renowned high performance coach or a Paralympic athlete who had overcome a great physical disadvantage to compete on the world stage – would that cause you to pay closer attention? I’m sure it would and that’s exactly how this program broke the script! An unbelievable team of world class athletes and coaches delivered sessions where they shared what had been learned by competing with the best in the world and often coming out on top. The lessons where then coupled with different exercises to deepen the learning impact and connect the content to a specific leadership competency. This left participants with immediately practical ways to implement what they had learned in both their own personal or professional environments.
Consider how you might use the three ingredients above to change the experiences in your world and create more memorable and impactful moments. Start slow and experiment with one ingredient and as you gain confidence and see the results, consider adding more.