Lesson for a bull in a china shop

I have a colleague in the Thought Leaders community by the name of Lynne Cazaly and she helps teams work together and facilitates outcomes with them … creatively, and I mean REALLY creatively!

So being someone who is a typical ‘bull in a china shop’ there was something about this message that resonated with me and so I wanted to share it especially at this busy time of year where we still have meetings to go to, parties to attend and functions to organise.

Allow warm-up time
“It was a Friday night and the live band started playing in front of the audience. I remember one person in our group of friends said to me ‘come on, get into it’ … as in, ‘start enjoying yourself now, would you?!’

But the music had only just started and it was taking me a little while to get over the busy Friday at work, the phone calls and conversations and to ease in to the evening of socialising and entertainment. I couldn’t ‘get into it’ at the click of her fingers. I needed time to shift from one environment to another.

The same happens when you bring people together for a meeting, conversation, workshop or discussion. You can’t announce ‘start collaborating….. now!’ or ‘OK folks, come up with your best ideas – now!’

Too often I see team or workshop leaders who haven’t created a suitable environment or allowed time to help people ‘get into it’.

So when you bring a team together, do these things:
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  • For the set up and opening, take it slow. If you rush now, you won’t get the best out of the group. The group will achieve more with a great environment where it’s comfortable to participate. And yes, sometimes this is anti-rush; people rush in to a workshop or meeting and will want to rush out; that doesn’t mean your session needs to be a rush too. Set the tone, pace and environment.
  • Explain: why they are there, what’s the purpose, what’s the outcome you’re driving towards, what’s the bigger picture, what you’re hoping to get from them. 
  • Give the group clarity about what will happen in this session. ‘We’ll hear from Tim about the history of the project, then move on to discussion about the obstacles getting in the way, then identify what we can do to meet the customer needs on the service’. A few points on an agenda, a process outlined or a structure for the session is crucial. This helps people settle in.
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And throughout the band’s set of songs, I certainly ‘got into it’, singing along, dancing, cheering and applauding. Woo hoo!

At the end, the musicians didn’t rush off the stage. And nor should you or your team. The band waved, thanked, cheered, clapped the audience and bowed. Make sure you wind up, close and wrap up the session or workshop – spend time at this stage so that actions are clear, next steps are articulated and people are acknowledged.

Avoid the ‘rushed meeting of the invisibles’ as I call it: strangers in a cold environment, rushing to try and make wonderful things happen. It won’t happen.

Spend time to set the scene and help people shift – the investment will be worth it. “

And as we all know, whenever any of us set the scene and help others, the investment will always be worth it. So on that note, have a love filled and fun filled Christmas and a safe and happy New Year from Tim and myself and we’ll catch you in 2013 xxx

Be Bold and Brilliant!

Lesson for a bull in a china shop

Bernadette McClelland is an expert in sales conversations that drive value and deliver million dollar results. Contact her office now on 1300 935 226 or [email protected]

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