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Archive for the ‘Active Listening’ Category

The 3rd Way – Redux

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Aikido, Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, leadership, Toastmasters on January 31, 2016 at 12:13 am

(Thank You) x 3 … It was a pleasure to participate in District 27’s Executive Committee meeting held on January  31, 2016.

As promised …

Here’s the “soft-copy” of the one-page handout we used during our 20-minute educational session. A PDF-version can be found here –> The 3rd Way Redux

There's always more than one way to resolve conflict.

There’s always more than one way to resolve conflict.

And here are a few other references for those who wish to take a “deeper dive” into the topic of conflict resolution:

Primary Sources:
* Appreciative Inquiry … various books and authors
* Emotional Intelligence … various books and authors
* Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et. al.
* The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz
* “Resolving Conflict.” A manual from the Excellence in Leadership Series by Toastmasters International — NOTE: The 10-slides from this manual and training program are found here for your review and use. Follow this link –> 321CD_ResolvingConflict

Secondary Sources:
* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
* The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
* The Abilene Paradox by Jerry Harvey
* How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are on the Knife? (also) by Jerry Harvey
* Mastery by George Leonard
* The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba

 

 

If you missed the live show, then listen to this podcast.

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Facilitating Genius on May 7, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Success Profiles Radio

cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

If you missed the live show, here’s the podcast.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/john-lesko-discusses-identifying/id495954973?i=341412762&mt=2

Thanks again, Brian, for the opportunity.

 

When Pigs Fly … It could happen.

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Communication, Facilitating Genius, Leave Your Comfort Zone on May 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Hmmmm … Was it years ago or simply just a few weeks ago?

That’s when I heard my “dear friend” say, “Yeah, yeah … You’ll become a published author and be interviewed on the radio — When pigs fly!”

You? You're going to be on the radio? ... Yeah, yeah ... When pigs fly!

You? You’re going to be on the radio? … Yeah, yeah … When pigs fly!

 

(from Brian K. Wright) … Today’s guest on Success Profiles Radio is John Lesko, author of the book “Facilitating Genius: Illuminating Brilliance In Your Organization”.

We will discussing identifying how to discover your unique genius and for those in your organization. This allows everyone to play at their highest level as often as possible.

You can listen live at 6pm Eastern at www.successprofilesradio.com

You can also call in to participate at 866-404-6519

TogiNet Radio is an Internet talk radio network that streams live web radio programming and provides…
toginet.com
And at the risk of folks saying that perhaps this is too much self-promotion … This is a follow-on interview which I trace back to an earlier media event: http://toastmasterspodcast.com/…/116-toastmasters…

The official podcast for Toastmasters International,…
toastmasterspodcast.com|By Bo Bennett

 

 

Will I be the HERO or the GOAT ?

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Coaching, Communication, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on November 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

A few days ago I had the pleasure to present an educational workshop to members of Toastmasters International, District 36. This was a milestone event for me in my personal and professional development as a Toastmaster. You see, up until now I had presented material which for the most part had come from the curriculum developers who work at the California headquarters (a.k.a., “TI WHQ” or Toastmasters International World Headquarters).

With this event I had submitted several proposals to the fall conference program committee. (Three proposals if the whole story be told.) The conference committee in District 36 then selected the topic which best fit into their program. (And the proposal they selected — “Good grief!” — was the one I thought needed the most time for  preparation and research.) Now I was on the hook. Would I be the hero or the goat?

The title of the workshop was KNOW THYSELF. Yes, this title isn’t very original nor very creative. And I compounded this “error” with a long subtitle: Three Simple Exercises You Can Do When It’s Time to Reflect on Your Personal Effectiveness. Additionally for this workshop I provided a Know Thyself – Handout for the attendees on which they could jot a note or doodle.

I also created and displayed a graphic agenda based on the comic strip characters from the Peanuts gang. During my talk I acknowledged the genius of Charles Schulz as well as reminded the audience of how this session fit the fair use clause of U.S. copyright law.

This graphic agenda helped keep the audience on track as each cartoon represented a story and each line between the cartoons marked where we did an exercise.

This graphic agenda helped keep the audience on track as each cartoon represented a story and each line between the cartoons marked where we did an exercise.

Without repeating here the WHATs and the HOW TOs of the entire workshop, my intention and plans were to simply lead the audience through three interactive exercises. And as each of these exercises evolved, I’d coach the audience along a path that suggested that we can learn from the interactions between ourselves and others much as Charlie Brown learns of himself and of how his behavior affects the other characters in the Peanuts gang.

Themes for this 75-minute workshop included: envisioning success, defining ME-thinking and WE-thinking, thinking like a champion, and the importance of hiring or becoming a coach.

So how did this educational session go? And what did I learn from working with this audience? Yes, I’m going to have to work on creating more impelling titles and shorter sub-titles. Yes, I ran the risk of losing the attention of a few in the audience who don’t read the Sunday Comics. Yes, I probably tried to pack too much information into the time available.

That said, the results of the post-session evaluations suggest that I did well enough to use this material again. The vast majority of the feedback stated I did “Very Good” to “Excellent.” And there were a number of participants who came up to me afterwards to ask a question or share a personal thank you.

As a speaker, it is the people who come up to talk to you afterwards that I most remember. Some asked for me to explain a point in greater detail. A few asked me if I would share the complete citations from the books I held up during my talk. And several folks asked me if they might explore the option of working with me in the future. (Yay, team!)

So in the spirit of sharing my “cheat sheet,” here’s a link to my one-page “SpeakersNotes” that lists the main talking points. And here too (below the bibliography) are a few photos taken to capture the moment and/or illustrate these key talking points. And as for the four individuals who suggested on their evaluation sheets that I next time provide a bibliography with the one-page handout … Well, I hope you visit this blog.

Brene Brown. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Gotham Books (Penguin Books), New York, New York, 2012

Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources (4th Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1982.

George Leonary. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment. Dutton (Penguin Books), New York, New York, 1991.

Ralph C. Smedley. Personally Speaking. Toastmasters International, Santa Ana, California, 1966.

The D36 Fall Conference was held on Nov. 14-15, 2014 in Silver Spring, MD. Here is a photo of the Table Topic contestants. This contest was held immediately after the educational sessions. Which, by the way, is a very good reason to end on time so as not to upset the contest master.

The D36 Fall Conference was held on Nov. 14-15, 2014 in Silver Spring, MD. Here is a photo of the Table Topic contestants. This contest was held immediately after the educational sessions. Which, by the way, is a very good reason to end on time so as not to upset the contest master.

Props ... check. Microphone working ... Check (but didn't need it) ... Coach's hat and whistle if the crowd gets out of hand ... check (also not needed).

Props … check. Microphone working … Check (but didn’t need it) … Coach’s hat and whistle if the crowd gets out of hand … check (also not needed).

When a leader pauses to reflect on their behavior ("Me-thinking") and begins to consider others, that's when "WE-thinking" will emerge.

When a leader pauses to reflect on their behavior (“Me-thinking”) and begins to consider others, that’s when “WE-thinking” will emerge.

Here's a small advertisement or invitation for those who'd like to speak more about hiring or becoming a coach. Yes, if upon reading this blog you too would like to learn more. Drop me a line.

Here’s a small advertisement or invitation for those who’d like to speak more about hiring or becoming a coach. Yes, if upon reading this blog you too would like to learn more. Drop me a line.

Here's both the graphic agenda and a few annotations that served as notes from the session.

Here’s both the graphic agenda and a few annotations that served as notes from the session.

In today's day and age of taking "selfies," there's always someone who'll step up and strike a pose with you if you've got your smart phone ready.

In today’s day and age of taking “selfies,” there’s always someone who’ll step up and strike a pose with you if you’ve got your smart phone ready.

And at the end of the session there was a certificate of appreciation signed by the district governor, lieutenant governor education and training, conference chair, and education program chair. Wow! A special thank you to Yining Xie, John Kingsman, Fritzie Leroy, and Pamela Copeland (respectively).

And at the end of the session there was a certificate of appreciation signed by the district governor, lieutenant governor education and training, conference chair, and education program chair. Wow! A special thank you to Yining Xie, John Kingsman, Fritzie Leroy, and Pamela Copeland (respectively).

 

 

 

The Coach Is In … It’s Official. And Here’s the Certificate to Prove It.

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Coaching, leadership, sharpen the saw on July 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm
Inspired by the artistry of Charles M. Schulz and his running gag where Lucy van Pelt offers psychiatric help for a nickel, I promise to not take myself too seriously while serving my clients as a leadership coach.

Inspired by the artistry of Charles M. Schulz and his running gag where Lucy van Pelt offers psychiatric help for a nickel, I promise to not take myself too seriously while serving my clients as a leadership coach.

It's official and here's the certificate to prove it.

It’s official and here’s the certificate to prove it.

Now I’m not saying where I placed in GMU’s Cohort #7. But I’m reminded of a couple of jokes:

Joke/Question #1: “What do you call the last man or woman who graduates from medical school?”
Answer: “Doctor.”

Joke/Question #2: (The patient can be seen scratching his head as he reads the doctor’s many certificates hanging on the wall.) “So tell me doctor, why do they call this a practice?”

Tell Me About Yourself – 4 words that can trigger terror during an interview

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Communication, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on July 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

“Tell Me about Yourself,” is often one of the most common things recruiters or hiring managers say in an interview, pre-screening interview, or during networking or job fair events. You may also be asked this question during a public speaking event or by the media. I call it the “TMAY” response … It’s an Icebreaker … (And) as you brand yourself and develop a common-themed message for your written documents (resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.), and other networking requirements, you need to develop a strong, compelling response to the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ request.

Source: http://www.openreq.com/news/tell-me-about-yourself-tmay/

There are many strategies to overcome the fear or anxiety brought on by these dreaded four words . You can practice your TMAY response in the mirror each morning. You can rehearse your elevator speech time and time again (preferably in an empty elevator before you share one with a potential employer or client). You can participate in mock interviews. You can practice with a friend. You might even visit a group like 40Plus DC or drop into a Toastmasters club.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in an event where nearly all of these opportunities came together. A friend of mine, Jim Chamberlin sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to participate in a Toastmasters’ demonstration meeting for a 40Plus DC event. Of course, I said, “Sure, how can I help?” And that’s when Jim suggested that I give an icebreaker speech to whomever showed up at at 1718 P St, NW, Washington, DC.

Here are a few images from this recent event. My props: 4 small posters measuring 16″ x 20″ …

I spoke of how I use my business card as a miniature canvas to illustrate my services.

I spoke of how I use my business card as a miniature canvas to illustrate my services.

For example, I might draw a simple time line to explain how my career has tracked from "dot mil" to "dot org" to "dot com" to "dot biz."

For example, I might draw a simple time line to explain how my career has tracked from “dot mil” to “dot org” to “dot com” to “dot biz.”

Or I might remind them of our CONNECTION with a doodle of where we met.

Or I might remind them of our CONNECTION with a doodle of where we met.

And sometimes there's time to make the "hard sell" or CALL TO ACTION by sharing a little humor.

And sometimes there’s time to make the “hard sell” or CALL TO ACTION by sharing a little humor.

Other members of the CAST include …

Jim Chamberlin served as the emcee (also known as the Toastmaster of the Day).

Jim Chamberlin served as the emcee (also known as the Toastmaster of the Day).

Scott served as my speech project EVALUATOR.

Scott served as my speech project EVALUATOR.

Rand served as the Table Topic Master, someone who quizzed unsuspecting volunteers with "pop questions" that called for impromptu responses.

Rand served as the Table Topic Master, someone who quizzed unsuspecting volunteers with “pop questions” that called for impromptu responses.

Which were answers by volunteers such as Lawrence Greene. Who in the spirit of full disclosure is a Toastmaster and who did exceptionally well in modeling for others how to play along.

Which were answers by volunteers such as Lawrence Greene. Who in the spirit of full disclosure is a Toastmaster and who did exceptionally well in modeling for others how to play along.

Q: What price freedom? A: An occasional window shake and a little noise.

In Active Listening, Current Events, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on April 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Boom! The windows shake.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Fire for effect.
What price freedom? Noise.

Future leaders practice their gunnery skills at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Future leaders practice their gunnery skills at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Dialogue suffers

In Active Listening, Communication on April 17, 2014 at 2:09 am

140
characters equal a tweet.
Dialogue suffers.

Does true dialogue suffer when we opt to talk, connect, friend, or tweet via social media?

Does true dialogue suffer when we opt to talk, connect, friend, or tweet via social media?

Imagine what we could accomplish if …

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Alignment, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, Innovation, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, teamwork on October 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Imagine what we could accomplish if we simply got everyone 'all aboard.'

Imagine what we could accomplish if we simply got everyone ‘all aboard.’

There’s an activity used at many challenge courses called the “All Aboard.” Envision in your mind’s eye a set of platforms that vary from 3-foot x 3-foot, down to say a square foot. Have a group of participants figure out a way to balance themselves on this platform. Now imagine an even smaller platform like the one in this photo. No, I’m not asking how many angels might dance on the head of a pin. Yes, I am asking that one imagine what could be accomplished is we all got our thoughts aligned and ‘all aboard’ with a shared goal or intention.

Some Groups Just ‘Nail It’ and Then There’s Congress

In Active Listening, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, Innovation on October 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm
What allows some groups to just 'nail it' and others to struggle?

What allows some groups to just ‘nail it’ and others to struggle?

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to lead a group of truly outstanding young problem-solvers. This group was inquisitive, energetic, genuinely curious, and surprisingly cooperative. No one had ever seen the ‘Nail It’ puzzle before. No one had access to their smart phone to ‘google a solution.’ Instead, this group of 13 youngsters sat down around a stump and simply figured it out.

Such days lift your spirit and remind me that there is hope for tomorrow’s problems to be solved creatively and cooperatively.

(Political footnote) Yes, I too am upset with how Congress cannot reach a solution to reaching consensus around a continuing resolution and/or passing a budget. Furloughing civil servants and closing our National Parks isn’t an acceptable option. Hmmmm … I wonder if our elected representatives might learn from these youngsters by visiting a challenge course or a local school. I wonder sometimes if they smarter than a group of fifth graders.