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Archive for the ‘Leave Your Comfort Zone’ Category

Why experiential learning is more important than sleeping with your smartphone

In Active Learning, Aikido, High Tech, High Touch, Leave Your Comfort Zone on October 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

On the topics of Know-How, Technology, and Tribal Knowledge

by John Lesko

 

Know-how is a term for practical knowledge on how to accomplish something, as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (communication). Know-how is often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

Know-how is a term for practical knowledge on how to accomplish something, as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (communication). Know-how is often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

If I tell you how to tie a figure 8 with a back-up knot, there’s a good chance it will take a long time for you to get it right. If I show you how, the odds for success improve. And if we practice tying knots together — before you know it — you’ll soon be dressing that knot and either climbing or belaying with confidence in your equipment.

 

Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia[3]) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things. (Source: Wikipedia)

Technology (“science of craft”, from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία, -logia[3]) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things. (Source: Wikipedia)

What are the 5 keys to mastery according to Sensei George Leonard?

  1. Seek Instruction
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice
  3. Surrender to the Discipline
  4. Work the Mental Game
  5. Push The Edge

 

 

If you aspire to master an art or trade, consider studying the technology of learning. Apply the above listed five keys to mastery and soon others will seek your counsel and insight.

Tribal knowledge is any information or knowledge that is known within a tribe but often unknown outside of it. A tribe may be a group or subgroup of people that share a common knowledge. With a corporate perspective, "Tribal Knowledge or know-how is the collective wisdom of the organization. It is the sum of all the knowledge and capabilities of all the people.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Tribal knowledge is any information or knowledge that is known within a tribe but often unknown outside of it. A tribe may be a group or subgroup of people that share a common knowledge. With a corporate perspective, “Tribal Knowledge or know-how is the collective wisdom of the organization. It is the sum of all the knowledge and capabilities of all the people.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Where do you find opportunities to practice? How can you optimize your learning? Seek out others who have studied what it is you’d like to learn. Then join their dojo. Become a member of their “tribe.”

 

Now as for spending your time on-line, visiting and/or living in a virtual world …

Ask yourself which you enjoy better: sharing a hug & kiss in real life or pretending while wearing goggles and staring at a screen. Which experience allows you to break a sweat and get your hands dirty?
To live a better life, you must experience it. Think outside the box. Put down that smartphone or tablet, turn off your computer. Think outside — no box or batteries required. Bye for now …

 

the-mountains-are-calling

Note: This art is a father-daughter collaboration. The original, numbered print is by Kelsey Lesko. Placing it in an inexpensive frame w/ the John Muir quote is my idea.

 

Be Prepared

In Active Learning, Aha!, Confidence Course Facilitator, CPR and First Aid, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on September 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Long before Doomsday Preppers and the Disney’s movie The Lion King with its sinister lyrics to the song Be Prepared, there was Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship by Lord Baden-Powell. More recent television and movies based on the theme of preparedness include the 20 or so shows listed here: http://urbansurvivalsite.com/20-best-prepper-survivalist-shows-netflix/

What is it about our fascination with survival? Why do so many people worry about the so-called “End of Days” or why has the Center for Disease Control prepared with such vigor for a Zombie Apocalypse? The answer to these last two questions continues to evade me.

That said …

With a quick walk about my cabin, I found evidence for my own preparedness. Two examples …

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Yep, I must admit that I've found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Yep, I must admit that I’ve found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Recently I was called on to perform a “pick off” at the place where I work as a senior challenge course facilitator. Now before anyone gets upset or over reacts, the climber was unharmed and in fact wanted to immediately try again to climb our Alpine Tower. There were no cuts, no bruises, no harm, no foul — and this climber successfully re-climbed our tower to the first platform!

One more thing … I’m not posting this article today in pursuit of any congratulatory praise. My role in this incident was simply a part of my job — like a fireman who might climb a ladder to rescue a kitten from a tree. But we learn and re-learn from such drills. I know that I’m going back to work soon to inventory the gear that’s in that rescue bag.

Hmmm ... What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful  "pick off?"

Hmmm … What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful “pick off?”

Okay … I’ve delayed enough. Here’s the real reason for this post …

When you think of the motto: “Be Prepared,” what comes to mind? Are you someone who thinks through the various scenarios of your day mentally rehearsing your options and thinking about how you’d like to respond to the day’s challenges? When was the last time you checked the glovebox of your car for a first aid kit? When was the last time you inspected the fire extinguisher that’s under your kitchen sink for that stovetop fire should those fried chicken wings get a little too crispy on game day? And if someone were to choke on one of those wings — due to their food going down the wrong pipe after their favorite team scores a touchdown — do you know how to dislodge it? When was the last time you enrolled in a Red Cross First Aid course?

Today I invite you to take one small step toward preventing a future accident or incident. Restock your first aid kit that’s in the trunk of your car. Check the batteries that power your smoke and/or CO2 detectors in your house and home. Prepare a list of supplies that you’ll purchase before the start of autumn in preparation for winter. (Note: Buy now before the merchants artificially raise their prices for the pre-winter rush.)

Be prepared.

The Wall Banger … Where’s Harvey?!

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on August 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm
And the OC says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to 'The Wall Banger'." To which one participant replies, "Where's Harvey?"

And the OC says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to ‘The Wall Banger’.” To which one participant replies, “Where’s Harvey?”

Recently I had the honor and privilege of serving as the “officer-in-charge” at the Thayer Leader Development Group’s “Leader Reaction Course.” While at West Point, two groups of corporate executives were put through their paces in team-building and executive decision-making.

So what makes experiential learning so effective? There are many reasons …

a) Leadership is best picked up in an experiential, hands-on setting. You can read about the HOW TOs and you can study how others may act in situations of high stress when faced by a challenge. But there’s nothing like being faced with a challenge — in the moment — with working with others and deciding what makes for the group’s next steps.

b) Reality trumps virtual reality 99 times out of 100. How do you gain experience? You make mistakes and learn from them. “Plan-Prepare-Execute-Learn” is the cycle that can only be appreciated when you’re doing and being versus just thinking about it.

c) When navigating through a challenge course, ropes course, or reaction course — you see the results of your thinking and decisions directly and in real time. Positive and negative results are revealed within minutes if not seconds of your decision. If you’re luck to have a trained “observer-controller” or OC / coach working with you during this experience, then they can help you see and understand the good, the bad, and the ugly consequences of your actions.

As for items d) … through z), these may be the topics for future posts here or on Linked In.

______________

John Lesko is a certified professional facilitator and leadership coach. He’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks and an adjunct faculty member of the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. He also hangs with the staff at The EDGE at Mason. To learn more, comment here or send an e-mail to <John@JohnLesko.Biz>.

Find a way or make one.

In Facilitating Genius, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on October 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm
Photo credit: JohnLesko.Biz LLC

Photo credit: JohnLesko.Biz LLC

A few weeks ago I had to chance to visit family in Pennsylvania and tour the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. This museum features a number of innovations and innovators with a connection to the Steel City. One exhibit focuses on the H.J. Heinz company. The photo above caught my eye. Immediately below “Think Outside the Bottle” is etched a quote by the founder of 57 Varieties.

I will either find a way or make one.

– H.J. Heinz

Coincidentally, many will go to the cinemaplex this week to see the latest movie about Steve Jobs.  Now there have been several movies about the most famous CEO of Apple: Jobs, Pirates of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippie, Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, and Steve Jobs: One Last Thing. Reviews are mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer pegged at 85% and an Audience Score of 81% liking it. And then there’s Walt Mossberg’s review.

Which brings me to my point. Yes, today is the perfect day for reflection, for taking stock, and then for getting off the dime and doing something important.

  • What is it that separates genius achievement from the day-to-day work of the common man?
  • Why do we call a masterpiece a work of art? What will be your masterpiece?
  • What will be your life’s work?
  • Are you moving one step closer toward your goal? Or have you become distracted by the oh-so-many mindless distractions found on-line?
  • Note to self: Resolve to never, ever again watch another YouTube video about kittens, puppies, or pandas.
  • Will you be someone who strives to make a dent in the universe? Or will you spend the rest of your life selling sugar water?

The unexamined life is not worth living.

– Socrates

And for the critics who might say, “Nice post here on Linked In, John, but where are the tools and materials I’ll need to get started on my masterpiece?” Consider these helpful links and related resources:

Kudos to Michael Bungay Stanier

Check out thegoodproject.org for ideas and tools designed to help organizations foster collaboration.

And if I might be so bold as to recommend my latest book: Facilitating Genius: Illuminating Brilliance in Your Organization.

It’s time (again) for some expeditionary thinking.

In Active Learning, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Open Space Technology on September 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm

This has been a most interesting summer …

  • I’ve been able to go hiking along the Appalachian Trail; completing the Dirty Dozen Hiking Challenge and learning a bit of Presidential history along the way.
  • I’ve spent several days as a senior facilitator working with student and adult groups who’ve visited The EDGE; watching these groups leave their comfort zone and discovering life lessons that can only be revealed when one stretches beyond ones normal range of learning.
  • I’ve been sailing on the Chesapeake Bay; helping a friend fix a couple of engine problems while we both reminded ourselves that we were okay and that so long as we had a mast and some sailcloth we’re get back to shore without having to call the Coast Guard.
After sailing into a cove and sleeping on the problem, my pal and I identified this oil leak and were able to fix things.

After sailing into a cove and sleeping on the problem, my pal and I identified this oil leak and were able to fix things.

Smooth sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Smooth sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

  • And, if that weren’t enough, I’m reading a funny, funny book — A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson — with the hopes of finishing it before the movie by the same name leaves the local theaters.

Which brings me to the main point of this blog post …

What factors have led our society to depending so much upon so-called modern conveniences: air conditioning, fast food, and our electronic devices? When did we forget how to work with a map, read a compass, or discern the difference between poison ivy and a raspberry bush? And, when did scoring well on standardized tests become more important than creative problem-solving, working as a team, or applying some expeditionary thinking?

It’s time (again) to think outside — no box required.

A stream crossing along the Appalachian Trail

A stream crossing along the Appalachian Trail

 

Toastmasters Leadership Institute Elective: “The Natural Life Cycle of Clubs: Tips for Successful Club Mentors and Club Coaches

In Active Learning, Aha!, Coaching, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mentoring, Toastmasters on July 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm
All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Copies of the instructor’s notes and handouts follow in PDF format.

218G New Club Mentoring Matters

218F First Class Club Coach

Hospital Resident Physicians Leave Their Comfort Zone

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm

When as a group facilitator / leadership coach you find yourself surrounded by talented, well-educated, and highly-skilled professionals; sometimes the best principle to follow is, “First, do no harm.”

Yesterday, I had the unique privilege to lead a group of hospital resident physicians through a number of challenges at the Mason Center for Outdoor Experiential Learning. This group of Army doctors opted to spend a little of their ‘free time’ away from 80-hour weeks and making hospital rounds at The EDGE.

Walter Reed Residents at The EDGE.003

 

Walter Reed Residents at The EDGE.002

 

Walter Reed Residents at The EDGE.001

 

Working with these doctors-in-training was a treat. Watching them accept each and every challenge presented and then meeting and exceeding all expectations has reassured this Army veteran that our troopers and their families are in good hands. Here’s hoping that this group of doctors feels the same way about their visit to The EDGE.

Think Outside, Redux

In Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Q: Why did the black bear cross the road? A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

Q: Why did the black bear cross the road?
A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

 

Yesterday, I saw a bear! And last week, I saw a six foot long, black rat snake sunning itself after a mid-day shower. Several days before that my wife, son, his girlfriend, and I; drove along Skyline Drive and spotted deer. Which wasn’t too difficult as one young whitetail was grazing nonchalantly behind the Big Meadows Lodge as we were enjoying a few Margarita Blues & a Speakeasy Sour.

There’s something special about getting outdoors and reconnecting with nature. Some folks enjoy the solitude. Others may wish to go ‘glamping‘ (a trend with roots planted by the rich and famous from the West Coast). Regardless your persuasion, I encourage you to ‘think outside.’ I didn’t say ‘think outside the box’ — unless you view your house, apartment, or cubicle as a ‘box’ — but rather simply think outside, no box required.

So to encourage those who may have returned from their outdoor sojourn or to hear from our glampers who take their smart devices into the woods with them, please share your comments and observations. Or add your name to this contact form so that I may more purposefully share future stories which may appeal to those who go ‘Into the Woods’ or claim to be members of ‘We Are The Wild.’

Here are a few images captured on my hike #6 on National Trails Day.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

After working to 'make your mark' at the office all week, to 'leave no trace' is good advice when going into the woods.

After working to ‘make your mark’ at the office all week, to ‘leave no trace’ is good advice when going into the woods.

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

IMG_5067

IMG_5069

The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here's one place where it crosses near an overlook.

The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here’s one place where it crosses near an overlook.

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural 'umbrella' with its canopy.

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural ‘umbrella’ with its canopy.

Here's a selfie taken as  proof that hikers don't melt if caught in the rain.

Here’s a selfie taken as proof that hikers don’t melt if caught in the rain.

Note: The first Saturday in June has been designated as National Trails Day by the American Hiking Society. The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine sponsor the Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge.

Congrats to ‘Leadership Arlington’ Young Professionals, Spring 2015

In Coaching, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 6, 2015 at 12:24 am

Tales from Leadership ArlingtonOver the past few months I served as a leadership coach to a member of the Leadership Arlington Young Professionals Program. Here’s wishing the very best to these ‘super heroes’ in all their future endeavors.

It’s Like Riding a Bike: Highlights from the MAFN DC Workshop, May 29

In Active Learning, Coaching, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, teamwork on June 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Here are select images from last week’s MAFN DC Workshop. Most of these images are from my slide deck. A few were taken with my iPhone camera, e.g., participants passing the hula hoop and the props carried in a MAFN backpack. For those who attended this event, please consider taking your clients outside and perhaps to a challenge course such as “The EDGE.” For those who missed out on this workshop, drop me a line and I’ll fill you in on what you missed. JL

 

 

MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.001MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.003MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.005MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.007MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.010MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.012MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.013MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.014IMG_5036 IMG_5038MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.020 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.023 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.029 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.031 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.033

All the props fit into a small backpack.

All the props fit into a small backpack.