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Inspired to Act

The setting is Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine. After meeting with a group to plan a staff retreat, Craig makes a spontaneous video about something that came up in the meeting. Craig was asked a question and in this video he gives us the answer! What is the most we can except to happen in a staff retreat?

Craig explains that the best outcome is if people are inspired to act. He explains three key things that cause someone to be inspired to act. And he reminds us that it is only through action that things get better.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hey everybody! It’s Craig Freshley. Here’s what I want to talk about. You see I was meeting with the staff of a medical practice. They want to go away on a full day staff retreat. Now they’ve hired me before to do staff retreats. They want to become a better staff, but they’re not quite sure what they want to work on. So we had a little planning meeting with the senior staff and I asked them. What are the issues that you most want to take up in this staff retreat?

We talked about a lot of different things. One of the things we talked about was accountability. You know, what do you do when you ask somebody to do something and they don’t follow through? We talked about communication. We talked about record keeping and lots of different things.

At one point in the meeting somebody asked, “Well you know this isn’t really going to solve anything, right? We don’t expect to solve any problems in this meeting. Do we?” And then at another point in the meeting somebody said, “Well you know, I know that there are problems with a certain people’s behaviors but, fundamentally people don’t change.”

Let me just check on my camera here. Yeah, ok. I’m doing okay I got the camera propped up here on the back of the car.

And at another point in the meeting somebody turned to me — there was a lot of discussion among them — somebody turned to me and said, “Look, you do this kind of thing all the time. Do you think that,” first the person asked, “have you ever facilitated a meeting like this where a group at the end of the meeting everybody says, this is great, this is a really wonderful organization, I’m so grateful that I work here, everything is terrific? And Craig, what do you think we can expect to happen in this meeting?”

Here’s how I answered the question. To the first part I said Yes. I have facilitated groups where at the end of the meeting everyone felt really grateful about being a part of the organization and optimistic for the future. However, when that has happened it’s usually because those people came into the meeting feeling really grateful about the organization and optimistic for the future. We can’t expect people to actually change in a day. We can’t expect the culture to change, we can’t expect to solve the problems that are systemic in the organization in just one meeting.

But here’s what we can hope for. We can hope that somebody is inspired to change. That somebody — as a result of what they learned in the meeting — is inspired to act, is inspired to do things differently as a result of what they learned.

Here’s how it happens. Number one, the person — I’ll speak for myself —  let’s say I go into this meeting and I become aware of how my negative behavior affects others. Maybe I didn’t know, maybe I just didn’t know that when I speak in that tone of voice to somebody, or that when I don’t answer that email as quickly as I should, it has a profound negative effect on other people. I just didn’t know and so by having the meeting, by talking about these issues, I might develop an awareness about the consequences of my behavior.

Second thing, I might hear some tips and ideas from others as to how to do things better. I might learn some very practical tools and techniques in such a meeting and have a sense of, “Hey, I can do that. That’s something that’s easy enough for me to do.”

Let me just show you something here. At beautiful Pineland Farms there’s lots of cross-country skiing in the winter, just had a couple skiers go by. They were looking at me kind of funny, but that’s alright. I was looking at them funny too.

So maybe in such a meeting somebody learned some practical tips.

And third they see how, if we all did things a little differently, a little better, in terms of accountability, communications, record-keeping, whatever the issue is, the organizational will be better as a whole. We will better achieve our mission, we will serve our patients better. Somebody becomes inspired to act. It requires those three ingredients: awareness, knowing what to do, and inspiration; to act upon it.

The world does not change by people getting together having meetings and making plans. We don’t actually solve problems in meetings. The world changes and problems are solved by the individual actions and behaviors that happen afterwards. And the best way, the most effective method of people actually turning thought into behavior, is inspiration.

It might work if I am threatened or financially incentivized to and change my behavior. Those things work, punishment and incentive. But nothing works as well as inspiration from the heart. When I can really feel that if my behavior changes it will help the group as a whole, and when I want to act for that reason, that’s when it’s most effective.

Okay. I’ve said enough. And its getting kind’ve cold out here so I’m going to get back in my car and continue my journey. And I am wishing you well on your journey.

If you are designing a meeting where you hope that people will improve as a group, try to set up a dynamic so that people are inspired to act.

2 thoughts on “Inspired to Act

  1. I’m not convinced that meetings are always the best places to inspire people to change. Sometimes one on one conversations can be more useful because the person can just process what you are saying without being distracted by how others might perceive anything they say or do. Without a need for self defense a person can learn more and respond more freely. This is what works best for me.

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