All posts by palesa292000@yahoo.com

Effective Meetings

The end of lecture 10 came with a wonderful surprise that I have been able to use and implement almost instantaneously in my life. Lessons on how to conduct more effective meetings. I have been chairing meetings that are attended by multiple stakeholders within our organisation. It was daunting at the beginning,  but it has gotten better over time, however Roslyn’s teachings were absolutely invaluable.

First and foremost showing up, being present and prepared for any meeting sets you up for a successful and  productive engagement. Setting out the objectives and expectations of the meeting is the second most important thing.  Active listening and participation is critical.  There is nothing wrong with facilitating an interactive and engaging meeting, meetings are formal but don’t have to be boring. I have learnt through my own experiences that fun meetings have better attendance and participants show up and participate with honesty and integrity. Body language is also an indicator of people’s temperaments in the meeting. The most valuable points for me was the adoption of a delta plus/minus style of reviewing the meeting such that participants can give feedback on how to make the meeting better and more effective.

I guess that was my last big lesson from the facilitations cause. It was an incredible blast, I will miss everybody and all the fun we had together.

 

Building Relations

Group 10’s presentation was extraordinarily fun and unexpected. The topic of Building Relationships was delivered in a fresh and totally  captivating manner. The creation and presentation of a garment through team collaboration was put to the test with 3 of the groups having to communicate without speaking.   Two groups were allowed to communicate by speaking and interesting enough it was one of the groups that had to use non verbal forms of communication that won the challenge. Indeed effective communication is critical in the completion of group tasks and activities. The Bruce Tuckman model of team cohesion was discussed as well as its 5 phases in the life cycle of a team. It was interesting for me go reflect on our groups dynamics and interactions with the Bruce Tuckman theory in mind. I must say that the forming and storming stages of our team were very challenging, they were also affected by the fact that there was a group member in particular who tried to affirm herself as the group leader and that created tensions and disinterest in some team members. The normalizing stage came to our rescue and the performing stage was the pinnacle of our team dynamic experience. There was reforming on the night of our final presentation rehearsal and on the morning of the presentation it was fireworks, unity,  integration and  ultimately an effective group presentation.

The topic of time was very pertinent to group 10’s presentation as Roslyn so clearly reminded the class that respecting and honoring time is critical. Over stepping time boundaries could have serious consequences in the context of a workshop facilitation where the impact of an entire workshop could loose its impact as a result of anxieties brought about due to over stepped time boundaries.

Friendships and Fascilitations

When I was initially allocated a group at lecture 2 of the facilitations course I was confronted with having to amalgamate and integrate into a relatively new group of strangers, I had to get to know everyone and understand the various personalities with which I had to work.  As an introvert, I had serious anxieties and reservations about what would become of me and my relations with Group 6.

It has been a blessing indeed to realize that 8 weeks down the line, the Group 6 gang has maintained the glue that bought us together. We have argued, fought, disappointed each other, we have encouraged each other and we continue to hold each other up as we look forward to completing and passing fascilitations with distinction.

The members of team group 6 are planning a braai get together, would you believe? What started as a group assignment circle has ended up being a friendship circle.

 

 

 

Same Book Different Covers

What an epic morning it was on  Saturday 09 September. It was finally time for Group six to shine! As a member of Group six, I arrived on campus at 6am to ensure that I collect the FNB annexture venue keys from the night security staff to ensure that my group has access to the class for our make-up and final set up session. Group six is a force to be reckoned with, when one member showed up with sandwiches for all, another member bought coffee for all and another had  organised muffins for the group. The morning set up session was electric with the teams laughing and bonding over the common fear and dread we were all secretly harboring.  By 8am we were all set and ready to rock and roll. As group six we unanimously agreed to allow as many people as possible to come into our presentation, closing the door only close to 9am. We were on fire, nerves firmly under control, time flew by and before we knew it we were thanking the audience and huddling together in celebration of what was accomplished.

The comment and feedback session was nerve wrecking, the positive comments were plenty and heartfelt. The audience loved our format and delivery, they loved the fact that we did not have too many activities, the process was logical and simple and we hit the spot in terms of challenging perceptions and pre-judgements. YES! we accomplished what we had set out to accomplish!

Delta plus comments were scarce! The outspoken Ntombi felt that there were no ”delta-plus” moments, in her opinion, the group six presentation was perfection.

Halala group six! Shine

Diversity in Rituals

After insightful teachings about brain stress and the various causes of this often misunderstood condition, it was incredibly exciting to break away into small groups to explore the topic of rituals.  The brief was to initially engage globally on various rituals pertaining to the customs of birth, initiation, marriage and death.

The initial group session was extremely emotive and engaging, each member of the discussion learnt new information from the others. It was interesting to note how emotional and personal the exchanges had become. What also stuck me is the realization that there were some commonalities in some of the reasons why certain rituals were observed.

The second round of group discussion, reveled that rituals are dynamic, they evolve like culture, and they evolve to confirm to the lifestyle and situation of the people/families observing these cultures at any given time. The act of appeasing ancestors through the spilling of traditional sorghum beer can and has been conducted through the use of commercially bottled beer for instance. For people living the urban areas where the brewing of traditional African beer is not convenient, bottled beer does the trick.

The last round of exchanges revealed a connection of sorts among  those who were exchanging and conversing.

In the end, I dared to open up to a stranger, I dared to share intimate details about me; my unconventional relationship with my father, my reservations about marriage and the fact that to some extent, it symbolizes a possible loss of independence. I loathe the idea of taking on a foreign surname and having to be introduced to ”new” ancestors.

In the end, I decided that the rituals that I will perform with my children will be a reflection of who and what we are about. I will certainly take into account what my parents have laid down in terms of our family’s rituals, but I will not hold back to infuse what I am about, I will leave a piece of my legacy in the rituals that get passed down to my grandchildren.

I have been experimenting with the notion of sharing who I am with others, I have been telling my story and my family’s stories to my two children.

It’s okay to loosen up and share a bit of me now and then, that’s what I’ve learnt. It’s okay to open up now and then.

 

 

 

 

 

Difference is Diversity

The perspective brought to the table by Group 3 made a significant impact on me. The idea of difference in a society as diverse as  our Mzanzi is not new news, yet its nuances are so embedded in the normality of everyday life that we can easily overlook our differences in the order of daily mundane life.  It occurred  to me that we are not a perfect society and we are a society that handles difference with indifference.

Group 3 handled the subject matter of honoring difference by focusing on the beauty and uniqueness of various religions.  What stood out for me, is the fact that all the religions highlighted had much in common. They all subscribe to a notion of a higher power or God who expresses himself/herself in the form of love, kindness and forgiveness. Yet one of the students’ commented on the group’s courage in choose a topic that can be so greatly polarizing.  Wars have been fought over religion and to date there are factions within countries and between countries.

In terms of self awareness and personal mastery, the notion of brain stress resonated with me and still lives with me. I finally understand the reasons behind my exhausted state of mind and being. Its the feeling when I have been chasing work deadlines, attending classes 5 times a week at WITS and submitting on average 2 university assignments a week.

I am experimenting with the notion of presence and as a replacement for the pursuit of perfection. Truth is, I am not perfect and chasing perfection simply renders my mind, body and spirit tired and unfulfilled.

Here’s to mindful living…cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing me and knowing you…

Week 3 of facilitation skills started on a high note as expected. Group 2 tackled the topic of change with earnestness and authenticity. It was note worthy to discover that the theme of change and its universality touched and affected the majority of class, yet the depth and dimensions of each individual’s story was distinct and sacred. Some deeply touching stories were shared as the group was reflecting on the content that was disseminated and the methods used by group 2 to facilitate change dialogues. Pity the presentation went so quickly. 🙂

Discovering the virtues and bedevilments of being right brain dominant nearly sent me into a mild depressive state. I was deeply struck by how emotional and internally focused I am. Does this mean I am a ranting raving emotional being? Is that made worse by the fact that I am a woman? What does this say about my prospects as a leader? Can I remain rational and impartial? Do my emotions drive my agenda and motivation? So much to learn…so much to consider. The road ahead is rosy yet I cannot take my foot off the pedals of personal mastery. The employment and empowerment of my right brain capacity needs to maintain top of mind for me. A skillful facilitator remains impartial and rational at all times.

I have been experimenting with the new knowledge I discovered in respect of the way I solve problems and learn. Sitting at a desk or in a library does not enhance my ability to learn, I need to keep moving baby!

Moments of delta reflection always impact supremely on my moments of personal reflection. The process of positive or constructive criticism is managed carefully and with utmost delicacy by Rosslyn. A good leader makes an effort to articulate moments of delta (difference/improvement) with care and kindness. A good leader builds and cultivates the best in others.

Facilitation Skills as a Discipline

Lecture two was like fireworks. It was lit from the moment group 1 commanded our attention at 8:30am sharp.  This episode in facilitation skills was filled  with new realizations and an array of critical teachings.

The theater and fun element provide by the presentation segment of the lecture was incredibly stimulation and stood out significantly. The feedback sessions post the group’s presentation was good and bad, and I learnt a new way to critique in the form of  ”delta”.  Although there were many positive comments, I couldn’t help noticing that the list of  delta moments was equally long, I guess that holds true to human nature.

When we delved deep into the definitions of facilitations, what stood out the most is that a fascilitator creates the platform and space for purposeful dialogues and collaboration, however the facilitator never seeks to dominate the conversation or steer the conversations and thinking in any particular direction. I couldn’t help looking and thinking of my role as a parent as being a kind of facilitator. I made a note to listen more and create a favourable platform and environment for my children to explore and express themselves.

When Rosslyn explained briefly about mindfulness and the gift of being present in every moment I had an epic aha moment. I have since made an effort to be fully present in the company of my children, cellphone away. I give my full attention and it certainly makes me feel good to give all of me to them.

Saturday mornings will never be the same again!

 

When Facilitation Skills is in your destiny! # Module 1

Who would have known that the pursuit of a fun and engaging way to earn 18 academic points would lead me to this new avenue?

Now that I have eventually resolves all my login and technical issues, I have finally landed on this blogging portal! I am beaming with excitement and enthusiasm to share my discoveries and learnings.

First and foremost, to learn and understand what ”Facilitation” means and entails was like a breath of fresh air. I discovered that the hallmark of a good leader requires that one has a handle on the art of Facilitations. As a student of leadership at Wits Business School, it had never dawned on me that the management and leadership of individuals in organisations is actually driven and fueled by one’s ability to facilitate growth, empathy, performance and ultimately the expansion of the bottom line. The lecture format was new to me, relaxed and informal and allows for one on one interaction and engagement. Time flies in a Facilitations lecture.

As a leader in my organisation, Fascilitations has allowed me to be open minded in terms of receiving other people’s points of view and perspectives. I keep this realization at the back of my mind to be applied in all my interactions with colleagues and suppliers alike.

Upon reflection on the learnings from #Module 1, I have come to terms with the fact that I am dominating and impatient and that listening to others does not come naturally or easily to me. All these realizations show me that I have loads of room for improvement on the ”Fascilitation” aspects of my leadership style.

Let the journey begin.