Michael Healy, a board trainer with CDS, believes that if you’re not enjoying yourself as you learn, you’re probably not going to be as productive or enlightened. “I could explain a concept or topic for hours, or people could just play for a half hour and have an ah-ha experience.” This happened recently at a meeting Healy was asked to facilitate for a CGANE membership meeting. They had recently hired their first executive director and wanted to understand the roles of their new director, the board and its members.
Healy developed an exercise where each meeting participant was told to hold two tennis balls on two teaspoons, while moving across the room toward a cache of chocolate. Oh, and you had to do this by linking arms with someone else. Healy said, “Balls and spoons were flying everywhere.”
Healy then had the group do it again with the executive director. The members still held onto their tennis balls, spoons and each other. Three members of the board selected by the group gave their executive director (who was wearing a blindfold) directions across the room to the chocolate. It took a fraction of the time to reach the “goal,” and all the participants could easily see the value of the executive director and how the board and members role should be shaped.
“After that, the group was no longer discussing whether the shift was necessary. The discussion was about the productivity of making that shift,” Healy said. “It made the whole training more powerful for participants.”