Now you might have noticed that three out of the first four sessions I attended were presented by Steve Smith (see the link above). You are correct, and there are a couple of factors that play into this. The biggest factor for me was the description of the session. I think that I would have attended these sessions regardless of who was presenting them. However on the other hand, I have found myself very engaged by how Steve presents or runs his sessions. Steve’s sessions are very tangible and practical. He takes real situations from real people within the sessions and lets the group work through helping these people. Some of the sessions at AYE can tend to get a little theoretical with simulations based on theory. Steve really brings concrete examples and situations to the forefront.
Okay, enough Steve talk.
Both sessions were very insightful. The most moving session was likely the organizational mapping session. At a very high level without really giving it the justice it deserves, this session was about taking your traditional org chart and pushing it’s boundaries. Instead of a very high level static view, you add things like interactions, pain, pleasure, problems, plans, performance, and power. This activity in itself was very rich but what followed was even more powerful. One at a time, we took peoples map and sculpted it with real people. We used people from the session to physically model the organization and what they may look like when being sculpted. This also included the person who came up with the map with the hope that we could help that person feel better or change a broken process or relationship.
One of the big things Steve talked about up front was creating safety when walking through this exercise. This was said because the exercise can explore some pretty in depth feelings for the individual being mapped and sculpted. I won’t go any deeper but the very first person who walked through this working session wound up in tears! Yes tears! He was an old software veteran two years away from retirement. It was powerful! If you’d like more details let me know and when I get back we can talk about it.
This is turning into a longer post than I had originally thought, I think I’ll stop here and create a second post for the second session…..