There are sometimes when you plan for things to happen in a training workshop and they do. Other times you don’t plan and something quite unexpected happens. A few weeks ago, I was running a Learning Loop workshop for Illuminate Development in York.

The planned outcomes for the 2 days were around learning accelerated learning principles as well as boosting their creativity; something achievable and measurable. Something, that because of the very nature of the Learning Loop game, was beginning to happen.

As the afternoon went on though, something was sticking. In spite of their enthusiasm for seeing accelerated learning in action and experiencing its effects, something was stopping them from believing that they could implement some of the ideas that were growing.

The elephant in the room started to grow and it was apparent who was feeding it. One of the directors could not envisage a major client buying into doing things creatively and making them engaging. Their style was traditional and this was being imposed onto the organisation. What was I to do? Reassure them that their tough issues will get addressed later in the day? Ignore the elephant, hoping it will go away?

Seeing the passion for their business but also the frustration they were feeling, we stopped where we were and used some creativity tools to see how we could “break the rules” that were holding them back. Allowing time to address “the elephant”, gave two very busy and successful directors an opportunity to look at things differently.

They would say I fixed something for them, but actually, what I did was give them the space to come up with their own solution. A solution they put into practice the very next day when speaking to a prospective client. The courage and conviction they demonstrated was backed up by the deep seated passion for what they love to do and enabled them to step out in faith that they knew what they were doing.

The point of this story is not so much about what I did or did not do, but one of evolution. Session plans are great, as are focussed objectives, but if you ignore the elephant, it only acts as a barrier to change, no matter how motivated the individuals are.

Now this may already be obvious, but the cartoon for me, symbolises what happens when you don’t evolve as an organisation. The differences may not seem so great between a mammoth and an elephant, but they were great enough to allow one to survive. So what is holding you back as an organisation and stopping you from evolving?

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