Why I Designed A Retreat For Leaders That Made Them Cry

StrategyAbout three years ago, I was lucky to work with a team of over a dozen senior executives. Their leader invited me to design a one-day strategic planning retreat and they wanted tangible actions and results.

No lofty prolonged visioning exercise for them, please. They wanted to pull the weeds and plant the bulbs.

This was a yearly event. Once. A. Year. Yup, you heard that right. All of them in one room, with an agenda that needed a small miracle to make an 8-hour session produce what needed weeks of time.

The real issue? These people did not get along. Maybe in pairs, here and there, but mainly not.

Each a significant expert, they were busy and had work to do. Though they could come to agreement on policies and protocols, they didn’t do that with a lot of kindness and tact. People (relationship) got in the way of what really mattered, their work (tasks/things).

Now if you don’t know this yet, you’ll know it eventually.

Relationship trumps task. Connection comes before action if you want a successful outcome. If you break or don’t have a relationship with some degree of caring, you’ll get trouble when trying to get things done.

Without connection, you’ll get compliance, resistance, and a big load of hostility. 

With such little relationship capital, I knew that if I didn’t help them connect with their hearts and each other, working on actionable strategy would result in a lot of head butting.

Connection Before Task

GardenersSo here’s what I did – as I had done with leaders for years. I connected them with what mattered most, WHY they had chosen their particular vocation.

I placed over 200  8 x 10 inch images out on the floor and asked them to pick one that represented why they had chosen their profession.

With the help of these spectacular images of world paintings, people, culture, nature and symbols, they each in succession told the story of what their picture meant to them.

Their stories brought tears to their own eyes and brought their humanity closer to their colleagues.

With a newfound warmth, respect and tenderness in the team, we took a brief break and then got onto the job of making concrete changes for the sake of the business and its customers.

So What’s The Point?

As a poet, artist, singer, musician and improviser, I bring it all. I bring and have always brought as much of myself to the workplace. 

The differences in me, as in you, are what produce innovative solutions to common issues.

The more you bring your true self everywhere, the richer becomes your environment.

Trying to fit in will ultimately strip your whole life of the gift of your uniqueness and will succeed in making you turn your best asset – you – into a dormant jewel that lies in the back of a drawer.

How stressful is that? You could actually be enjoying living from a place of ease. Imagine…

And For A Short Time Only

Want support in your work and leadership journey? For a limited time, I’m offering a few 30-minute Breakthrough Sessions. We can talk about what success means to YOU and find the hidden opportunities to being yourself and leading your work journey from a place of ease and confidence.

You can enjoy your work life and find immense personal power and rewards immediately.

Click here to start that ball rolling.

Over To You

If you could dial up your authentic self at work, what would you do differently? 

P.S. Please Share

If your friends or colleagues would benefit from what’s here, please send this to them through email, and post to social media. You know what to do. THANKS!

© Miriam Linderman 2015

Top photo credit: GotCredit / Foter / CC BY
Bottom photo credit: john weiss / Foter / CC BY-ND
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  1. Miriam you are amazing and wonderful.
    Thank you for sending this to me.

  2. Deb, you’ve been such a fabulous support on my journey. I’m so glad you found this helpful and thanks for commenting directly on the post. It means a lot to me.

  3. Miriam this is priceless – I wish everyone in organisations could work with you.

    I spend all my life in the corporate world attempting to fit in and hide the “real me”. It has only been in my 12 years of self-employment that I’ve allowed myself to shine.

    What a gift to help groups of people who put “work” before “relationship” (which has been the case in every place I have worked) change their perspective and build real connection with each other first.

    Kate x

  4. Hello Dear You. I know how lost we can get believing we have to fit in. Or turning our power over to those in authority, thinking they know what’s right for us. Freedom is not always how we feel until we can know what’s true and choose from there. Thanks for commenting. xo

  5. You are on fire Miriam! So lovely to catch up with your inspiring blog posts 😉

  6. Thanks Lisa. I do feel passionately about being real in the workplace while keeping our personal power rather than giving it away.

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