Sunday, November 28, 2010

To Cruise or Not to Cruise?

Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to create and facilitate experiential learning workshops at all kinds of venues including outdoor education centers, retreat sites, spas, resorts, hotels and even at the Cincinnati Zoo and Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds. This past week I added, a cruise ship!

I was surprised when the client asked me to facilitate a 3-day leadership retreat for 15 participants aboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas, sailing out of Port Canaveral, FL.

This client had used cruise ships in past with success. The main reasons for this venue was cost and focus. Turns out that when you are out of port and on the sea, cell phone and internet communications are several dollars per minute! The room rate which included meals was very affordable, less than $300 per person for the whole trip.The meeting space was as nice as any I have used complete with all the technological hook-ups and great support from the ship’s staff. You would never know you were on aboard a ship with over 3,000 other people traveling at 20+ knots except for a slight roll when the ship was in rougher water.

On the third day, the ship dropped anchor off shore from Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay, Bahamas. This allowed us to go ashore and take advantage of using the outdoors for a couple experiential learning labs. New scenery allowed for new opportunities to explore.

Participants were truly focused on the work at hand. No eyes dropping to laps to check Blackberrys. As a result, I was able to keep people on task. In the end, I believe the participants got a great value, a great learning experience and had fun. As a facilitator, I walked off board feeling very connected with the participants.

I not only would do this again, I’d recommend it to other clients!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Authentic Fakin' It

A buzzword around the training and education circles is about learning to be authentic. There are books, classes, programs and workshops on authentic leadership, authentic organizations, authentic beauty, authentic learning, authentic voice, authentic happiness, authentic brand to name a few. Authentic has lost its edge. It’s overused. The word may actually raise more questions and suspicion than define. It is also an abstract descriptor begging for more meaning. While the concept is noble, I wonder about the principle challenge to authenticity, fakin’ it. I think we have a whole lot of authentic fakin’ it going on!

I'm such a dubious soul,

And a walk in the garden

Wears me down.

Tangled in the fallen vines,

Pickin' up the punch lines,

I've just been fakin’ it,

Not really makin' it.

from Fakin’ It written by Paul Simon

Learning fakin’ it

Big boys don’t other words fakin’ it

Father telling his five year old daughter to apologize to the other little girl whom she hit, “and say it like you mean it!”... learn to fakin’ it

You can be anything you want to be...faked out.

There is one piece of pizza left and you say you don’t want're fakin’ it.

Rude fakin’ it

Attending a meeting, sitting in church, sitting in the audience at your child’s school play...looking down at your Blackberry answering email... fakin’ it

Taking credit for other people’s work... fakin’ it

Fakin’ it for survival

You’re a drama queen... fakin’ it

Spending more than you make...fakin’ it...not really makin’ it

Treating the Bible like a software license...scroll down and hit “I AGREE”... fakin’ it

Unyielding, unlistening, determined certainty... I know what I believe, don’t confuse me thus believing everything you think... fakin’ it

Having an open door policy, but never in or is always busy... fakin’ it

Miscellaneous fakin’ it

Leaning against an expensive car that’s not yours... fakin’ it

Facebook ‘likes’...could be fakin’ it

Publicity stunts... fakin’ it

Flirting waitress or waiter... fakin’ it for the tip

Serious, unprincipled fakin’ it

Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail but went to Argentina to see his mistress... fakin’ it

John Edwards having an affair while appearing to support his wife who is fighting cancer... fakin’ it

A priest, pastor, counselor or other trusted person who preys on victims... fakin’ it

Before you add “authentic” to your resume, bio, introduction, Linkedin, or title of your next program check your fakin’ it factor. We all do some sort of fakin’ it. Fakin’ it is a coping mechanism. What degree are you fakin’ it? Does fakin’ it rule your life? Do you need to authentically work on your fakin’ it ?