SUSAN C. HASTINGS
Seminar Leader Susan C. Hastings goes to the heart of organizational health in this facilitator-led lesson on empowerment. Her commitment to helping organizations transform themselves stems from the belief that organizations get the results and relationships they want when people are enrolled in the process of continuous improvement. Hers is a "quality" message, beginning at the selfanalysis level rather than at the production end of the improvement process.
Susan comes from a coaching, consulting, and therapist perspective in this exercise that lets trainees see beyond their limiting beliefs. She has used this activity in seminars on Leadership, Team Building, Empowerment, and Communications. We begin this chapter on Management and Leadership with this tool for personal empowerment, the foundation for effective management and leadership.
Self-analysis regarding limitations
Self-analysis regarding strengths and resources
Evaluating limitations, strengths, and resources
Participants experience immediately the power they have in their own lives, that they can create much more of their reality than they thought they could.
Examples of trainee comments are:
"I had no idea that I had the power to change my life! There's almost nothing that I am completely powerless about".
"I didn't realize I had so many strengths and resources!"
"What a powerful exercise ”I really am not a victim!"
"I now know the amount of stress that I have brought into my life ”that I don't need and that I can do something about!"
To realize they can empower themselves
To become aware of how to eliminate "victim thinking"
To recognize the power of choice they have in their lives
To discover personal strengths and resources
To realize the benefits of implementing their strengths and resources
Paper and pencils
Handout A, Where's the Gap Between Vision and Reality?, for all trainees
Handout B, Evaluating Strengths and Opportunities for Growth, for all trainees
Seminar leader's choice. It is appropriate as an individual exercise or as one that partners can work on together.
30 minute minimum; more is better as participants can really get into a very lively and insightful discussion.
This exercise is typically a facilitator-led pencil and paper exercise for individual trainees. After trainees' self-assessments, the seminar leader facilitates a general discussion around the eight points listed on the worksheet, "Evaluating Strengths and Opportunities for Growth". Directions are included at the top of the two pages, which may be used as handouts for all trainees.
Distribute Handout A, Where's the Gap Between Vision and Reality?, to all trainees.
Lead trainees through the scale exercise followed by the 1 to 10 listings in Handout A.
Distribute Handout B, Evaluating Strengths and Opportunities for Growth, to all trainees.
Lead trainees through the eight points in Handout B, facilitating discussion to encourage higher levels of self-empowerment and empowerment of others.
Help trainees to see that the simple analysis device of pluses and minuses can be a useful tool for growth and change.
We may have more power in our lives than we think! Take a look at the discrepancies between your current reality and your vision. What, if anything, can you do about these discrepancies?
On a scale of 0 to 100, rate your current satisfaction and fulfillment with your life, personally and professionally. Place a dot on the scale for each. Once you have done that, identify where you would like it to be and place two more dots.
0 ______________________________________________________________ 100
Now ask what is keeping you from having it the way you want. List all the factors you can think of on the left side. On the right side, list all the strengths and resources you have to help you change and/or cope with these factors.
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Now go back and put a plus by those factors you feel you have power to change; a minus by those you feel you have no power to control at all.
"I f we can know where we are and something about how we got there, then we might see where we are trending ”and if the outcomes which lie naturally in our course are unacceptable, to make timely change. " A braham L incoln
2002, Creative Communications Center. Reprinted with permission.
Now that you've had an opportunity to assess your strengths and opportunities for growth, please discuss the following questions.
Of the minuses on your 0 to 100 list, which ones have you accepted? Not accepted?
How many of the minuses result in anger, stress, anxiety, or energy drain for you? A feeling of hopelessness? What overall effects are they having on your life?
How many of them may go away in time?
Which minuses are new? Of long duration?
Which one leaves you feeling powerless, with no resources to change?
Are there any minuses for which you have compensating strengths?
On closer examination, are there any minuses that you assumed you could not change, but perhaps you really can? What would your life be like if you built on your strengths and changed or modified your opportunities for growth?
It's often easier to change a minus to a plus when you have the support of others. Take a look at who your support people are who could assist you in this process of change and how you could go about getting their help.
"Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best". Henry Van Dyke
2002, Creative Communications Center. Reprinted with permission.
Susan C. Hastings
Creative Communications Center
P.O. Box 808
Norwich, VT 05055
SUSAN C. HASTINGS is the President of the Creative Communications Center and has developed The Leadership Institute and The Leadership Team Institute, which have been instrumental in helping people work more effectively on their own, as well as in bringing people together for the good of an organization. She is committed to helping people increase their awareness and realize their potential by creating new ideas and options. A pioneer and visionary exploring the unknown herself, Susan combines the best of both traditional and nontraditional approaches and gently but powerfully encourages others to do the same in their quest for excellence. Her clients have included ALCOA, Andersen Windows, Chrysler Corporation, Federal Express, Hewlett Packard, Kraft Foods, Merrill Lynch, Mitsubishi Electronics, Pfizer, and many federal agencies.
Her expertise in the areas of communications, leadership, team building, facilitation, and management enables her to assist organizations in transforming their environments to become more effective and productive. Susan has people examine their personal and professional work styles and move beyond their present comfort zones.
She inspires them to reach for more from their own lives and make a difference in the lives of others. Her ability to engage participants in meaningful dialogue is critical to the overall success of her programs.
Susan C. Hastings is a Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and a Certified Real-Time Coach. She received a BS in Social Science from the University of New Hampshire, Phi Beta Kappa, and an MS in Wholistic Counseling and Communications from the Goddard Program of Vermont College, Norwich University, VT.
Susan C. Hastings has taught these AMA seminars:
Getting Results Without Authority
The Effective Facilitator: Maximizing Involvement and Results
Moving from an Operational Manager to a Strategic Thinker
Responding to Conflict: Strategies for Improved Communication
Communication and Interpersonal Skills: A Seminar for Technical Professionals
Building Better Work Relationships