Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Problem Solving Leadership Workshop (Revisited)

Today, I'm revisiting a post I put here almost exactly three years ago. At that time, I was announcing the resumption of PSL (Problem Solving Leadership Workshops). Today, I'm announcing the continuation of what has become a treasured tradition.

We're giving the next offering of the famous Problem Solving Leadership (PSL) on May 19-25, 2012, in Albuquerque, NM led by me, Esther Derby, and Johanna Rothman

The workshop's purpose is to learn and practice a consultant's most valuable asset: the ability to think and act creatively. We have designed this workshop to be practical and applicable to the modern workplace. Your problems and concerns provide a frame of reference for all
the workshop activities.

What you will learn
. to be a leader while being a member of a team
. to focus your thinking while in chaos
. to make change a productive, creative event
. to build truly effective teams
. to design projects people really want to work on
. to observe exactly what is happening
. to use tools of effective communication
. to handle conflict in problem solving groups

The workshop provides five and a half days of intensive focus on developing your unique consulting style and abilities.

Graduates Answer: "What Did You Learn in PSL?"

My PSL course made me realize that observation alone is not enough. Sometimes you need to get in and ask questions and listen to really know what's going on.
It's interesting to reflect on this fourteen years after the fact (Sept. 1997) of what was a profound experience.  My biggest observation was my tendency to pick problems that are too big to be solved—or at least solved all at once or on the term initially envisioned.  And my lesson was that I could turn to others and ask for help parsing the problem into resolvable packets.  I'm still using that one every day. . . when I remember to step back and observe the observer observing.
Jim (who sent me the panda picture):
I took PSL in 1983 (Jacksonville, Fl.). At the time I learned a valuable lesson about myself.  I have a tendency to cling to an obsolete and inappropriate technology long after it is no longer effective. Years later, taking training facilitated by amateurs (managers saving money on their training budget) I learned how important it is to have qualified trainers and good exercises.

I learned so many ways to help my teams back home become self - sufficient problem solvers by teaching. I became far more self-aware of my own behavior which was to just solve the problem and try to make life easier for everyone else when in fact, it was much more relaxing to give people the skills to solve their own problems (at least the tricks I learned at PSL) and to watch them do great things. 
I learned that Jerry's expression, "expect brilliance"—became the motto of my management style.

Big lessons, life-changing, agreed. The immediate lesson was: respond.  That is, I found that sometimes, in the heat of the moment, I would listen, hear, see, take in and wait, processing the inputs.  That was good.  But most important was once I did that, I should give feedback, respond, react.  Even if other people are responding, get into the mix and say what needs to be said.
The long-term lesson was that there is a fabulous community around us all.  Jerry and others became part of an extended community that has vastly changed what work I do, how I do it, and to whom I reach for support.
Sharon, I like your point about community! I've connected with delightful, smart and engaging people who shared a similar path through JerryWorld. Not to mention the wizards who helped lead us down the path—all of those who encouraged us to be our own wizards. Gee - I hadn't thought of that. 
PSL - the gift that keeps on giving.
I started learning to listen to myself, instead of asking others for validation before believing myself. Something that has served me well since then, and that I'm still learning to do better."
I think I'm still unpacking lessons from PSL :)
I signed up for PSL because I was uncomfortable with taking on leadership roles. I feel happier about taking the lead nowadays. For me the key is sharing passion and vision for what's possible and make it easy for people to contribute in their own way. It's important to step back and let others shape things whilst caring how things are done and being there as support when people get stuck.
I'd love to do PSL over again and also connect up with people I met there.
I seem to have 'aha' moments often since PSL in May 2011.  A couple things stand out for me.  One, how Jerry talked about having fun and learning at work.  So simple, yet something I live by. If I'm not having fun or learning, I move on.
Second was observing the difference in outcomes between a controlling culture and cultivation culture.  I'm also amazed at in a short period of time how many people I became very close to.  It was a fantastic experience.

Hi all, I took PSL in May last year, and what has stuck with me, well... that's still evolving. I was an observer during the VerseWorks exercise and it struck me how much you can see and learn about what is going on in teams if you just take a step back and observe. When you're too involved, you become blind for things that are apparent to outsiders. Noticing all that going on and refraining from commenting or pointing out was quite hard. That was quite a epiphany for me. 

I also became aware of the power of silence. Doing or saying nothing can also be an act of problem-solving leadership, helping the team forward. Sometimes, less is truly more. That was a pretty sobering insight too.

I've "taken" PSL many, many times, and I'm still learning lessons with every workshop. Mostly, I keep learning how many wonderfully creative people are out there, always ready to take one more step toward their full potential.

If you would like more information about in this unique workshop experience, email to
jr@jrothman.com and/or take a look at http://www.estherderby.com/workshops/ProblemSolvingLeadership.htm


Don said...

Although I am not able to attend, in part, because I'll be in the final weeks of the school year, but I loved reading this post. Why? Just to see in writing a great list of "What you will learn..."

It's a great list to assess current progress towards personal goals.

It's a great list that reminds me of people and professionals who are on a similar journey through life. And who are in the business of helping people help people.


(And I like the phrase: Expect brilliance!)

Jony Gibson said...

I love reading this post because I learn many things from this post.leadership development training

Unknown said...

I've done PSL aug 2011. I miss everybody I met a lot during the most intensive learning experience of my life. Not just Jerry, Esther and JR taught me a lot, the participants were amazing.

PSL is mentally very tough, every night I went to bed thinking.....tomorrow will be easier....WRONG! Every new day I learned more and more.

The funny thing about PSL is that it's so hard to explain what you learn.....guess it's different for each graduate.