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Staff Meeting = Play Time

For the past four years the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network (NCDLCN) has been a driving force in my growth as a coach.  I have been able to grow my professional network, stretch my thinking, grow through reflection, and put new ideas into practice.  The most recent NCDLCN session I participated in was an alumni session focussed on the concept of design thinking.  I didn't exactly know what I was getting into, but I knew that I would learn something new, be with my people, and have a blast. That I did.

As part of the design thinking process each participant was paired with another to work through the process.  The best part of this partnership, was two-fold; my partner was Delaine, one of my mentees from the 2016-2017 cohort, and the purpose of the design thinking process we were to work through was to solve our partner's problem!  This was so powerful!  I love helping people solve their problems, mine, not-so-much.  

At the end of our two day challenge, Delaine identified a solution to my problem, and gave me a gift.  See below:

My gift from Delaine, a solution.

So, Delaine said I need to help my teachers play, laugh, and flip out, build trust, and then do the work.  She nailed the solution to the problem I didn't realize I had.  We needed to build a culture of teamwork, but before we can work together efficiently, we need to establish some foundational relationships.  These relationships must branch out past our grade-level hallways in order to be fruitful!

Enter the Uno Tournament staff meeting. I did some research and gathered some fun tidbits to share with my principals, you can find it here.  I got commitments from 2 of my principals, which I considered a win!

I created a Google Slides presentation to share with the staff, before and after, designed the tournament bracket, and picked up some prizes along with 8 decks of UNO cards.  

The outcome: The folks that were able to stay for the meeting had a blast!!  We saw personalities that don't normally emerge from day-to-day business.  The competition was fierce and laughing was infectious. More than one staff member stopped me to thank me for the experience!  

Now, was it an incredible experience for everyone? No.  You can't please them all.  However, I feel like the experience was a valuable one for everyone.  Fun and games do belong in the work-place, and especially in schools.  I think everyone could walk away from our tournament feeling a little lighter, and a little less stressed.  

Now, the ultimate goal of this tournament was to get folks into each others classrooms. I followed up the next day with an email to the staff inviting them to visit the classrooms of the other three players from their original table.  I suggested that they visit this classroom within 2-3 weeks of our game.  I will be following up with them after the break to see what they learned from their colleagues.

I'll be running UNO Tournament #2 at another school this week, I'll be sure to add my findings in an update to this post.

Hope my fellow 'NCDLCN Design Thinkers' are making progress on their ideas.


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