Here’s a story of Wisdom Explorer in combination with Visual and Metaphor Explorers, from our colleague Dave Altman. Dave is an early adopter and shaper of the Leadership Explorer™ tool series. Dave is COO at the Center for Creative Leadership.
‘When participants enter the room, they are dazzled with a potpourri of stimuli that gives them a shot of energy and piques their curiosity… ‘
CCL offers Leadership at the Peak, a program for C-level senior leaders from organizations around the globe. One of the challenges we have in this program, and others we run, is to build in enough time for participants to reflect on the data they receive ,to analyze the experiences they have had during the program, and to set goals for the future. In LAP we now provide participants with a few hours of relatively unstructured reflection time preceding an intense day of both peer feedback and one-on-one executive coaching.
The following approach, in my experience, enhances the effectiveness of this period of reflection. Prior to participants’ arrival, I spread throughout the room cards from Wisdom Explorer, Leadership Metaphor Explorer and Visual Explorer. When participants enter the room, they are dazzled with a potpourri of stimuli that gives them a shot of energy and piques their curiosity!
I then provide them with framing questions related to their current challenges and their goals going forward. I change the wording of the specific questions based on the climate of the classroom and the needs of the participants.
I then ask participants to select a card that represents their current challenge and a card that is emblematic of a high priority goal. In all but a handful of cases, participants flat out reject my advice that they limit their selection to two cards! Many take 4-5 cards and some take even more than that.
It’s very clear that there is huge variability in Explorer card preferences. Some people will select multiple cards within a single deck (e.g., only Wisdom Explorer), while others will mix and match.
Whatever cards they select, a large majority of participants relate how important the card is to them and ask whether they can take the card home. Some weave passionate stories about the cards they select. Most want to share their cards and stories with other participants (which we encourage, but not require them to do).
There are many lessons to be learned from these experiments to promote robust reflection. An important one is to provide participants with multiple Explorer sets, as it increases the likelihood that their reflections on being a leader will be substantive, thought-provoking and lasting.