Give it away, Nile!

Nile Rodgers is the Nokia of modern pop music. Nile who? You may know the funky classics that he wrote and produced, mostly with ‘CHIC’: ‘Good Times’, ‘Le Freak’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘The Reflex’, ‘I Want Your Love’, ‘We’re Lost In Music’, or more recently, the Daftpunk shower tune ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’.

Like the former Finnish telecom company Nokia, he and his deceased buddy Bernard Edwards have invented and reinvented themselves many times over and the music genres he subscribed to.

He is the kind of man I would like to have a drink or two with after hours and discuss the lightness and the occasional cruel beauty of being. Him playing his 1959 Fender Stratocaster, the ‘Hitmaker’, me o yeahing along and shaking and shuffling my feet to the beat.

I went to his Belgian concert during his seemingly never ending world tour. It was simply impossible not to move your limbs on the riffs he and his band produced. You could not get bored for a minute, people were dancing and letting themselves go and having the time of their lives.

The link with process facilitation, coaching and training is the art of creating an environment where people can not only be tempted but actually to join in

Creating safety and an exciting learning atmosphere from the first minute. Bringing participants or coachees into a benevolent trance the moment they have heard each other’s voices in the room.

I do that for instance by trying to be a good host the moment I greet people and welcome them on a program. Or even better, introduce them to one another if they have never met before. Most people are grateful when you present them to eachother – remember some awkward wallflower moments at parties during first meetings. The leader as a host is a fairly recent and useful metaphor in the literature about leadership.

Another way of people to land and tap into positive group dynamics quickly, is by having them share experiences, insights, sparkling moments. Suppose they would be following a training program on cooperation, a question a facilitator could ask is the following:

‘Between the moment you have enrolled for this course until today, what were sparkling moments when you saw cooperation taking place in your environment?’ 

This is an example of a pre-session change question: you assume that some positive change has effectively taken place between the moment of arranging the meeting with a practitioner and the moment you actually meet him/her.

Insoo Kim Berg said: ‘Always look at people in their resources first.’

I have a small theory about interaction: the shorter you spend time with someone, the more important it is to focus on the other’s resources, strenghts, qualities. When you don’t get a second chance to collect positive memories with someone: put a light on what’s right.

My questions to you: what are all the things that you do to make people feel good in your presence? How do they respond in such a way that helps you notice that you have accomplished that?