Relationship Seating

I'm packing my bag for the Igniting Leadership Program which I'm facilitating this week for Leadership Victoria. We concluded a program on Friday and here we go again; however, rather than feeling ho-hum, it’s quite the opposite; I'm always intrigued to learn about the people attending, reading about their leadership aspirations and workplace challenges.

We pair up participants to create Buddies, the first relationship to be formed prior to the program commences - asking these Buddies to meet or at least communicate prior to attending to encourage engagement, networking and reduce people’s anxiety of arriving in an unknown destination.

Another aspect of relationship preparation is the worktable seating placements. Whilst I’m not into detail I am into challenging people to grow, learn from their peers and quickly connect with the whole group as a high level of trust is required to discuss leadership.

So, for Day One, I seat ‘like-minded’ folk together. Using the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) team profile results, I seat the ‘Hubs’ together, the Blues together and so on with the Reds, Greens and their respective Blends. In other words for the uninitiated – I seat ‘value sets’ together – people with more common ‘this is Why I do what I do’ language.

 On the Second Day, we introduce the Workplace Challenge, an amazing yet simple exercise which has profound consequences given the choice of behaviour being challenged upon each other. How do you think I create these groups?  I mix the profiles – I ensure that each group has a couple of Hubs (Flexible), a Red (Assertive), a Blue (Nurturing) and hopefully a Green (Analytic). Given the mix of motivations I know that everyone will view the challenge differently and more ideas will be generated through their ‘code of silence’ discussions.

On the Third day I group people at tables according to Conflict – First Stage.  It’s not always that simple, more often than not, there is a good representation and the folk at the table provide a gorgeous array of behaviour examples on their colour conflict continuum when challenged with the day’s discussions and activities.

The SDI is explained and dissected on Day Two, Three & Five and it’s always a laugh when the first person makes the discovery of my purposeful placements. On the final afternoon of Day Five each person makes a heartfelt commitment to their Leadership Journey and most comment on their new respect for: relationships, their own strengths, the impact they have on others and the dynamic network they created in such a short time-frame. Funny about that!