When I joined the Centre in as Associate Director in September, I didn’t realize that I would have good fortune not simply to help put together our professional development workshops, but to participate in them as well. One of the principal benefits of working with a learning organization is that I’ve been encouraged to partake in and learn from the courses we offer, and December’s ‘Positive Leadership’ workshop was no exception.
The results were fascinating. Participants came from 6 different countries of origin, ranging from as far away as Denmark, to a participant that lived right down the street from UPEACE. We had people in from all sectors of society: two from a major communications company, a marketing manager from the Costa Rican governmental sector, two managers from the volunteer industry, a family business owner, a life coach, a business consultant and an architect. Even the four participants from UPEACE were extremely varied, coming from human resources, administration and alumni relations.
So what did I learn? The material was extremely captivating and rejuvenating. The first day focused almost entirely on self-evaluation, with an online tool to provide immediate feedback on our strengths, appreciative inquiry interviews with other classmates to consider path and direction in our lives and careers, an assessment of self-care, and an activity motivating us to represent ourselves symbolically in a picture to capture what was important to each of us. An entire day to reflect on your own personal strengths and challenges? How often does that happen?
Day two moved on to the organizational level, including an analysis of the present state of each of our organizations, activities to teach and instill ‘Design Thinking’ as a way to create an environment of innovation in the workplace, and a presentation on the top game-changing companies out there, to inspire us all in our quest to grow and improve our current organizations. With day three tying learnings into the bigger picture and giving concrete tips on efficiency, by the end each of us had refined our own perspective of ourselves, our skills and our styles – the base on which leadership skill is built.
As I emerged refreshed and revitalized from the workshop, ready to face a new year, the next question was quickly apparent: ‘How do we bring more people to participate in this course?’ ‘How can be broaden the pool?’ The answer was simple. At the Centre, we applied our own innovative thinking and appreciative inquiry to analyze the course results, and decided to make a bold move – we’re offering the course in Spanish! In March we will offer our first ever workshop on Positive Leadership in Spanish, right here on the University for Peace campus in Costa Rica. So come visit us! Bienvenidas – Le invitamos a nuestro primer curso de Liderazgo Positivo en Español!