Shauna Rampley Presentation for the ASTD Chapter Monthly Meeting

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) is the world’s largest professional organization for trainers and instructional developers. Shauna Rampley of SEI presented to the June 2, 2011 Chapter Monthly Meeting. The topic was: You Teach People, Not Content.

As a follow up, she is providing the transcribed content from the interactive session for all the participants as well as for those who are interested in the activities developed for this presentation. The introduction is included in this post, but for the full transcript of the session, please click on the link to the full PDF document below.

You Teach People, Not Content

Full PDF Document


The following pages are transcriptions of the information generated during the activity component of the 6-2-11 ASTD-NM chapter monthly meeting. The presenter was Shauna Rampley of Soaring Eagle Institute, and the topic was “You Teach People, NOT Content.”

One portion of the presentation was a demonstration of 4 small group activities that demonstrated some aspects of involving adult learners and building on their previous experience.

There were 5-6 trainers in each group, and the guidelines for the activities are published as the last two pages in this document. Each group gave a short report to other groups in the meeting, and the presenter committed to post these results online for all participants.

For more information on teaching adult learners, contact Shauna Rampley at (505) 255-9782.

For the full transcription, please click on the link below.

Full PDF Document

Your World At Work: Struggle or Play?

By Dan Gerry, Senior Partner, Soaring Eagle Institute  

Have you also noticed that the world in general and the world of work in particular has become even more stressful and serious these days?  Is this the new norm that all of us need to get used to and live with–fewer resources, more responsibilities, fear of layoffs, an economy that just can’t seem to recover?

Maybe a lot of the world is experiencing this, but we are also seeing workplaces that are less about struggle and more about creativity, innovation and even playfulness.

I was visiting recently with a good friend who has worked in specialty nursing for many years in the health care industry.  In many of our prior conversations she’s gone on and on about the many problems in her workplace–too many patients, too few staff, high stress, fears about the next layoff or staff reduction, everybody hunkered down trying to survive the daily grind —sound familiar?

But now she was singing a new and more upbeat tune about her new managing physician and how he was bringing a fresh outlook to the clinic.

Health Care Industry

Knowing that she has a very intense job treating patients with drug overdoses, PTSD and severe psychological disorders, I was surprised by how much her morale and energy level had shifted in such a short time.  Was it possible that just a seemingly small change could move her so quickly from dreading work to looking forward to each day with renewed energy and enthusiasm?  I had to know more about her new physician in charge!

My friend’s face and voice lit up as she began telling me how much her new boss loves his work, laughs and kids around, and seems genuinely interested in the well-being of patients and staff alike.  She was surprised, she told me, when he asked her what she thought was going well and what could be improved in the unit, and even more surprised when he told her he wanted her to join him during new patient intake interviews.  He told her that together they would be able to more accurately assess incoming patients’ needs and develop more creative and appropriate treatment plans than if he followed tradition and did this by himself.

Play at Work in Healthcare Industry

What she seemed most touched by was his playful and loving nature.  Somehow in a couple of weeks he’d been able to lower the stress level, make work more fun, improve teamwork and even get the staff to feel a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment.

I was struck by her frequent use of the word “playful” as she described her boss’s actions and the positive effects his playful nature was having on staff member morale and patient outcomes in the unit. Doesn’t health care have to be one of the most serious and stressful workplaces of all?  Apparently not!

She brought to mind a similar experience I had in 9th grade with a remarkable teacher–still vivid in my memory after all these years.

Peter Dunn-Rankin was a late-20’s new instructor hired to teach advanced math courses at my junior high school on the West Coast of Florida.  He stood out as the only teacher who seemed genuinely happy to be there.

I can still see him walking down the hall whistling a tune and greeting his students with a warm smile.  There were rumors that he was single and spent his free time digging clams with his toes in the shallows of the nearby bay, lending credence to the notion that he was a “free spirit”.

As we gathered on the first day of class he explained that we were part of an experiment—that this was the first year Plane Geometry was being taught in the 9th grade in Florida schools and that we would be using a newly published book that he had not had time to read or study.  He said something we had never heard from a teacher: that we knew as much as he did about the subject and that we would each strive to figure out the solution or proof of each theorem.  Whoever was first to discover the proof got to write it on the chalk board and show the rest of the class how it was done.

Student Clapping and Laughing

Can you imagine the atmosphere in that class?  You could hear a pin drop as each of us, including Peter, would work feverishly at our desks to prove the theorem assigned, literally running to his desk to be first with the answer…hoping anxiously to see if we got it right. The satisfaction of getting to go to the board and write out the correct proof and explain how you got it was absolutely priceless. Suddenly the “work” of school had become a great game in this class and boy did we work hard, play and laugh our way to amazing new levels of understanding Plane Geometry!

Have you ever worked with a leader that brought out the best that you had to offer?  Did he or she have similar qualities of playfulness, love for their work, a strong bias toward excellence, and a firm belief that people will rise to challenges and play their “A Games” when given the opportunity?

My friend’s new boss and my 9th grade teacher are two examples of what we at Soaring Eagle Institute refer to as conscious leaders who know how to “Play the Game of Business”.  To what extent otherwise competent leaders or managers bring conscious awareness to work appears to be a significant determinant of workplace morale, engagement and exceptional results.

What do we mean by “conscious awareness?”  In our experience, these leaders are consciously aware of and take full responsibility for their own mindsets and actions and they are consciously aware of their impact on others.  Conscious leaders see possibilities in even the most dreadful circumstances and keep their mindsets focused on a positive future vision that inspires those around them to give their best in every moment.

Circle of Friends Around a Light Bulb

When things aren’t going well they display resilience and a sense of humor that serves to ease stress and help everyone stay focused on what matters most.  A core trait of these leaders is that they intentionally seek to discover and fully utilize all the resources at their disposal, starting with the talents and skills of each individual.  They have developed a knack for seeing greatness in others.

As we saw in the two leaders profiled above, it was all about the leader creating a vibrant, playful and highly productive environment where each person was highly motivated to give his/her best–not about the leader needing to take control of everything, blame others for problems and take personal credit for any successes.

So, how well do you and others in your workplace “play” together?

If  you take stock and observe that your business and/or personal life has been far more about struggle than play, right now is a great time to step back, take a deep breath and invite a new perspective.

If you run a business and you’ve managed to survive the recent downturn you undoubtedly have done the right things to control costs, hang in there and keep your doors open.  Perhaps now is the time to bring some play back into the equation.  Are there some actions you can take, as these conscious leaders did, to breathe new life into your business?

If you’re looking for greater inspiration and practical tools for creating new possibilities, Soaring Eagle Institute specializes in helping clients become more conscious as leaders, team members and independent contributors.  We can also provide customized training, coaching or consulting to help you and your staff achieve far greater results.

Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to add comments

———————————–Special Invitation!!———————————-

Struggling with particular issues at work?  Tell us about a challenge you are facing and how it’s affecting you and your work.  The person who submits the best story will receive a free hour of coaching with Dan!


We look forward to reading your comments and learning from your experiences!


Laughter as an Organizational Development Tool by James Masica

“Top performing leaders elicited laughter from their subordinates three times as often as did mid-performing leaders.”
—Harvard Business Review,
Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership,
Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, September 2008

“Purposeful laughter is a realistic, sustainable, and generalizable intervention that enhances employees’ morale, resilience, and personal efficacy beliefs…..can appeal to a diverse range of employees, can be effective with minimal investment of time…..positive effects on self-beliefs that have been shown to correlate with positive workplace behaviors….”
–Journal of Primary Prevention,
Effect of Workplace Laughter Groups on Personal Efficacy Beliefs,
Beckman, H., Regier, N., & Young, J. (2007), 28, 167-182.

• Because laughter has many positive effects on interpersonal relationships, it has a far-reaching beneficial effect on any organization or group. It increases loyalty, teamwork, optimism, creativity, and a general willingness to be personally committed to the organization’s success.

• In adverse circumstances, laughter promotes resiliency and the ability to make the best effort possible. Laughter does not deny the reality of difficulties, when they exist; instead it increases the likelihood that the individual and group will be able to make the best possible response.

• For the leader, it is important to know that laughter is a physical act, different from comedy or humor, which are mental. The physicality of laughter means that it can be taught, learned and practiced as a behavior. People like people who laugh, and they are willing to work hard for them. The neuroscience of laughter, as a component of leadership skills, means that the mindful leader can deliberately cultivate an organizational culture that includes laughter, knowing it will enhance the ability of employees to work hard on shared goals.

The benefits of laughter to individual health have been known for some time; now the benefits to organizational health are receiving similar attention. As outlined in the Harvard Business Review article quoted above, neuroscience finds that laughter optimizes group functioning in multiple dimensions. The experience of shared laughter increases loyalty to the group, decreases tensions between individuals, and stimulates creativity and problem-solving ability. Laughter increases the ability to effectively adapt and respond to changing circumstances and unforeseen events.

Simply put, people are both at their best and willing to give their best when functioning in the emotional atmosphere associated with the experience of laughter. For leaders, this means that the ability to elicit laughter is a learnable component of what it takes to make people want to work hard and smart. This kind of laughter is not manipulative or in denial of real problems. In fact it requires honesty and acknowledgement of difficulties, so that the genuine choice for laughter can be made.

Immediate Opportunity: Healing Laughter Circle Now Forming
Meets 4 Tuesdays, April, 26th thru May 17th (not necessary to attend all 4 sessions)