Skip to content

Origami, walking and a lot of space to think

It’s been great fun this week to head up to Edinburgh to facilitate an away day for a senior leadership team at the university, and I wanted to share a few snippets of what made the day really memorable for me. The focus for the day was all about hybrid working and leading people and projects in a continually changing context, managing the enduring impact of lockdown working alongside emerging policies and priorities. Here are some reflections:

First of all, there’s the venue! The photo of this post shows the building where we spent our day with a beautiful view of Arthur’s Seat. It was great to have a venue which had such scenery on the doorstep, particularly as we could see the hill from the meeting room where we were based for the day. Lots of natural light and air always helps, I find. The venue was a good fit for some of the activities I had built into the day, designed to encourage everyone to step away from their screens and do some thinking together whilst getting some movement in.

Slide from the presentation day showing a picture of the hill and sharing instructions for a walk and talk reflection.

The walk and talk reflection after lunch was a really popular part of the day, giving everyone time and space to talk about things in a less formal setting than sitting around a meeting table. This activity also offered those who needed some quiet time to reflect on their own a way to do that between a busy morning of group working and the afternoon brainstorming session.

Office origami

One of the sessions on the agenda explored fresh ideas for fostering a sense of community and encouraging engagement in hybrid workplaces. For example, we discussed how working radio or shared playlists could work, even scope to have a silent disco… 🙂 . I loved that idea in particular. We also tried out office origami as a communal activity.

Now, for most of the day we worked on hybrid working leadership skills, exploring areas like communication and collaboration as well as building trust and keeping oversight of progress. Most importantly we talked about fostering loyalty and engagement, considering how the experiences of new and established staff could differ and how the role of leaders changes over time as hybrid working becomes more established.

What was really inspiring for me throughout the day was to see all the experience and expertise a team like this can bring to bear on the challenges of hybrid working. Working in learning technology builds a lot of capacity for the challenges ahead, especially as there are a lot of things we know about blended learning that can now be applied to hybrid working.

Over the past year I have run my hybrid working leadership course, inspired by my book on leading virtual teams and coaching tools I have developed to support these offerings and it was great to see a lot of elements from these activities come together into one packed day of leadership development.

I had quite a few requests from folk elsewhere who are interested in hosting a day like this at their institution or take part in an online version. If you’d like to be added to the waiting list for that, get in touch.

Keep in touch with new events and the work I am doing by subscribing to my free monthly newsletter.