The Green Room Experience

Kavi1-226x300Many moons ago, I was a stage actor in a theatre group.  Grease paint. Dialogues. Arc lights. And all that! From the plays of Anton Chekov to ‘The Zoo Story’ (my toughest) by Edward Albee).   The Zoo Story, I recall in particular, was miles and miles of dialogue. A never ending ascent of a tall ask, for it was a two character, one act play, for a duration of what could be called ‘eternity’.

As much as I remember the performances, memories from the Green Room stay fresh! A time of bonding, intense conversation, reassuring glances and a scintillating access to performers and performances.

The Green Room, Wikipedia says,   “is the space in a theatrestudio or similar venue which accommodates performers not yet required on stage. The green room functions as a waiting room and lounge for performers before and after a performance, and during the show when they are not engaged onstage.”

My experiences in the Green Room guides me to think that the definition is perhaps an honest clinical descriptor. Like saying ‘Twitter is a social networking tool’. Or that cars have four wheels and help in getting from place A to place B. Technically right, but far less than what they do.

For the Green Room is a ‘hot and happening place’. In every sense of the word.  My recollections lead me to memories of fervent pace and the anxious eyes of fellow performers before the performance. The director’s calm demeanour that magically soothed frayed nerves. Plus it was an incredibly awesome angle to relish some class acts from! A place where you are closest to the real act. Performers and performances in close quarters before their grand performance on stage. You see mistakes. You see spectacular transformations.

The Green Room is a stepping stone to a real performance. In a literal way too! All of those memories and experiences came rushing back. In just a bit.

For now, switching topics and talking about CAWW! :)

For a while now, Change Agents Worldwide has held my attention. In a very unique sort of a way. It started with random exchanges on twitter that stayed long after the exchanges themselves. Leading gradually to more sustained conversations that were not only ‘useful’ but served to whet the appetite for learning and exploration in the ‘change’ domain in a way that can be described as unique, contemporary and also at the bleeding edge of thought!

The people that I had these conversations with, lead me CAWW.  Take a moment. Do go over the website. One particular line from their website that struck a deep chord enough to explore their work “We designed Change Agents Worldwide to function as a cooperative, where value is realized by every node in the network” Every word there, appealed.

So, when I did discover that CAWW had a ‘Green Room’ where I could go and dip my toes in what it is like to be part of the real conversations behind the curtain, I didn’t waste much time asking Susan Scrupski for an opportunity.

What looked like a relatively calm week in June (that later got swamped by a busy calendar) was when I got to get into the Green Room at CAWW! A authentic and thought provoking digital experience.

After sharing my contexts in the ‘stream’, we got down to outlining priorities, problems and challenges.  A superlative change agent is one that asks a heap of questions. Some of them out of a seeking for answers.  At other times, as part of a nudging thought train in a different direction.

The people at CAWW are masters at it. Deep searching questions. Calm quips. Simple yet profound ideas and a curiosity for more. The beauty of the interaction also got multiplied by the geographical spread of where the ideas and interactions came from. S

Simon Terry based out of Australia and me would exchange a few ideas before Europe woke up and the conversations would continue through the evening with friends from the West! If the maxim of ‘ideas rule the world’ were to be proven true again, in a very literal sense, I didn’t have to look any further.

Engaging and hearing from a variety of people.  Richard MartinLuiz SuarezJon HusbandJoachim StrohCatherine Shinners Carrie Basham YoungStuart McIntyreThierry de Baillon.  Kevin JonesGuy Alvarez . Marcia ConnersPatti Anklam Presenting a dazzling array or presence, opportunity and thoughts.

A clutch of ideas, an array of links to resources and surveys and more importantly thoughts to pursue, stay with me. Long after the one week in the Green Room of CAWW has gone by! A wholesome refreshing time.

Notwithstanding the fact, that this Green Room triggered a flurry of memories of another Green Room from a different era.  More of that story for another time.

For now, people, if you haven’t explored CAWW, you must!

 


This is a Guest Post cross-posted from Kavi Arasu‘s blog.  See original post here.  Mr. Arasu applied to be one of Change Agents Worldwide’s Green Room clients.  If you’re interested in applying to become a Green Room Candidate, apply at this link.

 

You Can’t Put a Price on Epiphanies

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Anthea Rowe, StarTech

$17,000.

That’s the estimated value of the free consulting I received during my seven days in the Green Room. But that doesn’t begin to capture the actual value of the experience. Because you can’t put a price on epiphanies. Or a mindset change. Or the increased excitement, confidence and enthusiasm I developed after working with Change Agents Worldwide (CAWW) for a week.

I submitted my question to CAWW in May 2014. Submitted with bated breath. What were the chances this international collective of brilliant thinkers and do’ers would want to discuss my small company’s challenge?  But they did!

My question was: “How can we retain the close-knit culture of our small organization even as we experience dramatic growth?” I work for a small tech company based in London, Ontario, Canada. As recently as last year, it was possible to know everyone in the company by name. Now , with new hires joining us every week, that intimacy is no longer possible. Or at least, so I thought. The Change Agents helped me realize there are many things we can do to keep the StarTech culture alive and strong even as we grow like crazy.

The conversation in the Green Room was vibrant and crackling with energy. I asked a ton of questions of them, and they asked many of me. It was a dialogue in every sense of the word.

Whatever question I asked, there was always a seasoned expert available and eager to address it. Whether it was about our hiring process, corporate culture, change management or plain ol’ intranet solutions – there was always a helpful Change Agent ready to share relevant insights.

And the insights included a powerful mix of theory and practice. Change Agents use evidence from psychology, sociology, organizational behaviour and management research to establish the principles for 21st century workplaces. They also have a plethora of case studies from organizations large and small that have implemented communications strategies, engagement campaigns, and more around those principles.

So, what did I learn? I learned the future of employee communications is about enabling. Enabling employees to connect with each other. Enabling employees to find their own information. Enabling employees to work out loud so that others see what they’re doing and want to help. The future of employee communications is building platforms that enable employees to connect and self-organize. The future is decentralizing communications so message come from the people who own them.

The dozen or more Change Agents who participated in my session were helpful, friendly and sincerely interested in supporting my company’s success. These people are serious when they say they want to “change the world of work!”

They were a diverse group with a wide range of experience: in-house comms, IT and knowledge management types; consulting and management expert types. Many Change Agents currently work in-house – at the UN, Lexmark, Teach for America, etc. – or used to work in-house – e.g., as SVP of HR for an international bank, or an IT and comms professional at IBM. These people know the challenges of moving projects through organizations, getting buy-in… all that good stuff. The other Change Agents members are independent consultants, and they’ve worked with many companies across a range of industries (many of them household names).

The best part about my week in the Green Room was that it epitomized the “Work Out Loud” culture CAWW advocates to clients. Using their online platform, I interacted with subject matter experts all around the world at different times of day and in varying amounts. Some Change Agents were regular contributors throughout the week; others popped in when they saw questions that interested them. But all were helpful. Importantly, the timing always worked for me because I could drop in and out of the discussion as my schedule allowed.

If you have a burning question or planning opportunity related to your organization, my advice to you is this:

If CAWW is ever gracious enough to open their doors to another Green Room participant, leap at the chance!

 


This is a Guest Post by Anthea Rowe, Communications Manager at StarTech.  Ms. Rowe applied to be one of Change Agents Worldwide’s Green Room clients.  If you’re interested in applying to become a Green Room Candidate, apply at this link.