Top TEN Training Tools

I’ve been working hard on a few great contracts! It’s been feeding my creative side as I love, love, love, thinking about how people learn complex topics.

I went out and bought some puzzles to add to my training toolkit (which is literally a big box of stuff–from blocks, to rubber bands, to Solo cups, and play money!). When I made my purchase, I realized that part of the fun I have with training is getting people to think through problems or challenges in a new way and to see a situation in a new light.

So, to help you guide learners through some experiential learning, I present to you…

My Top Ten List of Training Tools

aka: what is in my toolbox!

Number 10: A Timer!

I got myself this gem and love it! I love that it is as big as it is, that the timer rings loudly for everyone to hear, but not obnoxiously so. It is a great tool for keeping folks on task and on target without nagging about the elapsing time; plus I can fully immerse myself in the processing of each group and not have to focus on timekeeping. Its size is also really helpful as it can be seen throughout a training room. I use this to time presentations, group work, and even breaks.

Number 9: Mini White Boards!

These mini whiteboards, complete with marker and eraser, are a fun way of increasing participant engagement. I’ve used them as an evaluation tool by asking questions about the training or content and having participants give me one word answers. For example, I could for participants to give me a one-word description about how they are feeling at the end of a training day. They write for a moment and then all reveal the whiteboards at the same time. Similarly, they can be used as a means of quizzing the participants. The uses are endless.

Number 8: Tiddlywinks! 

I got these several years ago and have used them dozens of times! I love them for helping groups to vote or make fast decisions. For example, let’s say that you want to decide on a day for a group to meet. Make a flipchart with each of the options written on it. Lay the flipchart on a flat surface. Participants can get a few tiddlywinks to put on top of their votes. In seconds, you can get a sense of when people are available. You can use them to build a bar graph or to evaluate understanding of topics.

Number 7: Playing Cards

I love creating really interactive trainings. There can be the tendency for people to team up and only work with people who they are friends with already; we all like to stay in our comfort zone, of course. So, to combat that inclination and to ensure that groups are always a mix of different people, I hand out playing cards to determine working groups. Of course, you’ll need to count out cards ahead of time to orchestrate your groups accordingly. Once they are passed out, you can have people with even numbers group together, 4s group together, Aces group together, and so on.

Another great use is to hand out cards to keep track of who has participated. You can reward those with the most cards at the end of a training. Way back in the day, when I was teaching in Mozambique, I realized that my Titanic-themed playing cards were suddenly missing the cards featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Apparently having a picture of the heart-throb to hang in their dorm room was more important to my students than getting participation points!

Number 6: Talking Stick

I don’t often use a talking stick, but they can be really helpful is discussing hot-button issues or in a debate. The idea is simple, only the person holding the talking stick can talk. Period. As a facilitator, ensure that the talking stick is passed around fairly and everyone has a chance to share.  The benefits of using the talking stick are many–I particularly like that there is almost always a shift to people practicing active and deep listening since no one is trying to cut in or interject. There are often challenges that come with working with introverts as well as extroverts–the talking stick helps to balance the needs of both type of learners.

Number 5: Name Plates

For the same reason that I like using playing cards to mix groups up, I like making name plates for participants, too. I often arrange my training room by moving the name plates around which signals to participants that they, too, need to move around. I have used them to separate folks who engage in side conversations, to bring less engaged people to the front, and, sometimes, more engaged people to the back. If a training has lots of opportunity for pair/shares, I will especially use and mix up the name plates so that these intimate conversations can happen between lots of different pairings.

Number 4: Post-it notes

Are post-it notes the greatest project management tool ever? Maybe. I love them for trainings. You can use them for brainstorming and for connecting ideas. Have you ever facilitated a mind mapping type of brainstorming? Post-its make it come alive! I often ask a question for brainstorming and allow folks to generate ideas on post-its. They will almost automatically start grouping their post-its and, upon prompting, will organize them into stages, processes, and steps. Mind mapping with post-its is a great brainstorming tool for teams with folks who like a moment to quietly think before jumping in.

I have also used post-it notes as a way to categorize ideas. For example, in a leadership training I designed, I have participants describe a leader they know and admire. As they are talking, another participant writes the characteristics on post-it notes; one characteristic per post-it. Once everyone has shared their ideas, I ask them to group the characteristics according to the Integrated Practices for High Performing Health Systems developed by USAID and WHO. Once the characteristics are sorted, participants can easily see what is valued by them as individuals and collectively.

Number 3: Balls

I have an arsenal  of activities that use balls to teach lessons. But, my favorite way to use balls in training is to help get a sense of what people know and to quickly get everyone on the same page before the training starts. Using a giant beach ball, use post-its (see how versatile they are!?) to write a series of questions and stick the post-its on the ball….one question per post-it. Once you have a number of questions, you are ready to play! Assemble your group. Ask them to toss the ball to each other. When someone catches the ball, they pluck off a post-it and answer the question that is written on it.  The participants get to show what they know, it is quick, it is fun, and helps to set a training off at the right level and pace. Easy peasy.

Number 2: Flipcharts

Flipcharts are underrated in this digital age of ours. They are hugely beneficial for helping to demonstrate where the training is going. I like to make all of the flipcharts for a training before we even begin and post them throughout the room. In doing so, participants, subconsciously, will start to make connections between the topic of discussion and a future or past topic. All on their own.

Number 1: Candy! 

That’s right. Candy. Who doesn’t love having a little snack during a training? Who wouldn’t be motivated to try to answer a question if a Snickers was up for grabs? In all seriousness. People love candy. And they will love you if you give it to them.

What are YOUR favorite training tools?

As always, I am open to new contracts and to working together. Please let me know how I can help you to build effective, exciting, and practice-based trainings.

What’s in a Word?

A view of a street at night with fast food restaurants lining either side.What should we  call areas in the country where healthy foods are at a minimum?  Activists have often used the term “food desert”. But, as time has passed, many activities believe it is a misleading term as food often is available, it may be of a lesser quality (think mealy tomatoes or wilted lettuce) or of questionable nutritional value (think chips, soda, and fast food).  Likewise, those who bristle at that term think that “desert” may imply a permanent, unchangeable state.  The term “Food swamps” is an alternative. Some view the term as too charged and pejorative.  Food swamps describe areas where unhealthy foods outnumber healthy foods by a count of four to one. Food word

Baltimore came up with an  alternative term: “healthy food priority area“.  This term is void of any charge that was intended to shock, motivate, or reform out. It feels bland and PC.

I recently read this amazing article called “Food apartheid: the root of the problem with America’s groceries“.  Food activist Karen Washington uses the term “food apartheid” to purposefully bring up the discomfort that the term evokes. She wants us to grapple with the racism and institutionalized inequality that the word inspires.

I am on board. Food word

Beyond Food: Food Word

I am of the school of thought that we should use the term “impoverished” instead of “poor” to demonstrate that a structure is in place that is doing the impoverishment.  Likewise, at a previous job, we tried to use the term “starving” instead of “malnourished” to evoke a reaction of a sense of unfairness and urgency.

What terms do you wish to see banished from our development and public health lexicons? What do you wish we would start saying? I want to see “empowerment” to go by the wayside!

PS: Read more about what Vanuatu is doing in this area!

The Happy Secret to Better Work

happy secret to better work
 
A Happy Secret to Better Work? Let me share one of my favorite TEDTalks with you—The Happy Secret to Better Work.
 
 
In his very humorous talk, Shawn Archor talks about how our world view affects our happiness. Seems obvious.
 

He also says, though, “75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”  

So what do you, as a manager, do to build that optimism and resilience among your team? I’ve written about the need for feedback, both constructive and positive, in the past. How can we link that to building that ability to see stress as a challenge and not a threat?

I’ve incorporated several of Shawn’s lessons in my life, including keeping a running gratitude list.

Gratitude journaling is a happy secret to better work. Open gratitude journal on a table with a vase of flowers nearby and a hand holding the journal open and a hand with a pen writing in the journal

Even on the most craptastic days, there is always something out there that can add beauty to our lives. And if I am really struggling to find something, I create something to be grateful for. On those days, I reconnect with friends, set a (virtual!) coffee date, or even plan a trip (one of my favorite activities!). I usually write my list before I even get out of bed in the morning as a way of framing the day in the most positive sense possible.  

What are our post-pandemic happy secrets to better work?

As I consider this Ted Talk, I think about how times have changed since Shawn delivered this talk. When Shawn delivered this talk, we were not coming out of a several-years-long global pandemic. One of the lessons that I learned through managing a remote team during COVID was that we built and constantly reinforced the expectation that we will change, evolve, and pivot as needed to address COVID. In some ways, knowing that more change will come, even if we don’t know what it will be, disallows the team to settle into complacency or routine. The routine IS change. That clear-as-can-be communication has been crucial.  As I consider my work going forward, I will take that lesson with me: to build a resilient team that is adaptable to change.

Tell me about your happy secrets!

  • What is your happy secret to better work?
  • How have you built up your own optimism and resilience?
  • What tricks do you have up your sleeve for keeping the optimism on your team?
  • How have those skills served you now, given that we are living through this pandemic?
  • What new skills have you been able to tap into?

Nine Events of Instruction

Have you ever been in a training where you feel a little bit like Charlie Brown when he is in his classroom? Where your attention everywhere BUT on the topic at hand? 

Maybe what the presenter said was disconnected with your own reality (a la The Office)?

Or, maybe, just maybe, you jumped into a lecture that was above your head, your pay grade, or understanding? (this video has always been a favorite–glad I have the chance to throw it in here!)

You have been in those situations. We all have been. As a trainer, I like to cue up a lesson to make sure that the stage is set, learners are ready, and that they know what the point of the instruction is. In order to cue up a lesson, I remind myself of the first three, of nine, events of instruction. 

Robert Gagne famously (ok, “famously” in certain circles) outlined nine events that codify learning and instruction. The events simplified and explained what was thought to be “good instruction”.  

Let’s look at the first three:

  1. Gain attention to ground the lesson and to motivate learners
  2. Describe the learning goal and what will be accomplished by the lesson and how it relates to work/tasks/desired outcomes
  3. Stimulate recall of prior knowledge

It should only take a few minutes to move through all three of the primers. For example, by asking about a problem and how the participants view that problem, you can easily accomplish number one and three. By drawing on the past experiences of participants you can touch on point number three.

I recently wrote training materials for health care workers who were being asked to switch up the treatments that their patients were taking. The activity below was meant to build empathy for the patients, describe a bit of what we’d be learning, and help the participants to consider how medications were currently being prescribed and the challenges patients face…


Activity

·      This activity is intended to inspire an empathetic response among participants to the challenges that their patients may face with adherence to their medications.

Say:

·      As we mentioned in the beginning, we are going to give you opportunities to try to put yourselves in the shoes of your patients.

·      Let us do a short demonstration now to start our discussion on adherence. This demonstration will help us to start thinking about some of the reasons for poor adherence.

Do:

·      Ask for three participants to volunteer for this demonstration.

·      Each of the three demonstrations will be slightly different. Please read the instructions before facilitating the activity.

·      Demonstration One:

·      Hand the first participant volunteer two bowls. One bowl should be empty. The second bowl should have 50 or so small candies in it.

·      Tell the participant that he or she has exactly 30 seconds to transfer exactly 30 candies, one-by-one, from the full bowl to the empty bowl. The participant should aim to put the 30th candy in the bowl at the 30-second mark.

·      Do not count down the time or indicate in any way that time is passing.

·      At the end of the 30 seconds, stop the participant and ask the participant to count how many candies were transferred to the empty bowl.

·      Ask the participant:

·      How might this demonstration be like taking ARVs?

Answer:

·      ARVs are taken at specific intervals

·      A specific number

·      Regulated, etc.

·      How did it feel to not understand why you were doing this task? Did you think that this activity might be pointless?

·      How might patients feel about taking ARVs when they feel perfectly healthy?

·      Demonstration Two:

·      Hand the second participant volunteer the same two bowls. One bowl should be empty. This time, the second bowl should only have 20 or so candies in it.

·      Tell the participant that he or she has exactly 30 seconds to transfer exactly 30 candies, one-by-one, from the full bowl to the empty bowl.

·      Do not count down the time or indicate in any way that time is passing.

·      At the end of the 30 seconds, ask the participant to count how many candies were transferred to the empty bowl.

·      Ask the participant:

·      How did it feel to be unsuccessful with such a simple task?

·      How did it feel when you knew you did not have the 30 candies that I asked you to move?

·      How might this demonstration relate to patient challenges with ARVs?

·      Demonstration Three:

·      Hand the third participant volunteer one empty bowl. This time, you, the facilitator, should hold the second bowl with 50 or so candies in it.

·      Tell the participant that he or she has exactly 30 seconds to transfer exactly 30 candies from the full bowl to the empty bowl.

·      This time, though, the participant must ask you for three candies at a time. You must hand the participant three candies and he or she will deposit them one-by-one into the empty bowl. Feel free to delay the hand off, give two instead of three, and otherwise make the activity more challenging.

·      Do not count down the time or indicate in any way that time is passing.

·      At the end of the 30 seconds, ask the participant to count how many candies were transferred to the empty bowl.

·      Ask the participant:

·      How might this demonstration be like taking ARVs?

·      How did it feel to know that you had to ask for candies often enough that it kept you from reaching your objective?

·      How might this demonstration relate to how clinics and patients interact?

Answer:

·      Clinics do not always work according to the schedule or needs of the patient.

Ask:

·      Why do you think we did this activity?

·      Do you think that we, as providers, are aware of all of the challenges that patients have with adherence?

·      What are some of the challenges we highlighted in this activity?

Answer:

·      Keeping to a schedule

·      Stock-outs

·      Conflicts between clinic and patient need, etc.

Say:

·      In many cases, patients may not understand why they are taking their medications, just as in the first demonstration. Plus, the idea of taking drugs while still well is a new idea that many people do not understand.

·      We also know that health systems are not always in sync with what a patient may need in terms of clinic hours or amounts of medication that they can be prescribed at a time, and so on.


As you can see, this brief activity, designed to take no more than five minutes or so, accomplishes the first three principles of good instruction. The participants are grounded, ready to learn, captivated by the exercise and they are linking what they are seeing to past experiences with patient adherence and, finally, they get a sense of what the lesson will be about. 

I often write curricula that other people will deliver. I often get push back around activities and cue-up questions as trainers sometimes want to rush to “get to the point”. These segues and lead-ins cannot be viewed as simply nice-to-have or superfluous. When learners can’t connect to new or unfamiliar content, the new concepts will become “slippery” and not stick. The next thing you know, you are Charlie Browns teacher. 

What are some of your favorite cue-up activities or questions?

PS: You can find the entire OPTIMIZE curriculum on the ICAP website. 

Feedback

Not to toot my own horn, but I tend to be quite good at accepting feedback and and incorporating it into my work.  I value feedback as an essential tool of collaborative work and as a means of ensuring that multiple voices and perspectives are heard and incorporated.

Of course, I’m sure we’ve all had those painful moments when we’ve gotten unsolicited feedback so late in the game that we end up facing a sleepless night on the eve of a big event or before a deadline.  Oh, the wound is still fresh!

In any case, we can always try to be proactive about getting feedback.  I like the AWARE model for asking for feedback that is highlighted in this talk:

Ask for feedback, 
Watch your emotions, 
Ask questions to clarify, 
Reach out for perspectives, and 
Engage your potential.
 

I particularly liked the description of why feedback can be difficult–as it lives in that tense spot between the need to learn and grow, and the need to be accepted just the way we are. Yet, becoming comfortable asking for and giving feedback helps to hone our growth mindset and helps us see feedback as a gift. 

Consider watching the video with your team and leading them in a discussion about how they like to get feedback from you and how you can solicit feedback from them.  A sign of a healthy team is one where feedback is readily given and received and expected. 
 
Can you shift your mindset to one of growth and see feedback as a gift? Your challenge for the week? Ask for feedback from one of your colleagues by using the AWARE model.  

What type of leader are you?

I often teach leadership and management courses and, inevitably, there are folks in my courses who believe that leadership skills are innate. Either you’ve got what it takes or you don’t.

I could not disagree more.

If you break down what it takes to be a good leader and/or manager, it comes down to a collection of tasks and skills that can be cultivated and improved upon over time. Yes, there will be some that will come more easily than others. I also firmly believe that, as leaders, we can build teams to compensate for our areas in need of growth. No one person is going to excel at everything, but by being mindful about creating teams with diversity of skill, thought process, and experience, we can build a team of leaders. 

A colleague recently shared this article with me… The Three Leadership Types in a Nimble Organization.  What stands out to me in this article is the notion that leadership and the opportunity for leadership can and must come from all levels within an organization. 

I couldn’t agree more.

My take away, though, is to take these three archetypes into consideration as I build future teams for every global health team must be nimble and prepared for just about any twist or turn that our changing world throws at them. 

Would you like to bring leadership and management training to your team or organization? If so, please reach out and let’s make it happen!

 

Time Blocking for Productivity

If you are like me, you likely have a lot to accomplish every day and it can often feel like there is not enough time in the day to do it all. 

I often use time-blocking as a time-economizing, concentration-boosting trick. It is a simple technique that helps me stay focused on the task at hand and, as such, check more off of my to-do list. 

First things first, the to-do list is a critical element to the success of this technique. I am a big fan of and heavy user of the app-based to-do list called ToDoist.  It allows for items to turn up on your list every day, every month on the 13th or every month on the third Thursday of the month, every-other-day and probably a ton of other customizable options. For me, this was a game changer. I have reminders programmed for weekly tasks like writing this blog, annual tasks like renewing business licenses, and daily activities like exercising. 

The key to time blocking is to have a robust to-do list where you can see like tasks. For example, you would have a block where you’d respond to emails. Another block could be used for any phone calls you need to make or appointments you need to schedule. For me, a big block of time each day always goes to writing. 

Next, consider the best time to do each of the types of work. For me, starting the day out with exercise energizes me and sets the stage for a productive day. I also find that my creative energies are flowing best in the morning and afternoons are a good time for tasks that require less brainpower. 

By combining like tasks, you use less mental energy shifting how you think and what you are seeking to execute. For me, it it also helps to make sure I am working according to my priorities and the priorities of my clients. 

How do you make the most of your day? 

The power of deep work

If you’re like me, it is tremendously challenging to carve out time for so-called “deep work” while at work. Deep work almost seems mythical and elusive to me, at times. In one particularly intense role, I would “save” my challenging work and work that required deep thinking or problem solving for the weekends when I could have some quiet time. Not ideal at all. At other times, I do my very best to set myself up for deep work by closing my email and turning off notifications (all those chat notifications!!) on my computer and phone. In particularly busy periods where I’ve had several contracts I was working on simultaneously, I used online tools to block certain websites, mostly websites where I can waste a lot of time, in order to limit my temptation for distraction.  When I can get into that mode, it seems nearly magical. The ability to think. Just think. Seems like a rarely offered gift

In my work as a curriculum designer, I like to think through an exercise and imagine how it would play out in a training setting. I think about how people will move around a room or virtual space. I think about what materials I might want and if the use of those materials would be feasible and not too cumbersome for the facilitator. I do all of that thinking before I even put my fingers on a keyboard to write out instructions that match my vision. 

The evidence is abundantly clear that we are more effective, more productive, and less stressed out if we have the ability to single-task (as opposed to multitask).  How can we make it happen?

Mark Twain once wrote that “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” For me, if I am going to tackle something that requires deep thinking, my motivation, energy, and ability to pay attention are all at their height at the start of my work day.  If at all possible, I try to schedule my intense work for the morning hours. Luckily, I have a fair amount of control over my schedule and when I take meetings and how I structure my day. When I have found myself at the will of others or in particularly meeting-heavy roles, I have found that communicating about what I need to accomplish  and how I will best accomplish it (ie: quiet time in the morning) is usually well accepted and understood. My coworkers are usually amenable to rescheduling or shuffling the day around. I know I can forget that I also can say “no” to meetings. It seems nearly radical and even more radical in a remote environment when we may instinctually want to “prove” that we are at work and doing what we should be doing.  Yet, we have to be careful to not mistake busyness, in the form of being in pointless meetings and responding instantly to group chats, to being productive.

As a manager, I have also tried to give the gift of deep work to my team. In my last role, I blocked off Friday afternoons as quiet time. It was meant to be meeting-free time where we did not expect immediate responses to queries or requests. Plus, we were all working way more than we should have been, so this also gave permission for my team to leave before the official end of the work day if they were able to. 

What are your tips for deep work? How do you make it happen in your busy life? Do you work virtually? How do you manage to keep focused when household distractions abound (no judgement, I frequently do dishes and fold laundry while in meetings!)? Would love to hear from you!

Thanksgiving Speech by Wamsutta (Frank B.) James, Wampanoag

ABOUT THE DOCUMENT: Three hundred fifty years after the Pilgrims began their invasion of the land of the Wampanoag, their “American” descendants planned an anniversary celebration. Still clinging to the white schoolbook myth of friendly relations between their forefathers and the Wampanoag, the anniversary planners thought it would be nice to have an Indian make an appreciative and complimentary speech at their state dinner. Frank James was asked to speak at the celebration. He accepted. The planners, however , asked to see his speech in advance of the occasion, and it turned out that Frank James’ views — based on history rather than mythology — were not what the Pilgrims’ descendants wanted to hear. Frank James refused to deliver a speech written by a public relations person. Frank James did not speak at the anniversary celebration. If he had spoken, this is what he would have said:

I speak to you as a man — a Wampanoag Man. I am a proud man, proud of my ancestry, my accomplishments won by a strict parental direction (“You must succeed – your face is a different color in this small Cape Cod community!”). I am a product of poverty and discrimination from these two social and economic diseases. I, and my brothers and sisters, have painfully overcome, and to some extent we have earned the respect of our community. We are Indians first – but we are termed “good citizens.” Sometimes we are arrogant but only because society has pressured us to be so.

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you – celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.

Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans. Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.

Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years?

History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch.”

And so down through the years there is record after record of Indian lands taken and, in token, reservations set up for him upon which to live. The Indian, having been stripped of his power, could only stand by and watch while the white man took his land and used it for his personal gain. This the Indian could not understand; for to him, land was survival, to farm, to hunt, to be enjoyed. It was not to be abused. We see incident after incident, where the white man sought to tame the “savage” and convert him to the Christian ways of life. The early Pilgrim settlers led the Indian to believe that if he did not behave, they would dig up the ground and unleash the great epidemic again.

The white man used the Indian’s nautical skills and abilities. They let him be only a seaman — but never a captain. Time and time again, in the white man’s society, we Indians have been termed “low man on the totem pole.”

Has the Wampanoag really disappeared? There is still an aura of mystery. We know there was an epidemic that took many Indian lives – some Wampanoags moved west and joined the Cherokee and Cheyenne. They were forced to move. Some even went north to Canada! Many Wampanoag put aside their Indian heritage and accepted the white man’s way for their own survival. There are some Wampanoag who do not wish it known they are Indian for social or economic reasons.

What happened to those Wampanoags who chose to remain and live among the early settlers? What kind of existence did they live as “civilized” people? True, living was not as complex as life today, but they dealt with the confusion and the change. Honesty, trust, concern, pride, and politics wove themselves in and out of their [the Wampanoags’] daily living. Hence, he was termed crafty, cunning, rapacious, and dirty.

History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized, disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life; the other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it. Let us remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white man. The Indian feels pain, gets hurt, and becomes defensive, has dreams, bears tragedy and failure, suffers from loneliness, needs to cry as well as laugh. He, too, is often misunderstood.

The white man in the presence of the Indian is still mystified by his uncanny ability to make him feel uncomfortable. This may be the image the white man has created of the Indian; his “savageness” has boomeranged and isn’t a mystery; it is fear; fear of the Indian’s temperament!

High on a hill, overlooking the famed Plymouth Rock, stands the statue of our great Sachem, Massasoit. Massasoit has stood there many years in silence. We the descendants of this great Sachem have been a silent people. The necessity of making a living in this materialistic society of the white man caused us to be silent. Today, I and many of my people are choosing to face the truth. We ARE Indians!

Although time has drained our culture, and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts. We may be fragmented, we may be confused. Many years have passed since we have been a people together. Our lands were invaded. We fought as hard to keep our land as you the whites did to take our land away from us. We were conquered, we became the American prisoners of war in many cases, and wards of the United States Government, until only recently.

Our spirit refuses to die. Yesterday we walked the woodland paths and sandy trails. Today we must walk the macadam highways and roads. We are uniting We’re standing not in our wigwams but in your concrete tent. We stand tall and proud, and before too many moons pass we’ll right the wrongs we have allowed to happen to us.

We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. What has happened cannot be changed, but today we must work towards a more humane America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are important; where the Indian values of honor, truth, and brotherhood prevail.

You the white man are celebrating an anniversary. We the Wampanoags will help you celebrate in the concept of a beginning. It was the beginning of a new life for the Pilgrims. Now, 350 years later it is a beginning of a new determination for the original American: the American Indian.

There are some factors concerning the Wampanoags and other Indians across this vast nation. We now have 350 years of experience living amongst the white man. We can now speak his language. We can now think as a white man thinks. We can now compete with him for the top jobs. We’re being heard; we are now being listened to. The important point is that along with these necessities of everyday living, we still have the spirit, we still have the unique culture, we still have the will and, most important of all, the determination to remain as Indians. We are determined, and our presence here this evening is living testimony that this is only the beginning of the American Indian, particularly the Wampanoag, to regain the position in this country that is rightfully ours.

Wamsutta

September 10, 1970

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

I was recently reminded of this great TED Talk by Simon Sinek called Why good leaders make you feel safe.  

In his talk, he suggests that when the right environment is created, we are all capable of doing remarkable things and acting in great service to others. He attributes trust and cooperation to building that great environment.

I have found that, perhaps oddly, when I’ve worked in really fast paced environments (ie: disasters, pandemics, epidemics), the tolerance for mistakes is higher. We know that we are making decisions quickly and not everything will go right. But, in some ways, that increases the trust and feeling of safety. It allows for honest conversation. It encourages people to ask for help.

But, how do you do you build a sense of safety? Simon proposes some suggestions, have a listen!

What are your thoughts?

How do you make your team feel safe?

Or, in your own heart, what could you be doing to increase that level of safety and security?