Where Can You Catch The Firefly Group?

Training 2013
Orlando, Florida
February 18 - 20


What We Do

The Firefly Group helps people connect their everyday tasks with a bigger, wider sense of purpose and meaning. After working with Firefly, people are energized to attain the mission of their organization and they have a specific action plan to help them achieve their goals.

We do this through leadership development, performance improvement training, strategic planning, and clarification of organizational mission and vision. Our methods are engaging, thought-filled, and results-oriented.

If this sounds like a good direction for your organization, let's talk about how we might collaborate! Please give me a call (802.257.7247) or send an . - Brian

Your ETR (Estimated Time to Read): 10 minutes
Your ETII (Estimated Time to Implement Ideas):
5 weeks

Read my new book
Say It Quick!

Special Event Rescheduled:

Thiagi in New York City
There are still a few days left to register for Thiagi's workshop in New York on February 5.

Contact Thiagi directly to learn about "Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training." In the morning session of this two-part workshop, you will learn how to design a variety of effective and engaging training activities. In the afternoon, you will learn how to conduct these activities to ensure the recall and application of new skill and knowledge. To register for this one-day event visit thiagi.com.


NASAGA has published a book!

From the acclaimed North American Simulation and Gaming Association, comes the much-anticipated The NASAGA Training Activity Book. This first-of-its-kind book offers a dynamic collection of ready-to-use games, simulations, and activities. With contributions from expert trainers, educators, and simulation and game designers, this highly accessible resource presents a variety of activities that address the most common issues that trainers are asked to tackle including:

Communication, Conflict management, Creativity, Customer service/sales/marketing, Decision making/problem solving, Multicultural issues, Organization development, Self-awareness/personal growth, Team building, Training of trainers

Available from Pfeiffer.

February 2013

Reader Feedback: This article has already generated a response from Scott Simmerman, The Square Wheels Guy. He found parallels between maximizing the involvement of introverts and the importance of engaging people who have been de-motivated. Read some of his strategies at his blog.

Say It Quick
a thoughtful message in exactly 99 words

bits of serendipity to inspire and motivate
fuel for your own continuous learning
tips and tricks you can try today
Deficit or Asset? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

The Power of Silence

Productive Silence


Say It Quick

You just don't know what someone has to offer until they are in the right situation. Learn ways for quieter people to contribute beginning with this 99-Word Story about someone who was not very quiet!

Deficit or Asset?
Devon is a boy with autism. His biggest problem is that he reads and spells out every road sign on car trips. His parents dreaded driving. They could not abide his annoying habit - until they took a wrong turn onto a back street in Boston. It was Devon who saved them by reciting every street they had driven through.

Who would have thought: a different situation and Devon's deficit became an asset. Now he takes the copilot's seat for every road trip.

Sometimes a person's problem is really a gift if we give them the opportunity.



The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

By Susan Cain
ISBN: 978-0-307-35214-9

If you are an introvert, there are probably times you have felt like you just didn't fit in - or at least that you had trouble fitting your words into a conversation. And if you are an extrovert, you have probably wondered why some people never speak up and share what's on their mind. Wherever you fit among these extremes, Susan Cain offers insight and possible understanding in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

Cain's book is an examination of the differences in temperament between extroverts, those who are gregarious, outspoken, and become energized by being around other people, and introverts, those who are quiet, reflective, and become energized by spending time alone. Cain maintains that North American culture has come to favor extroverts with their ability to think on their feet, function smoothly in social situations, and promote their ideas. We see them as leaders and tend to give them credibility. But introverts also have a lot to offer and Quiet provides reassurance to introverted types that they are OK by spelling out the advantages of a more reserved temperament.

To be succinct, introverts think more carefully than extroverts. Introverts pay attention to more details and they "think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately" (p. 168). This is not to say that we don't, at times, need extroverted people to help us think decisively and act quickly. But Cain maintains that, far too often, the contributions of introverts are marginalized or overwhelmed by the force of extroverts in the room.

Like the 99-Word Story, different situations call for different skills. Extroverted leaders have an advantage when employees are passive because they can use their social skills to connect with people and rally them around a sense of teamwork. On the other hand, introverted leaders are more effective when employees are proactive. Because they are inclined to listen rather than dominate a social situation, introverted leaders are more likely to implement the ideas of team members. This tends to motivate people and create a virtuous cycle of proactivity.

Cain criticizes what she sees as an excessive use of teams in education and business saying it puts introverts at a disadvantage and reduces the number of creative ideas. She recommends giving people time to work alone, providing private space for contemplation, and using online brainstorming in which sharing ideas by text slows everyone's thinking to a more thoughtful rate.

The split between introversion and extroversion can be seen in infants as young as four months. And while we are influenced by environmental factors we carry those inborn traits through to adulthood. In fact, at the university level, introversion predicts academic performance better than cognitive ability. But having a genetic predisposition does not mean introverts are destined to forever be uncomfortable in social situations or have difficulty speaking in public. Cain points out that we can stretch our personality and temperament for something really important to us; a "core personal project." Then we are motivated to prepare, practice, and perform.

Ultimately, Quiet is about how to help all of us to be more effective - especially when we use our temperaments collaboratively. Extroverts can help introverts get out of their heads to a more lighthearted place. And introverts can offer an opportunity for extroverts to be listened to in a serious way.



The Power of Silence
How often do we think there's something wrong with someone who does not speak up? At the very least we may be wondering what that person is thinking or how smart they are. We may even wonder whether they harbor critical thoughts about us. Our society often tries to "fix" people who don't speak up. In fact, there may be many reasons for someone to be quiet. Perhaps they are thinking about what another person has said. Maybe they are collecting their own thoughts; piecing together different ideas. For others, their culture has taught them to be reserved, less outspoken.

The North American preference for extroversion is in sharp contrast to most Asian cultures. Susan Cain writes that, in " traditional Asian attitudes to the spoken word: talk is for communicating need-to-know information; quiet and introspection are signs of deep thought and higher truth."

Cain sites many examples of the power of silence. The top performing computer programmers are consistently people who work for companies that give them the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environment and freedom from interruption. And a study of 38,000 knowledge workers found that the biggest barrier to productivity was being interrupted.

On the other hand, things don't get done simply because everyone is quieter. The activities that we value highly often require the collaborative effort of many people to achieve. It's an inherently noisy process and it's one reason organizations have evolved. But knowing what works for people of an introverted temperament gives insight about what might be helpful those of us, who, like Devon in the 99-Word Story, only need to be given the right opportunity.



Productive Silence
We perceive talkers as smarter simply because their ideas get onto the floor more frequently and more noticeably. But that doesn't meant their ideas are necessarily better. Solitude and independent thinking can also be a catalyst to creative thinking.

So why not level the playing field by creating more opportunities for introverts to do the type of thinking they do best. Here are some suggestions to inject a bit of quiet for reflection into your next meeting.

Ways to use silence productively:

Whether you try these ideas or one of your own, how you have been able to increase productivity by keeping quiet.



If you like what you have read in this issue, I would like to bring the same innovation, creativity, and playfulness to your next meeting or learning event.

Whether you need a keynote speaker, or help with strategic planning, performance improvement, or training facilitators and trainers in your organization, I look forward to your call (802.257.7247) or .

-- Brian

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