Learning Icons from VocationCARE

I spent 3 days last week learning VocationCARE practices with the Foundation for Theological Education.

Here are my 3 take-aways from my time there:

1. When the pendulum swings, it is most violent to those at the bottom. 

I get very excited about changing things. Change is fun for me. And envisioning fast change within an organization almost always makes sense in my mind. But as I thought about the power of those pendulum swings of change I was stricken by the reality that a fast swinging pendulum of change is most violent at the bottom of its curve. When we’re talking about people, a change is often most painful to those at the bottom of the organization. That doesn’t make it right or wrong. But leading with compassion requires I’m aware of this.

2. Any group of I’s can become We’s.

I was way outside of my circle at VocationCARE. And I had to consciously make a choice to be a participant instead of an observer with people I seemingly shared little common ground with. I chose to lean in and chillax on the things we had common ground on for the sake of becoming “we” for a few days.

If we are going to make a difference in the world we will need to give up a lot of I’s for the sake of We’s.

3. Make the design process fun

I started drawing this little guy on things during VocationCARE. Why? These were very serious people who do very serious work. But I learned pretty quickly during our breaks that laughter was just below the seriousness. Laughter releases creativity. And creativity embraces whimsy… the heart of good design.

If your creative process lacks laughter you’ll never get the best possible design. The output of that process can be serious. But the process of getting there requires creative freedom and the embrace of whimsy.

Learning Icons

I have a really hard time tracking with some learning environments. I learn best by doing/experimenting/trying. I learn second best by discussing. And I learn least best by listening.

When the learning environment is listening I am often lost. There are so many words, so many good things said, and so little time to process or ask clarifying questions. I’ve learned that this method of synthesizing things from doodles (which is where all of these started) to become icons has really helped me retain not just the words from times of learning, but also the application and emotions I felt while hearing that training.

Discussion: What helps you retain and synthesize learning? When you teach, how aware are you of various learning styles? How much does your learning style impact your teaching style?

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

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