Last May euforia was invited to give a class at the University of Applied Science in Business Administration Zurich (or HWZ for the locals) on “Rethinking and experiencing leadership for social change”. Over 4 days, a dozen young professionals experienced the euforia approach to discovering and developing their own personal leadership plan, with the guidance and support of 2 euforians, Malika and Yoko.
What did the program look like?
As they arrived Wednesday evening the students dove straight deep into leadership with a Fishbowl around the question “What does Leadership in the 21st century mean to you?”.
Over the next couple days they experienced a program quite similar to imp!act, discovering the difficulties of collaboration through a card game, figuring out their very own changemaker/leadership model, brainstorming on concrete projects ideas for addressing topics of their choice (equality, climate change and political shifts), and, finally, developing their own personal 3 month leadership development plan. We added a unique twist to the training, as the students were given a flash-training in facilitation so that they actually were the trainers for their colleagues. The results were impressive and fun, as the students made the sessions their own, adapting them to their own contexts and developing their own fun energizers and signals. During one session clapping became the official cheerleading action to signal agreement or support for something that was said, resulting in some serious noise and laughs. For many students it was their first experience with facilitation and they found the tools and methods offered relevant and useful for their professional life.
On Friday afternoon the students were kicked out of class to go out and test their own personal leadership prototypes in the world and get a reality check. They loved the experience of stepping out of their stretch zone to share with the world what they wanted to do, and came back inspired by the experience.
On Saturday we offered an open space to do whatever the students chose, and we ended up sending them on a gratitude walk and then discussing the concrete application of holacratic principles at euforia. Many were enthused by this session, eager to figure out how these elements could be applied in their own hierarchical context, interested in the understanding that holacracy does not mean no hierarchy but distributed hierarchy.
What were the highlights?
As with all euforia trainings, we asked for extensive feedback, both orally and in written form. The students enjoyed the high quality of the training, the experiential learning approach and the graphic facilitation of the 4 days. They valued having time and space for introspection and prototyping their own leadership. One feedback that particularly surprised and pleased us was their discovery and appreciation of our positive mindset. And of course, they loved the informal euphoric setting, fun atmosphere and the openness and connexion created in the group.
“It was an interesting workshop, with a lot of inspiring topics and methodologies, which I will try to use in my business.”
Obviously, there was also constructive feedback and we’re already using it to improve next year’s class. The students sometimes had trouble connecting the concepts to their everyday work and we addressed some concepts they already knew, while missed out on addressing or deepening other elements. So for next year we’ll offer more open space to address the emerging needs of the class and check more in depth what their needs are beforehand. On top of this, we’re changing the format of the course to hold it in 2 parts: 2 days of training, followed by 4-6 weeks in their workplace during which the students will implement their leadership development and test the techniques we shared with them, and finally 1 day of training to debrief and solidify their learnings and commitment to their own leadership development.
“You both did a great job! Thank you for this experience.”
Giving this class was a superb experience, from the first contact with HWZ’s Sylvie Vlk and Prof. Sybille Sachs, right through the entire class and up to the debriefing with Sylvie and Sybille a couple weeks after. We’re truly grateful to have such a wonderful opportunity with great partners and we’re already looking forward to sharing with you the results of next year’s edition!
euforian, Chief Empowerment Officer and Co Founder