Big Ears

“There are Big Ears in the room” my dear friend says, as she spots her not-so-discreet children listening in on the adult conversation… Whether as eavesdropping children or interested adults, we’ve all done it – honed in on someone else’s chat when we’re not an active participant. Call it “nosy” but believe it or not, turning up your “big ears” can really help you tune in to your community’s talk of the town. Here’s how:

Assign several of your key staff to pick an off-site location where they’ll work for one hour. The library, the coffee shop, a local diner, a park, the mall, a food court, ice cream shop…any location in your community where people gather. Their new work assignment is to act as a fly on the wall, so-to-speak: tune-in their Big Ears and really listen to not only what’s being said, but also what’s not being said. The goal is to return with a list of ten bullet points of key topics, program/service ideas, or overall observations. Then, as a team, review the lists. Are there similarities or themes that can be identified? How can the “intel” be constructively used in your agency? The most important part of this exercise is to create an action plan based on what was heard. The actions can be simple tweaks to services, adjustments to existing processes, or even the creation of new programs…all of which may never have happened without taking time to listen.

With intention and structure, you can turn a seemingly innocent and simple concept into a very powerful tool.

Engage the Silent Voices

In the most recent presidential election, frustrated Americans sent their S.O.S. in the form of a vote. That single vote was the mechanism for their voice to be heard. As stewards of community resources, charged with providing services to all residents, it begs us to ask the questions: What segments of your community have “silent voices”? Does your entire community feel the services are fair and equitable, and that you’re meeting their needs? Who are you not serving, and how do you know you’re not serving them?

DW Recreation Consulting will present an educational session at both the Illinois and Ohio State Parks and Recreation Conferences in January 2018. Join us as we explore some ‘pulse strategies’ and create a plan that can help you listen to and engage with the diverse perspectives across your entire community.

The Mindfulness Movement

As mindfulness goes mainstream, more of us are consciously paying attention to who we are, what we do every day, and how we do it. We are more intentionally searching for our organic selves, which is subsequently impacting the choices we’re making in our work, play, spirituality and relationships. As your community members search for deeper, more authentic life experiences, consider ways to ensure that your park and recreation agency can be seen as a leader in supporting purposeful living.

Join us for an educational session on January 19th at the 2018 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference in Chicago, IL, where we will dig into what mindfulness means, where it’s being practiced, and how the positive results of mindfulness can impact your organization. We’ll also ‘smell the roses’ and ‘taste the raisins’ as we examine how authenticity can shape your customer experiences into meaningful outcomes.