Zip, Zap, Boinggggg! Gareth Dix on leadership improvisation

Posted on January 18, 2014

If I had realised that doing a boot camp in ‘learner-leadership’ would involve ‘zipping’, zapping’ and ‘boingggg-ing’ with people then I would have certainly embraced this whole thing years ago.

Then thinking about it, maybe I did embrace it years ago.

A bit of context - I’ve just come back from having an amazing time at the Clore Social Leadership programme residential at RNLI college in Poole, Dorset. It was time well spent with 17 very huggable individuals and a fantastic team from Clore.

The whole zip, zap, boingggggg thing (by the way I’ve added lots of g’s at the end of ‘boing’ for sound effect as it’s a great word to say to yourself – don’t know why) came from a session led by improvisation expert John Cremer.

When I was a kid I made loads of mistakes, loads.  I failed loads, all in the games I played with friends on the streets and fields in and around  Aberdare, South Wales.  Often we would take up role play because that’s what kids do - whether it was games like ‘foxes and hounds’, ‘street football’, ‘knock on the dolly’, ‘tackle a prop forward’ & ‘rollerball’ (very similar to the film and a good toughener) - they were all places where I learned to be in charge, to be second or to follow.

I was, in effect, zip, zap and boinggging with my friends…. every day.

The cool thing was that every ‘fail’ as a kid was the toughest but importantly the funniest thing for us all.  I know (now) it was the most ‘growing’ thing, simply because every setting embraced joy, being yourself, having permission to flunk and to think on your feet.  Dare I say it - learning to laugh at yourself is so much fun.

So flip to the furrowed brows of 2014 and all the seriousness and consequences of being an adult.  Sure we have to make some very difficult decisions in all our settings, but why not think like an eight year old sometimes and allow yourself to zip, zap and boinggggg a bit.  Why not smile and say the word ‘boinngggggg’ - to me it kind of means that even if you flunk something you’re gonna bounce back.

Gareth Dix is a 2014 Clore Social Fellow.  This blog was originally posted on Gareth's blog www.garethdix.wordpress.com/

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Gareth Dix

Gareth Dix

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