One might suggest that business-focused learning has nothing in common with the game of hurling, but I’m certain this is not correct.
While reading a real gem of a book called ‘The Club’ by Christy O’Connor, a compelling tale of a year in the life of a Co. Clare hurling club St. Joseph’s Doora-Barefield, I was captivated by this quote:
Sport at its most moving and visceral doesn’t have to involve cups and medals. It has to do with a group coming together and sharing experiences until such time as those shared experiences turn them into something else.
If you have been fortunate in life, you will have experienced this phenomenon. A powerful, shared experience can have a transformative effect on a group of people and can create a unique bond that lasts a long time.
I have been lucky to experience this first-hand in recent times with my colleagues in the UCD Smurfit Graduate Diploma in Executive Coaching. A group of seventeen people who over the course of the year were “turned into something else”. I realise the nature of the work allows for a higher quality of personal interaction, but the strength of the connection between this group is extraordinary.
We have also seen this emerge in our Smarter Egg learning groups, especially amongst the groups that have been working together for over a year. Personal and business challenges have been co-navigated with the assistance of inputs and insights from external ‘thought leaders’ as well as from within the group. ‘Transformative’ is the perfect word.
Our challenge is to continually seek out opportunities where we can engage with people at this level. Those opportunities may lie in the most unlikely of places.