Adventures in Leadership, Learning – There has gotta be a better way!

KiKi L'Italien

Learning can be an adventure. The question in this situation is whether we’ll allow it to be.

It’s fun when the answer is yes.

It all starts with a story

When I was a child, I loved when people would read stories to me. Because of those early stories, I believed that my life would be filled with hidden treasure, poisonous snakes, and potentially quicksand.

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer at 4-years-old was, “mermaid!”

I don’t even enjoy swimming.

But sometimes our chance to show how brave we are doesn’t come from an encounter with quicksand. Sometimes we are offered the chance to explore new approaches and pave new pathways in less-adventurous sounding territories, like “strategic planning” or “mega issues.” 

And this is the case with a recent experiment conducted by Tecker International, Association Chat, and Howspace, where we – along with a group of co-explorers – navigated a different way to make decisions using focused questions, new tech tools, and a flexible approach to the way we use time with others.

“There’s gotta be a better way!”

In February, we launched a new kind of critical issues experience that wasn’t a lecture, course, webinar, or Zoom meeting – it was something else. We struggled with what to call it and internally began referring to it as an “engage-inar” since it combined active real-time engagement alongside asynchronous work in a collaborative digital space.

Why did we do this?

Because what we were hearing about and experiencing wasn’t cutting it. COVID-19 grounded everyone and so the in-person strategic planning meetings and other types of engagements went virtual. Mostly, we saw that it meant everyone tried to fit what they’d done before into the confines of a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting environment. We ventured into more complicated types of collaborative virtual engagements with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous work. But that was clunky and we complained:

  • Meetings weren’t engaging enough
  • Participants lacked enough interaction with each other
  • Too much time passed between meetings – lost time in bringing people “up to speed”

In addition to all of those issues, and as the pandemic continued to rage, social contracts became a worldwide focus.  Leaders in the United States were being asked to commit to their DE&I promises.

What role did all of this play in how we meet as leaders? How might we improve upon the status quo? 

The February Journey

Tecker International met Howspace (an “AI-powered online platform that makes learning social”) and the rest is history.

Well, it was more complicated than that, but we did begin using the platform for certain client engagements after we learned more about its benefits.

But, we are adventurers and like any good adventurer, we were curious. We had questions.

How would people completely new to the Tecker International processes and the Howspace platform react to using the technology while experiencing requests for information?

We wanted to test it!

Because of my work as a Tecker International senior consultant and CEO of Association Chat (an online community of association professionals), we decided to collaborate together on a free and open test with Howspace.

We created a learning journey open to any association professionals who wanted to participate.

Every adventure story is more exciting when told from the mouths of those directly involved. Hear about the learning journey from the guides themselves!

Here is Glenn Tecker talking about his take on the experience:


Listen in on some of Paul Meyer’s thoughts about the journey (you’ll also see me peppering him with questions on the video because that’s the role I love to play the most – asking lots of questions):

So what happened next?

The adventure continues.

We’ve discovered technology solutions mixing real conversations and decision-making, collaborative tech tools can extend reach, objectivity, and access to participation.

We continue to use Howspace for certain client engagements and watch as some of our clients are also adopting this type of tool and technique for their own purposes.

Learn more about how we are doing some of this work for Boards here at TI. Reach out! Ask us questions! We’re happy to help and we are always glad to share our knowledge.