What mistake was it that made all of us in the room so happy? Gary Friedman requested of a group of lawyers attending his seminar that we demonstrate being the worst mediator imaginable. All the shoulds and got-tos and rules and philosophy and models dropped away and, wow, did we have fun!
It is probably not a surprise that the majority of mediators participating in this exercise become directive—to the extreme. Often downright dictatorial.
That same feeling of devil-may-care freedom was triggered when I read of FailCon, a conference focused on failure. That event I would like to attend. The notion of sharing mistakes seems so much more compelling and juicy than listening to a slate of motivational speakers. Yes, most motivational speakers detail challenges they have faced and overcome but the focus is their victory. Although their talks can be inspiring, they often are so buttoned-down, cuff-linked, dry-cleaned spotless. So tame and acceptable.
I want spicy, vivid misbehavior. That's where lots of my motivating action is. And from the way the energy rises in the room when I use the be-your-worst exercise, I think lots of other people get motivated by being fully and audaciously wrong.
But you don't get to stop with the mischief.
In the exercise described above, Gary, after commenting on the spirited focus, interest, and action in the room, asked us to look for the elements and sources of that energy and then harness them for future mediations. Because that second part of the exercise occurs when the participants are uplifted as a result of the mischievousness and mistakes, it is typically extremely valuable and enlightening.
FailCon is not going to be simply a failure fest either; it too will garner lessons and gems from the foul-ups. But it will lead with the blunders. I bet the get-together will be uncommon, fun, and constructive.
How about you? Are you ready to go forth and botch?
H/T: Steve Piscitelli's post on "worst practices" in which I learned of the FailCon conference.