Composing acronyms for me is a bit like composing music for a jazz musician. Jazz musicians tell their stories through their songs. I tell my stories through my acronyms.
Directing, teaching, and coaching in the Demers Group's Core Alignment Professional Coach Training program has deepened my confidence in my calling to convene conversations that energize flourishing communities. That's what my stories are about these days - managing my talents to provoke terrific teams through compassionate and compelling conversations.
The communities with whom I work through Jazzthink are varied - executive teams, units within organizations, smaller teams with specific tasks, nonprofit staffs and/or boards, and governing bodies in Christian churches. But I always invite them to play jazz with me, to engage in conversations that have just enough structure to allow us to communicate meaningfully, but that also have lots of room for the free flow of passions and ideas that enable us to co-create something SMARTer for the greater good. It's engaging, enjoyable, and effective.
My latest compositions emerged from reflections on Daniel J. Siegel's book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (2010). Siegel is clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a pioneer in connecting the insights of neuroplasticity to mental health. Integration is the central theme in this book - the integration of the various modes and centres of mindfulness in our bodies and the integration of differentiated selves into compassionate communities. Here's are the acronyms that my conversation with Siegel inspired - VITAL TEAM.
Vibrant - energized and inspired
Integrated - collaborative and coherent
Tempered - strong and steady
Agile - flexible and adaptive
Loving - connected and compassionate
Terrific talent - frighteningly good abilities that push everyone beyond their limits
Enthusiastic enrolment - inspiring engagement that deepens ownership
Aligned action - doing things in a coordinated flow that produces optimal results
Meaningful mission - co-creating a better life
I've worked with and led teams that generated all these qualities. Our success depended on them and our failures could be traced to their absence. We had our ups and downs. Team members came and went. Projects progressed and stalled. Environments were good and bad. Energy ebbed and flowed. But resilience in achieving our meaningful missions grew because everyone on the team was committed to giving their best with and for each other in the service of our common goal.
When you are being a VITAL TEAM, some version of this melody is being played. The conversations that create your teams are following some version of this lead sheet. Every team will have their own improvisations and variations on these notes and chords, their own harmonies and rhythms as they perform their work, but they will be playing some form of these riffs.