A Conversation with Dave
Tell Me about Yourself
Academically. I completed my Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Alberta majoring in Human Resources. 5 years later I enrolled in a Masters Program in Communications Studies at the University of Calgary. I studied part-time over 7 years while working full-time with a new family. The focus of my research was interpersonal communications and continuous improvement in a small organizational setting. What I learnt from this was how to think critically as a leader.
Professionally. My background is in the field of People, Human Resources. I have worked in both operational and corporate business settings. I began my career in the health care industry, with a focus on recruitment which teaches you all aspects of the business. I then worked as a generalist in the electrical utility and post secondary academic environments to support all aspects of human resources - staffing, compensation, employee relations, organizational development and effectiveness, training and development, policy management and change. Over my career I have supported leaders at all levels of an organization. The key for success was to build relationships with your customers through getting to know their business first, find out how the money or funding flowed second, and then offering expertise to find solutions to take action.
Personally. I am married to my awesome wife, friend and partner for 30+ years. We have two adult sons. When our boys were young we moved to a small rural town for two and half years. It was a difficult transition at first, but what we learnt is that by engaging your community you build support and friendships that help you grow personally and professionally. We continue to do that today.
Learning leader. I have volunteered on community boards in leadership positions and continue to do that today. I have taken acting classes through the Citadel Theatre School for fun and to grow personally. I am an avid reader of topics on business and leadership looking for new insights and perspectives on what it means to be a leader and learner. Once I find something new, I want to share it in conversation so we can both think about how to apply the topic from a new perspective.
What Do You Want?
To create opportunities with people to learn to lead so that they can confidently embrace possibilities for themselves and others.
Why is this Important?
Tapping into the leadership potential of individuals and teams makes a positive difference in the lives of others
Who do you want to serve?
Individuals who want to learn more about leading - be it for themselves, with a team or a role they play in their organization. I have a soft spot for inspiring new or emerging leaders who want to make a difference for others.
What is Your Vision?
You belong to something you learn and create with others
- Dave Beach
A meeting place for leaders to share what they have learnt in participating and leading “ensembles”. This place provides the opportunity to meet face to face, to look at learning and leadership from different perspectives, to have inspired conversation. It is a place where you appreciate that "all parts taken together are only considered in relation to the whole." It is a place to prepare for inspired action to serve in the community.
How Might You Do This?
Learners2Leaders will facilitate learning in an atmosphere of trust, respect, authenticity and fun using its expertise with people, supported with coaching, and informed by acting.
Let me explain the acting part.
Learning about leadership from different perspectives is a key interest of mine.
A number of years ago I wanted to stretch myself as a leader. I recognized that I needed to improve in public speaking and take some risks. That’s when I decided to take acting classes. It definitely challenged me.
My theatre instructor said "acting is where we get to engage all the ways we learn – see, hear, move, think.”
I saw, felt, thought and heard what is was like to create and be a character.
Well, ten years later having taken a number of classes, acting has given me the opportunity to learn new skills, perform with groups of new students, build confidence in others, and myself, and take risks in a safe environment. What inspires the learning is having a great acting instructor – a coach – to bring out the best in you and those you are acting with. You want to be there each week because you are inspired to learn, to take action, to see how you change. You see how your actions and your scene partner’s actions affect the performance of the scene, the play. You focus on your scene partner(s) not the audience to be successful. You not only learn how and what you do makes a difference, but you also discover more of who you are and what is important in that moment.
You get a whole new perspective of yourself but you also gain insight on what it means to be a leader.
So what does this have to do with developing leadership potential?
Well as leaders we are in a conversation - every day. If I look at what I have learnt as an amateur actor and bring this into a workplace, I would suggest that we are in scenes –conversations - all of the time. They may be scripted or unscripted. And in some of those scenes, when we are collaborating, do we have each others back? When we are problem solving, are we reserving judgment? When we are creating, designing, building, operating, providing service, do we build on each others ideas? When we are interacting are we genuinely listening or are we distracted by emails, cell phones, social media?
As a leader, Iike an actor, I would suggest that we prepare and equip ourselves with great questions to ask ourselves so we are in the best position to influence what we want. For instance, “where/what was the other person doing immediately before, what is my objective, what are my obstacles or what are my tactics?” This is like preparing for an important meeting to achieve what we both want as an outcome. We also learn to listen in the moment; be present; take what you are given as an offer; understand your character and role; what motivates you in the situation and environment to take action; and remember to respond with yes and….. not yes but….
These principles, these tools, these techniques are what we bring from acting and Improv to learn to guide the conversations, the scenes we have as leaders. They are used throughout our “Ensemble Program.”
What do you bring to the table?
At Learners2Leaders we bring 30 plus years of knowledge in the business of people, leadership, and individual and organizational development; learning from interacting with leaders at all levels of an organization; skill in facilitation and leading; and support for actions through coaching.
A key strength that we bring is conversation - learnt through interviewing hundreds of people, and engaging leaders and staff in thinking about the why, how and what of taking action.
What do you offer to support learning to lead?
We provide the “Ensemble Program”, the Leadership Assessment and Action Package, Learning Leader Conversation Workshops and Coaching.
Let me say a bit more about coaching.
Coaching is listening, its about supporting others to find their own solutions.
I wanted to learn more about coaching. So I decided to take coaching training through Erickson International. It was 16 intensive days out of 30. I would never be where I am at without the training and the practice of coaching. What coaching does is changes your perspective: Ownership of the learning is for the leader to take a concept and commit to action that they want to take, not told to take. Coaching is about focusing on listening and guiding participants through an experience to take action versus responding to an event, problem or person. What coaching teaches you is that as a coachee you bring your story, you bring what you want and why this is important. As the coach, I bring the process of how to support you to create solutions, the leader, to becomes who you want to be. Ultimately, it’s a cool conversation where there is attentive listening, real discovery.
At the end of the Day, what value do you help me create?
Leadership is about learning to inspire others in wanting to take action. Leadership is about wanting to continually learn. Genuine Learning, Acting and Coaching are about wanting to take action.
Learners2Leaders has created a framework that incorporates our people expertise, acting and coaching to develop leaders. This framework integrates different dimensions of leadership. The value we bring is we have you focus on these leadership dimensions through one or all of our services and you contract with yourself to take action you want to based on what you have learnt. We can facilitate practice with you to sharpen the execution of your action.
These actions change how you positively engage with others and help you grow as a Learning Leader.
I would like to Thank You for taking the time to read through the interview.
I INVITE you to meet with me to talk about the journey you are on as a leader.