St. Patrick’s Day has got to rank way up there as one of those holidays within which talking story has triumphed as creative —and beloved— urban legend. I can’t think of another patron Saint that gets as much press for his adopted country and all things Irish, can you?
When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, what associations do you make, and what values does the day give you an opportunity to newly, or differently, align your conversations at work with?
A value opportunity is one where you can use a common world view (March 17th is quite universally regarded as St. Patrick’s Day) to reinforce the value messages you want to herald and make sticky in your company (i.e. come to increased alignment with organizational culture).
For instance, on MWA Coaching today, we are talking about the St. Patrick’s Day connection to Ho‘ohanohano, our value of the month there (Ho‘ohanohano is the Hawaiian value of dignity and respect): A Ho‘ohanohano St. Patrick’s Day to you!
Here are five more suggestions in the spirit of Talking Story at work:
1. Let’s say you want to promote a value of diversity, or one of community sensitivity and integration: St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful opportunity for a Sense of Place discussion during one of your workplace huddles.
I found this to be a fascinating page on the Irish in America: An excerpt…
– There are 34.7 million U.S. residents who claim
Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of
Ireland itself (4.2 million). Irish is the nation’s second most
frequently reported ancestry, trailing only those of German ancestry.
– The nation as a whole claims 12% of residents as having Irish ancestry. In Massachusetts this number doubles to 24 percent!
– There are three states in which Irish is the leading ancestry group:
Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Irish is among the top five
ancestries in every state but two (Hawaii and New Mexico).
2. You have terrific choices for an ice-breaker if this happens to be a day you are conducting a seminar or workplace orientation. For instance, the Slainte toast: If you were to print the version on this page and cut it into verses dropped into a hat (a leprechaun’s hat, of course) everyone could pick a verse, read it out loud, and explain how that is so like them —or not!
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.
3. On St. Patrick’s Day, many of us think of leprechauns, 4-leaved shamrocks and other things associated with the luck of the Irish ”“ great time to have fun (or get serious) with a discussion on how much of your company success has been carefully crafted, or honestly attributed to strokes of pure luck.
4. Then there is green, greening, and going green in every possible way” in your company culture, what would green most represent? Would it be recycling? Stewardship of the environment? Developing eco-friendly products within your R&D labs? Financial literacy and understanding just how much a single dollar can represent? Affordability?
This past October, Blog Action Day gave me the opportunity to think about greening and MWA:
The Environment and Managing with Aloha:
What does the environment have to do with our main themes of aloha, values, work, business, management, and leadership?
5. Introduce your team to Green Light Thinking:
“‘From now on,’ he told me, ‘every time you and I meet or you’re part of any team meeting, I want you to be in charge of Green Light Thinking” When any new idea or project proposal is presented in a meeting, your job will be to start the discussion about why you think that idea or project is something we should do. In other words, you will be our lead ‘go for it’ person. You will hold off giving any negative response until every positive, creative thought has been received from the group. If you’re meeting with me one-on-one, I want to hear your possibility thinking.’”
—entrepreneur Phil Murray coaches his COO Suzanne Alcott to use Green Light Thinking instead of her tendency toward negative filtering in Know Can Do! Put Your Know-How into Action.
I admit being a little partial to this last one… just love the Know Can Do! coaching for positive expectancy.
What will you talk about on this St. Patrick’s Day, hmmm?
An Aloha connection in the Talking Story archives: St. Patrick and The Menehune (March 2005)
More workplace talking story ideas from our category of Let’s Talk Story: