Kaplan Mobray – Innovation

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Training your staff is very important and how you deliver the content to them is even more important. Attention spans are getting smaller and smaller. I featured Kaplan Mobray who is a best selling author and motivational speaker. I had the opportunity to hear him speak in Anaheim at the YMCA General Assembly back in July. I took tons of notes, because he inspired me to push how I train and help staff grow. As leaders, it is just important to train staff as it is to listen and steal ideas from others. We should always be learning and willing to get better. I have included my notes from July in this website post and also added to the Resource Zone in the “Staff Training” section simple power point slides that you can use and edit. It is is very basic, as the training you lead is audience lead for the most part. This is my shortened version of his amazing presentation, but you can go to kaplanmobray.com/ and learn more about Kaplan.

Innovation and Enthusiasm are one of the best duo’s you have ever seen. They beat Peanut Butter and Jelly for the top spot. To innovate, you have to possess enthusiasm because there will be tons of bumps in the road. Stay positive and people will follow. Here is a basic outline to follow when you do this presentation, again this is my version. Give all participants something to write with and two pieces of blank paper.

  1. I can’t play the saxophone like Kaplan, but he started his presentation by playing this. I love music, so I start my presentation by playing Taylor Swift and making everyone stand up and stretch. I will even make them dance just a little so we are all on the same page that this presentation is about them and getting out of their comfort zones. Do this for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Run around the room with a microphone. My room wasn’t wired for sound, so I used a fake microphone and told the audience that they had to make a sound whenever I gave them the microphone. You will see tons of wild and creative sounds. Another way to get the crowd warmed up. I use this as an opportunity to share with everyone that we are all different, and can all bring something to the table.
  3. In the room, he attached money to the bottom of some chairs to a few people in the audience. I didn’t have money, so I found some gift cards to a local Go Kart place in our community that I was given. You can use anything to tape to the bottom of the chair, even if its $1. People love FREE Things. For the people that win, go up to them and have them introduce themselves, and say how they have inspired others or a moment of impact from their program. After the winners speak, explain to the group that when you looked for the money or prize, YOU WERE INSPIRED TO THINK! We go through our daily grind, doing the same thing over and over. We are managed by routine if you don’t challenge yourself. Give an example of a way you challenged yourself, be honest and show vulnerability. Then talk about how your personal challenge is linked to discovering something new. If you don’t challenge yourself,  you will miss on discovering something new about yourself. Once you discover something new, this will be linked to seeking discomfort. If you step outside of your comfort zone, you will find innovation and also failure. It is not easy to challenge yourself, it is easier to stay and do things that come easy or natural to us.
  4. Have everyone write down on a sheet of paper the answer to “What is something someone doesn’t know about you.” Give them about a minute to answer, and play fun music in the background. Once they are done, go into the audience, give them the microphone and tell them to say their name and what they wrote. Do this fast, and see how many things we can learn about the room. You will probably not have time to cover everyone. When you learn about your team, you take the time to reflect, you realize that we are all unique in some way. How do you bring this to your day to day grind.
  5. Next tell the group that IDEAS INITIATE INNOVATION. Have them write down on the other sheet of paper the answer to this “What is an idea that you have for your program that you haven’t proposed yet.” Don’t let money get in the way, and keep this somewhat realistic as we will use this to inspire us as a group. Give them 1 minute or so, play some fun music. Then have the group ball up the paper, and throw it across the room. Everyone pick up one of the paper balls and be prepared to read it. Go around the room having the person say their name and read the idea to the whole group. If you move quick, you can get a ton of ideas out there. Finish up by saying, we all can learn from each other and the importance of finding your voice. If you want to do something, you have to make it happen.
  6. Innovation and Failure play in the same orchestra. Make sure the audience knows that if they sit on an idea, they may never know if it will ever work or be successful. Sometimes you will have to fail a few times, and sometimes it may not work out. Don’t let small things kill your dream. Data is important, and is used as a tool to show colleagues, but just because it may have had 2 people show up, it could have 6 the next time, and then 20, and then so on. Being persistent and being willing to be vulnerable will get your idea off the ground.
  7. I share my website and encourage others to go to conferences, workshops, trainings, and research online and with each other.


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