Nab Chances and Risk Growth with Brain Based Hacks (Post 1 of 3)

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What mental triggers boost our brain’s capacity and unleash personal potential? And what hacks will help? We asked this two-footed question to grow our Rotary club, and the probe launched delightful directions and added awesome new members along the way. How so?

We wondered what would happen if we collaborated across generations to identify our group strengths and then build on members’ assets as a way to develop our Rotary club into a robust, inter-generational community. A keen strength we built on here is interpersonal or social intelligence.  For example, our club members are known for enormous friendships among those in the club already, and warm welcome to newcomers or guests who stop by to check out our club.

Initially, we set out to nab chances for growth by designing innovative hacks that would increase diverse voices. In our goal to build a more robust community we valued our traditions by building upon Rotary roots. We also risked fresh advances from established voices and incoming members. Our goal is far broader than signing up new members for the sake of numbers. We hoped to bring younger and senior generations together and to build stellar foundations in a wider vision of progress that bridges generations.

Hack 1: Facilitate all members to “Speak up and feel heard about their unique talents and preferences.” Then act on what is learned from this proliferation of voices and capabilities.

To share insights across generations, members and guests completed a multiple intelligence survey, which affirmed the social strengths that characterize our group. The next step was to apply what we learned in ways that benefit all members as we build together. 

You could say we crafted neurological shifts to move out of comfort zones that can cause stagnation. To act deliberately from within a fully charged working memory, for instance, we worked in teams to suggest service projects we may do together over time. Growth is a team effort in our club and insights come from many members. We surveyed the whole group, gathered their preferences in small groups, and then moved to a new location that creates better ambiance.

Next we organized a BBQ social at the home of a volunteer new membership committee member. We invited new members and their sponsors, along with several prospective members and their partners. Our Rotary club funded the event, which became such a hit we planned these gatherings to take place twice each year to hear from newcomers.

Our FREE survey is designed to identify participants’ multiple intelligences to show strengths and weaker areas.

Our changes carried out at the club came from ongoing leadership initiatives and consequential member preferences. In this way, and as we continue to listen with our brains,  more folks of all generations find opportunities to speak up and feel heard at our weekly meetings.

Hack 2: Optimize strengths among members and newcomers to take new risks.

We held team discussions to unpack what members think of truth, and how they use it to serve others. We offered a $50.00 draw for new prospectives and their sponsors at a new member gathering. We played a “gender circle” game to discover service differences across genders. We tossed two-footed questions into the ring to explore new angles to the 4-way test of things members think say and do. We asked, for example: Is your truth also my truth, and if so, how so? When have you observed something visibly fair to all concerned? In your estimation what adds to or stalls goodwill and better friendships? When did you lead or experience a real situation that was genuinely fair to all concerned? We recognized the brain’s propensity to stick to traditions rather than risk changes for growth. We also saw the need for change that will accommodate diverse members in a new era.

We shared with Rotarians in our club how the brain’s chemical dopamine rises to help us risk further and enjoy the rewards of our risks to grow. How do we increase levels of dopamine so that we enjoy change and help to shape new neuron pathways forward together? It’s simple. Take one risk, such as inviting a new member to Rotary meetings, and dopamine awakens to help you take more risks that will grow a stronger and more robust club.

We hope that as more Rotarians of all backgrounds and ages awaken more working memory, we’ll also enjoy closer friendships and care, that together we will spike increased dopamine (the brain’s reward chemical that fuels our mind to risk ongoing changes). Used for the sake of growth and service to one another and service beyond our club, we launched opportunities to build a curiosity mindset for ongoing growth and improvements beyond our basal ganglia comfort zones. See the video illustrations below to see the brain’s operation we optimized here.

From the diagram above,  you’ll notice how groups that progress from their basal ganglia to use more of their working memory, will be groups that lead innovation and change with the brain in mind.

In my next two posts in this series of 3 – you will find an additional 4 hacks, and the brain’s equipment that drives them to support renewal and new membership growth in any group!

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset