Observe Brain Changes in Action (Post 2 of 3)

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We now know the brain changes itself when we act on the changes we seek!

Apply that concept to new Rotary memberships in any club and you’ll observe all the brainpower and new neural discoveries needed to increase membership well suited for new era service. To test this hypothesis we armed new members and current members with an altered two-footed question!

Our new question, How are you smart? replaced the traditional question, How smart are you?  The new question relies on multiple intelligences and a rebooted idea of IQ as fluid, not fixed, impacts our service initiatives. See trailer below!

Armed with these new insights, the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Rotarian in District 5370, known as “The Friendly Club” launched an initiative to increase members and include more young guests.  After a brief introductory session to start a buzz for this idea, several Rotarians suggested we invite guests to another interactive session with the brain in mind.

We scheduled our older and younger participant mix for a special inter-generational brainstorming session on April 24th.


See our trailer here

With integrated ages in the session, we surveyed our multiple intelligences, tossed in a dose of serotonin, the brain’s wellbeing chemical, and enjoyed a growth mindset outcome together! Over lunch we planned service project ideas that engaged multiple intelligences from within each team.

From the outset we expected fun interactions as teams designed service opportunities for a new era, all while discovering how each team member is smart. Supported by our club members, energized by younger guests, we facilitated brain based tactics below to co-lead our club into open spaces for new members to find meaning with us.

Here’s the skinny:  We …

  1. Identified a question that will interest participants of all ages and backgrounds. Questions will differ from club to club, but ours was tested out ahead for interest across ages and backgrounds. What question will connect diverse generations and backgrounds with service they might engage together at your club?
  2. Connected our question to service possibilities by inviting each diverse team of 8 or so members to develop a service project that would use the multiple intelligences their group represented.
  3. Shared service project ideas from each and discussed how these would draw from the unique intelligences of each participant in that team.
  4. Enriched our Rotary club with a list of service projects generated during this session. Rather than topics that would all be rolled out – instead we used the list to guide future service being considered. The list ensures we gather projects more suited to our new era, which is vastly different in nature than the era when Rotary was founded.

With less than an hour and about 65 members + guests to engage, we stopped there. Members left with a practical takeaway after identifying their multiple intelligences and spotting strengths and weaker areas. We also discussed strategies for strengthening each intelligence by using it more on any day.

Hack 3: Exchange traditional Rotary talks at times for meaningful interactions across current members and prospective members. The brain changes itself to accommodate new membership growth when we act on new ideas, rather than merely listen to these. Diversity is the key to success here, so we want to engage all participants.

Next we carried service topics submitted by teams, and used these service interests to plan the second session around the notion of barriers to change from within our brains! Emphasis remains on fun, service and incredible Rotary brainpower for both of these!

Our brains come equipped with plasticity which fuels and sustains the changes that meld together new and senior Rotarians. And our amygdala stores the club’s emotions, moods and reactions to new membership benefits.

Hack 4: Explore the role of our amygdala for maintaining emotional intelligence in the club. For instance the amygdala acts on stored reactions. So each time we act kindly to people around us, we store care as an instinctive reaction in similar settings. The opposite is also true. Arrogant responses to situations will store further arrogance for a future response.

That leads to the new question, How can we snip the amygdala before we snipe back? And it’s likely no surprise that the clubs that tame their amygdala will also be clubs that engage new and diverse members at deeper levels.

YOUR TURN! Join our Brain Based Circles! Would love to meet you at any of the following!

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Lead Innovation with the Brain in Mind –  GUIDE Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset