FocusFriday: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

By, Erin Isselmann, Xerox Global Public Relations

I recently attended an internal Xerox meeting that was like no other I had ever attended in the past.   I knew it was going to be a different type of meeting the moment I received the email with the agenda.   For the first time that I can remember, I didn’t need to prepare a PowerPoint presentation.   

There is always a catch.  So, I looked closely at the agenda and discovered that instead of sharing our plans for the coming year, we were going to participate in a workshop.   Details were scarce, so as I headed out for the meeting, my curiosity was definitely peaked.  

On the first day of the meeting, I found out that the workshop would be led by a On Your Feet, a company that specializes in bringing together the corporate world with improvisational theatre.   I felt a little queasy at the prospect and as I looked at my colleagues I could tell many were skeptical and worried about having to step out of their comfort zone.  

On the car ride from the hotel to the meeting the day of the workshop all the early morning chatter focused on what we were going to be doing.   Would we be forced to mimic animal sounds, bare our innermost secrets, talk about how work makes us feel?  

Our workshop leaders from On Your Feet, quickly set our minds at ease.  There would be no animal sounds today.  We spent time getting to know different things about our colleagues.   To get things started we paired up with a colleague and shared our first nicknames and the story behind them.   Later we helped others find experts within our group who could help them solve real business challenges and spent the afternoon working in small teams to come up with great ideas to take Xerox partnerships to the next level.     

My  favorite activity of the day was listening to a colleague describe an issue that they were facing (non-work related) and then playing back to them what I heard was the true issue behind their concern.    We often think that we are good listeners, but the truth is everyone has room for improvement in actually hearing what another person is trying to tell you.  

I left the meeting feeling energized, focused and ready to try new things.   Getting focused doesn’t mean just getting your work done, it also means that you are able to step away and gain perspective so that you can improve the work you do.

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  1. Kristen Vos January 20, 2012 - Reply

    Another great idea by the Xerox team. So glad we partner with you.

  2. erinisselmann January 20, 2012 - Reply

    Kristen, thanks for your comment. We ‘like’ ABS Graphics too!

  3. Karen Arena January 20, 2012 - Reply

    Great post. On Your Feet inspired me to connect more with colleagues and the team, live (phone or video) and if possible, in person. I find myself moving around the office a lot more – it truly does make for more enriching discussions.

  4. erinisselmann January 20, 2012 - Reply

    Karen, I agree I get the best ideas when I move around and of course talk to others.

  5. Jennifer Wasmer January 24, 2012 - Reply

    And then there was Beaker…

    I wonder how many other companies would seek to inspire creativity, innovation and calculated risk-taking (no unnecessary explosions, please!) by distributing a carrot-topped Muppet.

    Beaker is the BEST!

  6. world clock February 7, 2012 - Reply

    FocusFriday: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone | Real Business at Xerox – just great!

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