Our Actor/Facilitator, Juliana Pflaumer and her colleagues travelled to Málaga, where they delivered a programme on enhancing Performance Conversations between leaders and their direct reportees. The participants were given an extremely effective feedback model to use as a tool in preparation of these conversations and more importantly were able to practice those, 1-2-1, in person with added feedback from the other participants and from the Actors/Facilitators. A challenging but valuable Skills Practice exercise was practiced, allowing them to learn from each other’s Leadership styles.
The highlight of the programme was the Forum Theatre section. Watching a feedback conversation being played out between two Actors/Facilitators, participants were required to identify and articulate where it lacked effectiveness. They then took ownership, to control the conversation to their desired outcome, thus empowering them to work together editing the situation to make it work. Participants emerged reflecting on how interesting and valuable it is to watch a difficult situation from the outside, as a spectator with no consequences. They also recognised how useful it is to apply empathy and try to understand the motivations behind actions as well as the possible impacts.
I’ve been to Spain many times visiting friends in Barcelona and holidaying on the Balearic Islands. I’ve never thought of visiting Málaga, and I had no expectations apart from eating a nice paella and soaking up the sun. But it was much more than that and I left wishing I had more time to explore not just the city but the beautiful surrounding countryside.
I woke up early in a foggy cold London to catch a flight at 8am from Gatwick, the effort was worth it as I landed in Málaga for lunchtime. My colleagues had not arrived yet, so I went out on a solo exploration. It was 23 degrees and sunny, so I walked to the bay area to start my day with a dining table in the sun. I had a great tapas lunch with a glass of rose and managed to test out my Spanish, which to my surprise was not bad! (I do speak fluent Portuguese, but Spanish has always made me nervous!)
Afterwards, I headed up to the highest point of the town: Alcazaba – a “fortified palace” built during the period of Muslim-ruled Al-Andalus that was built and modified between the 11th and 14th centuries. It’s an incredible jewel of Andalusian architecture, but it does take some time to climb up the mountain, so do prepare your legs and take some water with you if you visit! After such an insightful afternoon I went down to town where I visited the Roman Theatre of Málaga and the several Picasso venues and museums.
At around 5pm I was thinking of heading back to the hotel for a change of clothes and a lie down before dinner. Having left the UK so early in the morning, followed by so much sightseeing and walking I was pretty tired by this point, but the curious tourist in me decided to stop for a drink and catch the last bit of the sun at an outside table at Taberna Andaluza La Gloria, right in the heart of downtown of Málaga. I sat by myself, gave my order, and luckily the waiter struck up a conversation. He was Italian but lived in London for many years. Suddenly on the table across from me, someone said “I lived in London too!”.
This was Sergio, a true Spaniard who was kind enough to start a conversation with us. His girlfriend joined us as well – Anna, an American expat living in Spain – and that was it! Sitting on that lovely outside table was the best decision I’ve made! Sergio and Anna ended up inviting me to have dinner with them and went on to tell me their love story – finding each other in their 50’s in a yoga class in Madrid – where they live. It was wonderful to hear those two telling their story and having so much passion for life and living. Not to my surprise, the whole culture: food, music, and people from Málaga made me feel that same way. We spent hours exchanging life stories and enjoying a lovely Andalusian evening!
I can’t wait to come back to Málaga and hopefully experience another such spontaneous encounter!