For the past decade here at Petschauer Insurance, we have used our annual outings for team building and professional development. We always strive to stay current with how to best meet the needs of our clients and communicate in the most professional way. This year for staff building we focused on collaboration and clear communication while professionally focusing on how to use our emotional intelligence.
As always, our professional management consultant Dr. Josie Palleja led us through fun exercises as we took a cooking class held at A La Carte Cooking School. We were instructed by two master chefs on how to prepare and cook a full meal: an appetizer, salad, main dish and dessert. Throughout our cooking instructions we were presented with many challenges that were meant to develop our listening and communication skills. We were placed in teams and when we arrived at our cooking stations the menus were on the table. Dr. Josie mixed up the recipes so they were not what we thought we were going to cook. As you can imagine, there was a moment of confusion. Each team had to clarify the information they heard and then ask the other teams for help to complete the assignment. Clear communication and collaboration got us to back on track to get started.
Our next challenge was the actual cooking. Here is where we practiced using our emotional intelligence….. i.e. being self-aware of what you are good at and not so good at, being mindful of staying mentally present and not getting distracted, and knowing what your teammates’ strengths and challenges are. Each team worked together by sharing their skills, expressing their comfort levels in the kitchen and being open to try something they had never done before. At times we were all amazed at how comfortable we had become with cutting vegetables, sauteing chicken, even plating a dessert.
After we ate our delicious meal we all took turns sharing what we learned about ourselves during this outing. Some of us spoke about facing our fears and openly acknowledging them without any judgment. Others spoke about learning to feel comfortable to ask for help. While others realized how important it is to listen carefully, take instructions, and to also accept that mistakes happen. The truth is everyone has fears and challenges that we must each accept and help each other overcome.
Everyone at JPI learned how important it is to turn a challenge into a positive by using our emotional awareness. With these new skills being applied in the office, we are now more aware and present for you, attentive to your needs so we can put together an insurance program that fits your needs, and communicating with you in a clear, concise, and positive manner. As always we will give you good information to help you make the best insurance decisions for yourself, your family or your business.