The seventh seminar stop on the AALP Class 16 leadership journey took place from January 15 to 17th 2017 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Niagara Falls. Located on the bustling Fallsview Avenue, the hotel overlooked the breathtaking Canadian and American Falls, and provided a great setting for the full seminar agenda.
Julie Westeinde, from Breakthrough Learning Associates in Ottawa, led the group of twenty-six participants through an all-day workshop on conflict resolution that included role plays, group discussions, individual reflection, and the implementation of a new communication model entitled “OFNR.” This acronym “OFNR” stands for Observation, Feeling, Need, and Request, and uses four steps to calmly navigate a breakdown in communication between two parties. By sharing thoughts through factual “observations,” then declaring “feelings” whether good or bad, followed by articulating what you “need” from the other person, and then delivering a clear and concise “request,” these four steps can effectively diffuse conflict.
AALP Class 16 also had the opportunity to “tiptoe through the tulips” at the large family-owned floral greenhouse operation – Pioneer Flower Farms Limited – in Jordan, Ontario, to see budding varieties of tulips, lilies, and other flower varieties being grown, packaged, and shipped to retail stores all over North America. This family business started in 1971 and has grown to employ over 100 local and off-shore workers.
This seminar marked the conclusion of the year-long independent group study Issues Analysis Projects with formal presentations to the industry stakeholders, who submitted request for proposals for consulting work fifteen months ago. The presentations were a huge success and the six consulting teams shared the main highlights from their projects, as well as their key learnings from working with a unique group of people over the course of the year. Thank you once again to everyone involved in the AALP Issues Analysis Projects for Class 16.
The seminar also included a number of orientation sessions geared at preparing the group for the upcoming International Study Tour. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog posts on the Rural Ontario Institute website beginning February 14th 2017 as AALP Class 16 departs for their tour of the scenic and historically rich countries of Vietnam and Thailand.