My name is Carrie Jones and I’d like to introduce you to my colleague Dave Gibson. Dave has worked with us here at Summit Team Building for many years as a Program Director. Dave works out of our Muskoka office and I work out of our St. Catharines office. Because I am the newest member to the team here at Summit Team Building and because Dave has been a part of the team much longer than I have, I thought that interviewing Dave was the perfect way for me to glean from his experience and wisdom. As you read on, you will discover like I did that this interview is worth pure gold. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
For those of you who haven’t met Dave Gibson, let me introduce you to Dave…
Hi Dave. Tell us about your journey. How did you find your way into Team Development?
One of my first jobs out of University was as an instructor with the Outward bound Wilderness School. The opportunity to explore the outdoors was the attraction. Those wilderness courses brought together 8-10 people from different walks of life for 25 days. Working together on an expedition took teamwork. It ended up being a recurring theme in different jobs ever since.
How long have your worked for Summit? How did you and Scott Kress first meet?
Scott and I first met in the late 1990’s when we were both working corporate programs on an intermittent basis for outward bound. We both had more hair then. I had my own company at the time and did occasional work for Scott when he started Summit. I joined full time in 2003.
Do you have a favourite or memorable experience working with Summit that you would be willing to share?
Not a specific one. I’ve always enjoyed facilitating high ropes courses because it’s a return to the idea of adventure as personal growth. I think they can be significant personal growth experiences for people and I like to be a part of that. They also give a team a shared peak experience that brings them together forever, really.
Do you have a funny story from all of your years with Summit?
It was pretty funny when Claudia was wrapping up a session with an executive team and told them they were all “tools” for high performance. They all thought it was hilarious too.
What have you most enjoyed and appreciated about working with Summit?
Opportunities to work with some excellent people; both my colleagues and many of the clients.
Do you have a favourite quote or axiom that you live by?
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it. (often attributed to Goethe)
Dave, how would you describe your leadership style?
What are the top five books you have read on leadership?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a classic
The 5 Dysfunctions of Team and others by Patrick Lencioni
Anything Daniel Goleman especially Primal Leadership
Anything by Dan Pink, Jim Collins, Markus Buckingham
Because I am new to the Summit team, what advice do you have have for me as a lead facilitator?
- One: If you can, spend time before each session speaking to each person in the group in a friendly way. I do this instead of worrying about the content of my session. I get their names, learn their names and use their names. I chat a bit informally and connect with them. This does two things: it makes them feel comfortable and at ease in the session and it makes me feel comfortable with the group and the space.
- Two: Have fun. This includes not taking myself too seriously. I try to get people laugh and I tell myself before each session to “go in there and have fun.”
In your opinion, how can leaders build stronger teams?
- Be genuine. Be yourself
- Get to know enough about people to connect with them personally and care about them.
- Think about your role on the team as one of supporter, enabler. What can you do to help them do their job better.
Well, that’s a wrap. Wasn’t that fantastic? Don’t you just love Dave’s humility and his approach to leadership and facilitation? His humour and his genuine care for people stood out strong to me in this interview. Thanks so much Dave for taking the time to share your journey and life lessons with us.