November CEO Round Table: The Facilitator’s Take

Posted on by Stacey Romero

Aaron Schmookler Head Shot

In October, Excell Members and guests participated in an interactive workshop about innovation and what it looks like in our businesses. This CEO Tools Workshop™ was facilitated by Aaron Schmookler and Adam Utley of The Yes Works. In November, facilitators, Excell Members and guests will return to share the results of their 30-day commitments related to innovation, in the form of a Round Table. All will have the opportunity to discuss the subject in more depth. Those who missed the October workshop will find value in November’s Round Table and the opportunity to join the conversation. Click here for the November dates and RSVP information.

We talked with Aaron after the four regional workshops to get his take on those conversations, and what attendees will be working on prior to the Round Tables. Here’s what he had to say:

Excell: What point or points did you most want participants to take away from this workshop?

Aaron: We think the biggest obstacles to innovation in companies are

– the fear of wasting time
– apathy
– acceptance of the status quo as inevitable
– Complacency… What’s working today will work forever…

So, if people left our session feeling as though they can make greater progress on problems big or small – and that they should — simply that shift is worth the price of admission.

Excell: What did you as a facilitator take away from conversations?

Aaron: We learn again and again from the leaders we work with that giving attention to something that is slow to build and slow to reap the rewards of — like changing mindset, changing culture, changing habits — is difficult in this fast-paced, tactical, show me the ROI now climate. And it’s rewarding to see the leaders in these Excell Puget Sound cohorts embracing the idea that a change in culture, mindset, and approach to problem-solving may have huge benefits worthy of the investment of time and attention up front.

Excell: What were the action items you asked participants to work with this month and bring back to the Round Table?

Aaron:  Take action on niggling problems that are, “Just the way things are,” or that are, “no big deal,” but that erode your sense of well-being, productivity, or customer and employee experience.
Employ the 4 P’s of Innovation culture to generate habits that lead to constant problem solving, in order to make fires that need putting out rarer and rarer.

Aaron recommends the following resources to dig deeper into this topic:

Stuart Brown on play (1 minute) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bhXIe-U9_Q
Stuart Brown on play (27 minutes) https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital

November’s Round Tables are filling up fast. Check the schedule for the Round Table nearest you and make your RSVP soon!  


Aaron Schmookler has a passion for finding the intersection between play and innovation, and helping people live and work there. A love of collaboration and of excellence in communication has driven Aaron to build teams and nurture creativity. Businesses and organizations large and small, from Microsoft to neighborhood non-profits have used Aaron’s support to improve communication, increase innovation, and manage conflict on both coasts.


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