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Ted Baumhauer, Ed.D.

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The review below is from the Greater Rochester Chapter of The American Society of Public Administrators. It was published on their blog.


Jugglers

Chapter Program and Activity Ideas, March 2003

Ted discusses the problem of managing technical or highly skilled workers, explaining the difference between content and process. But wait. This was not your ordinary lecture on stress. The invited guest speaker was Ted Baumhauer, Ed.D. (Tedb@tedbaumhauer.com, 585-586-2593), a trainer and consultant since 1982. He has led seminars in supervision, communication skills, and organizational development. He has worked with teachers in Hungary, Vermont, and Milwaukee; Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, DEC, Prudential, and Eastman Kodak; smaller companies in Vermont and Iowa; and nonprofits such as YMCAs. He is the former Director of the University of Vermont's Center for Community Education. His credentials would ordinarily cause one to expect at least an interesting seminar. But we specifically chose him because of another talent he has: juggling. It is well known that two ways to cope with stress on the job are through humor and through physical activity. Juggling provides both. Most people received fliers that did not mention juggling and so were quite taken by surprise when his lecture got under way. Almost right from the start we stood and formed a circle. There was no sitting for the duration of the talk. As we began with simple tosses of objects to limber us up, Ted explained that there were three types of people attending his talk: 1) Sponges, those there to learn and get wisdom, oh Grasshoppa; 2) Vacationers, those who didn't mind coming because they were getting paid to attend a break from their jobs; and 3) Prisoners, those forced by their supervisors to come. One paranoid attendee wanted to know how (why?) she was chosen to attend a stress lecture!

As Ted lectured on various aspects of managing and stress, our physical activities became more hectic and humorous. Out came stuffed animals, whisker balls, latex hands, and rubber chickens to be tossed around from one person to another in a specific order. Then he got "serious" and we progressed to tennis balls (stuffed with unpopped popcorn) and scarves as we attempted to work our way up from juggling one object to two and finally to three. Those of us who opted for the tennis balls soon switched to scarves as we discovered that they moved through the air more slowly and didn't bounce and roll across the floor when dropped.

Ted closes the program by juggling five tennis balls. How many tasks do you have to juggle at once? Ted told us to stop after three throws (usually right-left-right), not to repeat the cycle until we had the set down pat. He demonstrated only that much. That led one participant to call his bluff and ask him to show us that he really could juggle. Ted responded by asking if Bela Karolyi does gymnastics. ... Ted went to the easel and flip chart for his first and only time (imagine!) to explain the difference between process and content, using an iceberg as a metaphor.

With that, the seminar ended. Oh, and Ted centered himself in the group and juggled first one, then two, then three, then four, and then five tennis balls. He also put in a plug for an upcoming jugglers' convention in Rochester, starring someone who can keep nine objects in the air at once.

GRC of ASPA original review.


National Speakers Association Member


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