Ben Ziegler at Collaboration Journeys calls the Gulf of Mexico/BP oil disaster a failure of connection.  I read his post immediately after watching Mark Earls speak on Why Good Ideas Matter.  The link is to Tim Kastelle’s blog where I found the video.

On the face of it, they’re not about the same subject.  Except each of these posts touches on something I’ve been feeling.   I’m disappointed. Disappointed in political leaders who pretend to be something that they’re not.  Disappointed in those who put national interests ahead of global ones.  Disappointed in how we (individuals, groups, organisations) are not honest with ourselves and others about our motivations which are often based on protecting vested interests and looking after ourselves and our own.  And disappointed when we apparently can’t work together on problems that appear to be too hard to solve.

As Mark Earls introduces his talk, he mentions being at a music industry conference where all he was hearing was conversation based on these words – assets, money, cash, owner, extract, exploit and enforce.   Depressing, especially for an industry built on creativity.   There was nothing about ideas, making things happen or creating things of value.  He produces data demonstrating how culturally embedded habits and beliefs don’t change, and notes that even small changes can take several lifetimes.

Ben Ziegler speaks of how I want to see the world.  A world where we connect with people who are different.  A world where we connect people with nature and where we let natural systems be.   It’s about relationships, sustainable practice and systems thinking.  Where we respect unpredictability and let go of the idea that we can control it all.

Mark Earls talks about how we ‘hack’, improve and/or adapt others ideas and reapply them.  I’ve adapted his 5 questions to ask ourselves when new ideas emerge.  I’d like to see these adapted questions applied to myself and communities of all sizes and scales when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges.

1  What does this challenge?  (What’s at stake here for each and everyone of us?)

2. How can we explore it further?

3. What’s the offer for us here?

4. Where does this suggest things are going?

What must I/we absolutely – can’t wait – do next?

5. How might this make our (being part of this world) more (connected)?

Disappointment is not a useful place to be.  This is what’s challenged me this morning.  I want to connect the dots and work towards understanding what the offer is, and then (with a sense of urgency) act on it.

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney- business and strategic planning – team conversations

, , , , , , ,

Last week I attended a workshop run by Sam Kaner at the Australasian Facilitators Network conference at Nelson in New Zealand.  The 2 day workshop was entitled Designing and Facilitating Complex Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration.  As I have a well-thumbed copy of The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, I was excited to explore the theory (and the practice) more.

Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making - Sam Kaner

I was not disappointed.  Of all of the material, knowledge and wisdom shared with and among the 30 people in the room, here’s what I’m thinking about most right now.

1.  Every group is diverse.  Each person in a group has a piece of the truth.  The moment people come into a space and are asked to collaborate and think together it sets up a dilemma.  Collaboration leads to contradiction.  It is not an easy co-existence.

2.  Working with diversity creates an underlying tension.  The tension is around finding a balance between an outcome or output that a client may expect and the quality of thinking that could create something deeper such as a sustainable transformation.  Whichever side you err on as a facilitator, the need for the other will not go away.

3. “Fast thinkers in an oral tradition carry the load for the group”.  This statement really struck a chord.  It goes to the equality of participation, making time for all thinking to emerge, for dialogue about hard stuff and for gently drawing out perspectives and positions held.

4. “It depends”.  The answer to many questions in the workshop began with this sentence.  I loved that it did.  Remember the diversity thing?  There are many elements to take into consideration.  No group and no group gathering is ever the same.  There are no right or absolute answers.

  • Below is my representation of Sam’s model of divergent and convergent thinking.  There is much more to learn by delving deeper into its complexities.  The model includes a Groan Zone – the bit that often comes after divergent thinking of a group and before group thoughts converge (or not).  I feel a future post coming on.  One about navigating slowly through the Groan Zone.

Sam Kaner divergent convergent model

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney

Related Posts with Thumbnails
, , , ,