By Nedra Chandler, Triangle Associates & Cadence
Bird or bear with me now…
Are you feeling at least a little fed up with the status quo in public life today?
Do you want to relax and have fun while learning and practicing some moves with others who are also ready for some shifts, even the small-yet-meaningful kind?
If so, be like this bird pictured above taking a bath.You may want an immersion bath in liberating structures. There’s an opportunity link below. There will be others in other places other times if you miss this one.
Here’s a story about using them. I had this candid conversation with two public leaders yesterday from different agencies, both of whom have devoted themselves to public service protecting ecological and human health. It went like this. One said a close version of this:
“It’s human nature, we can fall back into patterns of just working and pedaling harder when things get overwhelming or we’ve lost more staff and funding resources…”
the other leader agreed saying:
“When we don’t stay in touch it’s too easy to drift into busy, non-sharing protective mode and then things just get even tougher…”
At the end of the call they set their time get together again with their agency team mates. They will clarify and (re)-commit to align actions, avoid distractions, help each other out, make some more graceful and responsive moves. They will re-co-mission. Together.
I loved that play on words! A mission is a purpose, see? Purpose gives life to partnerships. Co. Mission. Recommission.
At some of their joint meetings in the past few years, they’ve practiced some communication skills that help include and transcend the dead-end trap of making decisions either/or instead of both/and when it’s possible.
They look for ways to innovate. It’s not about choosing project stability or fluidity; over control or under control, independence or integration. And why over help orunder help anywhere? Most of us don’t. At least not on purpose, not consciously. We might over help or over control much more when we are overextended, stressed out.
In that space between those opposite poles, are liberating microsctructures (LS). They are not magic. They are just structures. Space is arranged, groups are configured, participation is distributed, there is sequence and allocation of time, and there is always an invitation that includes a task or a question.
LS are useful. Sometimes audaciously useful. Practice them with your team inside your organization, with your intergovernmental collaborators, or while carrying out all kinds of complex deliberation and decision making.
Liberate you and your collaborators from drudgery and deadly boring meetings or someone else’s best practices. Save yourself from one too-long slide presentation and uncontrolled ‘open questions’ at the end.
Quit wondering why people don’t speak up more often and why they don’t bring their whole selves to the challenges in front of us right now more often.
Here’s an important aspect to remember: it’s fun playing with these micro-structures.
Unleash and include everyone. Everyone.
P.S. If you are still curious why I’ve invited you twice now to Bozeman, Montana on September 19-20, here. This is where I’m coming from with this.
These current days in public life we are too-often showing up and operating in some kind of outright denial of reality. Standing on an Idaho ridge last week looking at the total eclipse of the sun brought this feeling home to me again more than ever. So it’s time to geek out even more in using and practicing with process tools that enable positive innovations.
As one very skilled LS practitioner told me, these immersion workshops do not resemble what many of us think of as “training.” You’ll take home what’s meaningful and useful to you in the contexts you are working in now.
The Bozeman workshop organizers have their necessary number of diverse participants registered. They could accommodate about 10+ more. Still, if you are in a picky mood or have a BIG bucket of preconceived expectations about the precise qualities you require in your immersion workshop experiences right now, it’s probably not a go.
There will be more opportunities other places, other times to go play with these. Full workshop details and registration options in the link below:
A bit about me: My favorite work right now is about human and organizational health. Today that’s about serving my public sector clients and their partners as third party facilitator and professional coach. I am a committed process maven and applied social geographer. People call us most when they have conflict to navigate and public decision making to carry out. Find me and my long-time work mates at Triangle and Cadence.