Immerse Yourself!

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:

Unleashing Innovation in MT: The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures

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.

Come to Montana for Some Liberation in September

 

Liberating Structures: Coming September 19-20, 2017: see link to register below

By Nedra Chandler: 2 minutes to skim, 5 minutes if you read ‘resources’ section.

One day I was driving home from Seattle listening to one of my favorite podcasters Amiel Handelsman, interviewing Keith McCandless about liberating structures. A big smile spread over my face just listening with this recognition: “Eureka.”

Within two days I was using 1-2-4-All (think by yourself for 1 minute, get in pairs for 2 minutes, get in a quartet for 4 minutes now integrate what you’re learning with full group of any size) at a meeting between some government leaders about redevelopment projects in Indian Country.

Within a short time after that we were using more liberating structures like Troika, The 9 Whys and Ecocycle. We are applying them in more and more high-stakes interagency meetings with tangible results and participant satisfaction. See for example what participants say on the Liberating Structures website.

For times when organic conversations won’t cut it, and your own go-to methods are likely to end in a few dominating the many, try using one or more of these liberating micro structures. See what happens. Prepare to be surprised at the experience and the durable outcomes.

No matter how experienced we become in our chosen areas of work or public service, questioning assumptions about ‘how we do things around here’ or ‘what we know about how the world works’ so often leads to generative ways of working together that we couldn’t have seen without that beginner’s mind. The point: liberating structures provide surprisingly easy avenues to strike a fine balance between over- and under-control of dialog and decision-making processes. These methods you can learn well enough to begin using within a half hour support us in unleashing actionable innovations large and small where we are in each moment.

Keith McCandless and Sarah Hayward are co-leading an immersion workshop on Liberating Structures and their applications in Bozeman, Montana on September 19 and 20. This will be a great opportunity to learn how to apply these in your organizations. Come and bring a friend or colleague! It will be seriously playful and have a lasting impact on your work.

See full workshop details and registration options in the link below:

Unleashing Innovation in MT: The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures

Resources You Can Use Right Now

  • Listen in on this podcast McCandless interview for fun and to immediately expand your practice in every area of work and organizing.
  • Visit the generous http://www.liberatingstructures.com Liberating Structures website for more background and easy-to-follow instructions.
  • Get The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures by Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz.

Notice their chart in the first chapter that shows levels of control and inclusion inherent in familiar methods of working together like presentations and open discussions. Take a look at where Liberating Structures appears on this chart in comparison – they have much higher levels of inclusion and distributed control. Just follow the easy-to-follow recipes (yep, I said recipe) for increased creativity and innovation. Use or adapt one useful method, or string some together for an integrated meeting design.

Contact me at 406-461-1621 if you have any questions about the workshop or want help planning your trip to Bozeman. We look forward to seeing you. Design team members please consider putting your contact info in the comment section here so folks can connect with any of us.

A bit about me: my work is about organizational health. Today that’s about serving my public sector clients and their partners as a third party facilitator and as a professional development & conflict management coach. Find me and my long-time work mates at Triangle and Cadence.