One thought, one conversation, one meeting at a time
January 28, February 4 & 11, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Please note that the dates have changed since the initial posting of this event.
Presented in partnership with Impact Hub Oakland
Let’s face it: most of us don’t expect to go to work and enjoy ourselves. We interact with people we don’t expect to get to know really well. We assume we will either be told what to do, or tell others what to do, or both.
While most of us are inspired by the idea of collaborating meaningfully with others and contributing together to a purpose larger than ourselves, we also tend to distrust that this is actually possible – whether it’s across lines of authority, cultural or class differences, or even with members of our own teams.
We wonder: is it really possible to move collaboration from a nice idea to real practice in our organizations?
This 3-day series is based on the conviction that, despite the challenge, most of us can meaningfully collaborate with others in contributing to a purpose larger than us. We only lack the clear picture of what exactly it looks like in this world. Our goal is to accompany you closely as you find the inner strength and the tools to make the collaborative leap wherever you work, in whichever position.
Here are, then, the questions we plan to explore in this series: as
- Why systems matter – and what groups, communities, and organizations can do to encourage collaboration;
- What it is about power relations that makes collaboration less likely – and what we can do to form human relationships across those power differences;
- How collaboration can improve decision-making and deliver more robust outcomes with a lot of buy-in;
- Ways we can support our own and others’ sense of choice when we engage in new ways; and
- Tips to help us notice our own internal blocks to collaboration – and transcend them.
Whether you are in a business setting, a church group, a non-profit, or an activist group, you are likely to leave this workshop with specific, practical tools and approaches for establishing an environment that supports collaboration for a shared purpose.
This series is designed to be highly interactive and engaging in small and large group practice. Examples are drawn from your contexts to make it as relevant to you as possible.
More details about the content of each day:
Day 1 (January 28): Supporting a Culture of Collaboration
However much we individually dedicate ourselves to collaboration, we cannot singlehandedly transform a culture and make it more collaborative. This requires attention and change at the systemic level. Collaboration rests on finding effective ways of attending to multiple needs. Its full benefits require aligning all systems with the principle of focusing on needs and purpose at all levels.
In the morning, we plan to focus on creating collaborative systems in 5 areas (decision-making, resource allocation, information flow, feedback loops, and conflict resolution) based on shared purpose and values.
In the afternoon, we plan to focus on the challenge that power differences present to collaboration, and what we can do, at the systems level, to create the conditions for full collaboration.
Day 2 (February 4): Creating and Sustaining Strong Teams
Sometimes strong, vibrant teams are simply miracles. More often, though, they are an accomplishment that emerges from implementing key practices that make collaboration productive and generative. Sadly, many teams lack both the commitment and the skills for taking on complex group issues, leaving teams vulnerable to power play, hidden competition, and plain old ineffectiveness. Meetings turn into a waste of time, and work is mostly done by individuals on their own – with only formal nods to collaboration.
In the morning, we plan to focus on how to integrate effectiveness in moving towards purpose with sufficient attention to values and relationships to make teams function smoothly. In addition, we plan to look at concrete ways to overcome the barriers of power differences, both from above and from below.
In the afternoon, we plan to focus on decision-making, especially on a team level. Our goal is to give you basic tools for maximizing efficiency and collaboration during meetings, including a brief introduction to Convergent Facilitation.
Day 3 (February 11): Moving towards Collaboration as an Individual
Although we are evolutionarily designed for collaborating with others when attending to our basic needs, the weight of the systems and cultural messages we have inherited interfere. Many of us are doubtful that collaboration is possible or effective, and most of us lack both the faith and the skills to live collaboratively, regardless of cultural imperatives.
One of the reasons why collaboration is the exception rather than the norm is because so many of us don’t know how to work through differences effectively – even when we want to. Often, and especially in work environments, we encounter a general perception that conflict or disagreement is a problem, an individual failure, or bad luck. We also lack skills that would enable us to transform stuck moments into generative, mutually beneficial outcomes. We know we want to tell the truth, yet don’t know how; we know we need to hear from others, yet don’t know how to do that well while holding on to what’s important to us.
In the morning we plan to focus on the inside job of collaboration. This includes transcending either/or thinking, moving from separation to shared purpose, engaging creativity when we experience scarcity, and embracing conflict as opportunity. Overall, we plan to support you in cultivating a collaborative orientation regardless of the systemic context, your role, or who else is around you.
In the afternoon, we will focus on the interpersonal dimension of collaboration, the nitty gritty of how to engage in dialogue. This will mean learning to speak truth with care and attention to cultural norms, choosing to hear and integrate others’ point of view even in moments of disagreement, and aiming for solutions that work for all and attend to the larger purpose. We also plan to provide an introduction to how to give and receive feedback for ongoing learning and enhanced capacity to collaborate.
You can let us know you are interested by filling out this form and we will contact you with Cost and Registration information as soon as it is available. Please save the dates for now.
If you have any questions please contact Heather Austin by email. Thank you!