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November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations
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November 2010 CPYF Dialogue Newsletter: People Centered Organizations

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  • 1. November 2010People-centered Organizations A CP YEN FOUNDATION NewsletterEmployee Ownership & Core Principles & Presencing: Collective Inviting DialogueNational Coalition of Practices for Dialogue & Leadership for Profound Perspectives on the Difficult DialoguesDialogue and Deliberation Deliberation Innovation and Change Initiative at Clark UniversityPage 2 Page 3 Page 7 Page 10In this Issue....“People-centered organizations” has been the theme of conversations, activities and reflectionsthis month.From participating in a workshop about employee ownership where practitioners shared anexperience of deep connection and purpose in their work, reaffirming that responsibility lies inourselves to embody the needed change in the world. As a microcosm of the larger culture,People-centered organizations was also the focus of dialogue at the National Coalition for Dialogue allows aDialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) event themed from polarization to problem solving: a learning exchange wide spectrum of possibleon public engagement. The NCDD is a coalition of practitioners (organizations, researchers, public relationships toofficials, activists, artists and students) working to solve problems through quality deliberation and be revealed.collaborative action. At this event I learned tools (summarized in this newsletter), heard aboutexperiences in difficult contexts and participated in a focus group about internet-based dialogue. It can disclose the impact of societyAppreciation for people-centered organizations was deepened on a very personal level during my on the individualparticipation in the Presencing Institute’s workshop Presencing: Collective Leadership for Profound and theInnovation and Change where we learned how to open our mind, heart and will; to suspend personal individual’svoices of judgment, cynicism and fear; and to let go of the past and tune into a future that is impact on society.seeking to emerge through oneself. This process is called presencing: to act from a state ofawareness in the now: sensing and actualizing emerging futures. How is this related to people- It can display howcentered organizations? “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the power is assumedintervenor.” Usually we are not aware of the source dimension from which effective leadership or given away and howand social action come into being. It is this source that theory U attempts to explore. pervasive are the generallyMy “aha” was in realizing that opening oneself to be a vehicle for the emergent is of greater unnoticed rules ofimportance than the specific forms they emerge into is. My insight is to engage the variety ways the system thatthat I can be a vehicle to my mission: to foster the art of dialogue, facilitate positive social change and forge constitutes oursustainable communities. I invite you to share with me and the Foundation your thoughts on what is culture.emerging through you. But it is mostLastly, in this article I offer notes on Clark University’s Difficult Dialogues initiative. As one of 27 deeply concernedprograms across the U.S. funded by the Ford Foundation, the initiative raises awareness and withdevelops dialogue skills through a range of public programs, faculty development, courses and understanding theactivities in student life. The aim is to foster a culture of dialogue on campus and encourage an dynamics of howethos of transparency and collaboration across the community. thought conceives such connections.Included at the end of this newsletter is an outline of five dialogue methods so you too can practice - David Bohmdialogue in your own community! I welcome feedback about your experiences and any questionsyou may have during your learning process! 1
  • 2. November 2010Employee Ownership "Employee ownership" refers to the ownership of a company, directly or indirectly, in part or in whole bysome or all of its employees. Ownership is generally through a formal plan offered by the employer.Popular types of ownership arrangements in the U.S. are employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), equitycompensation plans such as stock options, and ownership culture.Thanks to ownership options, employees are able to experience income growth at levels that would not have been availablethrough a conventional salary structure. In real terms, this makes the difference between being able to buy a house,affording college and many other life aspirations dependent on financial ability.Empirical studies on employee ownership and its consequences have found favorable effects. The effects however, do notcome about automatically and the specific conditions under which they arise are largely unknown. A thesis on this topic iscurrently underway by Phd candidate Joe Hsueh (MIT Sloan) to address the question: under what conditions doesemployee ownership improve firm performance? Because ownership structure is part of a larger corporate system Hsuehhas developed a dynamic feedback model of a startup company with various compensation and ownership structureshighlighting how each structure influences employee behavior, how they drive business processes, and how those processesinteract with market conditions which generate specific firm performance effects. Joe’s contribution to the fields ofOrganizational Design and Strategic Human Resource Management is this model of causal mechanisms between HumanResource practices and firm performance as well as an analysis of how various combinations of salary, stock options, stockgrants, profit sharing schemes and participatory management influence firm performance overtime under different industrystructures and market conditions.From Polarization to Problem SolvingBattles for the media attention; simplifying complex reality into polarized extremes; civicparticipation being replaced by apathy... our national consciousness has got to have abetter way to evolve. Well, there is, it’s being pioneered across the globe and one of theactors is The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD).An emergent social shift: Dialogue & deliberation is practiced in conflict transformation, intergroup relations anddeliberative democracy. The Boston NCDD gathering brought together public engagement practitioners—facilitators,public officials, school administrators, community leaders, and others—to discuss practical methods and policies forproductive dialogue. With the increase in national and local attention to more open, participatory governance andcommunity problem-solving, the conversation focused in on three topic areas: 1. Quality Public Engagement: What is it and how to broaden adoption? 2. Online Engagement: How can online technology enhance public engagement? 3. Collaborations That Work: How to strengthen connections between public administrators, engagement practitioners and the public?What is Public Engagement?Enabling citizens to have authentic, civil, productive discussions at public meetings ~ even on highly contentious issues.Techniques include National Issues Forums, Study Circles, Town Meetings, Open Space Technology and World Cafe toname just a few. These techniques create the space for real dialogue: so everyone who shows up can tell their story andshare their perspective on the topic at hand.Dialogue builds trust and enables genuine listening to perspectives very different from one’s own. Deliberations are key topublic engagement, enabling people to discuss the consequences, costs and tradeoffs of policy options then to work throughthe emotions that tough choices raise. Almost all dialogue & deliberation techniques involve: - Facilitators and ground rules that create a safe atmosphere for honest, productive discussion; - Framing the issue, questions and discussion material in a balanced and accurate manner; - Having citizens and decision-makers on all sides of the issue talk to each other face-to-face in multiple small groups. 2
  • 3. November 2010 CORE PRINCIPLES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: created collaboratively by the dialogue & deliberation community1. Careful Planning and Preparation: 6. Impact and Action: Ensure the design, organization and convening process Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make serve a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the a difference and that participants are aware of that participants. potential.2. Inclusion and Demographic Diversity: 7. Sustained Engagement and Participatory Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas and Culture: information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes Promote a culture of participation with programs and and democratic legitimacy. institutions that support ongoing quality public3. Collaboration and Shared Purpose: engagement. Support and encourage organizations from government, to business and to community to work together to advance the common good. Resources for Facilitators:4. Openness and Learning: - The Skilled Facilitator - by Roger Schwarz Help all involved to listen to each other, explore new ideas - Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision-Making -by Sam unconstrained by predetermined outcomes, learn and Kaner apply information in ways that generate new options, and - IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation - by Sandy Schuman rigorously evaluate the process. - Visit http://ncdd.org/rc/best-of-the-best-resources for a list of what NCDD considers the best resources available to build5. Transparency and Trust: skills in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement. Be clear and open about the process and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes and range of Reference: views and ideas expressed. *http://www.thataway.org/files/ Core_Principles_of_Public_Engagement.pdf Here’s a simple matrix clarifying the application of tools according to different deliberation needs. Refer to the next page for a detailed description of each engagement stream: Exploration Conflict Transformation People learn more about themselves, their community, or an Poor relations or a specific conflict among issue - and perhaps also come up with innovative ideas. individuals or groups is tackled. - World Cafe - Sustained Dialogue - Open Space - Victim-Offender Mediation, - Socrates Cafe - Compassionate Listening - Bohm Dialogue Decision Making Collaborative Action A decision or policy is impacted, and public knowledge of People tackle complex problems and take an issue is improved. responsibility for solutions they come up with. - Citizens Jury - Study Circles - Deliberative Polling - Appreciative Inquiry - Consensus Conference - Future Search 3
  • 4. Primary To encourage people To resolve conflicts, to To influence public To empower and groups to learn foster personal healing decisions and public people and groups more about and growth, and to policy and improve to solve Purpose themselves, their improve relations among public knowledge. complicated community or an issue groups problems and take and possibly discover responsibility for innovative solutions the solution Name of Conflict Collaborative Engagement Exploration Decision Making Transformation Action StreamKey Features Suspending Creating a safe space, Naming and framing the Using dialogue and assumptions, creating hearing from everyone, issue fairly, weighing all deliberation to a space that building trust, sharing options, considering generate ideas for encourages a different personal stories and different positions community action, kind of conversation, views. (deliberation), revealing developing and using ritual and public values, implementing symbolism to brainstorming solutions. action plans encourage openness, collaboratively. emphasis on listening. Important A group or Relationships among The issue is within The issue/dispute community seems participants are poor or government’s (or any requires stuck and needs to not yet established yet single entity’s) sphere of intervention across When... reflect on their need to be. Issue can influence. multiple public and circumstance in depth only be resolved when private entities, and gain collective people change their and anytime insight. behavior or attitude, community action expand their perspective is important. or take time to reflect and heal. Examples of Strengthening Political polarization, Budgeting, land use, Regional sprawl, democracy, value-based conflicts, health care, social institutional understanding a healing after crises or security. racism, youth Issues community of trauma. violence, practice. responding to crises. Organizer’s To encourage new To create a safe space To involve a TO encourage insights and for people with different representative group of integrated efforts connections to emerge views to talk about their citizens in thorough among diverse Strategy by creating a space for personal experiences discussions about stakeholders, people to share their and feel heard. Often, to complicated policy sectors, thoughts, feelings and set the groundwork for issues. IDeally, the organizations, etc. perspectives. deliberation and action. process is linked to policy involved in the making. issue. Appropriate Conversation Cafe, Sustained Dialogue, National Issues Forums, Study Circles, Wisdom Council/ Victim-Offender Citizens Jury, Future Search, Circles, Socrates, Mediation, PCP Deliberative Polling, AppreciativeD&D Processes Cafe, World Cafe, dialogue, Town Hall meetings, Inquiry. Open Space, Compassionate Charrettes, Citizen Appreciative Inquiry, Listening. Choicework, Consensus Bohm Dialogue. Conference.Key Questions How can we ensure How can the issue be How can we best Who needs to be at people feel safe framed so that all sides represent the public the table? What expressing what are brought to - and feel (random selection, kind of power for Organizers inspires and touches welcomed at - the table? stakeholder rep., recruit a dynamics exist? them? What will What are people’s needs critical mass)? Should What group/leader/ stimulate listening and & how can healing, public officials institution is most sharing, without action & respect be met participate side-by-side resistant to making people effectively? If conflict citizens? What materials change? What uncomfortable? exists,how overt and need to be developed / group tends not to volatile is it? How, if at obtained? How to ensure be at the table, all, to transition people the process influences although they’re to “what’s next?” policy? affected? 4
  • 5. Process Distinctions: *from NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework: www.cnrep.org/documents/tools/ddStreams1-08.pdf Transformation Collaborative Exploration Decision Conflict Making Action Processes Size of Group Type of Session Participant Selection Hundreds to All-day meeting Open; recruit for Town Hall thousands in 1 representativenss X room at small Meeting tables.Appreciative From 20 to 4 to 6-day summit. Internal and external X X 20,000 stakeholders. Inquiry Bohm Small Group No set length or number of Open or invitation. X X meetings Dialogue A small team of Intense work sessions last Participants represent a professionals and 1-3 days typically; some range of organized groups, a much larger last 1-2 weeks. but others with a stake in Charrettes X X group of the issue are encourage to stakeholders. attend. Multiple small 1 session, ranging from 2 Open; recruit for Citizen groups. hours to all day. representativenss XChoicework Small Group 5-day meeting Random selectionCitizens Jury X 2 to 200 people; Varies between 30 minutes Open to whoever is drawn;Compassion usually fewer and 3 days, depending on often listeners are brought X X than 30 how many people are in to hear the stories ofate Listening involved. oppressed or oppressors. Large group. 2 weekends for participants Random selection Consensus to prepare, 2-4 day X conference.Conference Single or multiple One 90-minute session. Open; publicize toConversation small groups encourage X X representativeness. Cafe Up to several Weekend-long meeting Random selectionDeliberative hundred people in X small groups in 1 Polling room. 60 to 80 people 3 days All inclusive Future X X X Search 5
  • 6. Process Distinctions (continued): Transformation Collaborative Exploration Decision Conflict Making Action Processes Size of Group Type of Session Participant Selection Intergroup Single or multiple Regular weekly meetings of Open; recruit for X X X small groups 2-3 hours representativeness Dialogue National Up to hundreds in 1 two-hour meeting. Open; recruit for 1 room, then representativeness Issues X break up in interest groups Forums multiple times. Up to hundreds in 3 days VariesOpen Space 1 room, then X X break up inTechnology interest groups multiple times. Public Small Group Multiple 2-hour sessions. Involves all sides of an existing conflict.Conversation X Project dialogue 3 to 30 people 1-2 hours Whoever is in the class or Socrates at the meeting, or whoever X responds to the flyers. Cafe Small Group Numerous 2- 3-hour Open; recruit for Sustained sessions. representativeness among X X X conflicting groups. Dialogue Victim Small Group Mutliple 2- to 3-hour All inclusive (attempts to sessions bring in all involved) Offender X Mediation Small Group One or more sessions Usually used with an Wisdom (3-12 people) lasting 1- 3 hours; ongoing existing group. X sessions are ideal. Circle 10-12 people Several-day session with Initial 10-12 are randomly Wisdom initially (and group of 12, followed by selected from community; X X X sometimes informal large-scale broader segment is open to Council periodically) then dialogue. everyone. entire community. Up to hundreds in Single event ranging from Often held at vents, 1 room at tables 90 minutes to 3 days. involving all attendees;World Cafe X of four. otherwise, invitations boost representativeness. 6
  • 7. PRESENCING: COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP FOR PROFOUND INNOVATION & CHANGEThe Presencing Institute (PI) is a global action research communityapplying Theory U for shifting the social field from ego-system toeco-system awareness. The presencing process is a journey thatconnects us more deeply both to what wants to emerge in the worldand to our highest future possibility - our emerging authentic self.The PI community focuses on refining and co-creating thepresencing technology and making it available to change makers,innovators and communities around the world. PI works towardscreating a Global Action Research University that addresses theroot causes of the current economic, ecological, social and spiritualcrisis. The U process is applied in three ways: (1) as a process As we move down the left side of the U we connect to the worldtemplate (Observe, observe > connect to sources of inner knowing that is outside of our institutional bubble. At the bottom of the U> act from what emerges and in response to prototype feedback); (2) (3. Presencing) lies an inner gate that invites us to drop everythingas a set of principles and practices; (3) as a living connection to that isn’t essential. This process of letting-go of our old ego and self, and letting-come our highest future possibility (our Authenticwhat is emerging from the now. All presencing connects to the Self) - is felt as a connection to a deeper source of knowing. Oncepower of what wants to emerge through oneself as a vehicle. an individual and group operate from this sense of future possibility they function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future. (Visit www.presencing.com to learn more)Presencing Principles:Reflections on Practice 1. Practice, don’t preach it. Listen to others and to what life calls you to do. Listen, connect, and listen some more. Use the U as a tool to deepen connections to others, to yourself and to the whole. 2. Observe and listen. The U process moves one’s focus from the exterior realm (third- person view) to subtle levels of human experience (second- and first-person views). In this movement data is experienced as objective exterior facts (through open mind), as empathic inter- subjective data (through the open heart) and as the trans- subjective realm of self-knowledge (through open will). All three kinds of data requires the cultivation of observation and listening How the U process emerges depends on the quality of our listening: Listening 1: we download habits reconfirming old opinions & skills. The impact of deeper levels of listening is profound: they judgments. can melt the walls of habitual interactions which separate us: Listening 2: we listen for facts, as our mind opens up we begin to from the world, from each other, and from ourselves. notice differences in how people experience facts. Listening 3: we begin to see from another person’s eyes; with an 3. Connect to your intention and operate as a vehicle. open heart we experience empathic listening. Brian Arthur of the Santa Fe Institute observes “intention is not Listening 4: is generative listening from an inner source that senses a powerful force. It’s the only force.” The more I can connect to the future wanting to emerge. As we connect to this emerging place, what is essential for me: “Who Am I?” and “What Am I Here we experience as shift in identity and sense of self. For?”, the better I can act as an instrument for that emerging future to come into being. 7
  • 8. PRESENCING PRINCIPLES: REFLECTIONS ON PRACTICE 4. When reality opens up , be fully for institutional change match what people constitutes the most critical currency forpresent with it - and then act from have real energy for. In designing connecting highly diverse groups ofthe now. intervention strategies, connect and follow players and stakeholders - and for helpingWhen you find yoruself in a situation the flow of energy rather than saying “let’s them to discover common ground. If thatwhere you feel a significant future fix the system.” To “fix a system” would local leadership does not exist, if insteadopportunity, first say “yes”, then DO it, put you against the collective energy field. the leadership comes from an externaland only after ask whether it’s possible. Instead, align with be enchanted by the factor, say, a consulting company, your already existing and further emerging project is likely to get into trouble quickly. energy field of the future. 5. Follow your heart - do what you 13.Use sensing journeys to helplove, love what you do. 10.Use different languages with people see the system from theSteve Jobs comments that “the only way todo great work is to do what you love.” different stakeholders - connect to edges & use collective sensingThis also is the most reliable way to them first in terms of what they mechanisms to see the system fromconnect to your emerging future path. care about. the whole. Innovation in complex systems requires us The movement of co-sensing starts with 6. Always be in dialogue with the to be multilingual: to connect to the multiple sensing journeys to the edges ofuniverse. various stakeholders in the system about the system in order to get people toAssume the universe is a helpful place. the issues that matter to them. Single-focus empathize and see the system from otherAlways stay open to evolving your idea as approaches are almost certain to fail. angles, particularly from the view of theneeded and as suggested by the feedback Instead, master the art of broadening and most marginalized members. Methods foryou are receiving from your environment. deepening the definition as much as collective sensing include (1) stepping into necessary to include all the relevant parties the shoes of stakeholders, (2) personal - which need each other to alter the story telling, (3) systems thinking, (4) 7. Create a Level 4 holding space existing system - committed to participate. scenario thinking, (5) modeling, (6)that supports your journey. constellation practices, (7) world cafe, (8)The most important tool of presencing is 11. If you want to change others, social presencing theater.your Self - your capacity to access yourhighest future possibility. One way to do you need to be open to changingthat is in a daily cultivation practice: a yourself first. 14. Create holding spaces thatmoment of stillness or contemplation in If you want to change the behavior of support the team at the top & thewhich you filter out all the noise from other players in the system and cannot emerging leaders to lead theiroutside and within (your Voice of force them (through the mechanism of individual and collectiveJudgement, Voice of Cynicism, and Voice hierarchy) or give them sufficient transformation journey.of Fear). Another way is through a circle incentives (through bribery or in another Earlier points focus on engaging theof friends supporting each other with level way), then the only way left is the quality frontline and the edges of the system.4 listening and facilitating each’s attending of your relationship to them. To change This focal point helps the team at the topto the deeper calling and journey of their your target, you need to first open up to rise to the occasion and to help emergingpersonal lives and their work. being changed yourself. Only by doing leaders throughout the organization that will you build the quality of become a force of change on that 8. Balance your talking-doing relationship that you can use to effect transformational journey. This support change at a later stage.ratio. can be given in many forms. It usuallyFor every word about ethics, perform at involves a learning structure facilitatingleast one act. For every word about 12. Co-initiate through local leadership from the heart. All leadership teams to reflect on the biggerspirituality or source, perform three. successful ventures and multi-stakeholder picture, connect to their individual and 9. Identify the openings to the projects are built on the same currency: collective journeys, connect to their sources of one or a few local leaders who are highly Self, prioritize what they want to focus onfuture and understand the strategic credible in their own communities because individually & collectively, and learn byimperatives for institutional people know they are willing to give theirchange. doing and helping each other to lead and lives to accomplish the common goal. It isFind areas where the strategic imperatives innovate. that kind of leadership from the heart that 8
  • 9. PRESENCING PRINCIPLES: REFLECTIONS ON PRACTICE 15. Prototype by being present and functional, cross-level, and cross- gaze, cast downward. Be present andacting from the now. institutional leadership structures that grounded in the body. Notice the feelingPrototyping is a process. You only need to pull together key practitioners and of your breathing and rest yourknow two things: (1) the big idea, the decision-makers around specific topics attention on that feeling. Whenever yougeneral direction you are moving, and (2) the and hands-on innovation initiatives. notice that your mind has wanderedimmediate next step (the toe-hold you look away from resting with the breathing, letfor when rock climbing), that’s all that 17. Never Give Up, Never Give Up, go of thoughts of the past or future orcounts. The past and the future - which are Never Give Up. judgments and comments about thethe cause of most of our worries, thoughts Every profound journey of innovation present. Let thoughts go and simply restand everyday attention - is a waste of energy. and renewal takes an enormous amount with the feeling of the breathing.In the prototyping process try to tune out all of perseverance. Important ideas, Practice gently without judgment. Asthese worries and tune in to the real before being born in to the real world, thoughts settle, experience a moreexperience of taking the next step and often begins with many years of failed spacious and open mind.attending to what is emerging from it - and effort by the innovators. The key is: neverthen continue to build on that momentum, give up. Always figure out what you can Open Heartgoing with the flow. learn from failure, get back on your feet Begin with a short session of Open Mind Creating the conditions for the and try again. Allowing yourself to be practice Then bring to your mindprototyping process to run well requires (1) a discouraged by failed efforts in the past is thoughts of people or situation withdedicated shelter from noise, (2) a dedicated a waste of energy. It leads to being whom you are directly working -- either acore group aligned around the same trapped by your own and others’ voice of personal, institutional or global situation.intention, (3) a network of supportive judgement, voice of cynicism, and voice Reflect on the fact that there isstakeholders and users from throughout the of fear. Doing this kind of work requires confusion, aggression or suffering oflarger system, (4) a concrete “0.8 prototype” a lot of courage: the courage to jump some kind there. Open your heart tothat elicits feedback from partners into the space of nothingness, the that. Say to yourself that you wish to bethroughout the system, (5) a never-ending courage to let go and to connect to what of the most benefit to those people - toresolve by the core group to push forward emerges from that nothingness. That bring more clarity, more kindness, morewhile integrating the valuable feedback from courage is an important quality that courage - whatever is needed. Send thisstakeholders (“dialogue with the universe”), connects us with the deeper dimensions feeling out to hose people involved with a(6) a mechanism allowing new partners to of our being - who we really are. strong intention to be of benefit.join the team, (7) regular review sessions thatlook at all the prototypes, conclude what has *Reference: Open Willbeen learned, kill what isn’t working, and www.presencing.com/docs/ Open Will practice instantly cutsstrengthen what is working and looks like a research/.../ hesitation and doubt and brings us ingateway to future possibilities. Presencing_Principles_2010a.pdf contact with Source or genuineness. Sitting or standing, 1) cut thoughts and 16. Co-evolve the larger system by notice the feeling of the body. 2) Notice Awareness Practices: using the prototypes as seeds for the larger space of earth under the body systemic change through linking and the sky above. 3) Join that sense of micro-level changes with meso- Open Mind earth & space at your heart level of the Sit in a straight backed chair with your body. 4) Tune into your own genuineness, and macro-level leadership. feet firmly planted on the floor. Feel your own source of knowing. 5) Radiate The micro and frontline prototype your feet and legs as well as the that awareness (loving attention) out - initiatives are the seeds that key leaders connection to your seat and to the earth. front, sides, and back. throughout the system (from both the Sit with an upright back without meso level such as hospital leadership and the macro level such as ministry tension, without leaning back on the chair. Feel the top of your head rising to *This practice is adapted form a practice of leadership) can support and plant in the sky. Rest your palms gently on your unconditional confidence from the Shambhala other parts of the system. Making this legs. Your eyes are open, with a soft tradition. work requires dedicated new cross- 9
  • 10. Difficult Dialogues: Promoting Pluralism & Academic Freedom on CampusThe Difficult Dialogues is a program Because the nature of Dialogue is production of knowledge andlaunched by The Ford Foundation and exploratory, its meaning and its methods understanding is always a collective continue to unfold... Its essence is learning... enterprise.is designed to promote academicfreedom and religious, cultural, and as part of an unfolding process of creative participation between peers. Our premise is that no lasting shifts inpolitical pluralism on college and our engagement of difficult issues canuniversity campuses in the United happen without looking deeply at the The process of Dialogue is a powerfulStates. Topics of dialogue included: unnoticed rules of the system, including means of understanding how thought current practices of discourse and ourfundamentalism and secularism, racial functions... Without a willingness to explore assumptions about them. Theseand ethnic relations, the Middle East this situation and to gain a deep insight into conventions and social norms includeconflict, religion and the university, it, the real crises of our time cannot be many forms of discourse that tacitly orsexual orientation, and academic confronted, nor can we find anything more explicitly discourage listening, respect, than temporary solutions to the vast array of sharing power, engagement or shifts andfreedom. human problems that now confront us. evolutions in thinking.This report highlights notes from the ~ David Bohm, Donald Factor, Peter In contrast: attentive listening, theClark University initiative which Garrett from “Dialogue - a proposal” ability to learn something new (evenexplored more mindful and fruitful change one’s mind), willingness to examine assumptions, suspendexchanges in classrooms, campus life, judgments, and share power - focus onfaculty governance, and in relationships Perspectives on the process of relating and are the corewith the larger community. Dialogue: a reflection following practices of dialogue & deliberative the Clark University initiative. processes. These practices are necessary for empathic relationships, “This century must be one of dialogue,” urges collaboration, effective action and are His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But what is crucial to the process of a healthy and dialogue really... something precise and democratic society. yet for all they offer, substantial, or simply a feel-good catch-all they are counter-cultural and rare in concept? most aspects of our public and private lives. First, dialogue is fundamentally committed to acknowledging and Our culture present countless obstacles examining the assumptions lying behind to our willingness and ability to be our interpretations and explanation of genuinely present to a dialogic the world. This exploration of self and exchange. Spaces of commerce, other emerges out of a deliberate and government, education and even those respectful effort to excavate the often of friends and family often lack the pre- unstated foundation of ideas, conditions for dialogue. Resistance to judgments, values and beliefs. Dialogue the prospect of dialogue is a telling embraces the complexity of indicator of its potential. To phenomena. It can contain acknowledge and consciously address contradiction and even conflict without real or perceived barriers is a necessary rushing to judge or reconcile differences. passage to its benefits; that transit is a It involves acquiring skills of controversy microcosm of the work as a whole. with oneself and others which we also call critical thinking. To help you construct your next dialogic experience, follow are a few Secondly, dialogue reminds us that preconditions for dialogue:* Read more:http://www.clarku.edu/ thinking is not something done silentlydifficultdialogues_2.cfm and by one’s self. By offering an opportunity to mutually discover what too often goes unspoken, dialogue makes explicit the fact that the 10
  • 11. INVITING DIALOGUE: The Difficult Dialogues Initiative at Clark University insights and collective wisdom. In thePreconditions for words of Jane Goodall: “change As you experiment with navigating conversations that matter for you, we inviteDialogue: happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing you to refer to this reference guide as a handy resource. something you don’t believe is right.”Dialogue as presence and And as said by Thich Nhat Hanh: “Inencounter. To continually focus your inner space and true dialogue, both sides are willing toParticipation in dialogue hinges on cultivate awareness of what you really care change.” Ancient traditional maps ofpresence to oneself and to others. It is energy (Taoist yin-yang, Hindu yantras, about, try the Awareness Practicesmindfulness in action. Conditions for Buddhist mandalas) see this play of on pg.. 9 and open your mind, heart andtrust between participants are: we speak dualities as fueling creativity; the will to the future as it wants to emergehonestly, listen with respect, release practice of dialogue can do so as well. through you.judgments, and seek to understand theother. We do so in good faith, trusting “It’s when we let our guard down and As you invite others to dialogue with you,there can be benefit in shedding allow our differences and doubts to feel the different ways of holding the spacedefenses and in so doing we further surface and interact that something for others by experimenting with theconditions in which we ourselves can authentic and original can begin to Preconditions for Dialogue (pg.hear and learn something new. emerge, tentatively, in the spaces 11). between us. And I’ve found that it’sDialogue as reflective thought. often in these fleeting and complicatedAs a practice of examining assumptions, moments that the heart and mind can As people speak, what do you sense is thedialogue positions us to see the process come into synchrony, pointing to difference between listening from level 1,2,of thought itself. First we become altogether novel possibilities. The key is 3, or 4? Try listening by suspendingconscious of discourse as a practice, ot remain alert to those moments and to notions from the past, see with fresh eyes,allowing us to makes choices about it. move with them when they arise” - open your senses to the new emerging fromBy looking into the structures within our Diana Chapman Walsh. the unknown, and continually let go ofown thinking and patterns of relating, attachments.dialogue illuminates the unnoticed Dialogue as listening and creativestructures of our society and the power matrix. The process of dialogue can be helddynamics in which we exist. It In the creative process, as in dialogue, in a number of ways, refer to those listed onenhances our ability to see clearly what something new emerges through page 5. The aim of each process is tois happening and to name it. presence and encounter. Both are enable the crystallization of vision and iterative listening processes, requiring intention.Dialogue as engagement. presence in the moment as newDialogue presumes participants have information and opportunities unfold.joint ownership of the topic at hand, Then enact this shared vision with Playful and exploratory, both dialogueand calls for each participant to take up and the creative process depends on prototyping the emergent by linking thehis/her share. The nonhierarchical willingness to enter the unknown. head, heart and hand. At this point Ispace of dialogue empowers an dignifies encourage you to refer to theits participants. Exploratory, not goal- * http://www.clarku.edu/ “Presencing Principles:driven, in its essence, dialogue depends difficultdialogues_2.cfm Reflections on Practice” (pg. 7) toon asking authentic questions, design the support structure for your ongoingidentifying issues, raising awareness and discipline needed for embodying the new.catalyzing action based on what is held Presencing from the source of your creativityto be in the common good; thereby will become a habitual and joyful process.focusing that which is valued in And you will quickly serve the world as acommon and serve as a basis for trust powerful vehicle continually manifesting theand solidarity. new through seeing the whole.Dialogue as “the space between”.Through the respectful co-existence ofdifference, dialogue generates new 11

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