Promises, Promises: How Collaboration Helps Strangers Meet Goals Part 2

In yesterday’s post, Ben described how the idea of Promise Partners came to him. Today’s post continues with the collaborative design process. Debbie

I used a collaborative process to get from the idea of Promise Partners to the pilot group and here are a few of the things I realizedabout community, collaboration and working with others.

Collaboration Point 1: Share excitement. Many people come up with great ideas that just stay in their minds and don’t make it into reality. I was so excited about this project that I just couldn’t help but share around the office. The more people I shared with the clearer the project became and every step of the way, I inspired someone to take a part in the project. Every person that played a part in designing this project saw the possibility of this program and how excited I was about it. From this I learned that if you are genuinely excited about something and share with the people in your life, surprising connections happen. I noticed the distinct difference in the response I got between the times I was distracted or uninspired and the times where I was empowered and excited. The excitement I embodied and shared involved over 20 people in the design and implementation of the pilot group.

picture by Alphachimp Studio

Collaboration Point 2: Involve people smarter or more experienced than you. To build a program that would bring together strangers and transform them into a community ofpartners, I knew I needed some help. I invited a group of facilitators, coaches, and community development experts to participate on a call to develop the program together. Ironically, I had come in with a certain perspective of how it should be done, but I was committed to listening. To really enable myself to listen, I requested that a friend of mine guide the meeting and be accountable for a consensus. On the call an incredible program was produced that blended coaching, facilitation, and appreciative inquiry. New ideas came up such as using appreciative interviews to look at sustainable change in a person’s life, using the Wheel of Life to identify areas to work on, and a graphic method of displaying promises. All of these areas were brand new, and things that I never would have thought of. On that call, we thought through each of the pieces and developed a possible program from it.

picture by Pat Castaldo

Collaboration Point 3: Find the strengths in the views of others. Nonetheless, I was in an interesting position by listening. I didn’t agree with everything that was in the program or see it as the best way to get the outcome we wanted. My first reaction was to throw out the ideas and go with my own. But, as I looked at what was talked about in that meeting closer, I saw that there was value in every idea that was suggested. If we could tweak to the Wheel of Life to use it as a base for conversation rather than an self-evaluation we would have an excellent start to the conversation. If we used appreciative interviews instead to look at where this area worked well, then we’d have an open exploration that could guide us towards action. And if we did depict the promises visually, it would be very captivating. By looking at each of the ideas suggested and finding the strength at the core of the suggestion, we were able to use them in the best possible way for the program. By coming from a place that the ideas of others are essentially valuable, then the real job was to find the core of truth in that idea that would best contribute to the project.

Tomorrow I’ll post about what we learned during the pilot event.

Ben Wood-Isenberg creates the conditions for positive change that help people and organizations accomplish their hopes and dreams. He is a new addition to Wholonomy Consulting llc, having recently graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Global Studies. Ben has worked with a variety of organizations across the state of Arizona providing training and curriculum development, community building workshops, facilitated community discussions, and system-change processes. In this capacity, Ben utilizes the approaches of Appreciative Inquiry, Technology of Participation, World Café, and Open Space Technology.

How can you collaboratively develop your great ideas?

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