Tag Archives: open space

The Pause That Refreshes

When Maddie and I have workshop participants take our Collaborability assessment, we frequently ask them which collaboration aspect surprised them. The most frequent answer is Pausing to allow time for reflection.

Pausing is most important when you have an instant and negative reaction to a collaborator’s suggestion.

When I notice that I have a strong negative response toward an idea, it’s a sign to me to slow down and check out what’s really going on. More often than not, I find that my reaction has more to do with me than with the idea itself.

The pause allows you to develop awareness about your own areas of resistance or automatic response.  Once you’ve paused, you can ask yourself “How could this work?” or “How is that idea connected”? If you take the time to consider the merits or opportunities of an idea, it may lead to a solution that will work well.

Debbie

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Update on Consultant’s Retreat

Community and Collaboration — these are a few of my favorite things. On Tuesday I got great big doses of both by attending the HNK Consultants’ Community retreat.

HNK, which stands for Health in a New Key, is a group of consultants who work with non-profit organizations. It is sponsored by the St. Luke’s Health Initiative and facilitated by Bonnie Wright. The point of the group is to come together and share ideas, tools and best practices.

We started the day with a World Cafe (http://www.theworldcafe.com/) to consider the question “In your experience in building healthy and resilient organizations and communities, what are the essential elements that lead to success?” This was followed by other useful questions that evolved from the first conversations.

My favorite part of the day was a series of speed presentations — only five minutes per speaker!  It’s not easy to convey useful information in an engaging way in such a short time and all of the presenters did a fine job. The presenters and topics were:
  • Elaine Fogel: Your Consultant Brand – Developing Your Brand Personality
  • Karen Ramsey: Identifying Key Leadership Competencies in the Nonprofit Sector
  • Leslie Knowlton: Character
  • Andrea Allen: Community Impact Through Mapping
  • Reuben Sanchez: “That reminds me of a story…”
  • Carolyn A. Holmes: Engaging Leadership Volunteers in Building Organizational Capacity
  • Diana V. Hoyt: The Effective Fundraising Project and Its Impact on Creating Fundraising Strategies
  • Dolores Retana: Cultural Sensitivity in Board Development
  • Steve Weitzenkorn: The Value and Power of Trust. . . and How to Build It
Jack Smith, of http://www.thesociallatte.com, gave a great presentation for us on how to use social media for our businesses. There is a blog post link on his site that covers many of the same details. Jack told us about an interesting website that licenses short instructional videos (http://www.commoncraft.com/twitter-search).

And we ended the day using Open Space technologies (http://www.openspaceworld.org/) to choose questions or topics that we wanted to discuss more. It’s a great way to turn information and good ideas into action.

The annual retreat is planned by a highly collaborative sub-group of HNK members and they did an excellent job. Thanks!

Strengths-based Collaboration Approaches

Have you experienced Open Space and World Cafe techniques? They are designed to quickly foster meaningful discussion and collaboration among large groups. These powerful methods are frequently used to focus on what is working well (strengths) and how to build on that base.

I’m off to a full-day workshop today. It is put on by and for consultants who work with non-profits. Check back for an update later!