|Process Workshop Recommendations?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Becky Schaller (beckyssonoracohousing.com)|
|Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 07:12:11 -0700 (MST)|
Hi Sharon, thanks for your response. I agree that how people feel about each other is vastly more important than any communication skills that might be learned in a workshop. However, I have seen minor conflicts get escalated because of poor process. My thinking is that the more people understand and agree on process, the more likely someone else can point out and assist when someone mistakenly says something that is not following good process or effective communication skills. Let me give two examples. Over time, I have begun to realize that our community often gets into trouble when we skip a process step we previously agreed upon. I think our whole community is learning that lesson through the school of hard and painful knocks. My hope is that we might learn other skills through easier methods in a workshop. Another example. I remember one member who was quite upset in a meeting saying, "I feel attacked by what Georgia said." No one responded to that. After thinking about that, I now remember that in the book on Nonviolent Communication, I read that "attacked" is not a feeling word. It's an interpretation. That person was really indirectly saying that Georgia had attacked her. But she didn't say that directly and she didn't specifically say what Georgia had said. So Georgia simply sat there - I imagine feeling a bit guilty and afraid to say anything else. Now had more of us known more NVC, than perhaps someone else might have been alert enough to point this out and ask the one member to clarify what she meant by saying she felt attacked. This might have allowed George to have felt able to respond. Also, if there had been a community understanding beforehand, then a person would simply have to point this out and not teach the difference between interpretation and feelings to the group while doing so. So, I'd like to repeat my request. If anyone has recommendations of types of process workshops that have been helpful in your community, would you please let me know. Thanks, Becky Schaller Sonora Cohousing Tucson, Arizona On Monday, November 3, 2003, at 08:14 PM, Becky Schaller wrote: Our Process Committee is researching different types of process workshops for our community. We seem to be looking at basically two general categories. 1. How to make decision making more efficient. and 2. Improving communication skills particularly when we disagree. Sharon V replied: COMMUNICATION SKILLS Research on team functioning consistently shows that in the long term how people feel about each other and how well they function is related to how well they do their jobs -- content, not process. The emphasis on communication as "skills" can be very artificial and distract from real issues -- getting the job done. With success in performance, seemingly impossible skill-less people work perfectly well together. Defining the job and understanding why it needs to be done is the best solution to communications skills. We just went through a bout of name calling, negative characterization, and angry attacks, in person and on email. Since the attackers (from my perspective as the person being attacked) included a social worker who teaches family therapy, a Methodist minister, a perfectly competent group facilitator, and several otherwise-normal, perfectly "non-violent" people, one who does peace work, skill training was not the issue. All of these people have been through all the training they could possibly go through -- voluntarily! -- and consider themselves to be fine examples of the truly good and proper among us. The fact remains that in the end what we had to do was sort out the issue -- the content. The whole incident happened because people had been avoiding an issue I needed to have dealt with and they wanted to continue avoiding. In such situations, I push decisions -- it's my genetic makeup. It drives people just as nuts as their avoidance drives me nuts. But by pushing everyone's buttons in October about how we spend all the December holidays, we established both a wonderful schedule of inclusive community events early enough that the calendar does not get filled with conflicting exclusive private events AND established a procedure for dealing with that type of content the next time we need to deal with it. I could easily have filed libel and slander suits against several of these people. We could easily have spent days and weeks in workshops and spent hundreds of dollars on an outside facilitator. Sorting out the tangible issues with a calendar on the wall worked much faster, with a better result. When the issue remained a content issue -- the schedule of December holidays -- only _one_ of the name-calling people attended the meeting. All the name-calling was speaking for others, not oneself. Along with my refusal to respond to name callers with anything more than a request for an inclusive plan for the holidays, a simple rule, "we speak for ourselves and allow others to speak for themselves," enforced by the meeting leader stopped the chaos. After reading many "process" books, the best remains one that is not process at all, Thinking Critically by John Chaffee. This is a textbook so it is expensive (though not that much more than NVC and the NVC workbook together). He has a second book, The Thinker's Way: 8 Steps to a Richer Life that I haven't read but I'm sure is equally helpful -- and much less expensive. Amazon is the best source for these -- new and used. Sharon ----- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org _______________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list Cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org Unsubscribe and other info: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L
Process Workshop Recommendations? Becky Schaller, November 5 2003
- Re: Process Workshop Recommendations? Sharon Villines, November 5 2003
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