An exciting future story reframes present difficulties as “worth it.” Big projects and new challenges can be difficult and frustrating particularly for people who weren’t in on the decision-making process. Without a vision, meaningless frustrations suck the life energy out of a group. With an engaging vision huge obstacles shrink to small irritants on the path to a worthwhile goal. (Note: Vision stories that promise more than they deliver do more damage than good. So be careful.)
Storytelling is a great way to prompt introspection without putting people on the defensive. Do you ever wonder “What were you thinking?” or worse, “How does you sleep at night?” I do. Yet, any effort to “MAKE” someone think about his/her actions only pushes them away. If you really want them to back up and reconsider the effect they are having on the world, the best way I know is to tell a story that might prompt, in the privacy of their own mind, an internal dialogue that could produce a change of heart without ever having to admit they did something wrong. In most cases a “values in action” story can do the trick. [Read more…]
Trust is lost when you treat someone fairly by your standards, yet unfairly by their standards. This doesn’t have to happen!! There are many completely valid definitions of fair: everyone shares equally…whoever works harder gets more…the rainmakers get the most (even if it doesn’t look like they work hard)…hey, the neediest get first dibs…none of which translates to the same distribution of resources . People think “fair” is obvious, but we need share stories that demonstrate what fair means to each person, so we can come up with a common definition of fair that avoids misunderstanding and protects mutual trust.
This picture was drawn by an employee of a large bureaucratic organization. When she lifted it up, there was a hush of recognition in the group. She said “This is me in the vice. But it could be any of us, really. We are all taking turns. All of these people are just waiting their turn. When we aren’t on the block getting screwed, we are helping turn the ropes and screwing each other.” The emotional content of this picture is powerful. Whereas, this group had verbally described their problem as having too much work and not enough support, this picture shows more of the story. It reveals how the group was contributing to their own misery by how they treated each other. [Read more…]
Brief Description of the Community
An urban community near a large southern city. this community is predominantly African-American and suffer the effects of poverty on the health and well-being of the residents and community at large. During the Spring of 1997, community residents worked with a University to identify and prioritize 5 community health concerns: elderly, violence, environment, family health and substance abuse. However, representation was limited and three years have elapsed. [Read more…]