The More Disruptive the Issue, The Higher the Cost it is To Resolve

In this issue of Frankly Speaking, we talk about disruptive, “wicked” issues. "Wicked" issues are those with high emotions, where many different opinions exist on how to solve the issue, and it is critical that the issue is solved for the organization to move forward.

Combating Democracy's Problems

The Community Engagement Institute

Learning from each other addresses democracy’s problems. Many times, citizens feel sidelined because they don’t think they can make a difference. “Wicked” issues, such as immigration policy or school consolidation, are framed in ways that promote divisiveness and not all options for solving them are considered. Democracies depend on constant collective learning and a system to promote dialogue.

The result is a lack of people participating in the decision making process or the perception that "the end is already decided, so why bother?" Decisions are often made by a small group or hastily without giving the public the opportunity to be able to reach shared or reflective, informed judgment.

Small communities and public institutions are facing daunting problems that can best be solved if all citizens are given the space to work together to produce common ground on the things upon which they do not agree. Traditional ways that communities go about solving problems may limit citizen participation, so when people disagree about what to do, it prevents them from joining forces.

Political institutions’ efforts to organize citizens can backfire by draining away the vital energy that people bring. Mutual distrust between citizens and many political institutions has been increasingly disruptive for decades. Citizens see politicians as unresponsive, as well as ineffective, and the political environment doubts that the general citizen is responsible and capable to make informed choices.

The Global Horizons, LLC Community Engagement Institute teaches community and elected leaders how to create safe, neutral space for citizens to work together in a session/s moderated by a professional trained in the art of Deliberative Dialogue:

 ·         Identify/name the issue in their own terms of what is most valuable.

·         Frame the issues so that a range of actions are considered and the trade-offs required are evident.

·         Make deliberative decisions weighing the trade-offs, to turn hasty reactions into sound judgment.

·         Identify resources that are available, even intangible ones like enthusiasm and commitment.

·         Organize actions in ways that builds upon the common ground identified and helps the other become better.

Asking questions in a different way can help open up the values of certain positions.

Questions such as:

·         How does this problem affect you and your family?

·         What do you think is the right thing to do?

·         What might be the consequences, both positive and negative?

·         What are our options?

·         Who else do we need to solve the problem?

·         What resources could we use?

·         Can we support one another?

·         What are we learning?

When you set up the process to allow citizen participation, great things happen. People actually get along! They come up with wonderful solutions that, when they come together, are better than any previously proposed.

To learn more or book a training on the art of Deliberative Dialogue, contact Kimberlee Spillers, kim@ghorizons.com or 712-250-0275.

We know how to help your organization move forward. Together.

Some Places Just Don't Want to Grow!

C.A.V.E. people - Citizens Against Virtually Everything.   

W.A.V.E. people - Workers Against Virtually Everything.  

P.A.V.E. people - Parishioners Against Virtually Everything.  

N.I.M.B.Y. people - Not In My Back Yard! 

Every state, community, organization has people like these folks, but we tend to discount them or say, “That's just them. They always look at the negative.”

If you want to grow, but have issues in your community where you just can't get moving because of some people or obstacle, take an honest look at the issues that keep your community/ies "stuck." 

Look at your community culture.

I have served in chamber of commerce and economic development organizations my entire professional career and I know those organizations are paid to promote all the good the community has to offer.

However, communities that thrive are those who will publicly look for the bad, as well as promote the good. Thriving communities commit to being better.

If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes. You stop blaming other people and circumstances for your situations. You learn what you need to learn. You practice what you need to practice. You put all attention / focus on how you will achieve your goals.

How do you know what needs to be addressed if you don’t look at the downside of your community?

Here are two pain points:

  • Are you increasing population?  and
  • Are you decreasing poverty?

Making headway on these two goals signals how welcoming people find your community.

In my research, states with a higher population of non-native-born citizens - people who were not born in, but are living in your state - are growing at a faster rate and have higher incomes than states with a higher population of native-born; those born in and living in the state.

Ask those who moved into your community - people who do not have grandparents buried in the local cemetery - if they feel welcome and feel they belong. Even if they've lived there 20+ years.

Ask those who come to your church and sit in somebody else's pew.

Ask your youth. Do they feel they belong? Do they see a future in your town?

 

Look at your culture. How your community "grew up."

To address these issues, you need to start with Why? Why does your community exist?

Do you know “why?" Are you asking? 

Are you digging to find the "problem behind the problem" when the community disagrees? Do you ask for value-based opinions from your citizens on issues your community needs to solve?

Convene a Community Engagement Institute to find your culture.  http://www.bewuca.com/blog/community-engagement-institute

 

Neighboring Towns and Growth

Why do we not like the community down the road? Is it because of athletics? A school merger? Because they stole our county charter 120 years ago? Or maybe, more than 100 years ago, our community had a competition who could hate their neighbor the most. One did.

Identifying, understanding, and breaking down the walls of conflict, perceptions, and hate is the first step toward growth as a region.

 

How Issues Become "Issues"

Whether in a family, church, school, business, organization or government, an issue goes through stages. When an issue is emerging, those involved and affected perceive their choices and choose their "sides" in resolving the matter.  The more involved we keep people and include as many choices as possible to solve the issue, the less disruptive the issue.

If we take away choices, voice, and input from those involved and affected, the issue becomes increasingly disruptive. People who do not know how an issue is decided, and are not a part of how the decision is made, do not trust the outcome.

So, the more disruptive the issue, the higher the cost that issue is to resolve in time, manpower, and/or money.

Some communities do not want to know other people’s opinions. It is like they want their deep, dark, secrets to stay hidden, thinking, "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." 

Are you like that? Or do you want to change so you can grow with new people, ideas, energy?

 

You go to the doctor's office to find out why you are not well. You want that doctor to be honest with you and tell you how to get better. 

The "doctor" is in.

Global Horizons has championed civility-building, community growth processes for more than 25 years.

Build civil relationships to address motivation and community issues that keep you "stuck." 

Give us a call. 712-250-0275.

 

Native-Born per state 25+ -  http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census-migration-homegrown-populations-for-cities-states.html
Growth rate per state - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--population-growth-rate--state-rank.htm?tag=Fastest+Growing+States+in+U.S.
Richest States by income - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--median-household-income--state-rank.htm?yr=3000&tag=Richest+States+by+Income+in+U.S.

Sow and Reap - What Would You Do?

Author Unknown

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.” The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued, “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost and he planted the seed. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year went by and the CEO asked the young executives to bring their plants to work for inspection.

When Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot, she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed; a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He asked Jim to come to the front of the room. Jim was terrified.  He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer — Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. "Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

“All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

Be careful what you plant now. It will determine what you will reap later.

What Will You Become?

     Keep in mind this fact, only four percent of what you do is a conscious thought, which means 96 percent of your actions and your beliefs and what you do is subconscious because you have programmed yourself so well. How many communities, organizations, churches or workplaces are just like this! Just because someone has different thoughts or they look different, people automatically react to them in a negative way. 

     How many of you grew up and said, “I'm not going to be like my mother?” How many of you are just like your mother, as in this story? 

WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY!

      A mother and daughter were preparing a roast for a family dinner. The daughter cut the ends off of the roast before putting it in the roaster, just as she was taught. She asked her mother, “why do we cut the ends off of the roast before we cook it?” “I am not sure,” said the mother. “I guess it makes it taste better, but let’s go ask grandma.”

      So they went to ask Grandma. “Grandma?” asked the mother. “Why did you teach me to cut the ends off of the roast before cooking it?”

      "Because it makes the roast taste better,” responded Grandma. “Besides, that is the way my mother taught me. Let’s go ask her.”

      So the three of them went to the person who started the tradition of cutting of the ends off of the roast.

      “Great-Grandmother why do you cut the ends off of the roast before you cook it? Does it make the roast taste better?”

      “Heavens no,” said Great-Grandmother. “I cut the ends off of the end of the roast because that is the only way I could get it to fit into the pan I used.”

      Sometimes it’s helpful to look at the history of why we do things. Is it really necessary to continue some of the things we do or do we do them just because we are comfortable doing it that way? Do we do things just because we have always done it that way before.

      When you keep doing the things to get what you get, you keep getting the things you always got.

      You can change without improving, but you cannot improve without changing.

      Do you know anyone who has changed their life because of the intentional choices they’ve made contrary to their upbringing or circumstances?  On rare occasions, we see someone break out because of a certain talent they have, or they want their life to be different than how they grew up. They say, “Absolutely not!  I'm going to change my environment and I'm going to change the way I act to my environment. I’m outta here to find a new way to live!”

      Maybe it’s you. You want more. You want different than you are living. It takes conscious thought and commitment to change a view of the world. It requires constant, diligent, it’s-in-your-heart-and-gut passion to change.

      The biggest gap in growth is the gap between knowing and doing. In other words, you cannot grow if you do not do something toward growing. To discover the path in front of you, you have to start moving.

      Just as Martin Luther King said, "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

       

Global Horizons - On the Leading Edge of Thought

Relationship is Everything

When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Here’s what an article in Forbes magazine reports:

·         More than 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.

·         More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.

·         More than 50% say they have different values than their employer.

·         More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.

·         More than 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.

So, for all those employers who have everything under control, you better start re-evaluating. There is an old saying that goes; “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave people." Regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of relationship disconnect with leadership and co-workers.

Every moment of every day you are in a relationship. Whether you are with another person, in traffic, at work, or alone in a room with just yourself, you are in a relationship.

Getting along in that relationship is an intentional act that begins only with you and has nothing to do with the other person. Only you create the result that you experience from that relationship.

How do I know this? By me changing my actions and doing everything that I write about and experience. Living WUCA! has changed every relationship in my life.

Relationships thrive when you intentionally:

Welcome
•    Words matter. Use words that build and heal. 
•    Accept responsibility for the results you are receiving and living.
Understand
•    Listen actively to what is being said by others; don’t just wait to talk. 
•    Deliberately create space for civil dialogue. Circles are best.
Comfort
•    Live your purpose through your passion. It is the best way others can live theirs. 
•    Achieve your vision with goals as stepping stones. Move toward the future you wish to create.
Appreciate
•    Express gratitude daily. Unexpressed gratitude is ingratitude.
•    Eulogize others while they are still alive. Let them hear their praises. 

If the nature of any relationship you are in is not going the way you want, you can be certain you are compounding the problem by continuing to give energy to the actions that you dislike or don’t want. When someone says they don’t get along with their parent or spouse or someone they work with, they are defining the relationship in terms of what they dislike. When your thoughts and words are on what you don’t want, it will continue to be the story of the relationship. If you want the relationship to improve, focus your energy on what you love about it and what you want it to be like.

What keeps you stuck in bad relationships boils down to two factors - which will change immediately - when you decide to act differently:

1.    How you decide to view your relationship.
2.   The actions you take that change you.

Your environment will change when you change your actions: all your thoughts, beliefs, and habits. 
When you stop blaming others for your past and your circumstances, you will start building the relationship that you have always wanted. Even with yourself.

When you learn the WUCA! Way, you will act the WUCA! Way, then you will teach others the WUCA! Way.

Living WUCA! improves your relationships so you can experience the world intended for you!

Make 2015 your Best Year yet! Take care, be well, Be WUCA!

 

Learn WUCA!      Act WUCA!      Teach WUCA!

Perception - Another Person's Reality

To really understand another person you need to understand how your filtering mechanism works.

Your filtering mechanism is your belief system of what you see or another word for that is paradigm. A paradigm is the belief that has been turned into a habit and has been programmed into you. it is how you perceive reality and why you act the way you do and live the way you do.

A paradigm is like railroad tracks. It creates a set direction for how you see the world. Everything you see, everything you’d do everything you perceive of other people and situations, is filtered through your paradigm. It becomes your reality.

So it is also with other people. Their paradigm or belief system filters the information that they take in.

In order to understand how another person perceives reality, you have to understand how they grew up, their culture. You have to understand their personality, and you have to understand their current situation. 

It Takes a Village to Engage a Workforce

America’s low level of employee engagement is a huge drag on your community’s economy.

An October, 2013 Gallup survey indicates that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to their 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx. 

In the U.S. and Canada, that survey indicates employee engagement remains at 29 percent, static since Gallup’s 2006 survey of employees engaged in their workplaces.

In the 2013 report, Gallup states, “Increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies, communities, and countries --- and for putting the global economy back on track to a more prosperous and peaceful future.”  

These statistics matter to communities as global business relationships flourish and economies are increasingly interwoven. An engaged workforce is critical to each community infrastructure for safety, stability, and sustainable growth. An engaged workforce keeps vital services in place like police and fire departments to protect citizens and homes. An engaged workforce provides jobs and business opportunities. An engaged workforce provides volunteers for churches, civic, and philanthropic organizations.

If workforce engagement is such a huge issue for companies, and the statistic of engaged workers has been the same for nearly eight years, why is little being done to address the problem? Companies, communities, schools, and individuals must move in a different direction. Doing the same things in the same way will get you the same results. 

A picture of a village engaging a workforce

In a given geography, we identify four “workforce hubs:” individual, community, education, and business, each an entry point of opportunity to engage citizens. For example, in the business hub, engaged employees are critical for a company’s bottom line. An engaged worker will contribute more to profit, growth and innovation, increased investment and purchases by outside interests, and an internal productive, enjoyable environment. Workers need their “head in the game” while on the clock. When workers are distracted for any reason from the task at hand – making money for the business – worker productivity decreases. In short, worker engagement matters to the company bottom line. 

All businesses, community organizations and governments spend money to attract new opportunities and people from around the globe for economic growth. It’s imperative communities have a holistic approach to workforce engagement to be efficient with those dollars.

What to do? 

Implement an overall community approach with targeted actions to better-engage citizens in every hub to strengthen schools, increase productivity, build volunteerism, and reinforce families.

  • In the individual hub, get to know yourself. Coach citizens to know themselves and identify their skills. Find their passion and purpose, define their vision of the future, and establish goals to get there. In turn, the community will benefit from new businesses, stronger families, and increased pride. New voices, ideas, and attitudes that welcome must exist and be promoted.
  • In the community hub, be open to newcomers and new ways of seeing the world. Newcomers arrive in our towns in many forms seeking a place to connect, feel safe, perhaps raise their families, and contribute to society. In a five-county area, we used a process called Community Builders. By encouraging new ideas from residents and newcomers, 250 new jobs followed during the next three years. 
  • In the education hub, connect your students with your area workforce. The learning environment in your education system establishes habits for your future workforce participants. Schools are workplaces. Interactions between administrators and teachers and teachers with students need to model workplace etiquette and skills. 

In our method, Coaching in the Classroom, intentional outreach, especially with students “at-risk” is crucial to a community’s success. Gallup identified the reason students drop out of school and disengage from education: they have lost all hope in graduating. Our experience indicates these are the students who will run their community someday, so engaging them, teaching them early on to be productive citizens, business owners, and mayors will pay off. In one school district  that implemented Coaching in the Classroom, the “at-risk” population decreased in three years from 41 to 12 percent.

  • In the business hub, knowing employees and their strengths is key to success. When a worker is considered for a position, there is an effort made to connect their resume and skill set to what is needed. Likely what would be more effective, especially in the long-term, is to determine what the applicant is absolutely passionate about doing. Doing what they love to do and contribute will indicate whether they “have” to come to work, or “get” to come to work. When a person “gets” to come to work, a business will have an engaged, productive, energized workforce. 

In companies large and small, the relationship between supervisors and employees strongly impacts worker engagement. When there is worker dissatisfaction, it’s often with a supervisor, not the company itself. It pays in the long run for companies to train their front-line supervisors to have respected, encouraging relationships with the workers in their charge.

Gallup concludes, “If your business is like most, only about one-third of your employees are committed to your company’s success and that’s clearly not enough to overcome the two-thirds of your workforce standing in their way. So, while doubling engagement may seem like an uphill climb, it’s easier than justifying a company’s downhill slide.”

When you take a holistic approach to worker engagement, your whole community benefits by increasing wealth beyond the bottom line. People will volunteer. They will take pride in their town. They’ll invite their friends and family to move to the area, growing school districts. When you feel valued, you have personal and professional satisfaction and peaceful relationships - outcomes every community seeks in its quality of life.

Implement The BeWUCA! Way methods to motivate your village to engage your workforce. Click here now to create a 21st century workforce economy!