Global corporations, government, public and private agencies, community benefit organizations, and businesses of all sizes and types have so much in common when we look at them in their simplest sense. However they are grouped and organized, they are all comprised of human beings, each individual being a community member.
When all the labels, categories, and org charts are removed, we can clearly see that we all want the same thing: A healthy, thriving and resilient community for everyone. When we are willing to remove our blinders and table our assumptions, we can aim our collective wisdom, skills, experience, passions and resources at building just that. The highest potential for any community will be reached when community members are engaged, valued, and feel a sense of belonging. The path to that is simple, yet so often overlooked. It starts with relationships. It starts with getting to know each other. By taking that essential time, trust is built. It starts when we are willing to dip our toe in the pool. And for those who are willing to cannonball off the high dive, we say “come on in!”
I have the honor of co-creating and presenting a community engagement workshop with an amazing community dynamo named Donna Shines at the Idaho Department of Education’s 22nd Annual Prevention and Support Conference. Our session, “Creating the Future We Want with Our Communities” is based on the fact that in order for children to reach their highest potential, their families, caregivers and all community members must also have opportunities to do the very same.
Workshop participants are asked to step into a space where individuals, organizations, and communities are willing to come together, to get to know each other, and to aim for what is possible instead of fixing what we don’t like. It starts by changing the questions we ask. When we change the questions we ask, we change everything.
Participants will see what that feels like, when we ask questions that:
1. are focused on creating the future we do want, not questions that react to what we do not want.
2. are rooted in collective enoughness, not in scarcity and competition.
3. bring out the best in each other, not the reinforce the worst.
We will invite participants to dip their toes in the pool of possibility. Every community has extraordinary existing potential ready to be unleashed. That potential comes in the form of incredible human beings. Every community member has value. Every community member has gifts to share. What can each of us do to create the space where we can get to know each other better and develop trust?
Our hope is that workshop participants will come to this blog post to share their reflections and what they are willing to try in their communities. We are eager to hear what happened, what you heard and felt, and what you’re planning to try next. Did you…
- change the way you introduce yourself, not ask the usual “what do you do” of those you are meeting?
- start a meeting by asking everyone to share something awesome in their life, and about what you are aiming to achieve together?
- hit pause on problem solving and drama hashing, asking if that is bad, what will good look like?
- talk about what success with look like, and for whom?
- take the time to BE together before diving into the DOing in any facet of your life?
We create and hold this space for all of us to come together to learn, share and explore. We look forward to learning from you!