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Practicing Connection in a Complex World
30 minutes | a month ago
VUCA and VUCA Prime (Ep. 5)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Episode-5-VUCA-and-VUCA-Prime.mp3 About this episode In this episode, Karen Pedersen, Dean for Global Campus at Kansas State University, talks about how the VUCA framework (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) has helped her better understand the world, and how the VUCA Prime framework (vision, understanding, clarity, and agility) has helped her lead in and respond to a VUCA world. Special thanks to Nathan Grimm, who composed all of the music for the podcast; Kalin Goble, who recorded the episode introduction; Jen Chilek, for her help with MFLN promo and our podcast website; and Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for all their help with marketing. You can stay in touch with us and connect with our Practicing Connection community by subscribing to our email list. Subscribe now. Extras Additional Recommendations for Us Right Now from a Future – adrienne maree brown Emotional Intelligence Leadership Needed in a VUCA World – Relly Nadler Managing Yourself: Zoom In, Zoom Out – Harvard Business Review. A good read that includes some practical advice about how to know when you are too far zoomed in/out and reflection questions to help you zoom in/out where applicable. Transcript [music] Kalin Goble: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. To start our conversation, pair Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch. Jessica Beckendorf: Hi, this is Jessica. Our world is rapidly changing and complex. Cultivating connection and increasing our exposure to different perspectives is more important than ever. Frameworks can help us do that in a way that is constructive, moving our individual relationships and our communities toward a connected and thriving future. I had the opportunity to talk with Karen Pedersen recently about one framework that looks at complexity both from what exists, so how complex we already are, and how we can navigate the complexity. Karen Pedersen: Hi, my name is Karen Pedersen and I currently serve as the Dean for Global Campus at Kansas State University. You may be asking yourself, “So, what is a Dean for Global Campus and what does she do?” Global Campus at Kansas State is the online learning division or unit that supports online learning for the university. My team facilitates all of our online courses and online degree programs. Today we offer over 120-degree programs online, and so my team is very busy working across the university to support all of those online learning activities. Since the start of COVID, it is only amplified the work that we do given that lots of courses at the university have moved online. I’ve been doing this work for 20-plus years. I love it, I love working with learners at a distance. I love just finding ways for individuals to earn degrees where maybe a college or a university is not close to them or their life and job doesn’t allow them to complete a degree in a more traditional way. That’s the work that I do every day. I’ve worked in higher education most of my career, and I’ve always worked in units like a global campus. Units that are rather entrepreneurial. Units that are forward-thinking. Units that maybe look at the world a little bit differently than others in the academy. I latched on to this acronym VUCA a few years ago, but VUCA it stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It’s a concept that was borrowed from the US Army War College dating back to the late ’80s. In recent years, it has been applied to other contexts such as business, for me, higher education to describe how we need to navigate a very dynamic and changing environment. For me, VUCA is highlighted in those four terms. Volatility, when we think about fast, turbulent or unpredictable changes without clear patterns. Clearly, this pandemic has moved us to this sense of volatility. Uncertainty is the frequent disruptive changes where the past maybe isn’t a good predictor of the future that we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory with the potential for surprise. Complexity is when we have multiple complex intertwined interdependencies or confounding of issues amidst this global interconnectivity. Finally, ambiguity where there’s little clarity or distinction between opportunities and threats, between cause and effect, where multiple perspectives make it difficult to predict impacts of given action. It’s that haziness of reality. That’s the world that many of us in higher education have been living. Many of us at institutions focusing on how do we support learners in new and different ways? How do we support more learners that might be learning from a distance from an institution? VUCA really was an acronym for me that articulated where I saw us. That it was very volatile, very uncertain with a complexity and an ambiguity that many of us had not seen in our careers. I think that some of what we’ve seen in a VUCA environment prompts us to do some really great thinking. It prompts us to derive solutions that exceed expectations, whether it’s for a learner, a customer, a stakeholder. I would describe it as not on this good bad framework, but I would just describe it as needing to push ourselves. There are some future-ready qualities that I think about when I think about the opportunities in the career that I have chosen personally and professionally. Some of those future-ready qualities I feel position me in my organization to bring about change tend to be a leader of change initiatives. For many, that can be very helpful as they think about the work that they do every day. [music] Karen: If you flip the coin over and you think about VUCA but now the acronym is vision, understanding, clarity, and agility. When we think about vision, it’s about having that clear purpose that provides a compass point for others. You shift from strategic planning to maybe setting a strategic intent, and you’re very flexible in how you get there. Understanding is when you really, as a leader or as someone in an organization or in the impromptu world, you stop, you look, you listen beyond your areas of expertise. You dialogue with others before making a decision, before moving forward. You develop this perceptual flexibility which allows you to take in different perspectives. Clarity is that seeing through that confusion, that sense-making, where you create plausible understanding and context. You respond to what matters. You learn how to inspire others to follow through. Storytelling can be an incredible approach when you’re thinking about that clarity. Agility is that ability to build capacity to move quickly and easily. Rapidly prototyping a solution, experimenting, synthesizing, iterating where you anticipate risk, but you don’t spend too much time looking at that long-term strategic plan. You encourage creating networks rather than hierarchies. Just being in the moment, but very focused on what’s happening around you. Vision, understanding, clarity, and agility become the framework as we think about flipping that coin over and thinking about VUCA Prime. Recently, I had the opportunity to go through the CliftonStrengths. One of my top strengths is lifelong learner, but I think that is part of what I see as one of the future-ready qualities for that individual that really thinks about and continues to learn throughout their lifetime. They have this curiosity. That is critically important. I think when we are connected we’re listening to diverse perspectives, we’re collaborating with individuals that we may not collaborate with on a daily basis, we’re communicating our ideas, our perspectives, our insights with others, and we’re actively listening. I think for me, the idea of connected or connectedness is so critically important and probably more important today than really ever before because many of us are finding ourselves in a landscape that is different than what we are used to. Maybe you are on Zoom meetings for much of your day and so there might be those times when you zone out and how do you stay connected with individuals that you may not see in the office every day, or you may not have those same brainstorming sessions with them, those problem-solving strategy sessions? How do you do that in a pandemic? To me that connectedness is so critical as we think about where we are and as we pivot to the future and I believe that organizations are really looking at the opportunities for how do you instill greater adaptability because many of us sort of signed a physical piece of paper when we got our annual contract for the year and we would have sent it back through the mail in an envelope and all of these things. It looks different when you need to do that all electronically. It looks different for me when I have for years been serving learners at a distance and really wanted for those learners at a distance to have the same experience as that students on a campus would have, and now I’m seeing a career of services office that is doing a virtual career fair that supports all students no matter where they are, they are living in Manhattan, Kansas which is where I am today, or if they are living someplace else. I think that adaptability that organizations and individuals, when confronted with change, adapt, they are highly resilient and so the things that we’re used to doing in person, we begin to think about in a pandemic, how do we still create those experiences and how do they look different? That to me is just human nature, where we adapt and we’re resilient and we create opportunity. I was recently reading a white paper that was written by a colleague that works in the online learning space and higher education, and this white paper, the quote is, “The future is not a straight line from the past. It involves significant and substantial change and needs to do so if we are to respond to the significant shifts occurring in society, the environment, and the global economy, and thinking about the place where we are, the place we’d like to be and then how do we as individuals make a difference.” That’s where I focus myself is– I read this article about creating a vision to serve one million enrolled students. There are institutions around the globe that have a million or more students. That line alone for me, creating a vision to serve one million enrolled students, it opens up my mind to think differently about what we do, how we do it in my current institution. There’s no way that my current institution tomorrow or next year or five years from now will enroll a million students, but part of it is for me to think about what we need to look like if we did. That I think is how you begin to think beyond where you are, you think bigger, you think more impactful, you think about sort of a situation like I put myself in, and that sits in the back of my mind in meetings, as I’m going through what we’re going through. What are the big questions we need to ask and not get mired in some of the little details that keep us where we are? I think it’s about finding others that are thinking in creative ways, that are problem-solving, that are looking beyond themselves, looking beyond their community. They are doing things for their community but they’ve got this vision, they have this greater purpose, this understanding. I’m all about finding those connections, and you’re going to be in places where you don’t necessarily anticipate that they are going to be. It’s interesting just last week, my husband and I, we have three dogs, and we went out on a trail here, and we walked by a gentleman with two dogs and keeping our dogs down this side of the path, and his dogs are over there and he said, “Karen, is that you?” I was like, “Yes.” Well, this was a person that I’ve only met at the university online. It’s a person that his photo is there, and my photo’s there and we are on Zoom calls but I’ve never talked with him in person, and there we were with our five dogs total, three individuals, connecting on this trail. That’s what I see is we have to keep ourselves open to finding one another and making those connections. Jen Chilek: I’m Jen Chilek from the Military Families Learning Network. We bring you online professional development opportunities like this podcast along with webinars, conferences, and more, in support of those who support military families. Geared to cooperative extension educators, military family service providers, and others who support military families, much of our online content comes with continuing education credit and all of it is free. Visit us at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org to find more content like this geared to people like you. Jessica: One of the things that struck me about this conversation with Karen was, as she was describing the VUCA Prime, the vision, understanding, clarity, and agility, within all of those, there are things that we can do individually and there are things that we can do collectively as we are connecting with others, but when she talks a little later on about them, what are those big questions? Then you think back to the VUCA Prime, which involves individual actions and collective actions, it really made me think about this idea of being able to be zoomed in and zoomed out. Zoomed out to understand what’s happening in the world, what do I really care about, and then zooming in to match your actions and what you say, and how you connect with people to what you really care about. Bob Bertsch: I think that’s really a rich practice to explore, Jessica, because it takes practice to do that and I think it is important from lots of different frameworks who talk about environmental activism or community development or lots of different places we always have this conversation about global and local, big picture and small picture and that ability to, as you are saying, zoom in and zoom out to have some things that guide us from a global big picture, to put it in the VUCA Prime language, from a vision standpoint, so to be able to do that kind of thinking and be comfortable with that but also not get lost in that kind of thinking and be able to zoom in and focus on making things clear on that clarity and taking agile action is really important. I’m so glad you brought that up because it’s easy to take these two frameworks, VUCA and VUCA Prime, and be either too expansive with them, it feels so big and so uncontrollable that it’s hard to do anything with it or to be overly reductive where you’re like, “Uh, I know how to handle VUCA, I’ll just do VUCA Prime, boom, boom, boom, problem solved, I’ve done my four steps.” I think we need to be in both spaces and be able to move between those spaces as you described. Jessica: Yes. I started to think about this after this conversation I really- I’m not sure that I am as intentional as I thought I was about doing it, about thinking about what’s happening in the world, what I really care about and acting on that. I think that I just allow my day to day activities to rule what I’m doing and I hope that I’m acting and I think I’m acting in a way that [laughs] that honors what I value, but also, am I stepping back and looking at what’s going on in the world. I read the news. I do keep up with things, but I think it’s really important to add this as a practice. I already try to think about my values and I already try to do some reflection, but I feel like this wouldn’t be very difficult for me to add at all and to think about whether that’s on a daily or weekly basis. To think about how am I zooming out and then reflecting on how am I acting on what’s important to right now. What’s important to the way the world is right now? How am I addressing that in my day to day actions? Bob: I think it also is important to know yourself. We’ve talked about this many times. I think already in the podcast about self awareness and self reflection and how important it is to practicing connection in a complex world. Knowing what you might have an affinity for. For me, I have an affinity for zooming out. That tends to be where I gravitate towards and I struggle a little bit with zooming in. For me, when I’m thinking of a reflective practice that might help me do both, I might focus more on what are the things that help me zoom in. In our work we’ve done a few things that come to mind. You don’t like things like curiosity walks, where you walk around and you’re just intentionally noticing things. Noticing details of things. In meditation practice, I think that’s something that helps you notice details, tapping into your breath or a particular feeling and meditating on that. For me, I think that’s a reflective practice that you could concentrate more on for people who have the same affinity that I do, but for someone who struggles a little bit more to zoom out, to have vision and values behind their actions, you might take a different practice. Jessica: I’m actually only just now realizing that I might be living my life in a more zoomed-in way. [chuckles] I mean, there’s no good or bad here. I always thought of myself as a big picture person and I think that, to some degree, I am. I enjoy being able to live in that space. I’m actually- I don’t think I’m doing it as much lately. This has been really eye opening and interesting to me because ideally it would be nice to be able to zoom in and zoom out really on a day to day basis, and to be able to think in this way that is more wholistic if you want to- I don’t know if that’s the right word, but it feels right for now. I think I’ve been separating the two worlds. Bob: I think we all do that. I find myself doing that. It’s a struggle to not take it as binary. In the examples I gave before of environmentalism or community development, people often treat it as a binary, like, “Oh, we either have to be global or we have to be local.” Our actions need to be highly collective or we need to start at home and be highly individual or in small groups or something. I think that is a struggle. What you’re saying is to move from one perspective to the other and that’s potentially where VUCA Prime can be helpful. For me I think when we talk about VUCA Prime, vision and understanding, really are those big picture things. Do we have something that’s driving us and how are we making sense of the world through understanding? Then clarity and agility tend- for me, are the smaller picture, the more individual, local focused things that are centered on actions. Even within the frameworks there are some things that we can take away. Jessica: I think that one practice that could be beneficial for us all to give a try would be carving out sometime during a weekly or even daily reflection. Hopefully you are able to carve out some time, at least weekly, it’s a really, really good practice to have even if you’re only spending 15 minutes just to think about the past week. How did it go? How were you able to do things that invigorate you? That aside, if we could take a few minutes to carve out some time to reflect on, “Are you moving the worlds that you’re able to influence in a way that you’d like to see it go? How are you navigating the complexity, the uncertainty and how are you doing it in a way that is moving the needle in the direction you’d like to see a change in?” Bob: That’s great advice, Jessica. It reminds me of a quote I recently read from Adrienne Maree Brown, author of Emergent Strategy, such a talented author and positive voice in the world. I just will share this quote from a blog post that she shared. “Even if we don’t have a clear sense of the exact solutions to fix the future, we should have a clear sense of how we want to feel in ourselves, in our relationships with each other, in community and in relationship to the planet. Those feelings aren’t for the far off future. They are guidance to what we must be seeding and practicing now, right now.” [music] Bob: Thanks for joining us for this episode of Practicing Connection in a Complex World. If you want to learn more about VUCA, VUCA Prime, and everything else that we talked about in today’s podcast, you can check out our show notes on the Military Families Learning Network website at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org. I want to share our gratitude today with Karen Pedersen. Thanks so much Karen for the time that you took to share with us what you’ve learned about VUCA and VUCA Prime. We’d also like to thank Adrienne Maree Brown for her words of wisdom as well as Hanna Hyde and Teri Meisenbach for helping us with promotion and Nathan Grimm for composing and performing all the music you hear on the podcast. I hope you’ll join us for the next episode. In the meantime, keep practicing. [music] [00:29:35] [END OF AUDIO]
27 minutes | 2 months ago
Working Out Loud (Ep. 4)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. Listen now: https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Episode-4-Working-Out-Loud.mp3 About this episode In this episode, hosts Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch explore john Stepper’s Working Out Loud framework in the context of building relationships for resilience. Jessica and Bob discuss five elements of Working Out Loud: purposeful discovery, relationships, generosity, visible work, and growth mindset. Special thanks to Nathan Grimm, who composed all of the music for the podcast; Kalin Goble, who recorded the episode introduction; Sara Croymans, for her help with MFLN promo and our podcast website; and Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for all their help with marketing. You can stay in touch with us and connect with our Practicing Connection community by subscribing to our email list. Subscribe now. Extras Learn more about Working Out Loud Dive deeper into relationships for resilience with the Building Networks for Resilience learning experience Sign up for the Military Family Readiness Academy Transcript Kalin Goble: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. To start our conversation, here are Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch. Jessica: Hi, welcome to this episode of Practicing Connection in a Complex World. Thank you so much for being here with us and for listening. I’m really excited about today’s topic because during our last session, we talked about trying to build relationships before you need them and, in the context of disaster readiness, that’s really important, but it’s really important for many other areas of our lives as well. So today we’re going to be going through a framework, one of many frameworks for relationship building, and this is one of my personal favorites. It comes from Working Out Loud, a book that was written by John Stepper. John came up with this really great way of framing out and going through really thinking intentionally about building relationships. This is a framework that Bob and I have used in workshops, several workshops, and in many different times and one of the things that is really cool about it is that there’s five pretty clear elements. There’s purposeful discovery, relationship-building, generosity, visible work, and developing a growth mindset, and we’re going to take you through each one of those pretty briefly but hopefully to get you started. Segment 1: Purposeful Discovery Jessica: So let’s get started with purposeful discovery. This is actually one of my,.. of the five elements, this is one of my favorites, because I really enjoy learning new things and I enjoy thinking about learning new skills and habits. So, Bob, I’m wondering, purposeful discovery, is this something that, you know, you would mind kind of taking us through? Bob: Sure. You know one of the ways we talk about purposeful discovery when we’re using the Working Out Loud framework is just to draw a contrast between how we, maybe, consume information in the normal world, in the everyday world, where it sort of washes over us. It’s in our face all the time, and in contrast, how we could be intentional about seeking out that information and then applying that to the idea of relationships. So some relationships we don’t get to pick, right? Your coworkers, you know, maybe you decided to take a job or not take a job but people get hired, and come in, and leave, and you don’t have a lot of control over that, but you have to have relationships with those people. Obviously your family, you’re born into relationships and maybe even extending to, you know, friends that are friends of a partner but not necessarily you, or something like that. So you don’t always get to choose, right? Your relationships kind of come in, some of your relationships come in and out of your life without a lot of control on your part. And so the idea of purposeful discovery is to really take some control over that and, at least in a domain that you select, to have control over the relationships that you want to establish. Jessica: This can apply to anything from, if you want to learn how to knit, you know, you want to learn how to knit, you don’t know anyone who knits, and you want to start to discover who you know and what relationship to develop so that you can learn. It can you can apply to things small like that, and it can also, in the context of disaster readiness, it applies to, you know, taking stock of who are some of those people you need to know. What do you need to know in the event of an emergency? And then you can start to kind of shape up who you might want to start developing relationships with whether they’re professional relationships or they’re relationships that you might need for your own personal reasons. Bob: I think that’s really a great point and thinking back to our last episode in our discussion with Danielle Swallow of Sea Grant Delaware, you know, Danielle talked about disaster readiness, part of that, really being to know what your risks are. And that seems to me like a good place to start when you’re doing purposeful discovery for, you know, finding those relationships for disaster readiness. It’s like what are my risks, what am I susceptible to, what’s my family susceptible to, what is my workplace susceptible to? Wherever you want to put your focus and then, you know, once you have an idea what those risks are, purposely going out and identifying those relationships, those connections, that you might need if, you know, a hazard or disaster arose. Segment 2: Relationships Jessica: That’s a really great segue into relationship building, the second element of Working Out Loud. Relationship building helps you see the value of connecting with others, and helps you practice establishing and nurturing relationships. And, you know, relationship building is very interesting. Everyone approaches it differently, and so it would also help, I think, it’s helped me to know what some of my, I guess, strengths and pitfalls are with relationship building. Like I’m really good at meeting a lot of people, but I’m not always really good at keeping the ties going, and so I know that that’s something I have to work on. So as I create..a lot of times with Working Out Loud… we have you create a relationship list. You think through, once you thought through the things that you might need to know or the topic that you’re trying to learn more about or the area of your life that you’re trying to develop relationships in, then you you can create a list of of people or list of types of people to try to get to know. And for me when I do that I might actually place people that I already know on that list, and make it make a point to keep making connections, and to not let those ties get weaker, because in my case that’s what I need to do, because I know where my weakness lies with relationship-building. Bob: Yeah, I am the same way, Jessica. And I think it’s completely okay, you know, and good to put people that you might already be aware of or know, so when we’re in that purposeful discovery phase, we’re not just always looking at new people or connections that you haven’t established, but will you pay attention to connections that need to be cultivated or deepened in some way. And that speaks to the nature of all of our connections, which get referred to as your network, and in this context of disaster readiness I would go further and describe it as your social support network. And when we talk about those networks, we talk about how important it is to not just have a lot of contacts but to have diversity in those connections both in terms of perspectives or certain kinds of information or support that they could bring to you, but also in terms of strength of connection. So, you know, if you are trying to get disaster ready in a particular area and build a social support network around that, it might be enough of a connection to just have a sort of low-level, or what we might call a weak tie, in terms of strength of tie, to somebody who has some information, right? So I know you know who the emergency manager is in my community, or I know who is in charge of the disaster plan in our building, and then maybe I don’t need to have more of a relationship than I just have to know that’s the person need to contact, and they know my name, and I know their name, and I have enough of a connection there. But in other areas of your life, you might need a much deeper connection, or at least somewhat of a deeper connection, all the way maybe to, you know, a deeper end of that spectrum, where you might think about, hey I’m going to be under extreme emotional stress in the case of a disaster, who’s that person that I have a deep enough relationship with that I can share that with them, and work through that with them, and then support them as well. So that diversity and variance, in terms of the strength of our relationships, is important as well. So I like the idea that you’re putting people on your list that you already know or that you already have a connection with, because there’s an opportunity there to cultivate those relationships further. Jessica: Yeah, I actually downloaded an app on my phone that allows you to…it’s called Cultivate I think, I’m not trying to advertise the app, but I really enjoy it… it has you list out the people you want to stay in touch with and then you can set reminders on a regular basis, and it’ll shoot you a reminder that you need to contact this person. I found that really useful, you know. I’m being completely honest, I’m still not very consistent, but those reminders like that really helped me to start to become more consistent and to be reminded that I need to keep in touch with people. So we all have to find the adaptations that work for us, right? Bob” Yeah, definitely. I think it’s important to think about, too, that there’s no shortcuts to it. You know, in an earlier episode of the podcast, we talked about transformational relationships and that this takes work, time, practice. Relationships matter and can keep you resilient and ready, and identifying those and being intentional about building them can help you become more resilient and ready in the face of disaster. Segment 3: Generosity Jessica: This next one actually gets a little bit into how we can deepen some of these relationships, and how we can even start some of these relationships through acts of true generosity. It seems like a really easy concept on the surface to understand, but there’s a lot involved in it. I’ll give you a quick example, then I’d love to hear your perspective on generosity. My example is that things like time and attention are on the list of generous acts that John Stepper talks about, but I would even say, it says time and attention but within the time and attention, I think there’s some listening, some real true listening, and being open to what the other person is saying, and being open to shaping your own thinking, and then continuing this cycle of sharing and listening, and being open to each other. And so, you know, obviously there’s lots of other things on this list of generous acts, and you can come up with a list of thousands of things you can do for somebody, but I really have just recently been kind of opened up to understanding that the gifts of time and attention include listening, and, you know circling back and continuing to interact. So that’s kind of my recent revelation. Bob: I think if we go back a little bit and talk about generosity and why it works, right? So we’re talking a little bit about the kinds of things that we want to be generous around, be generous with, but the reason that generosity works, especially in this context of disaster readiness and resilience, is that it helps us build relationships that are not transactional. And when I say transactional, I mean, you know, I do something for you because I expect someone to do something for me or expect you to do something for me. I do something for you, I expect you to do something for me, not just someone else for me. Jessica: I totally would though, Bob. If you did something for me, I would totally do something for you. Bob: OK. Awesome. Yeah so we want that level. And, in this context, I think it might be a little bit challenging, right? You know people might be thinking to themselves, you know, I’m not trying to have a best friend, here I just want to be able to, you know, work with my colleagues to, you know, do you what we need to do when there’s a pandemic, and we have to move all of our work online. But there is a depth of relationship that is necessary for that particular task. and for any kind of collaboration there has to be some connection and relationship, and the way that we get there is through generosity. And what generosity does. the act of being generous and not transactional, is that it builds trust, right? Transactionality does not build trust, because you are measuring somebody’s reliability based on their returning a particular action, and you can’t always expect them to do that if you don’t trust them, right? You have to actually open up and anticipate that maybe they will return the favor, maybe they won’t return the favor, but I have to, you know have this faith in the future that they will, and that’s trust. That’s what trust is, that we trust someone to act in a particular way, before we actually see it, right? Sometimes you hear that… I’ve heard people say this before, like, well I’ll trust it when I see it happen or whatever. It’s like, well, that’s not trusting, sorry. That’s just evidence, right? When you see it happen, there’s no trust necessary, no faith necessary, right? So trust is, without evidence, you know, expecting something from someone, right, or trusting them to do the thing that you think is the right thing, and that is an act of generosity, when you’re trusting someone, that is being generou, right? You’re not going to call them to the carpet. You’re not going to go and say, no, I don’t trust you until you do X for me. You’re saying, I’m going to be generous with my trust, with my time, with my attention, and when we trust people, they trust us back, and that’s what deepens the relationship. Jessica: You know, so Bob, I’ve done some…I’ve done a little bit of of teaching on, specifically on the topic of trust, and I will first admit I’ve done teaching on it, I’m not an expert on the topic of trust, but I have, you know, I’ve done some reading and I’ve thought through a few things, and one of the things I read that I found really interesting is that…so it goes to your point that trusting someone is an act of generosity…and so when you don’t trust someone until they’ve done something, I guess, quote-unquote “right” in your eyes or they’ve done something for you or they’ve consistently done a certain thing, when you don’t trust until they they’ve done that thing, it’s sort of like you’re playing a game. Because they don’t know what game you’re playing, because we all have different ways we approach relationships, and different ways we approach things like trust, and how we give it, and who we give it to. And so, you know, when you are holding out trust until someone has done something for you or they’ve done something in a way that you would like them to do it, then you’re sort of playing a game that they don’t know the rules to, and it’s a little lopsided. Segment 4: Visible Work Bob: So another element of the Working Out Loud framework is visible work, and John Stepper wrote Working Out Loud with a lens that was kind of focused on the corporate workplace and how to be more engaged and fulfilled in your work, so the term visible work sort of comes from that. But I think it’s valuable, it’s important. Like, that’s one way to unlock relationships that might not be on your list is making your work visible. Hey I’m interested in this area, I just want to let everyone know, or here’s something that I’m working on, does anybody have any comments? And, you know, things like that let people know, okay that’s a potential connection, and you’re making yourself visible, and that’s really how I like to think of it is it doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly work-related or have some work product attached to it but it’s the idea of making yourself visible, so that other people can can connect with you. It’s hard to connect with somebody who you can’t see or who’s moving around all the time, and so this act of taking time to think about how am I making myself visible can be really helpful in building existing relationships, people discover things about you that they may be didn’t know because you are making yourself visible and that deepens the relationship, and also establishing new relationships, because people discover you. They can see you and then see the opportunity to to connect with you. Jessica: I really appreciate the distinction between, you know, this does not have to be your work, because I think that I’ve had some people ask me like, wait you want me to share like an unfinished report with people? And, you know, I always have to kind of explain this one a little bit, because I like to say that it’s about sharing what’s on your mind, what you’re thinking, what you’re learning, and even sharing a little bit about the direction that you’re trying to go in. Because there are people out there that not only would see something like that and help you get to where you’re going or help you go in that direction that you’re hoping to go in, but genuinely want to connect with you in the process. And they want to connect just because you’re interested in whatever it was you were sharing about or just because you hold maybe a different viewpoint than them, or a similar viewpoint, it happens both ways. And so I, a lot of times, like to share this as, sort of, you know think of it as sharing what’s on your mind, which is really vulnerable and can be really difficult for a lot of people. And I will say this isn’t, of the five elements, this is the one I think I have the most trouble with because I have terrible impostor syndrome, and I’m a little afraid that when I start to share those kind of unfinished thoughts in my mind or the things that I’m starting to to move toward that, if I’m being honest, I’m afraid I’m wrong. Which is so funny because it’s learning, and learning is not wrong, but, yes, that’s one of the ways I like to look at it, as sharing what’s on your mind, and sharing what you’re learning and thinking. The Military Family Readiness Academy Sara Croymans: Hello. I’m Sara Cravens from the Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions team. I’d like to tell you about the Military Family Readiness Academy, a free professional development opportunity design for military family service providers working in any field with any organization. The 2020 Academy series will focus on the unique needs of servicemembers and their families, and the added stressors and challenges when disasters and emergencies strike. Join us as we explore this complex issue in two parts offered in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. The 2020 Academy will provide an overview of disaster and emergency readiness information, tools, and resources for military family service providers working in any field as they help military families navigate the unique context of military life. Check out the Military Family Readiness Academy at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/mfra/. Segment 5: Growth Mindset Jessica: So let’s get into the last element developing a growth mindset or cultivating a growth mindset. I think that when you’re able to…when you’re able to kind of notice what’s going on, and start connecting with people about it, and start to share some of that, sort of, thinking that you’re having with others, that is, I think, evidence of the growth mindset at work, or at least I think it would be for those of us who might be a little more hesitant to share our work out loud. And so as you continually cultivate a growth mindset, that builds the muscle for you to feel good about sharing what’s on your mind out loud. And so in case this is a new term for some folks, the growth mindset is really about understanding that you can always learn more, and you can always do more, and you don’t have to be perfect at anything, you really just need to keep moving forward and continue your learning. One of the phrases we’ve used before is that it’s not about being good at something, it’s about getting better at something, and it’s always about just getting better. Bob: Yeah, it sounds simple. I think, you know, most of us, if just we asked is like, hey can you get better at something if you practice it, we would say, yeah. But I still find myself thinking about, you know, our disaster preparedness and readiness as a family saying, yeah but I’m not good at organizing, or I’m not good at making plans. That’s an example of a fixed mindset. I’m not good at this, so I can’t do it. And so it takes work, I think. It takes, you know, being aware of it to cultivate a growth mindset and say, yeah I have not been the greatest at being organized or making plans in the past, but I can get better at it. What’s one small step I can take today to get a little bit better at it? And so some of those disaster readiness tips that you might have found at at ready.gov or heard Danielle and Chris shared on our last episode on community resilience, or if you’re been attending the Military Family Readiness Academy that Sara Croymans shared a little bit about with you today, take those little steps, right, and do one of them, because I think that opens up some of the possibilities in terms of a growth mindset is that, if I start here, maybe I can make a plan, or if I start here, maybe I can be better at budgeting, or I’ll invite you today, if you start here with making your relationship list for your own disaster readiness and resilience, you can be a little bit better at make at building relationships that support that resilience. Segment 6: Gratitude Jessica: Thanks for joining us for this episode of Practicing Connection in a Complex World. If you’re interested in taking your learning a little bit deeper, and you want to learn more about this framework, you can check out the Building Networks for Resilience learning experience on the Military Families Learning Network website. We will have a link to it on our show notes. Also if you want to check out more of the Working Out Loud framework, you can check that out on workingoutloud.com. Bob and I would like to thank Kalin Goble and Sara Croymans for sharing their voices on today’s episode. We’d also like to thank Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for helping us with promotion, and Nathan Graham for composing and performing all the music you hear on the podcast. I hope you’ll join us for our next episode and in the meantime keep practicing
34 minutes | 3 months ago
Community Resilience (Ep. 3)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. Listen now: https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Episode-3-Community-Resilience.mp3 About this episode: In this episode, hosts Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch collaborate with Danielle Swallow and Chris Petrone of Sea Grant Delaware to explore community resilience in the face of hazards and disasters. Danielle and Chris have been integrating resilience into their work with Sea Grant Delaware for several years. They share their thoughts on community resilience, stories of peole coming together to address the impacts of disasters, and tips for how to start building your individual, family, and community resilience. Special thanks to Nathan Grimm, who composed all of the music for the podcast; Kalin Goble, who recorded the episode introduction; Sara Croymans, for her help with MFLN promo and our podcast website; and Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for all their help with marketing. You can stay in touch with us and connect with our Practicing Connection community by subscribing to our email list. Subscribe now. Extras Get prepared for disaster with ready.gov Sign up for the Military Family Readiness Academy Watch Dr. Michael Ungar’s webinar on how community can affect individual resilience Learn more about the Create Community for Coordination for COVID organization that Danielle is involved in Transcript Kalin Goble: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. Bob: Hi, I’m Bob Bertsch.My co-host Jessica Beckendorf will join us in just few minutes, as well as our collaborators for this episode, Danielle Swallow and Chris Petrone from Delaware Sea Grant. Danielle and Chris have been doing some great work reaching out to communities to help them prepare for and build resilience to the many hazards and disasters we all face. What you’re about to hear is an exploration of the intersections between Danielle and Chris’s work on disaster preparedness and resilience and the work Jessica and I do on practicing connection, starting with Danielle and I exploring the meaning of community resilience. Segment 1: What is Community Resilience? Bob: So this idea of community resilience is interesting to me really the idea that…not just that we could be resilient as individuals, but that together we have some capacity for being resilient as a community, or in community with each other. And it seems to have a lot of connections to, you know, not just our individual community or, uh, resilience as people in the community, but also, you know, our resilience as the community itself, socially and politically, even ecologically. So I’m really interested in this, Danielle, in the context of your work, of how you think of community resilience, you know, when we talk about disaster response and disaster preparedness. Danielle Swallow: I really think of community resilience as being very anticipatory, and really thinking about, not just the present day conditions, but about what kind of conditions will they be experiencing in the future. That might mean a change in weather patterns or climate change. It could be even demographic changes in the community. And when we can understand how the future might look, we can better prepare ourselves, um, and typically if we are thinking about climate change and weather it might mean certain disruptive events or changes that couldn’t be easily absorbed by everyone. We can take steps now to better adapt and mitigate, so that we can weather those changes and bounce back more quickly. You know in a lot of ways resiliency is about bouncing back. Bob: That sense of adaptation, whatever we want to call it, maybe flexibility, or just being…being comfortable or prepared for change, is that…I think there’s a lot of different ways to look at it. Like, what do you think the capacities are of a community? Like how do we, how would we describe a community that had that capacity or that was resilient. Danielle Swallow: It really varies, but you know we all practice adaptations on a daily basis. You know, we…we look at the weather report or we look at the sky and we see what kind of weather we might be having and we bring an umbrella, for example. But then there’s other types of situations that we have to prepare for. Maybe there’s larger types of adaptations that are needed; new roads, new infrastructure as the community grows. Um, maybe it’s modernizing our stormwater infrastructure because we’re anticipating more rainfall. There’s really just a scale of adaptations that are important to communities, and understanding how changes impact a community as a whole is important, but it’s also important to understand how it impacts individuals in segments of the population. Some parts of the population may be more sensitive to certain impacts than others, and so adaptation needs to be bright up in a very comprehensive way. Bob: Yeah, I’m glad you brought up individuals. You know, I keep…keep thinking a little bit about Dr. Michael Unger’s definition of…of individual resilience, about this capacity to be able to navigate to and negotiate for resources on an individual level, and I think there’s some work, I want to say it’s McConnell and colleagues, who talked about what community resilience really is, is a community’s capacity for making sure that individuals can navigate to and negotiate for the resources that they need to be individually resilient. Like, everybody can do that, right? Everybody can get the resources that they need, then we have a resilient community. So, um, like I said, I’m glad you brought the people in the equation because it’s easy to think about, well maybe it’s not easy, but often we think about, sort of, the built capital of a…of a community and maybe don’t pay attention as much to how we would be resilient in terms of the human or social capital. Danielle Swallow: Yeah, just think about what we’re living through right now with COVID-19. And in terms of individuals, all of us have been in the situation of having to find PPE, you know the protective equipment, the masks. We’ve all had to be, kind of, industrious and…and scrappy trying to find masks in those early days. Or I think of Clorox wipes or, you know your other cleaning supplies, um..or just like broadband that affects some individuals more than others, maybe they have more access or less access. And so, yeah, there’s all kinds of needs out there that affect different individuals in different ways. Bob: So what do you think…so when you’re working with communities on…on building resilience, especially to…to climate change or severe weather events, where do you ask people to start? Is it just by understanding the concept, or planning, or all of the above? Danielle Swallow: Definitely understanding the concept of resilience helps. That’s, sort of, like your goal is to get there, but I also believe it also starts with knowing what the risks are. And that can include really putting risks in context of future conditions. You know you have risks today in terms of weather and climate, but the risks 10 or 20 years from now are going to be different, you know, because of the onset of additional climate changes. And so, I start with knowing what your risks are, knowing what hazards you are potentially going to be exposed, and how sensitive you might be to those hazard, because those hazards could affect you differently than they do a neighbor or someone else in town. And then when you understand your exposure, your sensitivity, and overall vulnerability,you can take steps to help mitigate those risks. And by mitigating risks or adapting to them, you’re ultimately setting yourself up to be able to manage those changes, you know, maybe in a better sense than someone who has done that planning. Bob: So I think some of us might think that this is…when we think about community resilience, we might think of well, there’s probably a committee for that, right? Or our political leaders should be worried about that. But it seems like,..and I think, because of of the nature of the Practicing Connection in a Complex World podcast, that we also want to think about it in different ways, in how relationship figures into that. So can you talk a little bit about, on an individual or an organizational level, you know, inside of a community, how do people contribute to community resilience, or how can they think about community resilience in their own context? Danielle Swallow: From an organizational level, I think it really helps to understand where you can contribute to the conversation and the dialogue and the preparation. I think it also helps to really look inward at the organization, and first make sure that your relationships and networks within the organization are strong. Um, once, you know, if you’re strong then you can go out and help others improve. Because at the end of the day, resilience is about, sort of, networks of people working together to help prepare and adapt for future conditions. I think that it’s the strength of the networks that will get us through. Segment 2: A Collaboration Story Jessica: So if community resilience relies heavily on all of our networks, I think that it would be a good idea for us to share a little bit about exactly how this collaboration came about, because it came about because of a network. We didn’t choose this topic and then go and seek out speakers initially. It…it happened because we were looking for a completely different type of collaboration, and Chris contacted us. So I think that that was really cool. Chris contacted us and, from our conversation with Chris, we talked about a collaboration around this topic. Chris would you mind, kind of, chiming in on this, you know, why is community resilience important to you? And talk a little bit about, you know, I guess, how we came together in this collaboration and why it interested you. Chris Petrone: Yeah, so a few years ago, our parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, really took a hard look and encouraged us, as Sea Grant programs to look at resilience and start to incorporate it. We were doing a lot of that work anyway, but they really wanted us to focus on what that meant to all our different stakeholders, in terms of family resilience, community resilience, economic resilience, ecological resilience. And so, you know, it’s something that’s been our minds as a Sea Grant staff for many years. And so when you all were talking about how to do resilience from a military family standpoint, I think a lot of the things that we deal with in resilience here on the coast play into the inland. No matter where you are in the country, some of the same lessons that can be learned here on the coast can be applied, um, just about anywhere. And so when Jessica put out a call on Twitter for interest in podcasts, I raised my hand and we made the connection, and develop this idea of bringing in Sea Grant, an organization at least in terms of Delaware Sea Grant, an organization that hasn’t had a lot of interaction with military families, to talk a little bit about our view of resilience here in Delaware. Bob: Yeah Chris. There’s a couple things that really kind of sparked for me as we’re talking about this. One is there some serendipity to how we got started. And part of that was planned serendipity because Jessica and I had to say that we were interested in collaborating with somebody. We had to actually put out the call, right, and say, “hey, we’re working on this,” and sort of make ourselves visible to everyone that gave us the opportunity to kind of…to kind of pop into there. So that’s…that’s really interesting to me, and the other thing that’s kind of interesting, and Jess or Chris either one of you, you know part of the contact was built on familiarity between the two of you guys. You guys had at least the start of…of a connection before we got together to talk about this collaboration. Chris Petrone: Yes, thanks to the eXtension Foundation training we both had in Dayton, Ohio in 2017. That’s where Jessica and I met. We hit it off. We had similar interests, similar personalities, and subsequently followed each other on Twitter, and…and years later, here we are. Jessica: Yeah, really it was a simple tweet that…that kind of started this collaboration, but what what, I think, I’m excited about with this, as it relates to collaboration in general, is that we really tried to co-create this with the two of you. So, like I said, we didn’t start with the topic, but we started with the people and…and the relationship. And it and it kind of went then we got to meet Danielle, who knows a lot about resilience. So, maybe if I could just ask if you guys, and Danielle please do chime in if you have something to say, about what kind of drew you to this topic as well or to this collaboration? Danielle Swallow: So Jessica, I work on resiliency and work with communities to hel build that resiliency as part of my day job, but I have to say that I come from a military family myself. My husband is a retired officer. He started out his career at…with the Navy, and then transferred to the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. Um, a lot of people don’t realize that the nation has seven uniformed services, and the NOAA Corps is probably like the Public Health Service in that they’re not an armed service, but they’re a mission uniform service, and he has the same rank and structure as the Navy. And so, my husband spent his career being deployed on ships to different parts of the world to support NOAA’s science gathering activities, their core research. So anyway, I have a lot of affinity for military families. Jessica: That’s cool. You know I think that actually might be what got me interested in the idea of community resilience. I didn’t think of it in those terms until my…until I was an adult, and I started to understand resilience. But, Danielle, I also…I was a military kid. My dad was in the Navy, a career Navy. He retired, well. quite some time ago now, and I’ve always been super interested in place in particular and in connecting with people, right, because I had to do it every couple of years. I had to learn how to connect real fast. I have a bigger problem with staying connected, than I do with connecting with people right away. But I think that’s probably what helped get me interested in it is that background and I’m really interested in the idea of staying connected because I struggle with that. I think, you know in part because I got so good at meeting new people and doing it every couple of years. Danielle Swallow: Yeah, you know, I think being in a military family, especially when family members are deployed, or you’re moving around the country or the world, you really have to find new networks and find your local family, so to speak. Um, I know that when my husband was deployed… it was two years at a time. He was out to sea 250 days a year. At one point he was out in Hawaii, and I stayed back in Maryland, and that can be kind of lonely. And so I really…I really, you know, relied a lot on the (inaudible), and that really helps…helped get me through, you know, kind of that separation. So networks are really important, and I think that us military families can really appreciate that. Chris Petrone: Jessica, I don’t think it’s strange that you have this tough time staying connected. I think we all do because we are constantly meeting new people and making new relationships. You know, we get busy. We have other things going on, and so a lot of those ties weaken a bit over time, and we just don’t make the connections that we should or we want to do, just because we’re so busy. And so, I think that in terms of resilience, you know, as long as those connections get set up and are established in the foundational, like to start, when there is a need for a relationship they’re still there. They haven’t gone away. Jessica: Yeah, I’m glad I’m not alone in that, and also, Chris, I’m going to take that as your way of saying you’ll still be here for me when I need it. Chris Petrone: whenever you need a podcast buddy I will be here. Jessica: Nice, thank you. Segment 3: Practicing Community Resilience Chris Petrone: The key to resilience is, are you prepared? And I…and I think the more we can do now to prepare for the next big emergency, it’s all about muscle memory, and we do this, we start this as a kid in elementary school. Fire drill, right? You do the fire drill once a month or whatever it is. You know, if there’s a fire, I am supposed to get in that line and follow the teacher out this way, and we go to this door, and we meet up here, and check in, and everything’s good. It’s the same thing in sports. We practice and practice and practice, and in a game we have that muscle memory. We know exactly what we are supposed to do in that game to be successful, and I think that happens. We don’t do it as much as we probably should. I think a major part of this resiliency and emergency preparedness is understanding our role. What is our role in terms of emergency preparedness for resilience in our family, in our neighborhood, in our office or our work environment? Understanding our individual roles in resilience. Danielle Swallow: I’m involved right now with a really cool example of a local resiliency type of organization called Create Community for Coordination for COVID, CCC4COVID, and their website URL is ccc4covid.org. And this is a group that was started by a local business owner in March, right as the shutdown related to COVID-19. And she felt a strong need to try to help in the community, but she wasn’t really sure what the needs were. And she just started reaching out to her neighbors and contacts, and they formed a group. And they started meeting and sharing information about where the needs were, and over time it grew into a coalition of 70 different organizations and individuals, and they include organizations like the local school district, and mayors, and business owners, and local non-profits, and the farmer’s market, just a wide range of individuals and groups. And by banning together, they were able to get kind of a good feel for where local response activities were needed rapidly or where the needs were just outpacing the response. And so, one of the areas…they filled in a lot of different ways. They filled in as far as helping people get masks in the early stages of response, and helping to, um, get computers into the hands of children that were going to online schooling. But one of the other needs they had to do was food insecurity. The school district was mentioning that they were getting a lot of calls from people in the school district that had emergency needs for food. And there were different distribution points around the community, but not everyone knew where those distribution points were and what the schedule was. So CCC4COVID organized a flyer that pinpointed the different locations, and when the distributions would occur, and what kind of items were included. And then they went a step further and translated that into Spanish and Creole, and for some of our other community members where English isn’t their first language. And they printed hundreds of copies and started distributing them at some of these distribution points and giving them to the school district. And the school district credits it with significantly reducing the number of emergency calls they were getting. In addition, they took that same information, and they put it into an interactive, GIS-based map so it could be used by local and state planning organizations to help coordinate response. And it’s even been adopted by the Delaware Department of Agriculture now, extending it across the state. But one of the other things that really happened, um, is just that this network grew and on these weekly calls we would trade information about “my organization is seeing an uptick in people who are homeless,” and “my organization is an uptick in people who need meals.” We discovered that there was a local construction group, a housing construction group, that was doing some of their own food distribution, and there was also in our membership a foundation that had food and resources to provide food. So we ended up pairing the two together and said, “Hey construction business, you have a warehouse, you’ve got trucks, you’ve got volunteers and staff, and this foundation has money and it has a food distribution supply chain. Let’s merge you together.” And it ended up being this beautiful relationship that really blossomed. And so, over time, they ended up giving out hundreds of thousands of meal kits to the community. So, I think, you know, those examples just, kind of, illustrate the strength of networks. This is what Chris and Jessica were saying before. When we stand together we become a force multiplier and better the needs, and how to fulfill those needs. And so I’ve been really fortunate to have been involved with this group, and I’ve particularly plugged in to helping this group deliver services to senior citizens, who are really experiencing a lot of social isolation and who, in accessing information, are not always comfortable getting their information online. And so, how do we get information in their hands? And I’ve also been helping them with raising supplies that are non-food items. You know, your hygiene products, um, cleaning supplies to include that in some of the food distribution locations.And also working to really formalize this group because we think we’re on to something. I think that even though this started in a very ad-hoc way, it demonstrates the capabilities and also the need that was out there. And we realized that some of the needs that we’re filling don’t necessarily go away once COVID-19 is, kind of, in the rearview mirror. There’s ongoing needs of homelessness, and food insecurity, access to broadband, and we think this coalition can help elevate these needs, and sound the alarm bell, and help to coordinate the response to them. The Military Family Readiness Academy Sara Croymans: Hello. I’m Sara Cravens from the Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions team. I’d like to tell you about the Military Family Readiness Academy, a free professional development opportunity design for military family service providers working in any field with any organization. The 2020 Academy series will focus on the unique needs of servicemembers and their families, and the added stressors and challenges when disasters and emergencies strike. Join us as we explore this complex issue in two parts offered in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. The 2020 Academy will provide an overview of disaster and emergency readiness information, tools, and resources for military family service providers working in any field as they help military families navigate the unique context of military life. Check out the Military Family Readiness Academy at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/mfra/. Segment 4: Resilience in Action Bob: You know this is been such a great experience and rewarding collaboration on this episode working with you Danielle and with you Chris, and we’re so glad to have learned from you, but I want to get to some of the things like we can actually do. Like how do we put this in action? We’ve learned a lot and the podcast is called “Practicing Connection,” so what practices can we, kind of, put into play to build up to the idea of community resilience? Danielle, like what are the things that personally we should be doing, you know, to start to build that…that resilience and readiness practice? How do we get started individually and maybe at that individual and family level of being prepared for disasters? Danielle Swallow: I think, you know, I think it starts with first trying to understand what your risks are to your household or your area. Maybe it’s knowing that you’re in a community or state that has a high degree of risk of tornadoes. Or you experience droughts from time to time. Or maybe it’s understanding that you are in a household where there’s members of a household that have epilepsy, you know, or are hard of hearing. And so, we have, you know, certain individual risks. And then I think it’s kind of thinking about some emergency preparedness steps that you can take right off the bat to, kind of, be in a better position.One of the things I like to advocate for is signing up for emergency notification systems. They do vary, you know, from state to state, and locality to locality, but having…signing up for these messages, especially making sure your cell phones are registered, that will enable emergency responders in the state to send messages your way, for example, if a flash flood is imminent in your area. There’s a national system called Smart 911. You can go to Smart911.com. Not every community has it yet, although the website says 45 million people participate in it nationwide. I really encourage you to look into it. It basically populates the 911 database with more information about your household. So if you have a family member that has a severe allergy, you can note that in the database. If you have somebody, I mentioned before, that might be hard of hearing, well that’s good for emergency responders to know because knocking on the door isn’t necessarily going to be useful if they’re coming to the house. So this more information comes up on their screen as they’re in route to a house to respond to a fire or emergency, and it gives them that much more information to work with. So, I really encourage that. And, beyond that, you know, it’s important to have an emergency supply kit. And to always have extra copies of your prescriptions or refills with you, and to also have a communications plan with you and your family members. Sometimes we end up having to evacuate on short notice, or our power goes out, or we get separated. And having a communications plan ahead of time, gives assurance to certain family members because they’ll know what you are going to do in those situations. It lets them know, so here’s the rallying point that we’re all going to go to if we have to evacuate from our jobs or our schools separately. You can designate an out-of-town family member or friend to be a central point of contact. So that if power goes out and then comes back in a spotty way as folks are evacuating, you’re all sending messages, maybe through social media or eventually when they get home, back to that same individual who can triage that and keep track of everyone. And that really ensures that the family is not dealing with added stress during a really stressful time. Chris Petrone: Yeah, I think a key, you know, Danielle mentioned understanding your risk, and I think the key to resilience…preparedness and resilience is not only understanding your role but who are the players. Who do I need to know to make the situation better, and that applies to the family level, the community level, and also your work level. You know, I think about if there’s an oil spill here in Delaware Bay, my family isn’t necessarily impacted. We don’t have to have a plan for that. But with my job with Delaware Sea Grant, we need to be able to respond in some way if an oil spill happens. It is a major concern for the environment and for tourism, and for all the industries we work in, and so having a plan in place for all these different kinds of situations can only make us stronger and more resilient. Bob: Thanks for joining us for this episode of Practicing Connection in a Complex World. Jessica and I would also like to thank Kalin Goble and Sara Croymans for sharing their voices on today’s episode, Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbah for helping us with promotion, and Nathan Grimm for composing and performing all the music you hear on the podcast. Finally, thanks to Danielle Swallow and Chris Petrone from Sea Grant Delaware for their generous contributions to this collaboration. You can find out more about Sea Grant Delaware and find more ways to start building your individual, family, and community resilience by visiting our show page at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/series/practicingconnection. I hope you’ll join us for our next episode, and, in the meantime, keep practicing.
44 minutes | 4 months ago
Collaboration (Ep. 2)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. Listen now: https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Episode-2-Collaboration.mp3 About this episode: In this episode, hosts Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch explore different perspectives on collaboration. Is there a mindset that leads to collaboration? How can we encourage collaborations that create something new? What makes for a good collaboration? Jessica and Bob address those questions and more through: Dr. Robyn Keast’s presentation, “Why Blue Box Thinking is Not Good for Collaboration” The story of BRAVO Youth Orchestra’s collective composition, “Break the Cage” Shared collaboration experiences from our MFLN colleagues Robin Allen and Jason Jowers A commitment to practice something that they learned from this episode Special thanks to Nathan Grimm, who composed all of the music for the podcast; Kalin Goble, who recorded the episode introduction; Jen Chilek, for her help with MFLN promo and our podcast website; and Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for all their help with marketing. You can stay in touch with us and connect with our Practicing Connection community by subscribing to our email list. Subscribe now. Extras Watch a video of Dr. Robyn Keast’s presentation, “Why Blue Box Thinking is Not Good for Collaboration.” Learn more about Networks and Collaborations from Dr. Keast’s website. Watch a video of highlights from the collective composition of the BRAVO Youth Orchestra’s “Break the Cage.” Learn more about the work Robin Allen does with the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness team Learn more about the “Kids Serve, Too” series Jason Jowers worked on with Sesame Street for Military Families and the MFLN Family Development team Transcript Segment 1: Blue Box Thinking Robyn Keast: If you don’t invest time and effort in building relationships, and I mean really authentic and genuine relationships. You’re going to to always have this problem that you will still be a blue box thinker. Kalin Goble: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. To start our conversation, here are.Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch. Jessica: The voice you heard at the top of the episode was Dr. Robyn Keast talking about collaboration and the importance of relationships, which is pretty much what this podcast is all about. Right, Bob? Bob: Definitely. That’s where we’re focused, you know, practicing connection in a complex World. Definitely the connection part connects…relates to that relationship that Dr. Keast was talking about, but it also, hopefully, I think for us, leads to something more than just those relationships, and…and that something more can be collaboration, shared work. Jessica: I’m really excited about this episode because we found some really great stuff to kind of talk about and to explore together. Bob: And we have great examples of collaboration coming up for you starting with a little bit more from Dr. Keast. We reached out to her, and she was really super kind in allowing us to use the audio from a presentation that she did in 2016 called “Why Blue Box Thinking Is Not Good For Collaboration.” Dr. Keast is a professor in the School of Business and Tourism at Southern Cross University in Australia, and as she talks you’re going to hear her talk about some diagrams and describe them. And just keep in mind, use your imagination a little bit, the boxes that she’s talking about represent people’s roles in these kinds of working relationships, and the blue box that she’s talking about is always at the top of that diagram. Robyn Keast: Collaboration is this wonderful, wonderful thing, right, but it’s not the only tool in your toolbox. There’s lots of other ways that you can actually work together, and they range from, I call them, the five C’s, the compendium of C’s, from competition at one end, right, through to consolidation at the other. And sitting in the middle is this little cluster of them cooperation, coordination, collaboration. And because they are kind of clustered together, we tend to use these words as if they mean the same thing. And guess what. They don’t. They mean very, very specific things. And there’s a problem if you start using cooperation when you really mean collaboration or you’re using collaboration when you’re meaning cooperation, because people have expectations about what these things might mean. So one of the things that…I did was I tried to work out so how can we make this work, and I tried to work it out in my own mind. So I created this diagram. And the boxes are to symbolize the relationships, you know, hey you kind of work together, what’s the structure of our relationships here? So you can see here in competition it’s a bit distinct because we’re not very friendly and we’re sharing things via our contracts. Right through to consolidation where you’re sitting in a unified body. The next thing I did was to add some little widgets that start to signify what’s the nature of the relationship, what are the processes, how do we do these sorts of things. So at the end down there in competition, you can see it’s about contracts, money, exchanges transactions. Here it’s about somebody sitting on top and telling you exactly what you’re going to do, because they’re the boss. Cooperation is really just information sharing, so you see people sitting around a table. Here this is about coordination, where you working to a plan, joint programming, working to a plan, aligning your resources. And in cooperation and coordination what you’re doing is you’re doing the same sorts of things, but doing it more efficiently. But in collaboration you can see there’s a lot more going on here. Collaboration’s something quite different, right. Collaboration is about what you do to create new things. It’s about systems change. It’s about breakaway ideas. But what was happening here is that, so I showcase this. I took it out to lots of the workshops, and there were gully people, and community people, and research people, and also industry people in these groups. And most of them got it, you know, you’re nodding your heads here like you understand it. But there was some in the audience who kind of scratched their heads and going,”…Yeah, but am I the blue box? Shouldn’t we be the blue box, right? I want to be the blue box. Right? I want to be the blue box.” And so what it made me start to realize is that these people really just don’t get it. That in fact, being a blue box thinker is quite contrary to what collaboration is really all about. Because as soon as you start thinking about being the blue box, being the top box, top dog, you’re not a collaborator. This is about position, and this is about power. Collaboration is not about power. It’s about shared power. More importantly collaboration is about a process. It’s about a process of working together. So to me, thinking about “Am I the blue box?” really starts to show the idea that this is the strongest connection to these people and how they think about it, and they haven’t quite got what collaboration could mean. The other thing is we know it’s between 50 to 70% of collaborations fail. And there’s a large body of research that suggests that part of the reason, in fact a large part of the reason, is that we don’t do process, that we are focused on “Am I the blue box?” right? So for me, what I started to talk about here is that if you don’t invest time and effort in building relationships, and I mean really authentic and genuine relationships, you’re going to always have this problem that you will still be a blue box thinker. So I think it really is important here that to understand that blue box thinking might work for the other five, in fact it’s probably a perfectly fine way of thinking for the other five C’s. But if you really want collaboration, you want genuine collaboration, blue box thinking is not the way to go. Jessica: Bob, there was so much about Dr. Keast’s talk that resonated with me, but I’d kind of like to start, obviously there was the big blue box in the room, but I want to get to the blue box in just a moment. I think I’d like to start with the fact that 50 to 75% of collaborations fail because they don’t do process. I know that I’ve been a part of a lot of collaborations that maybe didn’t totally fail, but they also didn’t live up to their potential. And when I think back about it, you know, those were the collaborations that, yeah, we didn’t…we didn’t do process. We didn’t even talk about how we wanted to work together. We just kind of…, frankly, we probably were thinking it was a collaboration, but working more in the coordination space, which you know coordination doesn’t involve as much process as collaboration. Bob: We need to remember that collaboration takes a lot of time. Dr. Keast talked a little bit about building relationships, obviously that’s a focus area in the work that…that you and I do together, but that takes time as well. And so figuring out who each other are, how we work with each other, and then putting in processes for doing that in a way that not only is effective in terms of what we’re creating together, but also honors each person’s contribution, their own personality strengths and weaknesses, all of that stuff, that takes time. And I think a lot of times we get tossed into these…these collaborations either by work circumstances or just a really pressing opportunity in the world… Jessica: A grant. Bob: … a grant, that’s a good external factor for a collaboration, and we jump right in, and start working together, and we don’t really…really address those processes. One of the processes, just a loose framework, that I love, and I know that you’re familiar with too, is Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan Hart’s “Shared Work” model. You know, and one of the first things in the “Shared Work” model is “relationship is resolution.” So the way that we are able to work together, get through conflict, all of that stuff is all about the kinds of relationships we have with each other, and that means taking time to build those and having a process for working together that supports those relationships, instead of has a potential of tearing…tearing them apart. Jessica: I’d like to just add to that a little bit with something that I learned recently. I suppose it was probably intuitive, but I just didn’t think of it that way, is committing to the relationship too, even if the other person or the other people don’t think quite like we do, or maybe they’re coming at it from a different angle and they don’t care about all the same things that we care about. But still, like, committing to staying in it with these people is another form of kind of deepening relationship, and making sure that the collaboration can succeed. Bob: Yeah. and that’s difficult, I think, too, because of our sort of quid pro quo mindset. And here’s where we start to get into the blue box thinking is that, if we’re constantly comparing ourselves with other people or expecting the same input in return for our input from other people, we are going to have a tendency to have that blue box thinking, to think of ourselves as sort of above or different or other than the people that were working with. And it’s the same thing in relationships, right? It’s like what you’re talking about, Jessica, which is, “I’m willing to invest in this relationship, be vulnerable in this relationship, even if the other person doesn’t give me the quid pro quo or doesn’t return the same amount of energy.” That’s…that’s a description of not blue box thinking, whatever color you want to make it, it’s not blue box thinking. And so it’s obviously, as Dr. Keast said, that’s super important to collaboration. Segment 2: Co-creating with the BRAVO Youth Orchestra Bob: We know collaboration is important, but it’s hard to figure out how to bring a diverse group of people with different perspectives and experiences together to create something. The BRAVO Youth Orchestra from Oregon provides a great example. BRAVO seeks to transform the lives of underprivileged youth through music instruction that emphasizes collaboration, building self-confidence, and creating a community where children can thrive. Their collaborative composition workshops bring kids from a variety of experiences together to co-create original music, and it all starts with thinking together. (the sound of many voices talking at once as the kids in the orchestra get ready for rehearsal to start) Adult Orchestra Leader: Can anyone raise their hand and tell me what we’re doing here this week. Young musician 1: (softly) We’re here to explore and play different instruments in our community Adult Orchestra Leader: Definitely going to play different instruments in our community.. I like the first word you said though. What was that? (whispering) explore. Young musician 1: (softly) Explore? Adult Orchestra Leader: Yeah, we’re here to explore something. We have two concerts on Friday, but we have no idea what we’re going to perform because you guys haven’t come up with it yet. (the sound on many kids clapping and slapping their legs in different rhythms followed by the clapping sounds becoming more synchronized) (the sound of individuals clapping out different rhythms) (the sound of many kids stomping and clapping out a rhythm together followed by the kids and adult leaders singing together, “BRAVO. What’s up?”) (the sound of an adult leader leading kids in making a musical buzzing sound with their lips and humming as they warm up) Bob: The Bravo adults create a safe and open environment where kids can be themselves, share their ideas, and feel free to make mistakes. That environment allows kids to explore music together, and provides the foundation for even deeper conversations. Adult Orchestra Leader: …risk your life to see your people again? Yep, yeah, I just love what you said and I love the way you just said it. “Break that cage.” Say it again. Young musician 2: Break the cage. Adult Orchestra Leader: “Break the cage. Break the cage.” Let’s play some. (the sound of the youth orchestra playing a medium tempo, funky piece of music) (the sound of the brass section playing a slightly “off-sounding” note) Adult Orchestra Leader: (loudly) Let me hear you’re weird note. (the sound of the young musicians each playing a different “off-sounding” note) Adult Orchestra Leader: Gondi, you had a great idea. You went down. He did the first one, same thing, he went… (the sound of the adult orchestra leader playing the tuba to demonstrate what he heard Gondi play, a musical phrase with a single note repeated 8 times followed by a higher note when played the first time, then the same 8 notes followed by a lower note) Adult Orchestra Leader: Can we try it? Try learn it. Try it on the B-flat. One, two, three, uh. (the youth orchestra plays Gondi’s musical phrase described above) Adult Orchestra Leader: Okay, we got to stop there. Remember your parts. Young musician 3: They told us that we’re going to have fun, that we’re gonna make our own music, that we were going to compose our own music. Umm…and…yeah, music, to compose my own music. Bob: The music the Bravo kids ended up composing together, their shared work, was a piece called “Break the Cage.” (excerpt from the BRAVO Youth Orchestra’s performance of “Break the Cage”) Bob: You know, Jessica, I had a great time sort of assembling that piece about the BRAVO Youth Orchestra and…and “Break the Cage.” It was so much fun to hear the kids and to hear the process that happens in the BRAVO Workshop to come up with that collaborative composition. You know, that I really loved that they were emphasizing exploration. That there wasn’t like, “Hey, we have to have this done by X and here’s, you know, step 1 and step 2,” but they started by really exploring ideas with the kids. They really, you know, created a space, a safe space, for kids to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and were accepting those ideas. And I really loved, you know, there was a moment in that piece where one of the the Bravo directors said, did you hear what this kid did? You know, he went down on the end. So it really spoke to me about listening and the role that we have in collaborations for listening and validating ideas, and contributions, and potential when we’re working with other people. Jessica: Listening is for sure something that will probably be a lifelong project for me. learning to listen better. I have worked so much on it, and I’m so much better than I was 5 or 10 years ago or even two years ago. But it is so, so important that idea of thoughtful deep listening in relationship building. You know, I’d like to say, real quick, one of the things that I really noticed with this excerpt was that,,, So I played in band. I was in marching band. I was in show choir. I mean, I listen, all the music…geeky music things and one of the things that I noticed was I was asked to practice all the time, and I’m sure you have to know your instrument, so no matter whether you’re playing in a collaboration like they did or whether you’re playing printed music, you have to know your instrument. But at the same time, the energy that comes from this kind of collaboration is totally different, and I think, you know, someone like me might have been maybe a little more enthusiastic about practicing every single day if and learning my instrument, if I was able to kind of do this this level of creation where you’re all kind of coming together. You know…you know, I did get to participate in something like that last year. I was at an improv conference, the Applied Improvisation at Work Conference, and a group of us got together with some pretty cool dudes who taught us, if you can teach, I guess, how to do musical improv. We all had instruments, and we were just, we were just playing. And it came together at times and sometimes it diverged a little, but it was just, it was beautiful whether it was in that divergent stage or whether we were converging a little, it was just beautiful. Anyway, I get excited about this. Bob: Yeah, I mean, I think that there’s so many lessons, in the experience that you shared with others and in what they did in “Break the Cage,” about process and the kinds of spaces we would ideally like to create for really effective collaborations that create new ideas. And as Dr. Keast said in the…in the segment that opened the show, you know, collaborations are about new ideas, but it’s also about systems change. And that’s the kind of energy that you’re talking about. The passion, the energy, and the creativity that’s…those are the kinds of things that we need to capture in collaboration to really get at systems change. Jessica: I would say at the heart of of that is listening. I mean there’s a lot of things at the heart, but as I’m thinking about this and talking with you today about it, listening is one of the places that it starts. Segment 3: Collaboration Stories Bob: So speaking of listening, we wanted to not just hear ourselves talk, but to listen to some of our colleagues about their collaboration experiences for this episode. So we actually reached out to our Military Families Learning Network colleagues and asked them to share their collaboration stories. And we would love to share a couple of them with you right now, starting with Jason Jowers. Jason will introduce himself. He’s from our Family Development team within the Military Families Learning Network, and here’s the story of his collaboration experience. Jason Jowers: Hey there. So I’m Jason Jowers, a member of the MFLN Family Development team, and I have a story about a somewhat recent collaboration that went well. Recently we collaborated with Sesame Street for Military Families on a webinar series called “Kids Serve, Too.” From its inception, the “Kids Serve, Too” series was really just an idea about ways to share resources that Sesame Street for Military Families have created and cultivated. And what really gave this series substance and life was the contributions from the SS for Military Families team and from our own MFLN teams, as there were five of our concentration areas that worked on the series. Collaborating with such a large group or network of people across MFLN and Sesame Street really gave us the opportunity to play to our strengths. So for example, Sesame Street has a lot of content on various topics to help kids become happy and healthier. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we were able to connect their content to our larger MFLN audience and vice-versa. It really just boiled down to trying to harness the ideas on topics and issues that our audiences together really wanted to hear about. We utilized our marketing skills from both teams and came up with some really awesome flyers and graphics that helped get the word out about this series. It was really an effortless collaboration, in my opinion, because the groundwork of content and teamwork was already there. My experience working with Sesame Street for Military Families and the other MFLN teams was a great one. And I think it worked so well because A. everyone was pretty passionate about the work we were doing and the topics being discussed, and B. communication was really quick. I think one of the challenges of collaboration, though, can be having to have a lot of people be on the same page, and people get busy sometimes and communication or responses break down. Part of that is working with people across the country in different seasons of life that impact day-to-day operations. I remember being in a meeting where folks on another team were talking about being in a snowstorm, and meanwhile, for me, it’s 80-degree weather in sunny south Georgia. I mean it’s a strength that our network is as far-reaching as it is across the country and world really, but you sometimes don’t take into consideration specific people’s currently lived experiences, like the weather affecting someone’s ability to do their job or to get to work on time.. And that’s something that’s physically apparent and different, whereas when you consider people’s feelings and emotions and personal issues that could be going on that most of us just aren’t aware of. So yeah, that’s a challenge I see in just being aware of other people’s experiences and realities, because you never really know what someone could be going through or dealing with. Really though, collaboration is efficiency. So not only are we working more efficiently, we are able to serve our audience by providing information in one place, streamlining their access to resources that they need. And collaboration really is the lifeblood of the work that we do and can really help develop abstract ideas into some of the most rewarding projects and quality content for our various audiences. And much of our audience is comprised of people in helping professions and need access to as many resources as to serve diverse populations and inform their peers co-workers and clients. So yeah I think one of the reasons I enjoyed collaborating so much is team members play to each other’s strengths, and it really makes a good collaboration happen. You’re only as good as the network around you. Thanks. Jessica: Bob, one of the things I was excited about Jason mentioning was when you get this large number of people together on a collaboration that you’re able to play to everyone’s strengths. You know, what’s interesting is I love that in Jason’s collaboration they thought about that, because I think it doesn’t always happen. We might play to each other’s resources, all the resources that we bring to the table, which I guess could be considered a strength, but I think that this is something that…a conversation that doesn’t always happen. I know that in Asset-based Community Development, that’s actually one of the things that they try to draw out, they specifically will often have a conversation about, what strength all of the people in the room bring to the table, and then they’re not just, like I said, those resources. There…there are individual strengths and interests and what makes us a human being. Bob: And I think that’s such a great collaboration practice is to look at people as people and not just as how they can contribute to the collaboration or what work that they can do, right? And doing that allows us to see people’s real strengths, not just their capacity for doing work related to the collaboration, but what they really are passionate about and care about. And also when we see them as individuals, you know, it helps us deal with the thing, that Jason talked about, about seeing everybody as an individual and knowing that they might be in a different place than we are. You know, he talked about having colleagues who were experiencing a blizzard and having trouble, you know, making their promised contributions to the collaboration because of that situation and meanwhile he was comfortable as you can be in 80 degrees. I’m in North Dakota. so that’s kind of warm for us, but…but being comfortable in south Georgia. So what that really makes me think of is not, “Jason had a great illustration of that,” but just overall whether there’s something going on in someone’s life that you know about or don’t know about. I think a good practice in collaboration is to give people the space to contribute as much or as little as they’re ready to at the time, right? So you might have somebody who doesn’t have capacity to be pouring in a bunch of work into a collaboration, but they still have something to contribute, like the strengths that you’re talking about. And maybe it’s an awesome idea or maybe it’s something to do with the collaboration process, like “Hey I set up a space for us to share files” or, you know, something like that. Those are all great contributions, and we can’t have these preconceived expectations that someone should be always contributing to a particular level, even ourselves, because I think that’s too much to ask of ourselves, too much pressure to put on ourselves like, “Well geez, I have to be putting X number of hours in this collaboration all the time.” It’s just not feasible or reasonable to do that, and I don’t know that it makes for the best collaboration, because if you’re pushing that you might be turning into the blue box. Jessica: We shouldn’t underestimate the space that we can create by asking questions, too. When we see people and their strengths, and we start to see them as as whole human beings, it creates a lot of space both for the collaboration, you know for the potential of the collaboration, but also for building that deeper relationship, that authentic relationship, by asking questions and by creating space through…for the relationship and for the collaboration through asking questions. Bob: So let’s listen to another collaboration story. Here’s Robin Allen from the Military Families Learning Network Nutrition and Wellness team. Robin Allen: So here is my collaboration video, and this is my first time doing this, so bear with me. “Tell a story about a collaboration that went well and why you think it did.” Basically all my collaborations have gone well, mostly because the other concentration areas are so professional and thorough in how they do things. And so I haven’t seen any one go poorly. The…the only time is when we collaborate with someone who is not strictly geared toward nutrition, a lot of dietitians do not show. So that would be the only reason why I would say something wasn’t as successful, but the material has always been presented very well, and the contact between the program coordinators, and that sort of thing always goes well. It’s just dietitians don’t always like to attend things that they can’t put to practical use right away, but that’s just them. Something I learned from collaborations, I learned how other people prepare, and I’ve got good notes, and…and it helps me prepare better. I also see how other people do their webinar evaluations, and that’s also been very helpful and stimulates some more ideas for me. And then I picked up on how other concentration areas are doing their resource materials, and that’s allowed me to develop a little more professional materials to attach to our webinars. If a good friend is concerned about the success of a collaboration, my real advice is to over-prepare and over-communicate. So as much as you can prepare in advance and communicate with everyone involved in the collaboration, I think it really helps that…that everyone is on the same page. I think that’s all I have to say. That’s not very long. I hope it’s okay. Visit militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org Jen Chilek: I’m Jen Chilek from the Military Families Learning Network. We bring you online professional development opportunities, like this podcast, along with webinars, conferences, and more in support of those who support military families. Geared to Cooperative Extension educators, military family service providers, and others who support military families, much of our online content comes with continuing education credit, and all of it is free. Visit us at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org to find more content like this geared to people like you. Segment 4: Practice Jessica: For our last episode each of us chose some practices that we were going to work on, and I thought it’d be a good idea for us, Bob, to say a little bit about how it’s going for us. I’ll start by saying mine went weird or maybe the right word is that it just didn’t go the way I was planning, which is one of the beautiful things about life, right? What I did…the practice I chose was I was going to take a look at taking…doing some things for myself, so that I could set some boundaries, because I’m terrible at that. I don’t even know what they are. I have no clue what they are, because I just kind of go with the flow all the time. And so I actually started with learning. I didn’t start with the boundaries, which is what I mentioned last time, I started with learning about things that could help me identify and set them. So I enrolled in that Science of Well-being course on Coursera from Yale, and I also enrolled in a series of workshops called, check this out, it’s a very long name, Discovering Your Patterns and Introspective Deep Dive Into Blending Applied Improvisation, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Therapeutic Frameworks from from Yes and Brain. Lacey Alana is a beautiful human being, and I very much enjoyed that program. And the biggest takeaways was that. surprise surprise, it takes time to take care of yourself and to be…to create a space for yourself, so that you can understand what boundaries to set and how to do it. And I don’t leave any activities, this is a huge takeaway, I sort of knew it but it’s really apparent now, I don’t leave any activities that I…I don’t leave time for any activities that I crave and need. The other big takeaway for me was, you and I talk a lot about growth mindset I’m sure it’ll come in another episode, I realized that you can engage in learning that supports a growth mindset, and when you engage in learning that supports a growth mindset you’re looking at going on a scale of learning from 1 to 100, you’re looking at going 1 to 4 and then when you get to 4, you’re looking at going from you know from four to maybe six or eight. You’re not looking at going from 1 to 100 right away. And I was very frustrated when I’m trying to learn something that I can’t just, like, buy all the tools for that thing and…and now know what I’m doing. Like, I have all the tools, right? I spent all this money. And so, yeah, those are my big takeaways. Bob: That’s awesome. I’m glad your experience practicing, first of all that it evolved and emerged in ways that you didn’t expect that…that surprise is always great, I think, and that it seems like you really got something insightful at least about yourself out of it. So awesome. Great job and congratulations. I had chosen one of the I’s from the transformational leadership 4 I’s that was talked about in Episode 1, and the “I” that I chose was individualized attention. And so, I was really trying to think about in my…in my relationships, what does that person need, what are their strengths, and what do they care about or what are their…what are their goals, what do they aspire to, and just be attentive to that in building relationships. And I can’t say that I was totally successful. I really have been focusing more on one relationship, on having deeper conversations with this person, because I know about things that they care about and it’s not something that I don’t care about, it’s just something that I don’t have capacity in my life right now to invest a lot of thought and time into. And the immediate reaction, I guess, is to be a little bit selfish, right, to be a blue box thinker, to focus on my own needs, and and say, you know, that’s great, but I have to think about this other thing. But in trying to offer that individualized attention, I really tried to leave space for my friend to…to explore that, right, and explore that area of interest with them. So, at least in that one case, I hope I was a little bit successful, but it’s something I’m definitely going to have to keep working on because, yeah, it’s hard not to just put ourselves at the center of things, especially when we’re stressed or…or when we’re working over our capacity to work. So my practice for this episode is going to be the listening thing. I was just so inspired by the “Break the Cage” experience and that moment when one of the directors was listening so intently to, who…who knows how much sound was going on in that room, right, so you got 60 or 70 kids, and they’re all playing instruments, and they’re probably talking to each other, and and who knows, in a big echoey gym or concert hall and, but somehow they picked out that one moment that really became the theme, that one kid played, that really became the theme of that collective composition. And so I want to really practice that, and tune in, and not let myself get distracted by my own thoughts or what I’m going to say next, and with the idea not just of respecting what other people are saying, I know it’s…it’s respectful to listen, but with the idea that something special could come out of it. If I just honor my role of being a good listener, I might be able to highlight, validate something that maybe would have gotten lost in the conversation, but turns into a spark for something great. Jessica: Let me know if you want me to give you any improv exercises because, I’m telling you, improv’s all about collaboration and listening, so you know let me know. The practice, I actually chose two small practices, the first one is I’m actually going to commit to having at least one one-on-one conversation with someone that I’m currently in a either coordination or cooperation or collaboration with. I think that there’s one in one group in particular that I’m thinking of that we haven’t spent that kind of time with each other, and yet we’re embarking on this journey together that we started last year, and it’s currently been, you know, thrown, just like everything has been, it’s kind of been thrown into chaos because of COVID, and now we’re trying to figure out and allow something else to emerge. And we never really spent that relationship building time together. I’m going to commit to doing that and then the second practice I want to…I want to start noticing a difference between coordination, cooperation, and collaboration, not to…not that any one of them is negative. I think they’re all necessary, and they’re all needed, and I think within a collaboration, there’s coordination happening, cooperation going on. But I’d like to start noticing it more, so that I can figure out how to wield each of them in the best…the best possible ways, so. Bob: That’s awesome. I’m excited to talk with you about how your practice went in the next episode. And thanks, Jessica, that’s an awesome conversation, and I really appreciate you as a collaborator. Jessica: Thank you, I appreciate you as a collaborator, too, and I appreciate all of the many conversations we have as we try to truly explore. And that’s, to me, one of the things with collaboration is that the people are willing to explore together, rather than, you know, try to make sure that we choose one path and if we only go on that one path are we really are exploring? So I appreciate that. Thank you. Bob: We also want to thank our other collaborators, those who explored with us in this episode and those who inspired our exploration, including Robin Allen from the Military Families Learning Network and Jason Jowers, as well, from the Military Families Learning Network for their incredible collaboration stories that they shared today. Thank you to Dr. Keast, again, for her talk and for her permission to let us use that talk, and we want to thank also BRAVO’s executive director Seth Truby for allowing us to share their story and music with you. And if you want to learn more about BRAVO’s incredible youth program, go to oregonbravo.org. That link and links to information about all the other things we shared today will be on our show page or show notes for today, and you can find that at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/series/practicingconnection. Thanks for being with us. Keep practicing.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Transformational Relationships (Ep. 1)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. Listen now: https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Transformational-Relationships.mp3 About this episode: In this episode, hosts Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch explore the ideas and practices related to transformational relationships. What makes a relationship transformational? How is it different than other relationships? What can we do to make our relationships more transformational? Jessica and Bob address those questions and more through: A discussion of their individual reflections on transformational relationships, recorded in audio journals A conversation with Ellie (Anderson) Sheldon focused on learning more about transformational leadership and the actions that can lead to it A commitment to practice something that they learned from this episode Extras Listen to the full interview with Ellie (Anderson) Sheldon (43 minutes) Learn more about transformational leadership as part of the Full Range Leadership model from this Nebraska Extension publication. Transcript Segment 1: Discussing Our Audio Journals Jessica (from her audio journal):I feel like transformational relationships are kind of like going on a journey together when everyone is open to being changed through the process and okay with not fully knowing exactly how you’re going to get to the final destination, and everyone fully understands that there will be changes along the way. Bob: Hi I’m Bob Bertsch Jessica: and I’m Jessica Beckendorf Bob: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World. In this episode we’re going to be exploring the idea of transformational relationships, and as part of our exploration each of us recorded an audio journal and you just heard an excerpt from Jessica’s audio journal talking about transformational relationships as a journey. I really love this clip, Jessica, because I think there’s a lot to be explored there and unpacked in terms of relationships as a journey and the fact that we’re sharing things together and changing as individuals and maybe even our relationship is changing at the same time as we go on this journey together. Jessica: That’s exactly why I started to think about relationships as a journey, and I think for me that I have always been invested in constant change and it has definitely affected my relationships, so even if the other person isn’t going through gobs of personal revelations and at least through our relationship there is some change occurring and I think that we’re still changing each other whether or not the other person is involved in their own personal journey. So it’s a personal journey I’m going through, but also the relationship is going through a journey, because it’s sort of being forced to. Bob: Yeah, and you’re kind of exploring this together kind of over time. It’s like…when we have contrasted this idea of transformation relationships, you know, with other kinds of relationships and sometimes we use the term, “transactional relationships.” That’s one difference, right, is just that the time. I guess you can have a transactional relationship that’s recurring. An example that I like is, you know, someone you see everyday but you don’t really have any depth of information. You know, the person where you get your coffee or something. You see the same person everyday, but it doesn’t really, it’s not necessarily a journey because you’re staying in oneplace, right. There’s no change happening. The relationship is exactly the same every time you repeat it, as opposed to this idea to have a relationship that can transform us both over time. Jessica: Yeah, and I think that’s one thing that we forget about is that it takes time to really build relationships. We can have tons of relationships with people that are, even if they’re not transactional and they’re just sort of that surface I think we use that term a lot to describe relationships, but to really build relationships a lot of time and I think that’s something that we don’t often consciously put into our calendar for lack of a better term, you know. We really don’t think about it that way. We allow, kind of, convenience to rule. We allow our calendar to kind of rule the amount of time we spend on relationships. Bob (from his audio journal): Do we feel authentic and are we…are we presenting our authentic selves in that relationship? And how often are we allowing ourselves to take off our masks? And how dedicated are we to saying things that are true and again not in a factual way, true in terms of this is authentically how I feel or what I think or what I believe. Jessica: This idea of authenticity, our authentic selves, I think this comes up over and over again in my conversations with friends and in my reflection. I have gone through a ton of personal work in self-awareness and self-understanding, and I still have a ton of work to go because I’m constantly changing as if I go through life. And I think that somewhere in this self understanding really has to be part of this journey and part of transformational relationships. Really understanding why am I thinking this, why do I do this. Bob: I think that opens you up to the change, right. How can the other person in the relationship…how can they affect change in you, if you’re not trying whenever possible to be your authentic self? When you’re trying to pursue a transformation relationship, you have to do your best to be as authentic as you can, so that I’m real with you and that means that I’m just open, I’m open to the change that we might experience together. Bob (from his audio journal): And it’s diversity. If we’re always talking about work or always talking about our kids or always just talking about whatever, you know, this one thing that we have in common, that it seems it’s less likely to lead to the kind of relationship that we’re…that we’re talking about. What we need is diversity of information, right? Multiple points of possible connection. Not that we have to share everything or that we have to agree on everything, that we have to have commonality on everything, but that…that…that we’re sharing diverse information with each other, and we’re open to it, even if it’s not not our thing or that we don’t find it as a point of connection. Jessica: Yeah, we don’t have to share everything. We don’t have to agree. We need multiple points of connection. This really interested me, because I’ve run into this a lot and I’m naturally a pretty curious person. I love talking with other people. I love meeting new people, and so I love asking people a lot of questions about themselves, and I love to go beyond our societal roles. What I’m really interested in here is not just the diversity of information, it is also the quality and quantity and just wondering if you can talk a little bit about what each of these pieces are, because I think they all contribute to building relationships with people. Bob: Yeah, this idea comes from a book called “Connecting to Change the World,” which is really a super important book for me. How do you deepen relationships? You increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of information that we have about each other. And I just found that just really meaningful just in thinking about how to maintain and build relationships with other people and just in regular practice. You asked me about quantity and quality, just the sheer amount matters to. And that doesn’t mean that we should be… especially like, when we think about Facebook it’s like I sometimes I have enough information about you in my Facebook feed, right? Thank you, we’re good on quantity maybe. We could pursue a little bit more quality, right, in that information. But other times, like in work situations which don’t have quantity of information. Every time we’re talking or most times we’re talking about getting something done or the next step in the process or what’s our take…you know our takeaways, what are things to do. We don’t have very much information about each other. We have, maybe, a “how am I doing” at the beginning of the meeting or, you know, a joke that somebody makes before things actually start get rolling. So…so when you really think about that, about how we develop relationships, and just think about the status of a relationship, that’s one thing to think about. Just like, what’s the quantity of information I have about this person? Jessica: I think it actually can work the opposite as well. What quantity of information and what quality of information, what diversity of information are we sharing with others? Are we sharing with others or are we just trying to get information from them? Bob: Great point, Jessica. Those are the ingredients that we need to bring into that relationship to make it something more, to make it deeper, to make it a transformational relationship. Jessica (from her audio diary):Throughout my life, I have constantly moved on to the next person, to the next person, to the next person seeking something without really even knowing what I was seeking. It often has offended my current friends and relationships, because I love connecting with new people, I’m always seeking to connect with new people. And I think that that’s not necessarily unhealthy, but I do tend to not take care of the relationships I have. And I think it’s difficult to maintain a transformational relationship, if you’re not tending to it. Bob: So I love this clip for a ton of reasons, Jessica. First of all because it speaks to sort of your nature, how you push yourself to be outgoing and seek out new relationships, but it also brings up this idea of balance, right, that not every relationship has to be a deep transformational relationship. Jessica: Yeah, thank you for recognizing that, because I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to this. I recognize this about myself, that I love, you know, meeting new people is one of my favorite things to do, but I’m pretty hard on myself when it comes to following through on all of my new relationships and following through on my existing relationships and feeling…continuing that this feeling of excitement and cultivation, wanting to cultivate my existing relationships, while I’m out there meeting new people. I get caught up though in wanting to be part of everyone’s world and wanting them to be part of mine, and it just is not…it’s not practical, it’s not feasible, it’s not going to happen, no matter how much you both might want it sometimes. Bob: I think that’s important to remember, right, every relationship isn’t going to become a transformational relationship, and that we need that diversity and strength of relationship and just remembering to tend those relationships that are transformational and and just keep working on it and be intentional about it I think that’s really what we’re getting to here. Segment 2: A Conversation With Ellie Anderson About Transformational Leadership Ellie Anderson: I’m currently a second-year master student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in their leadership education program. I’m also a graduate teaching assistant for the ALEC, Agricultural Leadership Education and Communications Department at the University and that’s where I teach undergraduate leadership classes specifically about the dynamics of effective leadership within organizations. And that ties in big time to a lot of my interests. I’m hoping to get into certain careers in different fields in terms of the organizational development, organizational leadership and leadership development practices. So, currently on the job market, on the hunt, but looking to get hired here soon in terms of leadership development, trying to be a specialist in those types of fields. Jessica: That’s Ellie Anderson. Ellie’s passion for organizational leadership led me to reach out to her to explore the connection between transformational leadership and transformational relationships. We talked during the COVID-19 self quarantine, so we started by discussing leadership during that uncertain time. Jessica: What are some of the things that we might be needing, our society might be needing, from leaders right now? Ellie Anderson: Yeah, that’s such a great question. And that’s been on my mind as I’ve been applying for these positions and these jobs. I just, I can feel it. And I think we all know that they need to be able to manage change and move forward and stay true to the path we’re on. It’s going to be so needed especially now, and moving forward I don’t think that we’re going to be able to adapt to the situation that we’re having, that we’re experiencing, in a week or you know figure it out once we got the virus under control. I think this is kind of a new normal that we’re going to experience and uncover something that might redirect some actions and directions that leaders and organizations take. And I think specifically tying it back to transformational leadership, because I really identify with that leadership style myself, one of the key parts of transformational leadership is this idea of vision or mission; that the leader is driving the follower in the organization towards. And I think that’s going to be really key in this time of change right now, too, is what is our purpose, what are we here for, and what are we going after, and how do I get people on board, and staying true to that path. And you know not letting the scary thing that’s happening in our context get in the way, but know that I have trust with my leaders, that they’re here for me, that they’re going to support me and motivate me the way that I need, in order to achieve and get done what I’m being asked to do. And I think that these kinds of transformational behaviors are going to really challenge leaders and organizations to take things one step further than normal leadership models, where it’s just a transactional exchange we’re looking at, and really thinking about how can I transform people in this process. Because, to be honest, people might be hurting right now. They may need that. There may be this more…you can’t just get away with this basic exchange of you do this for me and I’ll leave this for you. It’s a higher level influence that I think there’s a need and call for right now through all of this. Jessica: It feels like, in the past anyway, that a lot of organizations sort of expect trust, expect trust and loyalty from employees, when they haven’t done anything to build that relationship. And I think that this is a good time for organizations, leaders in organizations, to build relationships with people. And I know that they talk about it a lot and they do a lot of work toward it, but I’m talking about relationship, I think, in a different context, like you said it’s not transactional. This is a real relationship that we need to be building, especially in the times now, where there’s not enough workers…I’m sorry, not enough workers for our jobs. Yes that is exactly what I was trying to say. Ellie Anderson: Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. And there’s fact to what you’re saying, too, within this model. So, transformational leadership actually lives within the full range leadership model, which also includes transactional leadership. And so sometimes people think, you know, transactional’s bad, there’s no time and place for that. But actually, what we’re finding is leaders, to some degree, demonstrate all of these leadership behaviors, both transactional and transformational. And it’s good, because when we’re talking about building this trust, these transactions have to take place initially, right, because that’s what we’re talking about when you say you’ve done nothing to deserve my trust. Those transactions are where we can show, here, you can trust me. You do this for me, I’ll do this for you. I’ll deliver on this demand or this ask and from there, this foundation for trust is built and that’s when leaders can truly grow and have this transformational respect because it’s above and beyond what we’re used to having. So when you were talking, I was like, yes exactly, trust is the key and it takes time, you know. It’s not going to happen immediately, or hey I got hired and I really have a good feeling about you. You know, it takes some time to grow and demonstrate that, before people know this is a…this is a worthwhile investment, and I can trust you. and it’s reciprocal. Jessica: I’m wondering, transformational leadership has lots of different types of actions and and different, I guess, components. Could you walk me through…one of the components…four of the components would be the Four I’s: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Could you walk me through those? Ellie Anderson: I’d love to. So I’ve done a little bit of, I guess we can say, informal research, if you will, on how do we differentiate these four I’s. I went to the Association of Leadership Educators conference back in 2019 and had a roundtable discussion with other educators, and I said, what are some of the actions or language that we can use to demonstrate these in the classroom and just in general, and that influenced a lot of other work that I did for my Master’s program, but a lot of it has informed and given me some clarity around what is the difference here. Because a lot of people see them as the two different sides of the same coin, if you will. And so starting first with idealized influence, some of the most basic ways that I explain this is this idea of role modeling behavior. So this is someone who, you know, is demonstrating to their followers, here’s some of the behaviors or actions that I’m expecting from you as well. So maybe, I’m not too great or too big that I can’t demonstrate or role model the behaviors that I want to see from you as well. And so, this leads followers to identify with the leader and want to internalize their vision or mission themselves. So because of these role modeling behaviors this is what leads followers to want to emulate or become more like this leader. There’s something about him that I just would run through a wall for or, you know, you ask and I’ll do it, because I am just here, I trust you, I admire and respect you, and I want to be part of what you’re doing. Jessica: That’s a lot of power. Ellie Anderson: Yeah, yeah, so it starts to sound like this charisma component. A lot of different scholars conceptualize idealized influence as having this charisma/charismatic component. Which is tough in terms of development, because can we develop charisma? I don’t know, you know, is that possible or is that something you’re born with, necessarily. And so, when we talk about the massive influence that transformational leadership has, it really falls into this idealized influence because some people start to wonder, is it blind influence? Are we just following along, like you said, this power blindly? But I like to come back to this role modeling piece, where it’s ethical. It’s us demonstrating, you know, I’m going to demonstrate the same behaviors that I’d like to see in return from you as a follower, and so that’s how I start to see it being, yes this is profound influence in something that you know maybe could seem dangerous, but we’re keeping it guided because its role modeling. It’s this kind of ethical piece of where we’re increasing the morality here of our followers. So yeah, you definitely hit on that part for sure. The next one is inspirational motivation. This hits on, kind of, the other key outcome of increased motivation of followers, and so this is where you really start to give your followers’ tasks, the things they’re working on, meaning and purpose. So they don’t feel like, wow, why am I sitting here doing payroll, but I am doing payroll because I am making a difference in this company. So that’s the type of motivation they’re going to feel, because they know that I bring something special to the table, I’m really serving a key part of this organization, and I’m pulling my weight. And so they also create some optimism through these behaviors and they’re inspiring the followers through their actions. So inspirational motivation is pretty much exactly how it sounds. With a lot of that comes from high expectations that are set by leaders that, because they really have this trust and identification with their leader, they want to do that for him. They want to chase after those high expectations and achieve it. Kind of like what we were talking about with, we can go after anything, let’s reach the impossible. I really think that I can get there because you have faith in me that I can do it. So that’s I, the second I, I number two. Moving on to our third one, it’s intellectual stimulation. This is also similar to how it sounds. It really involves challenging the status quo, looking at old problems in new ways, trying to take on a new perspective potentially, and just looking at situations in different perspectives and from different angles. And the coolest part about this is that it goes both ways, so it’s not just the leader challenging and asking for the stimulation of followers, but followers can also say, hey boss so and so, we’ve always done things this way. Have we ever thought about changing it up? Maybe we want to tackle this problem from this perspective or have we thought about it in this way? And so that’s the coolest part for me is that it’s not just what the leader says goes. It’s both ways. It’s this collective trying to challenge the way we think about things. And so we kind of find this innovation through the process of intellectual stimulation and some creativity as well. Jessica: It sounds like a partnership. Ellie Anderson: Yes. Jessica: You know, it sounds like there might be someone in there who has the formal power, right? The leader because of their position has been given this formal power, but it seems like this is really pushing toward a partnership, a relationship in a way, and it’s not ever going to be an equal relationship but a more equal relationship if that makes sense. Ellie Anderson: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I think that relationship, the…the word “relationship” identifies it perfectly. And what transformational leadership is after specifically, because you can’t do these things unless you have a relationship with people and that takes being equal on some level. You know, it takes two to make a relationship, and so that really brings us into the fourth and final “I” which is individualized consideration and this is noted by those coach-like and supportive behaviors. And so I really think about it in terms of the follower knows me as a unique and individual human. I am Ellie to them. I’m not just the role or position that I hold within this organization. They know what I do really well, but they also know what I might need to be supported. So, you know, we think about maybe languages of appreciation, or love languages, or things like that. This leader might be more in tune with, “Ellie likes words of affirmation and wants to hear when she’s doing a good job,” or you know that’s a really simple example but it can go beyond that way. They also may know that I liked outlines and a little bit of structure when I’m starting projects, and so they can help provide that for me before they let me loose. So you start to see how the leader starts to know each of their followers uniquely, and so that relationship between leader and follower is not going to be the same as the next person on the team or the next. It’s completely different, individualized just as the name sounds, and unique to them. And one of the best parts, I think in a way I like to describe this, is that the leader has an individualized development plan, almost, for each follower. So they know, “I know this about you, and I know your goals, and what you want to get after, and here’s how I can see us getting there, getting you there and getting you to achieve that.” And so it’s…there’s just a personal investment in you, and who you are, and what you’re after. And so there’s been some talk and questioning of is individualized consideration, maybe where it all starts. Maybe that’s where we have to go before the rest of these other things can happen. And there hasn’t necessarily been much to support that quite yet, but you know that’s starting to be a thought of it sounds like this individualized component almost plays a role within every dimension. Jessica: How do you think the actions of transformational leadership can translate into some other everyday relationships and everyday relationship building? Ellie Anderson: That’s a great question. I love that we’re talking about this because, I mean, us being leadership folk who probably see leadership everywhere, all the time, everyday, it’s so fun to boil it down to, “Okay, but really here’s how it works.” And, you know, I like to kind of preface this with, like we talked about in previous conversations, there’s no correct way to do leadership, and there’s definitely no correct way to do transformational leadership. And as I’m sure you probably picked up on you know as I went through these four I’s, they’re still kind of broad and general. And it allows, you know, every shoe to fit, so to speak, or for everyone to figure out, what does this look like for me. And so, I think that’s a key thing to people,listening to this is, don’t think that maybe because you’re not extroverted or outgoing that you can’t do these things. It’s just, what do they look like for me. How can I provide this to someone else? I think that’s a really broad first step of what can that look like in relationships is know yourself but also know who is in this relationship with you, who is that other person. And so for instance, when we look at idealized influence in those role-modeling behaviors, if you come into a relationship with certain expectations of this is what I need from someone to be able to get the depth out of a relationship, get to know you, know whatever it may be that you have expectations about, what you’re looking to get out of that, or you know outcomes or whatever it may be, role-modeling those behaviors of here’s what I expect from you, so I’m going to demonstrate that myself. I think that right there is demonstrating idealized influence because you’re role modeling. It doesn’t matter if it’s leader-follower. It’s just person to person at that point, of I expect this and I want this frankly from you, so I’m going to demonstrate it myself because I’m not bigger than or above being able to do that myself. So I think that’s a really basic level for that one. Jessica: I wonder if some of that is also understanding how to…how to know what your boundaries are and set them as well. Like… Ellie Anderson: Absolutely. Jessica: …in a healthy way obviously. Ellie Anderson: I love that. So that next “I” was inspirational motivation. And, I think, this one really gets to be individualized in terms of, you know, valuing what your partner, or friend, or whomever it is in that relationship is doing, and really giving it purpose and meaning. So I’m trying to think of an example, but you know if someone always makes the effort to schedule the reservation, or I don’t know what it is, and you just…they feel that that has purpose and meaning, and that they’re doing it for a reason with in this relationship, I could see that being a really small detailed way of showing this motivation of…it has meaning, or creating optimism, you’re inspiring these actions, these high expectations as well. But I think on a really individualized level just knowing how to motivate your peers. So, if that means a workout buddy or trying to stay diligent working from home and having an accountability partner, that’s very relevant right now. How might we in a motivate our peers, or our friends, or our partners to stay true to their goals and what they’ve said. And I think that’s individually knowing what do they need from me that’s going to make that feel individualized, but also it’s actually going to be intrinsically motivating. They’re going to want to do that, and not just go, “Oh, here they go again, trying to make me do this.” Jessica: And you can ask them, too, what they need. Ellie Anderson: Right. Jessica: You can ask them how you can communicate with them about it. I had a friend recently where I said, “will it push you away, like, if I haven’t heard from you for a while and…and, you know, I really want to know how you’re doing or whatever, does it bother you if I’m, like, checking in on you?” And she said, “No, please do!” On the other hand, I specifically asked my husband if he would tell me, you know, help me stop biting my nails once. And so, unfortunately, I maybe don’t even know what I…what I need myself, because now whenever he tells me to stop biting my nails, I just get mad at him. Ellie Anderson: You’re like, “Hey now. I know I asked, but still…” Jessica: So, apparently that’s not what I need, and I need to figure that out, but anyway. Sorry, that was a little off track. Ellie Anderson: No, I think you bring up a great point. There’s probably a misconception out there that I’m just supposed to know what I’m supposed to motivate people on and what I’m supposed to be doing or whatever it is. But it’s totally okay to ask. And why do we think that we shouldn’t have to ask, you know? I think that’s also taking the time to say, how can I help you or how can I best serve you in this, or you know pull my way in just saying how can I best motivate you? There is no shame in asking, and I think people are going to feel really valued and that might actually result in motivation just by you showing this interest in trying to know, how does this happen for you, what does that look like. Everyone wants to be known, and seen, and loved, you know. So anyway, I liked that. And that brings up a great point and made me think about that. When it comes to intellectual stimulation, I see this as like your advice-giving friend, the one who, you know, maybe when you’re mad it feels like devil’s advocate, I don’t know. But the person who can sit back and go, well have we thought about it on this way or have we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to think about maybe what else is going on in their life right now? Or just all these other perspectives that, when were so caught up in the the thick of things and we’re feeling all the emotions which is totally okay to do, but when someone brings another perspective and says okay I totally see you, I feel you, and I know where you’re at, but have we thought about it from this way. I could absolutely see that being intellectual stimulation in terms of, you know what you’re starting to ground me right now I didn’t think about it that way. I’m just feeling emotional but really there’s a lot more behind-the-scenes that I’m not even aware of about the situation or whatever it might be. And so that one is such a clear connection to what that can look like in relationships for me, because I think those are the moments when we really become better and we start to become our best selves. And that’s something that, you know, ties into an outcome of transformational leadership is engaging the full person, developing them, and having them exceed expectations. And I think that can also look like exceeding our own personal development goals. And so, you know, I would say that in a relationship I would feel that I was my best self or I was becoming my best self, or you know whatever it is, if these types of behaviors were demonstrated in a relationship. So that brings us to our fourth and final “I,” individualized consideration, which I think is going to be a really broad answer, but it’s all about… it’s individualized, right. And so I think maybe you start to see some of those motivation pieces in this one as well. But who is it the person that you’re developing this partnership with or you’re in a relationship with? Who are they? What do they need? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What are their differences that make them awesome? You know, what is it about them and how can you then support them through all that, and recognize them, and say, “Oh maybe I’m a terrible organizer but Susie Q, my best friend, is amazing at that.” And so I might ask to enlist her help, which is going to make her feel so supported and encouraged, because one, she’s being seen and she’s being seen in a context where, “I do this really well and it’s a talent and strength of mine.” And so that leaves them feeling empowered and like “I can take on the world after that.” And so it’s also individualized because you’re saying this is my friend and the one person I thought of in this moment, and who doesn’t feel good when someone says, “Hey, I thought of you because of XYZ.” That makes us feel all warm, and fuzzy, and great. We love that. And so I think, you know, being able to recognize who’s in front of you, love that person in front of you, who are they, but also like how can I coach them up and support them. Same thing when we talked about how do we motivate people, this is kind of what is their love language? What is their appreciation language? Maybe what are their top 5 Clifton Strengths? Whatever it is that they maybe identify with. What’s going to work for them and how are they going to feel loved, supported and encouraged, motivated through the actions, the things that I’m saying to them? I think that’s all how these can look in a relationship through individualized consideration because that’s the beauty of two really different people, that there’s no one like them in the world, coming together in a relationship and you get to figure out who is this other person I’m in a relationship with, what do they bring to the table, and it’s just like how can we work together then and then bring this to make an even more unique relationship. And so, I mean, I could go on all day but individualized consideration sounds as individualized as it is. You know, and there’s going to be no correct way or one way to do it. It just starts with who are you in a relationship with. Like, who is the person right in front of you? And so, like we’ve talked about as well, one of these key influences of transformational leadership is helping people achieve and reach their full potential. So not just, “Hey, great you met the bar right where it’s at, but you just exceeded and you became everything that you’re meant to be. And I think that…that touches something really relational for me in terms of maybe this person makes me a better person, makes me my best self, or I’m best when these types of things are happening. And I think that’s when all that’s…that’s the door for these transformational leader behaviors to come in and play. And I think that’s the impact you can have on someone in a relationship whether that’s leader-follower, boss-subordinate, co-parenting, just you and your partner, whomever it is. I think it’s that feeling of you make me better. A Message from the Military Families Learning Network I’m Jen Chilek from the Military Families Learning Network. We bring you online professional development opportunities, like this podcast, along with webinars, conferences, and more, in support of those who support military families. Geared to Cooperative Extension educators, military family service providers, and others who support military families much of our online content comes with continuing education credit and all of it is free. Visit us at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org to find more content like this geared to people like you. Segment 3: What We Intend to Practice Bob: That was an awesome interview, Jessica, with Ellie. I just really appreciated everything that she had to say about transformational leadership, and really kind of opened my eyes to some things, and really also gave me some things to think about practicing in that context. You know, when…when Ellie talked about, you know, really individualized attention to people, you know, I think that’s something I could use in my own relationship-building practice. I don’t know if I always do that. There’s that Golden Rule, like, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but really, maybe it’s about what they would want, not what you would want out of the relationship. So I really want to start practicing thinking about that. So I’m going to pick three people, you know, that I…that I have a relationship with and would like to have a stronger relationship with, and I’m going to try and think about for each person, maybe, one thing that they might need from me or I think they might need, one thing that I really value about them that I see as a strength or an asset that they have, and one thing I know about them or one thing that I think I know that they aspire to. And use that to really be individualized in our interactions, but also to, kind of maybe, reveal some of the opportunities where I’m like, I don’t know what that person aspires to and maybe I need to get that information and deepen that relationship. Jessica: What a great idea, Bob. I’m actually though going to be working on exploring my boundaries, and…and setting some, maybe strengthening my ability to kind of stand in them a little bit, in order for me to have healthier transformational relationships. I tend to be someone who will…I want to connect with people so badly that I will say yes to every opportunity. And so, I need to be able to…to work on that a little bit, so that I can always be authentic in my yes’s, and I can…I can always be authentic, and kind, and loving in my no’s as well. So I’m going to explore some boundaries related to relationships. I’m going to choose three things that I need to set boundaries around in order for me to have healthy relationships, so that I can tend to my existing relationships better. Bob: So we’d like to express our gratitude to Ellie Anderson today for joining us and sharing so much great information and her passion for transformational leadership. Jessica: And we would like to share some gratitude for Nathan Grimm, our awesome musician who wrote and performed all of our music. Bob: And also to Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach, our marketing gurus. Jessica: And for our MFLN colleagues for helping us build the foundation of this podcast. Bob: And finally we want to express our gratitude to everyone in our networks who have informed this conversation and to you for participating in this episode. Jessica: For more from this episode, including the full interview with Ellie Anderson, go to our website militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/practicing connection.
5 minutes | 6 months ago
Practicing Connection Together (Ep. 0.5)
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. Listen now: https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/mini-episode.mp3 About this episode: In this mini-episode, hosts Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch introduce the Practicing Connection in a Complex World podcast and invite participants to join them in practicing connection. Transcript Bob: Welcome to “Practicing Connection in a Complex World,” an exploration of personal and collective practices that empower us to work together to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. I’m Bob Bertsch. Jessica: And I’m Jessica Beckendorf. Bob: And we’re the Network Literacy team from the Military Families Learning Network. And we’re so excited to be talking with you about our upcoming podcast. Episode 1 is on the way as we launch in July of 2020. Jessica, what are you most excited about sharing as part of the Practicing Connection in a Complex World podcast? Jessica: I’m just really excited about exploring these concepts. They’re something that I explore regularly, but I’m really excited about exploring the concepts with other people who are also interested in learning about connection, and about all the different ways that we can build connection and do it in ways that really supports ourselves and supports other people, and not just kind of leave it all to chance. Bob: Yeah, I mean I think we’re really focused on working together, you know, trying to co-create with other people, and I’m really interested as we go on this journey with everyone who’s listening, in working with other people and co-creating with them as we practice connection together. Because I think the more voices that we have involved in the podcast, it really reflects how we feel about this work, which is we’re connecting with each other, you know, to build diverse networks that can start to address some of the complex challenges that we all face. Jessica: At one point we even talked about calling the people who are interested in listening to this podcast, participants, because that’s what we’re hoping for. We’re really hoping that anyone who listens will become a participant in the community of people who are… who are practicing connection. Bob: I’m glad you brought that up because I think that’s how I feel, and I think we both feel about this podcast. You know, when we talk about practicing connection, we’re not telling people how to practice connection, we’re practicing it. We’re works in progress as well. We want to do that together with everybody, all the participants, and…and build a community around that. And you know one of the ways I hope we could do that is by sharing what we have learned and what we are currently learning, and also sharing our own practices, you know, to give people permission and ideas and energy to practice themselves, right? Practice working and thinking differently in ways that are going to increase their connections with people and hopefully lead to, you know, shared work of some kind. Jessica: When you keep bringing up the word “practice” and…and how we are in this also practicing with everyone else, we aren’t experts in connection. We are on a journey just like everyone else is, learning together. We have done a lot of work and a lot of reading and a lot of a lot of thinking about connection and a lot of thinking about connecting with each other and connecting with our world, but we aren’t necessarily experts. Which is why we’re looking to practice with others. Bob: Doing it together is…it not only fits the theme of what we’re talking about, you know. It’s going to make the podcast better, and it, and hopefully it’s going to make the…the community around this idea practicing connection in a complex world even better as well. So I hope that, you know, if you are listening to this, you’ll make sure to take the chance to subscribe to the podcast. The first episode, which focuses on transformational relationships, will come out in July 2020. We’ll be talking about collaboration and community resilience and so many more topics related to this idea of connecting with each other, collaborating with each other, and working together to make a better, more fair, more just world. So join us for Practicing Connection in a Complex World. We’ll talk to you soon. Jessica: Can’t wait!
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