Nine amazing people gathered on April 26th to discuss, “What will it take to make the Catalytic Thinking in Action story platform reach its highest potential?” Read on to see the richness of that discussion.
As I’ve come to expect whenever Creating the Future folks get together, the conversation was focussed on making anyone who found the “blog”, in any role, welcome and supported. That way, they would be open to new thinking they could use to improve their everyday lives and the lives of those around them.
What would people on the platform need to feel?
- Hungry for new ideas.
- Relief that others have dealt with situations similar to what they are facing, and found good ways to handle it.
- That they have come into a community where sane people are trying to figure stuff out.
- That they are travellers, navigating a journey, and have found others to travel with at various stages of the journey as they meander down a path or rush to a destination.
- That they are included, but get to decide for themselves how deeply to be immersed, at that time and when they return.
- That everyone here is a co-learner and a co-guide, teaching each other a new language and way of being that leads to the highest potential of each one.
- That the comments they receive will be positive; there will be no need for defensiveness.
- That they have reached a virtual place designed for and populated by humans, using technology but not driven by technology.
- That they can find what they need when they are ready to find it.
- That they can trust or learn to trust those they find here.
- Hope instead of hopelessness.
- Energized and stronger.
A trust matrix was described, where the level of trust can be plotted based on both degree of competence and a belief that the person cares about me.
What would it take?
- We model encouragement and invitation, especially but not only to newcomers.
- Sherpas and connectors so no one feels alone (chat with live sherpas?)
- Being able to link up with other people to practice with, who have more fluency in the language already.
- An answer when they are ready to ask the right question, and they feel safe that the answers are coming from people who have lived experience and relevant knowledge.
- Respect for the different ways people want to connect, e.g., introverts.
- Opportunities to learn more.
- Posts that avoid jargon and take into account that some people are made uncomfortable with “feeling” language.
- Language that is inclusive in relation to marginalization dynamics and group processes.
- Bridges with our Facebook groups, etc. to help people find the platform and discuss what they’ve learned
- Capacity for sustained interaction
- From Debra – “legitimate peripheral communication” – how one becomes a fully-functioning, fully-contributing member of a community of practice.
- A focus on changing the world, not on the relationship with Creating the Future.
- Thoughtful posts developed after bouncing ideas off colleagues.
- Posts that inspire thoughtful comments.
- Meeting people where they are and honoring them there.
- Space to contemplate.
What would they need to know?
- How to find the topics they were interested in or needed.
- That they can try stuff to see what works for them, without having to be perfect.
- That sharing our practices helps us improve.
- That different ways of engagement are open to them (Concentric Circles of Engagement), in which everyone can feel legitimate in their chosen space and have a path to go deeper.
- That they are valued, truly accepted and welcomed.
- A frame of reference, where the approach is described in an easily accessible place and language.
- That nothing here is about “should.”
- That the stories are designed to help you reach for what’s possible.
- That there are no experts or best practices here.
- That while they still have the option of choosing what they’ve always done, there’s something else they could try has worked for someone here.
Role of Welcomers/Contributors
- Model catalytic thinking!
- Deal with each newcomer and returning visitor as an individual needing to be welcomed and oriented.
- Have empathy for those who seek a perfect or “if only” solution
- Respect both introverts and extroverts, those who want to be anonymous and those feeling gregarious, acknowledging this may vary from visit to visit. Allow them to be what they are.
- Help them feel smart and get smarter.
- Provide an easy on-ramp or big honking EASY button.
- Try to avoid causing lengthy searches when site visitors don’t know what to call what they seek. Help turn data into meaningful data. Be the Babblefish (universal translator). Help people formulate questions.
- Prompt for how they are feeling – frustrated, curious, need guide, just need something to read.
- Foster a sense of discovery that fits with their state of mind. See what intrigues them and sparks a question.
- Make space for both true believers and seekers unfamiliar with our thinking.
- After finding out what resource they have chosen or are seeking, ask what questions they might have and what they are wondering about. Ask, “tell me more” and “what could we make possible?”
- Be a reporter – make what’s happening in the community transparent and share from time to time.
- Curate options, such as links, decision trees and live chats, so everyone can choose their own adventure. Open door to next level of interaction.
- Take part in weekly chats/online coffee houses. Provide an environment leads them connect.
- Be cool. Drop in quotes, videos, photos.
- Provide stories they can identify with, including meaningful titles and tags. Pull people in with little, personal stories. Tell stories as if you are having a conversation and consider the beneficiaries/listener/reader.
- Develop (together) potential story structures, including circles, mandalas and pathways.
- Use comments to highlight nuggets and wisdom from the stories.
- Our strength in carrying out this initiative will come from “zingy teamness” that is more about supporting each other than developing blogs.
- The ideas coming from these meeting remind us of the meeting to blow up the website, and this is part of blowing up the organization.
- Everyone involved in any way will be part of “us”, and there will be no “them”, just fellow human beings whether newcomers, deeply immersed or anywhere on that continuum. We will all be co-learners.
- We will serve a hunger for something new, even when the people who swim up aren’t sure what but will know what resonates when they find it.
- Our stories will make explicit what people where feeling when they came.
- The stories will flow: Familiarity—Knowing—Experiencing.
- Some will find us when they don’t even know how to frame a Google question for what they need.
- We will give everyone the ability to breathe in a deep breath as they find they are not alone.
- Content, structure and process emerging as three important themes for future discussions.
Join us for meeting #3 on June 6th at noon Pacific time, 3 pm Eastern, in the usual zoom room shown on the right hand side of the FB group. Comment here to be added to that group, or sent a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.