Updates from December, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Eugene Eric Kim 6:00 pm on December 3, 2013 Permalink |  

    Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Two quick notes:

    First, I’m looking forward to next week’s self-organized bootcamp. Let us know where and when we’ll meet, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. I plan on being a participant!

    Second, I soft-launched my new work-focused website yesterday:


    I’m planning on being very intentional about sharing useful stories about collaboration, and I want this to be a forum for my community as well. That includes all of you!

    Some of you have said you want to hear more from me. If there’s specific stuff you’d like me to share, let me know, and I’ll post it there. (For example, I might take my super long response to @brooking‘s question about online engagement and turn that into a blog post.)

    I hope to see many of you there as well, either engaging in the comments or writing guest posts.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 5:47 pm on November 23, 2013 Permalink |

    Here’s a related, but divergent followup to the world’s largest comment I left in response to @brooking‘s questions. While I was pulling up links to some of my stories, I found some other posts that strongly color how I think about online tools and their role in collaboration.

    Here’s one on differentiating engagement from artifact. Here’s one on stigmergy (i.e. leaving trails).

    Here’s a 12-minute slidecast I put together three years ago that pulls together these different topics:

    As always, feedback encouraged!

    • Jessica 8:17 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A quick point about engaging busy people in response to @brooking and @eekim, via an anectode: I was at the airport and felt compelled to answer your conversation thread. I tried for 10 minutes to log in via iPhone, but finally got frustrated and gave up. It may be obvious, but it’s so much easier when friends ping you in a way that’s easy to respond. Technology is getting there, but there are still plenty of barriers.

      Eugene, how do sites like https://mural.ly/ change your perception of online vs. in-person engagements? I’m thinking about taking a systems class at Worscester Polytechnic Institute, and was told that the school has “quite a vibrant online community”… I’ll report back on what I learn re: best practices for getting people to actually and meaningfully engage online.


      • Eugene Eric Kim 11:15 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s not obvious, @jessausinheiler. An amazing number of people do not pay attention to things like login usability — including online retailers, whose businesses depend on these sorts of things.

        I did a collective visioning project last year with several Alameda-based arts organizations, and we wanted to use a blog for participants to share their thoughts online. We picked Tumblr for a variety of reasons, and then we sat some participants down in front of it and asked them to log in and post something. It was brutal. No one could figure out how to log in without our help.

        These were not stupid people. They were just normal. Online tools require a mental model that does not map to what most normal people understand. The notion of online identity is particularly broken.

        When these things crop up, you don’t just give up, but you do have to get real about expectations. This is where a lot of people get tripped up. They don’t adjust.

        When I started working on the Delta Dialogues (@dana‘s bootcamp project), @rapetzel and I mapped out a strategy for how we might integrate online tools. We ended up doing two things: We had a project blog that was public, and we implemented a buddy system for people to interact with each other however they chose — phone, face-to-face, etc. — between meetings. We shared artifacts from the meeting as printable PowerPoints (although we also published them online for transparency purposes). We did not try to implement some kind of online tool system so that people could interact between meetings, although I had originally thought we might go in that direction in Phase 2. I didn’t think our participants would be ready for it, and we had too many other priorities.

        As it turned out, our participants were even less ready than I thought they would be. Several of our participants (mostly government officials) had their secretaries print out their emails so they could read them, which made sending links completely useless. One of the participants shared his email account with his wife.

        So our strategy ended up being a good one, but it was not easy. For whatever reason, I find that people still have a lot of trouble getting why we approached things this way and how they might proceed moving forward. This is a common problem, not just with the Delta Dialogues, but with just about every project I’ve been involved with. It’s why I find the physical thought experiment so useful. If you imagine a special room where people could interact, but only if they figured out a puzzle lock that on average on 10 percent of participants even had the patience to try, what kind of engagement should you realistically expect, and how might you modify your design as a result?

        Given all this, Jess, how do tools like mural.ly change your perception of online vs face-to-face engagement? 🙂

    • Jessica 6:13 am on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It really depends on the length of the engagement and my goals.

      So, an unlikely but extreme example, if the group was a global group of people who’s only chance of accomplishing their goals, given the budget, was to communicate virtually, I’d probably make a really big investment to teach them how to use the tool. For example, at the kickoff meeting I might organize a simulation exercise where people have to post / respond / comment on the site in real time, in pairs or triads, so they learn how to use the site together and from each other’s mistakes–and so they get a sense of how valuable of a tool it can be. Between bi-annual meetings, on a predictable/regular basis, I might post questions on the site (or have people take turns posting questions) that participants have 24-48 hours to respond to, to keep the momentum going. (In Murally this might mean posting an idea that others can build and comment on.)

      Is fun, instructive, collaborative up-front investment… and then time-bound, regular, predictable, valuable virtual engagement periods… really enough though?

      I pun it to other changemakers.

  • marie 11:26 pm on November 14, 2013 Permalink |  

    Replies and future workouts 

    First of all – HELLO EVERYONE! Love that bootcampers new and old are hopping on here and keeping active.

    I keep trying to reply to threads below and it won’t let me, so I’m starting a new post. In response to @eekim, @eugenechan, @rapetzel, and @brooking

    BATNA = Best Alternative to Negotiation (Agreement?) – basically your own personal line in the sand. I’ve had that in my head for a while but don’t think I’ll need to follow through as there’s definitely movement from management now as we get close to the end of 2013. I’ll let you all know if/when all is official!

    I love the idea of doing a narrowing workout – maybe this will be my topic when I facilitate one of our follow up sessions! Would love to explore the idea with all of you. [And I’ll probably hit you up for some help with design @eekim :)]

    Finally (for now 🙂 )I am definitely committed to trialing a 5 week follow up bootcamp where we all get together and take turns planning workouts with support from each other as needed. I love the idea of jam sessions too, but am unsure what that would look like – and maybe that’s the point? No matter what, I look forward to working with you all on a more continuous basis to practice and learn from each other.

    • Eugene Eric Kim 1:03 am on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the update, Marie! You’re rapidly becoming our most active poster. 😉

      Sorry about the issue with commenting. I think I fixed it, but you should test it to make sure it works.

      Always available to help designing workouts and supporting all of you in your changemaker goals.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 3:23 pm on November 13, 2013 Permalink |  

    Here’s @dana‘s exit interview:


    Talking to @brooking tomorrow; will post next week!

  • Eugene Eric Kim 4:04 pm on November 12, 2013 Permalink |  

    Hope everyone had a good Veteran’s Day weekend! I posted @jessausinheiler‘s exit interview yesterday. @dana‘s goes up tomorrow, and @brooking‘s next week.


  • Eugene Eric Kim 12:55 am on November 9, 2013 Permalink |  

    It was a fun little group dynamics exercise for me to watch you all talk about the possibility of continuing to meet, actually picking a date, and then exploring what you might want to do together on that date. Rather than simply enjoy the exercise in silence, I thought I’d also try to contribute something useful. 🙂

    First, my meta-observations: @jessausinheiler showed a lot of leadership in not only proposing a date, but also by making an offer. To me, that was classic do-acracy. @brooking showed a lot of leadership in committing to the date, then advocating for her interests. When there was conflict around what to do on the 10th, Brooking then showed skill by noting that there wasn’t shared clarity around what all of the individual goals were for continuing to meet.

    There’s a spectrum of ways to get that clarity. On the one hand, you can have a discussion, get all of your interests on a table, then try to come to consensus on a meeting goal and design for the 10th. On the other hand, you can let the person who organizes decide. If people aren’t interested in following, they won’t come.

    I would lean towards the “let the organizer decide” part of the spectrum. And, I’d like to step out of the observer role to make a suggestion and an offer.

    I would like to see two things happening at scale. First, I’d like to see people doing workouts on their own. Second, I’d like to see people doing “jam sessions” on their own. By jam sessions, I mean coming together and practicing by playing. That could mean making up the workout on the fly, or it could mean having one person pick the progression they want to try playing.

    One of the things on my list to do is to create “workout cards,” so that people can easily download and do these workouts on their own. I’ve started doing some of this to support @anna341bc and @lauren, but I want to push them all out sooner rather than later.

    I’d encourage you all to commit to meeting for five weeks, not just one. Since Jess organized the first session, I’d let her decide what she wants to do. She may choose to solicit input, or she may choose to do her own thing. Since Brooking has shown strong interest in a specific experiment, I’d let her have the second session.

    The rest of you can pick the remaining days. If you’d like to use one of my workouts, let me know, and I’ll prioritize pushing out the appropriate workout card.

    Finally, my offer to all of you is: 1. to come to all five sessions as a participant rather than a facilitator; and 2. to offer support and feedback for anyone who’d like help designing a session.

    How does that sound?

    • Jessica 4:35 pm on November 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Eugene, I think my reply to your comment here got lost in the shuffle…

      …maybe I can solicit your and @marie and @eekim ‘s help in turning @marie ‘s “narrowing” challenge into our next bootcamp exercise (yes team … I’m “it”):

      1. Using a deck of “calling cards” by Richard Leider. The deck of cards showcase various “callings” (e.g., thinking critically, connecting to others, writing) and requires you to quickly identify what your core interests are. Would it be interesting to go through an exercise of narrowing down a set of skills to think about what you might be passionate and/or good at? (I have a sense that @brooking might have done this before)

      2. As part of a community of practice of which I was a part, we had Holly Minch present a “persuation framework” (see this link: http://networksguide.wikispaces.com/4-6+Creating+shared+language+and+talking+about+networks+and+network+impact) that helps you think about crafting highly targeted/relevant messages.

      Does anyone have a particularly negative reaction to either of these two?
      @impact hub? @eekim and @marie, you interested in helping a changemaker create a workout around either one of these?

      • Eugene Eric Kim 1:05 am on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Responded here.

      • Brooking

        Brooking 11:22 pm on November 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Belated reply but Jess I am totally down and excited to do this calling card thing in our 1st session!

  • Eugene Eric Kim 3:33 pm on November 8, 2013 Permalink |  

    Fun, fun, fun to see bootcampers — old and new — pop onto the water cooler this week! I had a long day yesterday that was packed with meetings, but it was re-energizing to peek here afterward and see all of this activity!

    My exit interview with @eugenechan is now up:


    I’ll post @jessausinheiler and @dana‘s next week and @brooking‘s the week after.

  • Brooking

    Brooking 5:22 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink |  

    Hi group.
    A quick reflection to honor my commitment to post this week, and knowing it’s now or never as I’m traveling tonight/tomorrow.
    My reflection is really that I am sitting with this question about the different ways that practice can be practiced. Asking questions about the role of structure in practice, the role of frameworks and guidelines. Thinking about children and what we can learn from them in this regard – give a kid a tool as multipurpose and flexible as play dough, e.g., and they’ll just play. (have you noticed i like play dough!?!?). Give a kid a board game, and they can just play with the board and pieces willy nilly, maybe make up a fun new game, but they may be missing out on the fun of the game the board was designed to facilitate. There’s a place for that creative play and there’s a place for teaching some rules of a game so the group can play in a particular way together.
    So in thinking about what it really is to have an effective community of practice, these sorts of questions come up for me. And I’m truly just sitting with questions, curiosities, and enjoying the possibility of using this group and our future monthly-ish meetings to explore different ways we might come together and “practice”, and the different values of different levels of structure, facilitation/guidance, frameworks & content/knowledge support, etc. Thoughts welcome, and most of all glad we’ve set the clear intention of continuing our momentum together.

    • Renee Fazzari

      Renee 12:13 am on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey Brooking – So, Eugene will be shocked : ) but I’m a big fan of having some theory or framework to hang my practice on. This doesn’t have to be from an expert – this is what I really learned in Bootcamp – that we all have an immense amount of expertise, but we need the right process to draw wisdom from the group. But whether it comes from someone who “does this for a living” and has advice to give, or from the wisdom of a group, I like to be reminded of the purpose and the goal of the practice and then have a learning space where I can measure how well I (or the group) is doing on the practice we’re attempting.

    • Eugene Eric Kim 3:30 pm on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m totally shocked by @renee‘s comment. 🙂 Renee, you’ll be happy to know that I led with framework in my redesigned “Designing Meetings” workout. It’s the only one where I did that, although I have some ideas for a few others. I’ll let the other bootcampers describe how they thought it went.

      @brooking, the child’s play metaphor is a fantastic way to think about different ways to structure practice. The only other thing I’d offer now in regards to our previous discussion about continuing momentum is that, at the end of the day, the best principles is forward movement — putting a stake in the ground, trying something, and learning from that.

      Generally, I’d prefer to let you all organize however you see fit without my intervention, but I have some ideas as to how to best support you in all of that, which I’ll offer in a post later today.

  • marie 10:12 pm on November 6, 2013 Permalink |  

    Difficult Conversation Follow Up 

    Well, I had the conversation with Chad this morning.  I picked my power outfit (I’ll spare you the fashion details, but it’s one of my favorite dresses), and I felt like even more of a badass in it after biking to work – never thought I’d be biking anywhere in anything other than some sort of spandex gym clothes or jeans I don’t care about.

    The conversation started to go down a similar path as in the past, which is to say, avoidance of the giant elephant in the room that I’m doing a completely different job than I was hired for with no acknowledgement in any way.  So, I called it out.

    2 things that stood out for me that were different than before:

    *First, I was better able to express my frustration in a positive way – that I want to be able to add the highest amount of value to this company by prioritizing the right tasks and having the time to do them well.

    *This seemed to allow him to open up to me and be more transparent than he had been before by acknowledging that he was (and has been) struggling to convince the upper management of the value of building community internally versus the value of staffing a more robust marketing/business development team.

    I remembered your comment from yesterday @Jess about being able to see the situation from the other person’s viewpoint and I really clearly saw/felt that today.

    I didn’t reach my epic goal (new title, new salary stated/signed off on in the meeting), but I pushed for a concrete follow up plan.  He is meeting with the Finance Director tomorrow and promised to follow up with me directly afterwards.  At a minimum, he assured me we are posting to hire for the part-time person by Friday of this week.  Once hired, I will be directly managing this person, which is exciting for me!

    My new challenge/assignment:  narrowing down the top 3 priorities/projects I’d like to focus on moving forward so that we can better redefine my role.  Caveat – my priorities/projects should take into consideration revenue earning potential as a way to sell it to the management team – game on!

    Overall, I walked away from the conversation feeling a lot better than I have in the past, and regardless of what happens moving forward I’ve got my BATNA – thanks for the acronym Eugene Chan 🙂  So grateful for all of the feedback/support Bootcamp team – more to come!  Looking forward to hopefully seeing you all and working with you all again in the near future.



    • Eugene Eric Kim 10:56 pm on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for sharing, @marie! So glad to hear your meeting went well. In particular, I loved that you:

      1. Put on your superhero costume. We want pictures.
      2. Rode to work in your supervehicle.
      3. Made the move to break past patterns.
      4. Reframed your frustration in a positive way.
      5. Got good outcomes as a result. The specifics around the part-time person is a big win, as well as concrete agreement to followup. You’re usually not going to hit your epic goals — that’s why they’re epic — but all of these seem like great results.

      What does “BATNA” stand for?!

    • Eugene Chan 3:17 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @marie: thank you for the report. you went into the difficult conversation on your own terms. this is inspirational!

    • Eugene Chan 3:30 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      BTW, narrowing the projects/priorities seems like a perfect candidate for a bootcamper exercies – either solo or in conjunction with others. (I am happy to offer feedback or be an active listener.)

      • Rebecca 10:38 pm on November 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Agreed! Narrowing would be a great bootcamper exercise! And something I’d love to practice. Count me in! & Marie, if I can be of service at all from a long term member in helping you play with that narrowing, don’t hesitate to reach out!!

    • Brooking

      Brooking 5:17 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Awesome! Thanks so much for the update and glad it went well with clear follow up in place. This part:
      “my priorities/projects should take into consideration revenue earning potential as a way to sell it to the management team – game on!” seems like great learning – in smaller organizations where justifying entirely internal roles can be difficult, it seems smart to link the work you love with work that aligns with profit/biz dev goals. Look forward to hearing more please do keep us posted!

    • Jessica 4:44 am on November 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Marie, thanks for the report! I was totally empathetic throughout the whole description, having had my own set of tough conversations recently… (and apologies for the delayed reply… I was paying attention to exit interviews and must have missed this email)

      Re: narrowing, and this may be a bit tangential, but two things come to mind… and maybe I can solicit your and @eekim ‘s help in turning this into our next bootcamp exercise (yes team … I’m “it”):

      1. There’s a neat exercise that involve narrowing down a deck of “Purpose” cards (e.g., thinking critically, connecting to others, writing) to identify what your core interests are. Would it be interesting to go through an exercise of narrowing down a set of skills to think about what you might be passionate and/or good at? (I have a sense that @brooking might have done this before)

      2. As part of a community of practice of which I was a part, we had Holly Minch present a “persuation framework” (see this link: http://networksguide.wikispaces.com/4-6+Creating+shared+language+and+talking+about+networks+and+network+impact) that helps you think about crafting highly targeted/relevant messages.

      Does anyone have a particularly negative reaction to either of these two?
      @impact hub? @eekim and @marie, you interested in helping a changemaker create a workout around either one of these?

      • Eugene Eric Kim 1:04 am on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think both are interesting, and I’d be happy to help.

  • Jessica 4:31 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink |  



    Team, I was reflecting on Brooking’s comment on the fact that companies seldom train their employees in having difficult conversations, and remembered that I actually attended a Monitor Training two years ago on “productive interactions.” I included two marked-up handouts (above). The first presents a framework for thinking about the interaction (framing–>acting–>results) and differentiate between “unilateral” and “mutual learning” approach… The second highlights the importance between advocacy and inquiry in the conversation. I’ve heard lots of my colleagues reference this training during the merger as a powerful tool that helped them get through painful phone conversations… Anyways, hope it’s helpful!

    I really enjoyed our time together today, Jess

    • Eugene Eric Kim 9:09 pm on October 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t remember @brooking say that. I remember her commenting on the fact that we were doing these sorts of workouts in a place like Monitor, but I don’t think she was implying that companies seldom train employees in this stuff. In fact, I thought it was you who made the point that people are rarely given the opportunity to practice this stuff!

      All that said, I very much appreciate you sharing this, Jess. I would go further and say that you are more likely to get training like this at a large company than at a small one.

      And, this helps highlight why I think things like bootcamp are necessary. Frameworks are great, but they need to be reinforced by constant practice. The paradigm for this type of training is the one-off, where the focus is on teaching a framework, not reinforcing a culture of practice. People are left to their own devices to get the practice afterward. Whether or not a bootcamp is the right model to support ongoing practice, my hope is that all of you (and beyond) are inspired to make practice a more integral part of your… well, practice!

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