Updates from February, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Eugene Eric Kim 9:16 pm on February 13, 2014 Permalink |  

    I wrote about our very own @renee on my blog today! She was one of the instigators of a collaborative visioning process among a bunch of civic engagement funders facilitated by @rapetzel. I got some good video of both Renee and Rebecca, along with their colleague Mary Tobin. Enjoy!


  • Brooking 6:49 am on January 9, 2014 Permalink |  

    Hey everyone – we’re on for the 14th from 3-5 at PolicyLink in downtown Oakland (Marie won’t be able to join/host that day unfortunately). TOPIC: designing for high performing networks! PolicyLink is walkable from 12th St Bart at 1438 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612. Eugene if there’s any info we should know for arrival/where to meet please share with the group! In attendance for sure we’ll have EEK & Eugene Chan, myself & Rebecca. @jessausinheiler ? @dana? @natalie @renee @anna341bc @lauren @amy you are welcome to join as well!

  • 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 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.

  • Lauren 1:35 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink |  

    This is a long awaited post for me! Hello fellow bootcampers!

    My name is Lauren Rodriguez and I was part of the Changemaker bootcamp training earlier this year with the fabulous @renee, @natalie and @anna341bc. Over the last couple of weeks,@anna341bc and I have been practicing changemaker bootcamp exercises on our own at the lovely Jazz Café in Downtown Berkeley (sometimes there live music!). We practice on Fridays- a great day for the both of us and meet half way between our homes in El Cerrito and Oakland. We decided to practice together for various reasons. For me, it was that I had reached my yearly professional development training budget at my org, having recently gone through Rockwood’s Art of Leadership.

    My bootcamp project is geared around a research publication project for my organization, having been tasked with conducting the initial research and analysis. And my goals are to practice my critical thinking, synthesis and interview skills. Having this project in mind, practicing with Anna has been a great experience. Anna and I are both women of color and our workouts have been a very safe space for me to open up about parts of my professional growth aspects that I want to work on. Elements of our bootcamp sessions have been tailored to discussing issues that are particularly relevant and challenging for us as we work out such as identifying power/group dynamics in the room. We have also created the space to share stories about some similar struggles and have practiced having difficult conversations throughout our work-outs.

    One of the biggest learning edges during our initial work outs with Anna has been to practice and weighing the pros and cons of having a difficult conversation with my management team at work. Anna and I both bring a racial lens to our work and this has been incredibly empowering for me. I am having this difficult conversation on Friday. Thanks @marie for sharing your difficult conversation since the theme is overlapping and it was helpful to read what works for you to build up that courage!

    A reflection so far is realizing how much more confident in my work I have grown since the last bootcamp round. In the first bootcamp round, I voiced a concern about being the “youngest person is the room”. Working with Anna has really helped me understand the value that I bring to the table and become more confident in my skills as a researcher- and having faith that I AM capable! For me, working together in a pair has a deep value since you get to dig deep earlier.

    I hope to post every week of our work ours from here on out! Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and tools! Reading these have been very beneficial to me!

    • Jessica 2:32 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lauren, my name is @jessausinheiler & I’m part of the latest class of bootcampers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the blog — at our last bootcamp (was it just yesterday??!!) we talked about wanting to connect with previous bootcampers, so it was fortuitous to see your post pop up in my mailbox.

      I can certainly identify with being young and being colorful. I too have appreciated being in an environment (bootcamp) where both of those things — but particularly the former — are valued. And I’ve also appreciated speaking openly of power dynamics, as it’s made me more aware of the power that we all have.

      Anyways, post on and keep us posted on Friday’s conversation

    • Renee 12:51 am on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It is so awesome that you and Anna are practicing together, Lauren! I’m impressed with both of your follow through and its really fun to come back to this space and realize how much it has grown! Congratulations on building that courage. I’m so curious about your experience with Rockwood after our discussions about it. Feel free to ping me offline if you don’t want to post here.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 7:00 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink |

    I’d love all of your help in a little experiment in online deliberation. My friend, Travis Kriplean, has created a tool called ConsiderIt that I’ve been playing with, and I’d love all of your help in trying to evaluate it.

    The topic I’d like to discuss is Post-Its. As you all know, Post-Its are a pretty core tool for this kind of work. ForestEthics has recently charged 3M with making Post-Its from old growth forests. 3M has challenged that claim. I’m trying to decide what to do.

    To participate in this discussion, go to: https://fasterthan20.consider.it/6b2c096443

    As an interesting aside, @renee‘s husband is in the green office supplies business, which I mentioned in one of my Pro cards.

    Would love it if you all took a few minutes to participate! Feel free to share your experiences of the tool in the comments below. Thanks!

    • Renee 1:01 am on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      thanks for thegreenoffice.com shout-out, Eugene! the tool looks kind of interesting, but i didn’t want to have to log-in to participate. log-ins are a barrier to entry for me… i don’t want to log in unless its something i know i’m going to use.

      • Eugene Eric Kim 3:19 pm on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Totally understand, @renee. Others have had similar pushback. Thanks for the feedback! I’ll write up the results of the experiment and share.

  • Jessica 6:58 am on October 21, 2013 Permalink |  

    Power session 

    A huge thank you to Eugene and Brookings for posting power-related references. I’m looking into it! I’ve included below a handful of my reflections on the subject and session:

    • I appreciated Dana’s comments on her appreciation of a session on power that started with what we intrinsically know about power. At the same time, I personally found it more difficult to speak and write about power without having a baseline understanding of the terms, and am looking forward to reading more about the topic. I guess I’m one of those people who likes pre-reads before practice:-)
    • I loved the practice of asking folks what makes them feel powerful and then dissecting–and sharing–the elements that make up a powerful experience. In our small group, we heard things as varied as feeling physically strong, overcoming physical weakness, and facilitation.
    • Using classical and contemporary videos to learn about power was brilliant. I’d love an opportunity to analyze our own videos as well.
    • Since our last Bootcamp I had a deep, difficult, and somewhat abrasive 30 minute phone conversation with a white 60 year old tenured super smart professor about business school. Details aside, the conversation left me feeling self-conscious and confused. Nearly in tears, I asked myself: In 10 years, would I be able to better hold my own in a conversation with this man or another like him? Last week we touched on how to recognize power differentials–the symptoms… I’d like to go into how one trains him or herself to better handle these situations…

    Really looking forward to our next session.


    • Eugene Eric Kim 2:52 pm on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for sharing your insightful and intimate reflection, Jess!

      You’re the second of my bootcampers (@renee being the other) to request some sort of framework before the practice. I get the desire and also the learning style, and I’m constantly evaluating when this is most appropriate. I had a workout at my last bootcamp that absolutely needed it and ended up flopping because I didn’t provide it. (Do-over coming soon!)

      For the power workout, I’m still feeling comfortable not providing it up-front, although I will continue to monitor this. I don’t mind people feeling discomfort, because that’s when learning happens, and it’s a useful competency to practice. Your third bullet helps validate that for me. However, I also appreciate it when you share that discomfort, as there’s a fine balance in how much or how little you want people to be experiencing.

      I’ll share the video from this group so that you can do the analysis if you’d like.

      Finally, thank you so much for sharing the story about your phone conversation. We have a “difficult conversations” workout coming up, and so you’ll be able to examine this question in a very real way very soon!

  • Eugene Eric Kim 10:54 pm on October 19, 2013 Permalink |

    This isn’t the favorite thing I’ve read by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert), but there’s a section of the article that sort of reminds me of @eugenechan‘s personal project of going from a task-orientation to a process-orientation:


    Throughout my career I’ve had my antennae up, looking for examples of people who use systems as opposed to goals. In most cases, as far as I can tell, the people who use systems do better. The systems-driven people have found a way to look at the familiar in new and more useful ways.

    To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. That’s literally true most of the time. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary.

    If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure.

    • Rebecca 12:52 am on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d love to have a conversation about this. I heard him on NPR, and was intrigued. It’s also challenging, as I find goals really helpful for me in succeeding using a process (systems) orientation. I’m trying to be open-minded, while recognizing that by some interpretations this could challenge some core assumptions of how I do my work. I recognize he’s talking about individuals, not groups…

      • Eugene Eric Kim 3:01 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Next time I see you, I’ll bring the current Rockwood Leadership Institute strategy (which unfortunately is not available from their website). They’ve declared a “nature-driven” approach to strategy. I think it’s a bit overstated — it’s very similar to how we do strategy —but I think it’s a nice piece of work and worthy of examination.

        On a related note, you should think seriously about doing Rockwood! You could talk more with @renee about this, but I think the timing would be really good for you. @lauren did Rockwood on @renee‘s recommendation, and I think she had a great experience.

  • Rebecca Petzel 10:42 pm on October 14, 2013 Permalink |

    Bootcampers! I’m in desperate need of some changemaker advice. I’m running a 20 person retreat next week (once again, working with @renee) and there’s one BIG obstacle. Literally, a big, huge, board room table that despite all my attempted arm twisting will be smack dab in the middle of the meeting room.

    Any advice / strategies for neutralizing the big behemoth in the room, helping attendees connect and stay focused despite the big table standing between them? Any exercises / guidelines from successful meetings you’ve participated in?

    • Eugene 1:08 pm on October 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Ooo, excellent! A group physics exercise! Unfortunately, this was the workout that tanked the last session, and the new group hasn’t gotten to the revised workout. 🙂 Still, I’d love to hear what others think.

      Modeling bootcamp, my first question is about the goal: What is the goal of the meeting?

      My second set of questions is about understanding the constraints a bit more. How long is the meeting? Is there separate breakout space? If not, is there room around the table to do small clusters? What shape is the table? Is the room carpeted? Is there blank wall space? Are there windows? A picture of the space would be wonderful!

      Finally, a question for my bootcampers, past and present: What’s been your best meeting experience with 20 people stuck in a conference room? What made it great?

      I just finished my last site visit (of six) with Garfield Foundation. All of them have been full-day meetings in conference rooms with long tables. Yesterday’s had 15 people, which was not ideal, but was fine. We’ve gotten excellent feedback on all of our meetings both in the checkouts and afterward.

      We’ve been using graphic recording heavily at our meetings, and we’ve employed two exercises designed specifically to get people moving. The space does you no favors in this regard, so you have to prod a bit more as the facilitator. We haven’t had breakouts, but if we needed to, we could have made it work, either by pairing people up in cases of severe space constraint or more if you have some flexibility.

      So despite all of my previous ranting and ravings about the evils of conference tables, it will totally be okay. 🙂 I’ll wait to hear your answers to above before making suggestions, and I hope others will share their experiences as well.

      • Rebecca 2:04 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hi Eugene. What a great question: “What’s been your best meeting experience with 20 people stuck in a conference room? What made it great?”

        Would love to hear the answer to that question!

        And to answer yours, here are our meeting goals:

        Shared understanding of what we’ve achieved together: organize our shared thinking
        Group understands the potential and existence of “we” : The FCCP network
        Catalyze collective strategy for the network

        Hard for me to upload a picture of the space… but we will have a break-out room so that’s a plus!

    • Natalie 1:53 pm on October 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Doughnuts and bacon down the center of the table within easy reach of all participants?

      Hi, Rebecca! 🙂

      • brooking 9:35 pm on October 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hi there Rebecca – I’m a new bootcamper starting today and just chiming in as I read all the recent posts to catch up 😉 One Idea I used to do with Adaptive Edge was to have objects to play with in the middle of the table – white sheet paper, markers and crayons for doodling, some fun finger toys that you can get at a science/discovery sort of store or a 5 and dime, and PLAY DOUGH. Play dough is magical — it actually can really help people focus and stay in creative space while they talk, especially helpful with tension diffusion. Another trick to make use of the table is to get a bunch of cut outs of images from magazines, e.g., that might relate to content, and have an exercise where folks gather favorite images from the center of the table to create a collage related ot whatever visioning you are doing. These images, the play dough creations, doodles on the paper can all end up being powerful anchors for themes that emerge from whatever process your group is diving into. I don’t have much context to be more specific but all these are creative ways to make use of that table and bring some life to it and to your group, and make it a tangible representation of the creative space that lives between all your participants. Good luck 😉

        • Rebecca 2:02 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hi Brooking! This is all great advice. I was just shopping for play dough today! I’ve decided to cover the whole table with butcher paper and provide crayons, pipecleaners, and play dough. It could turn into a fun palette!

      • Rebecca 2:00 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Natalie! Nothing beats this advice. Eager to catch up soon 🙂

    • Rebecca 1:07 am on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi all!

      Just wanted to follow up and let you know that we had a good meeting despite the big table in the room!

      One thing we did was downgrade, we chose the smaller conference room that was technically too small for us. This intimacy was well worth the distance created by the large board room table.

      There was colored paper and markers all over the table, and folks started off with a creative exercise. It was a bit more touchy feely / creative then I often like, but really important in setting the tone for “this will be a different type of meeting.”

      But really, what made all the difference was the PLAY DOUGH!!! Great suggestion @brooking. Here’s a glimpse into what was created: https://plus.google.com/photos/106758161096309037901/albums/5940338959027890849?authkey=CMrjmLOYpqC5qAE

      • Eugene Eric Kim 2:57 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Glad to hear it worked out! Thanks so much for coming back to share how it went. There was some serious Play-Doh artistry going on at your meeting. My favorite is the dude bowling.

  • Amy 9:38 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink |  

    ah…boot camp 

    Hi All,

    It has been a privilege to witness the 2nd round of boot camp in action. As an observer, my focus has been on the model itself. I am here because my gut tells me that Eugene is onto something unique and potentially powerful.

    After this week’s session I hounded Eugene with questions about the design…things like:

    –       Is there a need to formally include “tools” type training in the sessions?

    –       Or, at least intentionally sharing of relevant “tips and tricks”? Or a short set of recommended readings? A list of training providers?

    –       How big of a group would be ideal?

    –       How large could the group get and still bring the boot camp value to the participants? Especially since this round’s small group has allowed for intimacy, trust building and co-coaching that is perhaps less likely to occur in even a group of 8.

    I also learned that Eugene’s vision is for boot camps to exist elsewhere.

    –       What would it look like without his guiding facilitation? What would be gained? What would be lost? What structure/resources would be needed?

    –       Without “expert” guidance, would participants simply keep practicing bad habits? Or, can one trust that the wisdom in the room among the participants would bubble up to prevent this?

    And… Eugene’s answers nearly all were reminders that the core of boot camp is practice. practice. practice.

    Now, it is finally clicking for me the extent to which Eugene is experimenting with adopting a fitness boot camp model. (I know, maybe I could have caught that sooner…given the name and all.)

    The emphasis in my thinking about Changemaker is shifting from recognizing that he is adapting the boot camp (business) model in a space currently served by resources such as project-based consulting to organizations, leadership training, co-coaching/success circles… To thinking about what the wholesale adoption of the model might look like: What unique value does a boot camp space for practice brings to participants and their workplaces? What outcomes can be achieved from this practice-centered model, at what levels, over what timeframe, with what lasting effect?

    • aluckey 10:55 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This may help clarify a bit more… whereas I had been envisioning a cross between workshops, coaching, and co-coaching… I am beginning to see that Changemaker could be something quite qualitatively different – with a unique set of results.

    • Eugene 3:19 pm on July 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts, Amy! Talking with you has helped me tremendously in articulating and clarifying my thinking, and it’s also spurred new ideas!

      I need to put some of this stuff on a web page so that people understand the larger vision of what I’m trying to do. I’m realizing in talking to people that when I say, “practice,” it goes right over most people’s heads. They’re not really stopping to think about what practice means and whether or not they’re incorporating that into their work. So I need to figure out a way to communicate that this is not Yet Another Training, that the emphasis is fundamentally different.

      I don’t think what I’m trying to do is particularly unique philosophically, though. @renee mentioned Action-Learning this past week; there are also Communities of Practice. I think what’s different here is the implementation — how I’m doing this. Would love to hear other people’s thoughts!

    • Renee 4:48 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is super helpful Amy/Eugene. Even though we’ve talked about practice quite a bit, I didn’t really get the idea that the concept of practice is what differentiates Bootcamp from other trainings. And I think the concept is right on – if you give people a chance to be self-reflective and some tools/concepts to reflect on, and then keep bringing people back to a group touch-point, people hold themselves accountable to the things they want to change.

      To your question, Amy about “expert guidance”, I think a decent amount of things that we need to change ARE things we’re self-aware about. For those that aren’t, a great way to start off any personal development training is with a 360 survey of peers, especially if you create a safe enough space to be able to hear feedback constructively and process with a group. For example, Rockwood gives the 360 results mid-way through their Art of Leadership training, once people have already identified some of their strengths and weaknesses themselves (so hopefully its not a huge surprise) and they have developed relationships with the group to soften the blow if hard feedback is received.

      One of the challenges for Bootcamp’s design is around rhythm and timing. I know that Rockwood does a great job with this concept for their year-long training by spacing out 3 full weeks of training/reflection/group time over the course of one year. Each week is a deep, deep dive into your personal leadership qualities and then you go back into your organization/world and practice the new tools, checking in with a peer throughout.

      I imagine this is way too much for Bootcamp. But I think there could be some value in spacing sessions out a bit more because you would have more time to practice, do homework, and see how the new way of operating is manifesting in your real life. Also, as I said last week, I kind of yearn for an extra hour each session. Two hours is short. And to be honest, I can’t get much done with one hour in the morning anyway, so it would make zero difference to me if we went from 9-12 instead of 10-12 (I know that may be different for commuters). So you might consider longer sessions every 2 weeks.

      • Natalie 4:03 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yes – I agree with the rhythm and timing comment. I keep thinking we need a couple of weeks between sessions in order to have more time and opportunities to practice the concepts — and do the homework. I was also musing today on a different time, like 4-6 or 5-7, that would cut less into the work day.

        As for the practice concept, I think it’s still sinking in. I’ve started and deleted about five sentences now, so I need to think more about it before I know what I want to say.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 11:50 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink |  

    Building on @renee‘s thoughts from last week, I had two goals for last week’s workouts:

    1. Practice designing engagements
    2. Practice group physics

    I figured success would look like:

    • All of you walking away understanding that group engagements are not just about meetings.
    • All of you walking away understanding the importance of group physics.

    This goes back to my response to Renee below; I could have just told you both of the things above. And I did. But just hearing it doesn’t make the learning visceral.

    Based on these metrics, how well do you think I did?

    • Renee 3:29 pm on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think you hit goal number one but I don’t feel clear about number 2. Also, despite knowing goal 1 I don’t feel clear about what the alternatives really are and this is what I really want to know. I have a huge over-reliance on meetings and its actually a big issue in my work- people are way way over meeting-Ed

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