Updates from July, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Eugene Eric Kim 4:06 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink |  

    I’m interrupting today’s regularly scheduled attempt at thought-provoking changemaker wisdom to announce that today is @natalie’s birthday! Wish her a happy birthday if you get the chance.

    Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Looking forward to seeing all of you on Wednesday, our last session of this bootcamp.

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      Renee 4:37 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Happy Birthday Natalie!! It has been a real pleasure to get to know you a bit through Bootcamp. Hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Anna 6:19 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Happy Happy Birthday Natalie. Hope you have a wonderful time celebrating 🙂

    • Anna 6:20 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It worked :-), Eugene. 🙂

      Thanks for the tip 🙂

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      Lauren 10:25 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Have a wonderful birthday Natalie! Big hug!!

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      Natalie 3:53 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, everybody! I’m feeling the love. 😉

    • dana 2:48 am on November 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Happy birthday Natalie! i miss you very much!

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        Natalie 3:50 am on November 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Dana! Nice to hear from you! Are you going to happy hour tomorrow?

  • 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!

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      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.

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        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.

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    Lauren 4:34 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink |  

    I really enjoyed last week’s bootcamp about having difficult conversations, but I was left feeling a little lost. How can I sound as sophisticated as Natalie, Anna and Renee during a highly awkward/ charged conversation? I am wondering if it would help to have some sort of framework to help sort out and organize my thoughts or do I just need more practice… Does anyone want to be my difficult conversation buddy??

    • Eugene Eric Kim 5:13 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lauren, I’m sure others will volunteer to be your difficult conversation buddy, but I’ll go ahead and be the first in line. Anytime you want to practice, let me know.

      You’re also dangerously close to breaking ground rule #1. 🙂 You didn’t get a chance to practice this past week, unfortunately, so let’s see if we can find ways to get you some practice, and you can report back and let us know how you’re feeling then. When you do get the chance to practice, I’m sure it will feel awkward and charged and uncomfortable… and it will be just fine, which was what happened with Renee and Anna.

      Remember, difficult conversations are, by definition, difficult, even with lots of practice! If they don’t end up that way, then you’re probably doing something wrong!

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        Lauren 6:08 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thank you so much for offering to be my buddy Eugene! I will definitely be taking you up on that offer! And most of all, I am looking forward to practicing a difficult conversation tomorrow and very excited about the opportunity! 🙂

    • Anna Castro 6:05 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would be happy to be your difficult conversation buddy as well!! A few things that Bootcamp has helped me practice this time around has been to push myself to volunteer an opinion, speak first (or earlier in a conversation) and be participatory in a way that I am not used to or am comfortable doing. I had to participate and share during Bootcamp #1 because there were only two of us. I didn’t have much of a choice *insert smiley emoticon* (Eugene – how do I drop one into my comment?)

      I’ve been thinking a lot about how I participate in group settings and am discovering/learning quite a bit about when I’m comfortable and when I’m not. Our Bootcamp conversations about power and power dynamics sort of gave me permission to begin to analyze the kind of person I am or have been in different work settings. I have some interesting examples that I think are worthy of some sociocultural anthropology study. I have been afraid to unpack some of that stuff and the emotions that they bring up. Lately, and I think Bootcamp helps, I am confronting these issues and feelings head on. I am more comfortable thinking about how as a woman of color my various experiences have been shaped by other people’s perceptions of me based on these identities and how I have reacted to them.

      My participation in Bootcamp #1 had a lot to do with pushing myself to send Eugene an email. I drafted a response to his initial call out to changemakers in the Bay Area but it sat in my draft box for days until I read his blog post called Advice for Female Changemakers. Here is a link to it:
      Reading that post was the extra push I needed to hit the send button and act more boldly. I highly recommend it to you and all female changemakers.

      I think you are amazing, Lauren. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you and your very well written posts. I am so looking forward to staying connected with you after we complete Bootcamp #2 next week.

      • Eugene Eric Kim 4:58 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Love hearing the fruits of your self-reflection, Anna, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

        As for smileys, WordPress automatically converts the standard colon-dash-parenthesis combination. Try it!

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        Lauren 6:25 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Anna, I want to thank you very much for your post and for offering to be my difficult conversation buddy! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated reading your honest reflections. Secondly, thank you SO MUCH for posting the link to Eugene’s 2011 blog article. I think this was something I really needed to read right now, especially the part about finding your voice!! This is something I definitely struggle with especially, as @rapetzel shared, with my own writing and journey. I have really learned so much from your thoughtful listening and communication skills, Anna. And I definitely hope we can continue to have the conversations we started on the watercooler/blog after bootcamp is complete. Until tomorrow..Buenas noches 🙂

    • Rebecca 4:44 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Lauren! Your statement “How can I sound sophisticated as….” resonated with me a bit. It reminded me of a time a few years ago I took a huge risk, and wrote a public blog about the trials and tribulations of being professionally unattached. I did this with my best friend, which gave me strength, courage, and a strong writer to learn from. However the downside was when I was feeling my most vulnerable, I would look at her writing and use it to tear myself down. How could I ever compare! I remember having tortured conversations with friends about not feeling worthy to write alongside her.

      In retrospect, when I go back and read my writing at this time, it was delightful. I’m so proud, I’ll even share it here to prove it! http://professionallyunattached.wordpress.com/

      So I guess this is my friendly reminder to try and take the best of what learning and working with others can offer, but don’t undersell yourself in the process. I’m sure your style in difficult conversations will be different than Renee’s and Natalie’s but I doubt it will be worse. Try, as hard as it can be when we are our most vulnerable, to see the uniqueness and strength of your own approach alongside that of your peers!

      And finally, thanks for sharing your honest fears and concerns here! That takes courage, and it helps us all get better to see the vulnerability in our peers.

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        Lauren 6:47 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I LOVED your blog Rebecca! And Wow, your inner monologue, sounded a lot like mine does sometimes! But I would have never guessed by your very creative and individualized writing style! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely try to remember your advice- to see my own uniqueness and strength along side my peers especially during difficult conversations. Like you said, it can be hard sometimes. But I think, like Euegene says it takes practice and self awareness to begin to re-wire your thinking. Thank you Rebecca so much for your honest sharing and refection with me!

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    Natalie 4:00 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink |

    Yesterday’s meeting went well, if quite differently than anticipated. I prepared a two-sided handout for people, with “before the presentation” and “after the presentation” items to complete. The “before” side asked for questions about the organization’s mission and strategy (and I told people to come up with three questions even if they thought they didn’t have any questions), and instructed people to briefly list their top three projects and how they assumed it mapped to organizational goals.

    The ED then began his presentation, which was *much* longer than I anticipated and much more engaging as well. People were hungry for information about the theory of change and the five-year strategy, and were good at asking questions throughout the presentation. In fact, this continued for the remainder of the allotted meeting time, though I was given about eight minutes to continue with the “after” questions.

    Rather than rush through more prepared material, I just opened the floor to comments, and asked that people review their initial three questions to see whether they’d been covered. As it turned out, there was plenty of fertile material in their “before” questions, which generated more discussion. As we weren’t being kicked out of the room yet, we asked people to bring up examples of how their work mapped to the theory and strategy. It turned out that several people were working on items that were listed on the chart, but were marked as de-prioritized and to be handled in the future — an eye-opening result.

    The meeting ran over by a substantial amount, and finally ended from desperate bio-needs and fatigue. Everyone I polled afterward, however, said they loved the meeting and what they got out of it. In short, I think the meeting would have been fine without the forced addition of my handout, but the pre-presentation thinking did turn out to provide fodder and keep people looking for the strategic goals that correlated to their work.

    As for me, I would prefer not to do this in such a rush, but it was absolutely golden to get thoughts from everyone in the group, as well as Rebecca, and I was much more relaxed and willing to experiment as a result of the bootcamp. It was also a kick to get to report to the ED that the bootcampers had devoted a portion of the morning to this meeting. Many thanks to all of you!

    • Eugene Eric Kim 5:06 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m glad it went so well, I’m delighted to see how the bootcamper feedback influenced the process, and most of all, I love how skillfully you integrated. In particular:

      You did the question harvest before your ED’s presentation. I wasn’t sure if that was what @rapetzel and others were recommending, or whether they were suggesting you harvest at the beginning of your segment. Either way, you made the right choice. By coming up with their own questions before hearing your ED’s presentation, they became invested in what he had to say.

      You constrained the question harvest and the project-to-goal mapping process, which decreased the pressure to come up with things and made the exercise go more quickly. I also like how you borrowed from our first workout to further ease the pressure while also forcing people to push themselves; +1 for that!

      You made it an individual reflection rather than a group exercise. That’s a signal to me of a skilled designer. A lot of people are afraid of “wasting” group time together by having people do a silent reflection, but as we’ve discussed in bootcamp, giving people time to reflect individually can be super powerful.

      Finally, you adapted the design at the end of the meeting based on the flow.

      You’re right: The meeting would have been fine without the handout, but it was better as a result of it, and that’s what we’re striving for.

      Thank you so much for giving all of us a chance to practice with you, and thank you for sharing your experiences back so we could all learn from the outcome!

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    Renee Fazzari 10:51 pm on July 11, 2013 Permalink |  

    As some of you know, I am working with Rebecca to create a learning network experiment among civic participation funders. We had a design call today and got into a really interesting discussion that directly followed the bootcamp discussion yesterday – how do you create a virtual space that is as engaging and dynamic as an in-person space? Is this possible? What are some of the principles and technologies to support it?

    I’m intrigued about getting people’s pictures into the mix somehow after Eugene’s suggestion. We’re also going to use breakout technology to “create floor time” even within a conference call. And we all decided that it was critical that people “know who’s in the virtual room” so despite desires to be open, we are going to start with a closed, invite-only room where you know your audience. Since this is an initial experiment, this feels much safer.

    At the same time, I would like to experiment with the dynamic of “eventually, it can all be public UNLESS you ask for something to be confidential”. This is a 180 from the way we as funders usually operate. One of our design team members brought up the fact that this might help us realize, most of the things we talk about are actually ok to share and isolate when we’re really needing to be secretive, rather than defaulting to “confidential space” which is our norm. Holding an interesting tension here between needing to know who’s in the room and wanting to flip our default.

    Would love to hear if anyone has thoughts on positive virtual experiences in the past, or even qualities of great meetings that could be translated into a virtual format.

    • Eugene Eric Kim 1:07 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What’s the goal of the online space? Is it informal engagement? Is it a space where work will get done?

      This relates to my previous statement about how engagement doesn’t have to be all about meetings. That holds true of online space as well. Do you need an online space that is as engaging and dynamics as an in-person space? What purpose is that online space serving?

      I’ll write a longer blog post about this and how I’ve applied these principles with groups in the past. But for now, see if this is helpful:


  • Eugene Eric Kim 7:18 pm on July 11, 2013 Permalink |  

    Difficult conversations role play from yesterday:

    Difficult Conversations Role Play

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      Natalie 4:04 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I hereby request a bootcamp devoted solely to difficult conversations.

    • Anna Castro 5:12 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I second that. I could use the practice to work through some stuff I’m currently dealing with.

    • Eugene Eric Kim 5:14 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Given @lauren’s comment above and the two requests here, I’ll be sure to devote some time next week to more difficult conversations practice.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 12:37 am on July 11, 2013 Permalink |  

    Thank you all for another great workout today! These past three workouts in particular have really challenged my model, and I’ve learned a ton from watching you work and from your honest feedback. Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts this week here in the water cooler as I prepare for our final workout together (unless you all decide to do it again)!

    Natalie, looking forward to hearing how this afternoon went!

  • Anna 6:32 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink |  

    So glad Natalie asked about how to start a post. I keep feeling challenged by technology lately. I finally published my first blog entry for Bootcamp #2 this evening and it took me about 20 minutes to figure it out. I saw the homework about posting something on this Water Cooler and immediately felt concerned about my ability to navigate the site. Anyway, I am so glad that a component of Bootcamp includes blogging and tweeting (kind of). I have never blogged or posted anything online before Bootcamp and I appreciate being pushed out of my comfort zone. Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

    • Eugene Eric Kim 1:23 pm on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for fighting through the tool again, Anna, and for having a good attitude about it. I’ve de-emphasized online tools during our time together, but I definitely wanted to make some kind of online interaction part of the overall experience, so I’m glad you’ve found this part somewhat useful, if only because it’s pushed you. See you later this morning.

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    Lauren 6:00 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink |  

    Last week’s bootcamp was an interesting one for me. I really struggled through the exercise of designing a collaborative. At the end of the boot camp, I realized that part of the reason I struggled was that I didn’t ask the right questions to get clarity of thought. In the beginning I realized that I had failed to ask basic questions which lead to a lot of confusion in the end. This sounds silly, but this is something that I struggle with. Asking clarifying questions and clearing up assumptions are very important. And although they take time up front, they save a lot of time in the end. Lesson learned: I will continue to practice the art of questions!

    • Eugene Eric Kim 6:11 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I hate the word “failed” in this situation, Lauren. Remember ground rule #1. Asking these fundamental questions is a huge part of the practice. Very few people do it well, not because they’re not capable, but because they get distracted by other things.

      I think one of the reasons the workout last week didn’t work so well was that it was very multilayered. I wanted all of you to be paying attention to many things at once, too many things as it turned out. It’s a good reminder to me to keep things simple and focused.

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        lauren 4:21 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree Eugene- I don’t like the word failed (because I know I didn’t fail!). Are there any tools or exercises you can share about asking good questions that you could share with me and the group? I would really like to work on asking good questions in the moment.

    • rapetzel 7:56 pm on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Lauren! I’ve struggled with this as well. Particularly in professional contexts, there is a stigma against asking clarifying questions because we don’t want to seem dumb! I was just recalling an instance when one client was “surprised” by how well I did in a meeting because all my questions up front left them concerned I didn’t really get it. But, it was worth it! Because those questions also resulted in me designing an effective experience for the client. Often the act of asking those questions helps the group align and uncover trouble they didn’t even know was there. So long story short, this isn’t silly at all. I completely relate, and recognizing that puts you light years ahead of so many others.

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        Natalie 4:03 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yup. Many a time I’ve been thought an idiot for asking “obvious” questions, only to uncover that people were 1) talking about different problems, or 2) using terminology differently, or 3) pursuing completely different goals during the conversation. People can be far too quick to judge those who ask clarifying questions.

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          lauren 4:23 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thank you Natalie and Rebecca. I feel SO much better! I will continue to ask clarifying questions! Do you have any tips you can share with me for asking good questions in the moment? This is something I would really like to work on.

  • Rebecca Petzel 1:24 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink |
    Tags: Introduction   

    Hello Bootcampers! I’m fortunate to know most of you, but I wanted to introduce myself for the few I haven’t met. I’ve been working with Eugene for the past 3+ years and am a collaboration, group process, changemaker nerd. I’ve been following the bootcamp closely, and hope no one minds me jumping into the conversation! In case anyone’s curious, you can learn a little bit more about me here: http://rebeccapetzel.me/

    • Eugene Eric Kim 1:40 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Welcome, Rebecca! Glad to see you here. Your participation on the website thus far has helped me tremendously in thinking through the workouts, and I’m glad folks here will have a chance to benefit from your wisdom.

      And 3+ years! Wow!

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