ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We welcome your suggestions for improving this guide further for future trainings. We also welcome you to use it and adapt it for your own trainings, subject to the restrictions below.
This workshop guide has been developed over the course of many trainings by Liz Pallatto, Joy Cushman, Jake Waxman, Devon Anderson, Rachel Anderson, Adam Yalowitz, Kate Hilton, Lenore Palladino, New Organising Institute staff, MoveOn Organisers, Center for Community Change staff, Jose Luis Morantes, Carlos Saavedra, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, ShuyaOhno, Petra Falcon, Michele Rudy, Hope Wood,Josh Daneshforooz, Melanie Vant, Uyen Doan, Art Reyes, Voop de Vulpillieresand many others.
RESTRICTIONS OF USE This workshop guide has been provided pursuant to the following terms and conditions. Your acceptance of the work constitutes your acceptance of these terms:
You may reproduce and distribute the work to others for free, but you may not sell the work to others.
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If you have any questions about these terms, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Marshall Ganz, Hauser Center, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Mobilising Shared values: public Narrative and story of self
Intro to Public Narrative and Story of Self - 50 min.
Teamwork - 60 min.
Debrief Stories of Self - 25 min.
BREAK 10 min.
Mobilising shared commitment: Building Relationships
Introduction to Relationship Building - 35 min.
Teamwork - 50 min.
Debrief and Takeaways - 20 min.
Energiser - 5 min.
Mobilising shared StructurE: Building leadership teams
Introduction to Building Leadership Teams - 30 min.
Teamwork - 65 min.
Debrief - 25 min.
BREAK - 15 min.
MOBILISING SHARED VALUES: STORY OF US
Introduction to Story of Us– 30 min.
Teamwork – 45 min.
Debrief Stories of Us – 20 min.
CLOSING: what did we learn?
Pluses, Deltas and Takeaways15 min.
Close Day 2
April 18th: Deploying Power
Welcome back, agenda review, centering for day
STRATEGY I: turning resources into power—People, Power & Change
Introduction to Stategy: part 1 – 45 min
Teamwork: Actors, Power, Goal – 95 min
Peer Coaching – 30 min
STRATEGY II: turning resources into power—tactics and timeline
Introduction to Strategy: part 2 -20 min.
Teamwork: Tactics and Timeline - 55 min.
Debrief Timelines - 25 min.
Mobilising Shared Commitment: Action
Introduction to Action- 25 min.
Teamwork - 55 min.
Debrief and Takeaways - 25 min.
BREAK - 15 min.
Mobilising shared Values:
STory of Now and linking self/us/now
Introduction to Story of Now & Linking Self/Us/Now - 30 min.
Teamwork - 45 min.
Debrief Public Narratives - 25 min.
CLosing: What did we learn?
Summary, Key Learnings, Evaluation, and CELEBRATION - 25 min.
End of Day 3
WHY WE’RE HERE
What is the purpose of this training?
Why We’re Here & Workshop Goals The goal of this workshop is to introduce you to an organiser’s perspective on the world – or, at least, one part of it. We view organising as a leadership practice based on acceptingresponsibility for enabling others to achieve purpose under conditions of uncertainty: identifying, recruiting and developing leadership, building a constituency around that leadership, and transforming the resources of that constituency into a source of the power they need to achieve their purposes. This practice developed to translate voluntary effort, based on real commitment, into capacity to create change. We hope it will be useful.
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Each participant will learn the five basic organising leadership practices.
How to articulate a story of why they were called to lead, a story of those whom they hope to mobilise, and a story of action: self, us, and now.
How to build intentional relationshipsas the foundation of purposeful collective actions.
How to structure their team with shared purpose, ground rules and roles for effective leadership.
How to strategise turning your resources into the powerto achieve clear goals.
How to translate strategy into measurable, motivational, and effective action.
You will see that most sessions follow a pattern: we introduce new material, we work on it in teams, and we debrief our work. This way you can begin to work with others putting your skills to work right now and learning from your experience to be more effective.
Please bring an “exploratory” spirit to this workshop – try new things, take some risks, ask new questions.
What are your hopes for this workshop?
What kinds of skills are you interested in learning?
What contributions do you see yourself making?
PEOPLE, POWER, AND CHANGE
What are the core practices of organising and interdependent leadership?
PEOPLE, POWER, AND CHANGE Goals for this session:
To introduce our approach to leadership, organising and learning.
To introduce the 5 key organising practices on which we will focus.
* To introduce 5 core practices of interdependent leadership
What is Leadership? Leadership is taking responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose under conditions of uncertainty. The strength of a movement grows out of its commitment to develop leadership.
What is Organising? Organising is a form of leadership that enables a constituency to turn its resources into the power to make change based on the recruitment, training, and development of leadership. In short, organisingis about equipping people (constituency) with the power (story and strategy) to make change (real outcomes).
PEOPLE: Organising a constituency The first question an organiser asks is not “what is my issue” but “who are my people” – who is my constituency. A constituency is a group of people who are “standing together” to assert their own goals. Organising is not only about solving problems. It is about the people with the problem mobilising their own resources to solve it . . . and keep it solved.
POWER: What is it, where does it come from, how does it work? Rev. Martin Luther King described power as the “ability to achieve purpose.” It is the capacity we can create if your interest in my resources and my interest in your resources gives us an interest in combining resources to achieve a common purpose (power with). But if your interest in my resources is greater than my interest in your resources I can influence our exchange more than you (power over). So power is not a thing, quality, or trait – it is the influence created by the relationship between interests and resources. You can “track down the power” asking—and getting the answers to—four questions:
What are the interests of your constituency?
Who holds the resources needed to address these interests?
What are the interests of the actors who hold these resources?
What resources does your constituency hold which the other actors require to address their interests?
Our power comes from people—the same people who need change can organise their resources into the power they need to create change. The unique role of organising is to enable the people who need/want the change to be the authors of the change, because that changes the causes of the problem (powerlessness in one form or another), not only the problem.
So organising is not only a commitment to identify more leaders, but also a commitment to engage those leaders in a particular type of fight building the power to create the change we need in our lives. Organising power begins with commitment by the first person that wants to make it happen. Without this commitment, there are no resources with which to begin. Commitment is as observable as action. The work of organisers begins with their acceptance of the responsibility to challenge others to do the same.
CHANGE: What kind of change can organising make? Change is specific, concrete, and significant. It requires focus on a goal that will make a real difference that we can see. It is not about “creating awareness”, having a meaningful conversation, or giving a great speech. It is about specifying a clearly visible goal, explaining why achieving that goal can make a real difference in meeting the challenge that your constituency has to face.
Five Organising Practices Organising people to build the power to make change is based on mastery of five key leadership practices. These five practices can change individuals, how their groups operate, and how the world looks, feels, and is.
1. Creating Shared Story:
Organising is rooted in shared values expressed as public narrative. Public narrative is how we communicate our values through stories, bringing alive the motivation that is a necessary pre-condition for changing the world. Through public narrative, we tell the story of why we are called to leadership (“story of self”), the values of the community within which we are embedded that calls us as a collective to leadership (“story of us”), and the challenges to those values that demand present action (“story of now”). Values-based organising—in contrast to issue-based organising—invites people to escape their “issue silos” and come together so that their diversity becomes an asset, rather than an obstacle. And because values are experienced emotionally, people can access the moral resources—the courage, hope, and solidarity—that it takes to risk learning new things and explore new ways of doing things. By learning how to tell a public narrative that bridges the self, us, and now, organisers enhance their own efficacy and create trust and solidarity within their campaign, equipping them to engage others far more effectively.
2. Creating Shared Relational Commitment:
Organising is based on relationships and creating mutual commitments to work together. It is the process of association—not simply aggregation—that makes a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Through association we can learn to recast our individual interests as common interests, allowing us to envision objectives that we can use our combined resources to achieve. And because it makes us more likely to act to assert those interests, relationship building goes far beyond delivering a message, extracting a contribution, or soliciting a vote.Relationships built as a result of one-on-one meetings and small group meetings create the foundation of local campaign teams, and they are rooted in commitments people make to each other, not simply commitment to an idea, task, or issue.
3. Creating Shared Structure
A team leadership structure leads to effective local organising that integrates local action with state-wide, nation-wide and even global purpose. Volunteer efforts often flounder due to a failure to develop reliable, consistent, and creative individual local leaders. Structured leadership teams encourage stability, motivation, creativity, and accountability—and use volunteer time, skills, and effort effectively. They create the structure within which energised volunteers can accomplish challenging work. Teams strive to achieve three criteria of effectiveness—meeting the standards of those they serve, learning how to be more effective at meeting outcomes over time, and enhancing the learning and growth of individuals on the team. Team members work to put in place five conditions that will lead to effectiveness—real team,(bounded, stable and interdependent), engaging direction (clear, consequential and challenging), enabling structure (work that is interdependent), clear group norms, and a diverse team with the skills and talents needed to do the work.
4. Creating Shared Strategy
Although based on broad values, effective organising campaigns learn to focus on a clear strategic objective, a way to turn those values into action and to unleash creative deliberation; e.g., elect Barack Obama President; desegregate buses in Montgomery, Alabama; getting to 100% clean electricity; etc. State-wide campaigns locate responsibility for state-wide strategy at the top (or at the center), but are able to “chunk out” strategic objectives in time (deadlines) and space (local areas) as a campaign, allowing significant local responsibility for figuring out how to achieve those objectives. Responsibility for strategising local objectives empowers, motivates and invests local teams. This dual structure allows the movement as a whole to be relentlessly well oriented and fosters the personal motivation of volunteers to be fully engaged.
5. Creating Shared Measurable Action
Organising outcomes must be clear, measurable, and specific if progress is to be evaluated, accountability practised, and strategy adapted based on experience. Such measures include volunteers recruited, money raised, people at a meeting, voters contacted, pledge cards signed, laws passed, etc. Although electoral campaigns enjoy the advantage of very clear outcome measures, any effective organising drive must come up with the equivalent. Regular reporting of progress to goal creates opportunity for feedback, learning, and adaptation. Training is provided for all skills (e.g., holding house meetings, phone banking, etc.) to carry out the program. New media may help enable reporting, feedback, coordination. Transparency exists as to how individuals, groups, and the campaign as a whole are doing with regard to their progress toward their goal.
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Our workshop is also organised as a campaign: a way of mobilising time, resources, and energy to achieve an outcome and treat time as an “arrow,” rather than a “cycle.” Thinking of time as a “cycle” helps to maintain routines, normal procedures, our annual budgets, etc. Thinking of time as an “arrow” focuses on making change, on achieving specific outcomes, on focusing our efforts. A campaign is time as an “arrow". It is an intense stream of activity that begins with a foundational period, builds to a kick-off, builds to periodic peaks, and culminates in a final peak, followed by a resolution. Our workshop will follow the same pattern, each practice, building on what went before, and creating a foundation for what comes next.
We also take a particular approach to structuring leadership, a structure that enables us to develop the leadership of others, even as we exercise our own. Sometimes we think leadership is about being the person that everyone goes to:
How does it feel to be the dot in the middle of all those arrows? How does it feel to be one of the arrows that can’t even get through? And what happens if the “dot” in the middle should disappear?
Sometimes we think we don’t need leadership at all because “we’re all leaders”, but that looks like this:
Who’s responsible for coordinating everyone? And who’s responsible for focusing on the good of the whole, not just one particular part? With whom does the “buck stop”?
Another way to practice leadership is like this “snowflake”: leadership practices by developing other leaders who, in turn, develop other leaders, all the way “down”. Although you may be the “dot” in the middle, your success depends on developing the leadership of others.
Learning Organising Organising is a practice—a way of doing things. It’s like learning to ride a bike. No matter how many books you read about bike riding, they are of little use when it comes to getting on the bike.
And when you get on the first thing that will happen is that you will fall. And that’s where the “heart” comes in. Either you give up and go home or you find the courage to get back on, knowing you will fall, because that’s the only way to learn to keep your balance.
Each of our sessions will follow the same pattern: explanation, modeling, practise, and debriefing.
TEAM BREAKOUT SESSION:
LAUNCH YOUR LEARNING TEAM
Meet each other!
Articulate purpose of your work together as a team in terms of learning
Establish team norms
TOTAL TIME: 20 min.
Convene learning team in breakout space.
Coach leads a brief round of introductions (30 seconds each): Name, where from, parents’ occupation, background, fun fact
Launch Learning Team.
Review shared purpose – to learn about organising together, to experiment with possible paths forward fororganising around education
Establish team norms: discussion, time, decision making, norm correction
Explain and assign roles: time-keeper, scribe
COACHING AS A LEADERSHIP PRACTICE
How can I enable others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty?
Coaching as a leadership practice
Why is coaching an important leadership practice? Leadership in organising is about enabling others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty. Coaching enables others.
Organising campaigns are rich with challenges and learning opportunities, but we can be fish in the water in which we are swimming, unable to see what we’re in the midst of. Coaching can help address this problem. Coaching can help individuals and teams not only overcome the immediate motivational, strategic, and informational challenges that may be hindering their effectiveness, but remind them of the critical role of learning to listen in exercising leadership.
What is coaching in organising?
Coaching is a direct intervention in an individual or team’s work process to help them improve their effectiveness. Some examples of when coaching skills are necessary:
Helping a leader overcome motivational challenges with their volunteers.
Assisting a leadership team in creating strategy for their organising campaign.
Coaching is useful whenever we are working to enable others to build their own capacity to act, and though the contexts vary, the process is very similar throughout.
Elements of Coaching
Strategic Coaching Motivational Coaching
Coaching requires learning to identify a person’s or team’s strengths and weaknesses to help them draw upon their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. People often know what they “should” do. But fresh eyes can help diagnose specific challenges they face while identifying ways to deal with them.
Motivational (heart) coaching is intended to enhance effort.
Educational (hands) coaching is intended to help acquire information or skills
Strategic (head) coaching is intended to help evaluate how to use resources to achieve outcomes.
Coaching Approaches Corrective
Some coaching is aimed at helping improve poor performance (i.e., the coachee is overall not doing the leadership practice well and needs help getting up to a basic level).
Some coaching is aimed at helping the individual achieve mastery (i.e., the coachee does the leadership practice well and is ready to become expert).
Basic elements of coaching are the same (i.e., motivational, strategic, and informational), but coaching strategies may differ (e.g., consult by asking reflective questions to develop mastery vs. consult by providing expert feedback to illustrate errors in how they are thinking about the task).
How Coaching Works – the 5 Step Process Coaching requires learning how to use four methods to implement 5 steps. The four methods are: asking questions, listening (head and heart), supporting, and challenging. These are the 5 steps.
1. Observe: What do I see and hear?
Listen very carefully, observe body language, and ask very focused probing questions to satisfy yourself that you “get” the problem. It may take time to get the facts straight. But if you don’t get the problem, you can’t help solve it. Don’t be shy about asking specific “stubborn” questions. This process can help the coachee articulate just what the problem is in a way they may not have before. So it’s not only “getting information.”
2. Diagnose: Why is the problem a problem?
Getting the diagnosis right really matters. For example, if an organiser is struggling with strategy and you focus on getting them to try harder the result will only be frustration.
Is the challenge motivational (effort/heart)? Is the individual struggling because s/he is not putting forth enough effort? Is she not trying hard enough because she’s embarrassed? Is he quitting too soon because of frustration or fear? Is s/he getting interference from other habits (e.g., someone well-versed in marketing speak may not know how to tell an authentic story)?
Is the challenge educational (information/skills/hands)? Is the individual struggling because he lacks the skill to execute effectively? Does he not know how to do it? Is she getting interference from older habits or behaviors (like someone who is so used to selling things confusing this with telling a story of self)? Is it something you could model or role play with them?
Is the challenge strategic (strategy/head)? Is the individual struggling because s/he doesn’t know how to use the information or skills that she does have. Does he understand the concepts or underlying principles clearly? Has he not thought it through carefully? Are the goals not achievable? Does the strategy make sense?
3. Intervene – What do I do?
Once you think you’ve figured out what the problem is don’t just tell the coachee what you think he should do! Find out what she thinks she should do? Ask questions that enable the coachee to see the problem, and for you to see how the coachee sees the problem, and discern a way to solve it. Get the coachee’s views out on the table. The appropriate intervention depends on the diagnosis.
If the challenge is motivational, you can:
• Encourage and exhort—you can do it!
• Offer a kick in the pants (with love)
• Help the person confront his or her fear, embarrassment, or other emotion that may get in the way of their ability to risk acting, persevering, trying new things. Communicate with empathy, hope, and affirmation of the coachee’s self-worth. Reward and praise courage
• Model courage and emotional maturity in your own behavior confess fear and explain how you move toward it rather than away from it.
If the challenge is educational, you can:
Model the behavior and invite the coachee to imitate you to get the “feel” of the activity
Break it down into small parts and invite the individual to try one at a time
Offer three or four different practice exercises and observe which ones “take” for that person.
Suggest others with whom the person can practise.
Suggest ways to figure out where to find the missing information.
If the challenge is strategic, you can
Work through a specific example with the person, asking questions to guide the strategic process. Then reflect on the process itself, asking them to describe how it worked?
Ask questions about how the individual is thinking about the practice (“Why did you choose that tactic?”)
Offer your observations, asking how the person might think about it differently (“At that point, were there other options? What might they have been? Why did you choose the one you did?)
Offer feedback on what you are hearing, asking if that describes the situation, at the same time, offering possible reframing of it.
Use silent reflection and self-diagnosis (“Why don’t you take a moment to think through what you believe is working and not working and let’s talk about that?).
4. Debrief: What did the “coachee” learn?
Ask your coachee to summarise his or her “take away” from the session, commit to next steps, and decide when you will check back in. What went well? What are you challenged by? What are some possible solutions? What are your goals/next steps?
5. Monitor: How can I continue to support the coachee?
Schedule periodic check-ins to support your coachee in integrating this new or revised solution into their regular practice.
Find out from the coachee how the situation has changed.
Assess whether the diagnosis and intervention was successful. Celebrate success!
Effective coaching is
Effective coaching is not
Showing up and being present to another person’s experience and listening, with both your head and heart
Being so prepared that you work out all the answers for the coachee before you even hear or observe their challenges
Helping the coachee explore and make sense of their challenges and successes, and what they learned from it all
False praising of the coachee or only focusing on their strengths because you do not want to hurt their feelings
Helping the coachee to find solutions to challenges
Solely criticising the coachee
Asking questions that both support and challenge the person you are coaching
Telling the coachee what to do
TEAM BREAKOUT SESSION:
COACHING AS A LEADERSHIP PRACTICE
Practise the coaching process by coaching around real challenges that you are (or have faced) facing campaigns.
Reflect on the process and framework for coaching in organising and leadership.
TOTAL TIME: 50 min.
Get into groups of 3 people and practise coaching (15 min per round)
Decide who will be coach, coachee, and observer for the first round.
The coachee describes the problem he/she is facing and receives coaching from the coach. The observer should use the worksheet on the next page as a guide (10 min.)
Still in your groups of 3, debrief the first-round(5 min):
- Coach and coachee: How was this coaching process different from giving advice or providing someone all the answers? - Observer: What did the coach do well; what could be improved?
Switch roles, and repeat twice more (15 min per round).
Debrief learnings as a team: Take-aways, pluses and deltas
COACHING WORKSHEET (15 min. per round)
Use this worksheet to record your observations, diagnosis and the type of intervention you would use as a coach while in the role of observer. Use these notes to help debrief the coaching you observe
additional resources on COaching
How do I prioritise who to coach in organising?
When you have several individuals or teams to coach, where do you start? Where do you put most of your energy to get the best outcomes?
Invest your first coaching effort in those who are doing the best work. This seems counterintuitive, but the purpose of coaching is not just to fix problems – it’s to help people achieve excellent outcomes.
Coaching your most innovative, productive people first maximises their productivity, and preps you to coach others by giving you a detailed understanding of what excellent work looks like in practice. And if your best folks get even better, they can help you coach and support their peers.
Next, coach those who are showing promise. With what you’ve learned from the strongest groups, move on to those who are doing good work and help them make the leap to great. Utilise the tips in the 5 Step Coaching Process section for choosing interventions to help you tailor your coaching.
Finally, focus on the individuals and teams who are struggling. Watch these folks in action before jumping to conclusions. Are they struggling because of contextual factors, like a lack of resources, or because of inadequate skill or effort? Try investing a little more (resources, training or support), and see if outcomes improve. If so, great, keep coaching! If not, then assess whether this person is in the right role. Whether you’re coaching staff or volunteers, making sure the right people are in the right roles based on their skill and passion is a basic form of respect. While it’s painful for all involved in the short term, helping someone move on from a role that’s not well suited for them will only help everyone in the long term.
Be careful to set boundaries on your coaching with those who are struggling the most so that you continue to spend time and energy to keep your excellent folks going strong, and your good folks getting better.
How do I coach people to learn from failure? In her book, Mindset, Carol Dweck argues that we all tend toward one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. The fixed mindset claims we’re born with our basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, which can’t improve or change (so why try?). Ever heard someone give a poor presentation, then say, “I’m not a good public speaker”? That’s a fixed mindset.
The growth mindset asserts that we can develop our abilities through dedication and hard work. Our job as coaches is to cultivate a growth mindset in those we’re coaching. That requires learning to look directly at failure and understand it so we can improve.
Here are some tips for learning from failure, while striving for success:
Create a culture of debriefing. Before work begins, schedule time to debrief into every step. Make time after every event or project to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and articulate key learnings together. Require short written reflection on major projects, especially those that fall short.
Differentiate between actions and context. It’s easy to hold someone responsible for every outcome. But success and failure are a combination of individual actions and situational context. As you develop a learning relationship with the person you’re coaching, pay close attention to the details. When does one action lead to success? Under what conditions does the same action lead to failure? Success requires constantly evaluating the context and adapting our behavior to maximise good outcomes.
Interpret what happened. Coach the person you’re working with to interpret failure with clear eyes. Hiding failure or pretending it was success doesn’t fool anyone. Show those you coach that interpreting failure is an integral part of winning. Check out Barack Obama’s speech after his New Hampshire primary loss for a great example of interpreting failure in a way that stays focused on driving for success (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe751kMBwms).
Get back out there! Who wants to wallow in failure? Encourage those you coach to get out there and try again!
INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC NARRATIVE:
Story of Self, Us and Now
INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC NARRATIVE Goals for this session:
Learn WHY Public Narrative is an essential leadership skill
Learn HOW Public Narrative works: values, emotion & story structure
Learn HOW to tell your public narrative
Creating A Public Narrative
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
When I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when? - Hillel, 1st century Jerusalem sage
Crafting a complete public narrative is a way to connect three core elements of leadership practice: story (why we must act now, heart), strategy (how we can act now, head), and action (what we must do to act now, hands). As Rabbi Hillel’s powerful words suggest, to stand for yourself is a first but insufficient step. You must also construct the community with whom you stand, and move that community to act together now. To combine stories of self, us and now, find common threads in values that call you to your mission, values shared by your community, and challenges to those values that demand action now. You may want to begin with a Story of Now, working backward through the Story of the Us with whom you are working to the Story of Self in which your calling is grounded.