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Dialogue

Bohmian Dialogue defined is a freely-flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, or in this case, a common goal, experiencing everyone’s point of view fully, equally and non-judgmentally. According to Bohm, this can lead to new and deeper understanding. For project purposes, the practice of dialogue with stakeholders leads to a more effective collaboration, thus a more solid and robust outcome in terms of the project at hand. Specifically, active listening, withholding assumptions, respect for others’ points of view (and social worlds), letting everyone have a voice makes for a more productive discussion/meeting and a more inclusive meeting that explores everyone’s perspective. I have found that ground rules, presented prior to each meeting helps set the expectation and keep people on track, and reminds them, should they forget in the heat of the discussion, to be respectful of everyone. In terms of relating it to the concept of the project, which is compassion, I strongly believe that dialogue techniques strengthen our compassion muscles, as empathy is required to enter into an effective dialogue session.

REFLECTION

Articulate contemporary theories and practices of dialogue

Artifacts
Dialogue Week 1

Rationale
The above artifact discusses dialogue according to Bohm yet doesn’t address Isaacs and Pearce. Since the first week of the course I have come to better understand and better articulate theories and practices according to all three authors. To review Isaacs, the goal of dialogue is to think together. He explains that listening, respecting, suspending and voicing are the components needed to enter into and sustain effective dialogue. To tie this to Bohm, this thinking together, creates shared meaning that holds people or societies together. Isaacs says that to listen is to slow down, and pay attention to others but also to look for differences that others present. Respecting is to acknowledge; “I see you, I hear you and I am open to your views. There’s an element of empathy required to be open to new ideas and new points of view. Suspending, which is vital, is to step back and suspend any judgments you may have in relation to the people in which you are dialoging. Bohm also discusses the importance leaving assumptions behind and writes that one cannot enter into effective dialogue with bias and assumptions. This hinders the ability for new ideas and concepts to flow freely. Suspending, according to Pearce, also involves learning how to ask good questions such as “What would that look like?” What is missing?” “What is the question beneath the question?” What leads me to view things as I do?” Asking oneself and others these questions present a sound strategy for suspending assumptions and sustaining dialogue.

Pearce presents a coordinated management of meaning which challenges our perceptions of what is real and what is reality. Pearce’s concept of social worlds is that everyone has different social worlds or realities based on upbringing, environment, culture and many other factors. This concept must be understood and put into practice to empathize with others in which we are communicating. This is also a way of suspending; by attempting to understand another’s social world in order to better understand where thoughts, ideas and perceptions are created. Pearce writes that we must consider the following during conversations to allow for dialogue to exist: “What meanings are we making?” “How can I better coordinate my meanings with the other person?” “What effect does this conversation have on my life and others going forward?” To examine the realities you have created and then match these realties to create something new is social construction. Pearce, Bohm and Isaacs write of similar components to effective dialogue and practices such as listening, suspending, respecting, understanding social worlds, and asking questions. These are all techniques required for effective dialogue.

I didn’t touch on Isaacs voicing and wanted to address that voicing is also a manner of suspending from a prior way of thinking. Our speaking should not come from reaction but should emerge unplanned for the sake of dialogue. Our voices should unfold and enfold. To let a voice emerge, wait until someone has finished speaking and then wait a few moments for that meaning to bloom within your thoughts. Then speak. If we can learn from these authors and learn to listen, suspend, respect and voice, then we have a fighting chance at dialogue and new meaning.

Change: The concept of dialogue is new to me. I thought dialogue was two people talking and perhaps learning to manage difficult conversations. Dialogue has nothing to do with that except that it is a type of communication that can create new understandings among different people, regardless of culture and social worlds.  Dialogue techniques and practices have caused me to become a more active listener. When communicating with others, I don’t speak as readily as I used to. Instead, I listen and look for differences in thoughts and ideas. I also relate ideas to my reality or social world and try to find similarities as well. I try to remember to ask those questions necessary to help me suspend judgment and uphold respect for new perspectives. Overall, learning what dialogue is and what it can do, I feel, is vital and necessary for creating a new world view.

Model techniques of active listening

Artifact
Taxonomy of Dialogue

taxonomy-of-dialogue-scorpuz-1-copy

Rationale
Both Isaacs and Bohm have writings on listening. In modeling more active listening, I have done the following: I close my eyes and try to hear deeply when listening to someone. Hearing can be deeper than the other senses and there are little illusions in hearing. So learning to actively listen (and give yourself time to process; don’t react) can make all the difference in understanding and communicating effectively. I focus on what is being said and the tone and the tempo and the context. By focusing, I gain much better understanding where usually my thoughts are wandering while someone is speaking to me. In my taxonomy graphic above which I chose as my artifact for this section, I chose to put listening closer to the outer edge because it is an essential step that must be mastered in order to move on to the rest of effective dialogue. Dialogue allows us to hear a fuller context. But we have to actively listen first. I’ve learned I must be present when listening and I must not respond immediately. I must give myself time to think about the thought that was just expressed. A richer, more robust communication is the result and later, I can better remember certain points and can apply them to new ideas and new concepts which I find myself discussing.

Change
There’s been a big change in my listening skills. I’ve talked to classmates about listening being the key catalyst in moving us into dialogue. It is somewhat like a bridge one must cross first and it lets us see deeper dialogue and lets us start to enter into a new phase of meaning. Listening can move you forward or hold you back. Being aware of the importance of listening is the first step I’ve realized and putting it into practice and continually practicing follows. But until listening is mastered, dialogue cannot emerge.

Demonstrate skills that foster productive dialogue

Artifact
Core Practices of Dialogue, Dialogue Week 6

Rationale
I refer often to the Core Practices of Dialogue and I built my taxonomy with a similar focus. All parties involved understand and be open to dialogue to demonstrate it. They must advocate and inquire and listen thoughtfully to enter into the realm of effective dialogue. I can demonstrate I’ve engaged the core practices best through our Dialogue Activity from Week 6. Here is the prompt:

Describe a difficult critical incident challenge you have experienced in a professional setting. (Please omit identifying characteristics from the scenario to protect the privacy of the parties.) Articulate the series of events in terms of chronology and causality. When did the dialogue cease being productive? What did you notice? What are the critical moments that shaped the dialogue? What advice would you give to the participants in the scenario to reach positive resolution?  Respond to at least two of your colleagues and provide recommendations to improve their communication.

My response and my responses to my classmates demonstrates my ability to foster effective dialogue in practice. In my initial post, not reacting, not escalating, staying present and respecting were difficult but were exercised. This example also shows crisis intervention techniques due to the nature of the incident. I had to intervene in this employee’s negative discussions several times and eventually had to intervene in her own monologue and ask her to leave the office. We tried repeatedly to dialogue with her and come to some kind of understanding but she wasn’t open to engaging.

Change
Being able to demonstrate through verbal communication that I can foster effective dialogue practices is a major change. Being able to put Isaacs, Bohm’s and Pearce’s ideas into practice is something very new to me and the change is that it brings me to a new understanding of communication and how to communicate more effectively with others, especially in the difficult times. Stone’s three conversations must also be noted here as the incident was not about what happened necessarily, but about the employee’s social world, the employee’s feelings and her identity. She had issues with her father and she was projecting those negative feelings upon leadership. There is a parallel with 12 Angry Men and Juror 3 and his issues with his son. All of these were aspects the employee needed to address before being able to move forward with any type of conversation. The fact that I was able to attempt dialogue and not engage in those behaviors that hinder effective dialogue show that this course has changed my thoughts and behaviors in terms of communication.

Reframe conflict for shared understanding, options, and mutual benefit

Artifact
Collaboration Week 6

Rationale
In the artifact for the collaboration activity on week 6, I used mainly crisis intervention. Although it was a good start, I have since then created a better strategy for every day difficulties that are not of an emergency nature. Here is as the strategy I use for reframing conflict:

  • Clarify what we are here for
  • Emphasize learning and inquiry rather than resolution
  • Start from an appreciative base rather than a deficit model
  • Awareness is a better basis for resolving conflict than rules, rights and power

Change
I’ve come to better grasp what to do in those times of difficult communication, at work and at home. Of course, if the other parties aren’t willing to or aren’t open to finding resolution than it may not be effective. The point is to start a dialogue and communicate by presenting other perspectives and ideas until a resolution is created. We aren’t really finding resolution, it doesn’t already exist, we have to create it.

Research and articulate contrasting perspectives among diverse constituencies

Artifact
12 Angry Men Film and Assignment

Rationale
In our 12 Angry Men project, we analyzed the film, identified difficult conversations among the diverse group of men, evaluated contrasting juror perspectives and suggested dialogue techniques and practices that may have helped the men communicate more effectively.

Change
After this activity I have to say I saw a different side of dialogue. Seeing practical dialogue among difficult conversations and heightened emotion was enlightening. The theory is one thing and the taxonomy was so helpful in brining all the facets of all the authors together into one, complex yet cohesive picture. However, seeing it in practice is necessary to grasp the core and to see the broadness of dialogue come full circle. I don’t know if I would have had the full experience without seeing dialogue in action amidst diverse and emotional people.

Learning Outcome
Define the perspectives that need to be explored and information that needs to be gathered for the needs analysis for the Capstone Action Project.

Artifact
Capstone Project Stakeholder Assignment

Rationale
The stakeholders in which I am partnering for my project have several different perspectives. We all agree that compassion is key, yet different personalities and different social worlds exist and meetings have not yet become productive. For example, we need to define roles and discuss action items with achievable deadlines in order to roll out our compassion campaign on-time and effectively. This may prove to be difficult if assumptions exist and if seniority in terms of experience plays a part in deciding who takes what role. And I think we need to not only define roles for the overall effort but also for meetings. Also personalities that are more analytical and take more time to evaluate situations are clashing with the “doers” and frustration is becoming obvious. However, perspectives need to voiced and heard, yet a structure in which to do this is what we lack.

Change
The change I notice in working with these stakeholders is that I am a better listener and am more open to different perspectives and ideas. I am slow to speak and give my self time to process thoughts in light of my new experience with dialogue practice.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally to the unfolding of experiences moment by moment” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). When I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness in this Masters program, I was hesitant. I heard words like “meditation” and “focusing on your breath” and I wondered, “What have you gotten yourself into?” To explain, mindfulness is a process; ever becoming more and more aware through mindful attention. It focuses on the present, not the past or the future- it is here and now. One must be non judgmental and accepting of the thoughts and feelings that arise when practicing mindfulness. Which means the present experience is what it is; it is not classified as good or evil or right or wrong.  One needs to take in all the external sights, sounds, and smells, in addition to the internal sensations, thoughts and feelings. Then one observes them carefully, accepts them, and lets them go, in order to attend to another present experience.

By the second week of the course, I was engaged. I began to understand the key of mindfulness and how it offered the benefits of peace and self-control, and showed me that those things are not out of my reach. I began to wonder how I had lived without mindfulness up utnil now. I lost my mother roughly a month before I started this program and I began to realize that if I had known about mindfulness sooner, just a bit sooner, I would have had a tool, a friend, to help me manage the emotions that come with the loss of a loved one. Soon I started to practice mindfulness and my life became so much more manageable. Even during this program, going to school full-time, working full-time, being a mother and a wife and all that comes with those roles, I was able to manage my emotions in a more healthy manner by practicing mindfulness techniques. One of my favorite analogies and lessons learned, which I think about almost daily is that nagative emotions are like uninvited guests. They show up unexpectedly and all I must do is embrace them, welcome them, knowing that they will soon be leaving.

The practice of meditation and focusing on my breath while clearing and calming my mind helps me to center myself, regulate my emotions, and get my head where it should be during the busy and demanding parts of my day. Mindful exercise and mindful eating have enhanced mundane, daily activities and chores, and I am now more open to joy and receiving joy in my heart, instead of merely “getting through the day.” But Mindfulness goes beyond stress-relief. Minfulness practice can lead us to reach out and discover the deepest parts of what is means to be human. Nonjudgemental attention and relaxation are gateways to finding the stability, to examine with curiousity, our most chalenging emotions, our deepest-held beliefs and the habits that launch us from one moment and one day to the next. Enter… compassion.

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to collaborate with others more effectively, thus, fortifying this project and bringing it to a successful close. When meetings get off track, when people disagree with my or others’ ideas or suggestions, I can feel the negative emotions being triggered and I lose focus. Mindfulness has not only taught me to self-regulate negative emotions but also to cultivate empathy, gratitude and generosity. These are the keys to working well with others. Listening is vital. Actively listening to others, and conveying interest and engagement vocally helps to better understand what another person is thinking, feeling and trying to communicate. This is empathy, this is compassion. Another way to integrate mindfulness into meetings is to take a moment to think about the person or people you will be with and what is happening in their lives. Mindfully listening and practicing empathy has helped me be a more compassionate person and has helped me to not only conduct this project more effectively but to become a more emotionally intelligent person.

REFLECTION

Understand mindfulness as a phenomenon and practice.

Rationale
By way of the week’s (week 1) materials: The Art of Now https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment; Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes; and Henepola Gunaratana, B. (2011). Mindfulness in Plain English. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, I am introduced to mindfulness and grasp enough of it to: describe the basic concepts of mindfulness; explore techniques to achieve mindfulness; demonstrate the application of a technique in mindfulness; Develop a personal plan to practice mindfulness everyday. You will see examples of these abilities in Discussion Board B Week 1 and Assignment #1; a paper on the origins of mindfulness.

Artifacts
1) Discussion Board B Week 1 3
2)Assignment #1 Paper: Describe the origins of mindfulness as a practice. https://claremont.instructure.com/courses/155/assignments/3055/submissions/365?download=66 02

Application
I have focused on the Vipassana breathing basics. I’ve had to include counting as a way to keep my mind from wandering. I think about the past and the future a lot while meditating, and when I do I re-focus on breathing. I don’t think I’ve achieved a meditative state yet, but I have felt a serenity that spouts joy… I can’t stop smiling. Change My behavior, in terms of applying what I have learned, has definitely changed for the better, as I start my mindfulness journey. It’s only been a week and I am a much more joyful and positive person! I have hungered for these types of tools and never knew they existed. I have prayed as a way of meditating and calming/centering my emotions and it has worked well for me. Yet, the breath is such a simple tool I am finding myself aware, and using the breathing techniques several times daily. This experience is meeting my needs on many different levels: Intellectually, Socially, Spiritually, Creatively, Physically/Mentally and Emotionally! What more could anyone ask for. What a challenge and what a reward this is turning out to be. I am blessed.

Research the physiological and biological effects of mindful practice.

Rationale
In week 3 we began to learn the Neuroscience of Mindfulness. We used the following resources: Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation (Web Link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6Q0G1iHBI ; Cortisol vs. Transmitter Substances, theory of neural nets, neuro plasticity, neural integration, neurogenesis http://www.powershow.com/view/3aec04NjFiZ/Learning_The_Brain_Notes_from_2_10_Conference_Lynn_Fishman_powerpoint_ppt_pr esentation; and Lazar, S., How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains. (2011). TEDTalk. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rRzTtP7Tc. We also viewed Siegel’s Ted Talk. From the resources, as you will see in the artifact below, I was able to: clarify the definition of cognition vs. mindfulness; explore the biological framework for mindfulness; analyze the dynamics of neurotransmitters and how they relate to mindfulness; and evaluate the manifestation of Impulse Effects from neuro/biological perspective.

Artifact
Discussion Board B Week 3 and Week 5

Application
I tried mindfulness while driving to work and later during running. I focused on breath while I was listening to Dr. Kabat-Zinn serenely discuss the practice of mindfulness. I loved it, it created a tranquility in me that I have never experienced, especially when driving. I was thinking about those I love and don’t know if I achieved a meditative state, I don’t think so because I was driving/running and had to be somewhat aware of my environment while practicing mindfulness. But… I definitely felt jubilant and free, which is a first for me when driving to work. So baby steps, baby steps. Change I am interacting more and more with others via the discussion boards and though it is extremely time consuming, it is challenging me in other ways as well, such as thoughtfulness and focus. I have a new appreciation for my classmates and feel a stronger bond with each of them as a result of our communicating in such as supportive and positive manner. One can’t help but feel a kinship towards everyone when everyone is so kind and so helpful. I am blessed to be a part of this program with such intelligent, creative, kind hearted and amazing people! There is definitely a “loving kindness” being cultivated and experienced by all who are open to it. I am a more positive person, more educated and more mindful in almost every way.

Analyze the effects of the physical and social environment on mindful behavior.

Rationale
We studied some great material: A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing, How Chronic stress disrupts neural coherence between cortico-limbic structures; positive psychology; and How can mindfulness change your life, a video on the Center for Mindfulness and what it embodies, just to name a few. After exploring and internalizing week four and week five’s materials, I was able to: analyze the effects of the environment on mindful behavior; explore evidence of the rise of mindfulness in society through psychology and organization behavior studies; research the connection between positive psychology as a science and mindfulness; and research the psychology of emotion and its relationship to mindfulness. Both of the discussion posts for week four are presented as artifacts. Discussion board A focuses on MRI research and discusses studies on how mindfulness can physically change your brain. Discussion B centers around a case analysis of how mindfulness changed someone’s biology. These two examples explain the knowledge gained concerning the positive effects of mindfulness on brain tissue and how some people have overcome stress related illnesses and physical pain using mindfulness practices.

Artifacts
1) Discussion A Week 4 2) Discussion B Week 4 and Week 7

Application
I am still using prayer and a combo of prayer/meditation at night, in the morning, and as I drive or run or eat. It is centering, serene and joyful. I do not believe I have achieved a meditative state and don’t know that I will unless I put more time, more effort and more focus into it. I have heard about the meditative state, that it is like an out of body experience, or as one author referred to it: the buzz. I do experience a tranquility beyond explanation and a joyfulness that permeates my entire being. Change As I learn more about the brain, how it functions and how mindfulness practice can change the brain, I am fascinated and filled with hope. I believe my behavior has changed exponentially and continues as I learn more about this amazing mindfulness. If one compared my behavior now with what it was two months ago, it is a complete 180 degree change. I no longer: react immediately without listening and making certain I understand completely, jump to conclusions, get upset when life doesn’t go my way, spin endlessly on matters of the heart and mind that really do not matter, and there’s more. All I can say is thank you! Learning Objective 4 Develop strategies to identify personal stress-pattern responses and how to overcome them. Rationale After week five and week six I was able to: explore and articulate how one functions in stress; identify a personal stress pattern response; describe the function of the stress pattern; apply a technique to diffuse the stress pattern; demonstrate the ability to disrupt the stress 8 pattern. The artifact chosen discusses my own emotional triggers identified in personal and professional environments, and a plan mindfulness practices I can use to decrease stress.

Artifact
Assignment # 2, paper: Detail what your triggers are and develop a plan of action to mitigate or decrease your stress reactions. https://claremont.instructure.com/courses/155/assignments/3056/submissions/365?download=6 985

Application
My daughter and I have adopted mindful eating as a fun way to remind each other to be mindful. If she sees me getting emotional, she will hold up the invisible raisin and tell me to focus on it, to smell it, to hear it, to taste it. This reminds me to stop, detach, transition my focus, to re-center and move forward. It is a fun thing between us (she is 8) and when I see her becoming emotional I do the same thing and we instantly re-focus and laugh. Change Had a difficult time facing the fact that my wallet was stolen out of my purse while I was out with my husband and I was so disappointed in humanity! I tried my breathing focus but nothing seemed to work, I felt so saddened and violated… I couldn’t snap out of it. It took me two days to come to terms with it and let it go. The stress of having to cancel credit cards and get a new drivers license… is so overwhelming. I didn’t handle it as well as I could have BUT I didn’t cry or freak out; I faced the fact and did what I had to do. I handled it better than I would have two months ago, prior to my mindfulness journey. I think having my mindfulness tools was helpful, I just am not as mindful as I would like to be yet.

Apply a mindful practice in personal and professional settings.

Rationale
By the end of week nine I was able to: apply three of the mindful techniques in a professional setting, and apply three of the mindful techniques in a personal setting. The artifact chosen discuses just that; how I used mindfulness techniques in a personal and professional setting.

Artifact
Discussion Board B Week 9: What three techniques did you use this week in your personal relationships? Which three did you use in a professional setting?

Application
I tried mindful breathing, mindful eating and mindful driving. I really enjoy all three techniques and am getting better at not letting my mind wander. If it does, I just bring it back. I think about everything in which I am grateful for while meditating such as the rain, the green grass, hot water, my children, etc. I rejoice in the blessings I have been given. I don’t think I have 10 achieved a meditative state, as I think that feels somewhat like flying but look forward to meditative yoga and experiencing the state soon. Also, I brought Appreciative Inquiry to our staff retreat; transitioning our focus from what we don’t do well to what we do well. It was an aha moment for the staff and they enjoyed the activities of defining AI and discovering our strengths. Change The way I interact with others and my behavior has definitely changed for the better! My thoughts are challenged in the discussions and my emotions are, at times, also challenged. I am proud to say I am much more thoughtful and reflective in the way I interact and respond to others. I am more at peace with myself even during chaotic times. I am grateful for this class and this program.

________________________________________________________________

References
Henepola Gunaratana, B. (2011). Mindfulness in Plain English. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. (ISBN-13: 978-0861719068)

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012). Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. (ISBN-13: 978-1604076585)

Merton, T. (1968). Zen and the Birds of Appetite. New York: New Directions. (ISBN-13: 978- 0811201049) The Art of Now https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-livingin-the-moment

Lazar, S., How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains. (2011). TEDTalk. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rRzTtP7Tc

Bertolini and Gordhamer. The Power of Mindfulness in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBjmH-JIJzQ Collins

A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review 82(6), 407–428. Neural nets. [pdf]

Oliveira, J. F., et al. (2013, February). Chronic stress disrupts neural coherence between corticolimbic structures.

Frontiers in Neural Circuits 7(10), 1–12. [pdf] Center for Positive Psychology. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

Jha, A. (2013, March). Mindfulness can improve you attention and health. Scientific American Mind. Web link

Spinella, M. Having kindness and compassion toward difficult persons. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxtYX JjZWxsb3NwaW5lbGxhfGd4OmEyMTYxMjY5MzBmOGYzNg

Thurman, R. We can be Buddhas. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_508430&feature=iv&src_vid =qzR62JJCMBQ&v=h5cZITQDTrE

Imel Z., Baldwin, S., Bonus, K., & MacCoon, D., pp. 735–742. Retrieved from DOI:10.1080/10503300802326038. Published online: 15 Nov 2008.

Kitamura, M. (2012). Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit. BloombergBusiness. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-22/harvard-yoga-scientists-find-proofof-meditation-benefit

Chris Ruane MP. (2013). At Awake in the World, Video: Mindfulness in political life. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AcAaUIRpzE.
Adyashanti. Is there a path to awakening? An interview with Adyashanti. Scienceandnonduality. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXl-BMUotwo.
Ricard, M. The art of meditation. RSA. Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZwnXj0Ck1k.
Ricard, M. The habits of happiness. RSA. Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_578951&fea
ture=iv&src_vid=qzR62JJCMBQ&v=vbLEf4HR74E.

Change

In the last two years, change has been great in my world. A new job at a new company, I started a Master’s Program, I lost my mother and the one person who always had my back, I’ve experienced and survived many relationship changes with friends and loved ones, my children have become more independent, and I’ve entered the threshold of a new stage of life. Within all of this change, I have changed. For example, I’ve become more self-aware, I have gained a better understanding of communication with others as well as recognizing and respecting people have different social worlds and different acculturation and most importantly, I have become a better listener. I believe the Master’s Program education is the basis for many of the positive, personal changes, in addition to the grief process… I’ve learned so much about myself and others as a result. Change occurs at different levels: individually, relationally, and structurally or systematically (Stein and Vallers 2012 p. 2). Between these different areas or levels of change, most change takes place relationally. Relationships are so dynamic… we focus on and value more relationships in our personal environment vs. our professional environment. Professional, or structural or systematic change is generally temporary and not as meaningful as personal relationships. In efforts to better understand compassion; its roots, science and how we’ve lost our compassion in today’s world, we will focus on the relational area of change and how we can affect positive change within our daily relationships.

Although compassion has been discussed for centuries, it is only now, in the West, being studied as a science that can bridge cultures that have been separated in thought and tradition. I believe that the better we understand the emotion, its triggers, its call to action, and its essence, the better we can harness the good it has to offer and share it with the world through compassion cultivation programs. We can teach compassion to children through various mediums, including games; we can have compassion events in our communities to instill the necessity for its existence in our local neighborhoods and work places. We can teach the world about its value, and how we each play a part in making the world a better place for our children.  

I only hope that my work in this Ethical Leadership program brings others the same hope and ignites the same fire that exists in my heart to find a cure for world’s lost compassion. I hope everyone who reads this will ask the question… “what can I do to help?”  That is the question that needs to be asked and that desire to help must be transformed into action within the dynamics of our relationships.  I have been called to play a part in working to find global healing, and this is a healing of relationships among the human race. We have got to understand our likenesses as well as what makes us different; and we must embrace and celebrate both. Many joined me during the Global Unity Games campaign and we concluded with 256 teams, 500 individuals, 50 support organizations and millions of acts of compassion. Yet relationally, we all connected and forged new understandings of those we knew and and those we just met. A deeper bond now exists among those relationships we had previously, and a “togetherness” now exists within and around our new relationships. The campaign for compassion was a success. I realize that we, as a global world, have a long way to go, but this initiative has enlightened many about compassion and has inspired many more to put their compassion into action; within their daily interactions and relationships old and new. The change has begun.

Analyze and reflect on the traditions, frameworks, and concepts in the fields of social and organizational change, including examining the drivers, sources, and these causes of change: need, innovation, failure, and conflict

Artifacts
Dialogue and collaboration posts, weeks three and four.

change-ref-dia-w3

change-ref-coll-w3

change-ref-dia-w4

change-ref-collab-w4

Rationale
In weeks three and four we focused on organizational change and the lead players as well as the internal/external drivers of change. In terms of social change tools, we were introduced to Design Thinking, of which, I am a huge fan, and we were re-introduced to Appreciate Inquiry. I have used AI in my organization and continue to use the model as our tool for improving upon our strengths, vs. focusing on our weaknesses. We have worked through the first three areas in the AI process, Discovery, Dream and Design.

4-d-cycle-july-2014-v5

Change: I applied appreciative inquiry into my work life. I introduced the concept at a staff retreat and we paired up team members and discussed strengths, wins and dreams for our organization. We have now clearly defined our strong areas and our dreams, as well as some concerns, for those areas. We have talked about what can and should be and are working towards designing how we think we can put those ideas into action. As we move into what sustains and inspires, I can reference learning objective number three.

Analyze the dynamics and elements of change processes as they impact the trajectory of change

Artifact

Week three dialogue and collaboration posts (see above)

Rationale
This is my post for week three’s drivers of change post:

In any organization, an internal driver for change would be change brought about by factors within the organization, such as:

  • strategy
  • employee attitudes
  • stakeholders
  • workforce
  • culture

External drivers are external factors, which tend to be out of the organization’s control, such as:

  • government laws and regulations
  • labor markets
  • economic changes
  • competitor performance
  • social changes

Internal drivers would affect for-profit organizations, non-profits, government agencies and hybrids differently and also would vary by industry. However, economic changes of the external market, federal/state labor law changes, and external political factors (like an election) would have an impact on all types of organizations.

Here is an article on how internal and external factors drive change: http://study.com/academy/lesson/how-internal-and-external-factors-drive-organizational-change.html (Links to an external site.)

Change: I am now able to identify and recognize change drivers and have a clear understanding of the dynamics of a change process (need, innovation, failure, and conflict). This is a good place to start. Being able to plan for anticipated change is empowering, yet simply being able to realize, or make the connection between the cause and possible effects internal and external factors may have on me increases my peace of mind. I am also knowledgeable enough to share my knowledge of change management with others. I can design a training and present it to my team members at work.

 

Understand alignment and learn to identify resources and processes that sustain change

Artifact
Week five collaboration post.

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Rationale
A ToC that includes  no surprises, constant communication, team decision making, frequent recognition of wins, transparency, and a vision for change in which most could support and own is  key to aligning the team with organizational change and ensuring sustainability. A leader must create a culture that embraces change and sustains that change. I want to integrate Clarke and his video “Embracing Change” because it reveals an understanding of why people resist change and a way to introduce change in a way that decreases resistance is so very vital to alignment and sustainability. If the team is prepared and ready to embrace the change, they are also much more open to efforts of sustaining the change. Overcoming fears and resistance, aligning the team before implementing the change; these are things a change leader knows and understands how to do. I also listed tips for driving change that can be embraced and sustained. Small, mid-size or large, I believe any size organization can create and drive successful change by following these guidelines:

  1. Clearly state your vision for the future

Teams are more likely to embrace change when they are aware of what is happening and when. Don’t create a culture of secrecy. Instead, be transparent and frequently communicate your vision so everyone is on the same page.

  1. Set short-term goals

It is much easier to focus on goals and tasks that can be achieved in the immediate future than the end result that’s years away. Introduce change in bite-size chunks that are achievable and manageable.

  1. Start at the top

Employees will look to the CEO and C-level for support and direction. Ensure leadership buy-in and make sure they are a unified front.

  1. Ask employees what they think

Make time to talk to the people on the ground to understand how they feel. You need to hear their needs, concerns, and fears to successfully implement something new.

  1. Stay on top of resistance

Doing things differently will make some employees uncomfortable. Be aware of anyone who has a sudden negative attitude, and address any unhappiness or issues the moment they arise.

  1. Create new communication channels

Your team will be hungry for information and updates, so beef up your steam of communication. Maintain visibility, be more accessible for impromptu conversations, and keep your employees regularly updated.

  1. Become an early adopter

When you walk the walk, your employees will be more inspired to follow you. You will be seen as a role model adapting to this change rather than someone telling everyone else what to do.

  1. Keep a positive attitude

Change can be stressful and confusing, but you can keep the corporate climate positive by remaining upbeat and enthusiastic.

  1. Give frequent feedback

Personal, immediate feedback can be very motivating as employees’ jobs and culture change. Build their confidence and shape expectations by providing real-time feedback (Wang, 2015 pp.1).

Change
I am fortified with the ability to plan for change. I can design a ToC for several types of change. I am able to access resources such as the guidelines above to execute a ToC properly, aligning myself and the team for the best possible outcome.  One thing I remember from this particular week’s discussion with classmates is that with change, adapting is a stronger trait to have than other traits. One’s ability to adapt to change is beyond survivability, it can take one to a state of flourishing, when others who cannot adapt are merely struggling to survive.

 

Analyze practices and acquire tools needed as an agent of change

Rationale
In week two, we had a video by Clarke as a resource. It had such an impact upon me and made me reflect upon how I have experienced change in the past and whether it has been introduced to me in a manner in which I am likely to embrace or not. Clarke gives an excellent tool and explains why people resist change… which is key to designing a method for implementing change. We must understand the fears and the reasons why people do not like change so that we can design change and tools for change around those factors. Clarke’s four door tool is one I will use going forward when introducing change to a team.

Clarke, J. (2010). Embracing change. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPhM8lxibSU .  Other excellent tools are Design Thinking and Appreciative Inquiry. During week six, we were asked to list tools and resources we have available to us to implement change. I listed several in my post:

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Change
I now have a better grasp on why people resist change. I have some insight into the human mind and why it behaves the way it does when change is introduced. This knowledge is powerful because it gives me the ability to design ToCs around these factors of resistance, thus increasing the chance of the best possible outcome.

 

Develop approaches to creating visibility and generating insights for change

Artifact
Week seven resources and discussion posts.

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Rationale
The greatest resource from this course is the MIT toolkit: http://www.kstoolkit.org/Critical+Moments  introduced to us in week seven. This tool includes many insights for change and real-life tools and examples we all can access and apply anytime in our personal and professional lives for seeking help, creating visibility within the community, and examining potential ways to implement change. My week seven dialogue post discusses how I could have used the toolkit for my Capstone project:

Within the Tool Kit what I found useful was the module on “help taking action.” Under this section there is a “model for getting started” and “conducting a direct action campaign”.  For my Capstone, I created and launched a compassion campaign with a group of local community members. All the elements in this toolkit were either 1) what we did as part of our planning process or what we SHOULD have done (some are not applicable). For example here’s a list of elements, and I have identified which we employed and which we did not:

Another area in which I found useful for my Capstone was ‘best change processes”. Under this umbrella, I found “changing community conditions and systems” and “achieving widespread change in behavior” great resources. Specifically “making outcomes matter” is what I took to heart and really, what all agents for change I’m certain area looking to do. Making Outcomes Matter is a process that uses feedback on progress and differential rewards (i.e., incentives and disincentives) for change and improvement. It is not simply about “accountability” – a thumbs-up or thumbs-down final assessment of the merit of the effort. Rather, the process of Making Outcomes Matter occurs over the lifespan of an initiative, and aims to use information about progress to prompt action and make adjustments. Feedback — on levels of change and improvement and incentives for progress — are used to enhance levels of organizational capacity, implementation, and community change and population-level improvements (Fawcett, Francisco, Paine-Andrews, & Schultz, 2000; Paine Andrews, Francisco, & Fawcett, 1994). This process works best when linked to other key processes that help to (a) outline the conceptual roadmap and indicators for change (Developing a Framework or Model of Change (Links to an external site.)) and (b) measure and understand what an initiative is doing (Documenting Progress and Using Feedback (Links to an external site.)). My project, a compassion campaign, had a means for measuring change and improvement on a digital map and a channel for people to tell stories about what acts of kindness they conducted. Sustaining the changes we initiated is what we are interested in now, and the toolkit also offers resources for this.

Change
I can draw on this MIT resource to bring about durable changes in my personal and work environments. I can also use it to plan for continued implementation through times of change. It will help me to refine and combine perspectives with other resources and community partners to help particular issues are addressed, and to build an organization capable of carrying out meaningful work.

 

References

Clarke, J. (2010, December 21). Embracing Change. Retrieved from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPhM8lxibSU .

KU, Community Toolbox: Developing a Framework or Model of Change.

MIT Center for Reflective Practice, Critical Moment in Reflection. Retrieved from: http://www.kstoolkit.org/Critical+Moments (Links to an external site.)

Phalpher, R. (1999). Leader Values. Change; Sustaining Organizational Change. Retrieved from: https://www.leader-values.com/article.php?aid=72 .

Simkovitz, H. (2002). Business Wisdom. Creating, Supporting and Sustaining Change. Retrieved from: http://www.business-wisdom.com/articles/ArtclCreatingSuppSustain.html.

Stein D., & Valters, C. (2012), Understanding “theory of change” in International Development: A Review of Existing Knowledge. JSRP Paper 1. London: The Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP) and The Asia Foundation.

Wang, D. (2015). Tiny Pulse. Successful Organizational Change Examples You Need to Copy. Retrieved by: https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/sk-successful-organizational-change-examples.

Collaboration

According to the Engagement Streams Framework, pp. 5, people need a safe place in which to collaborate. This is the premise for my collaboration plan. collab-plan-e-portfolio Our text for our Collaboration course, (Mattessich, et al. 2004, p. 4) supports this in terms of environment; the environment is first of the six success categories for collaboration.

People with a common goal and shared values respond positively to ground rules, commitment, and guidelines for enhancing communication. Most people see enjoying in the rewards after the work as a positive and even an incentive. People generally are willing to put in the hard work if they can see the prize at the end and feel it is attainable. Also, sometimes people simply forget the steps to effective dialogue and collaboration and reminders can be a thoughtful and welcome addition to meetings. Ground rules and guidelines can also keep the collaboration focused and on track. Mattessich et al., (2004) explains a commitment to a common goal and the sharing of rewards and resources as major aspects of what makes collaboration work.

I have learned that I cannot “make” effective collaboration happen by controlling others’ views. What I can do is take ownership of my part of the collaboration and do not jump to conclusions, use practices of effective dialogue (active listening, suspending judgment, respecting others’ perspectives) use my best compassionate communication, self regulate, use conflict as a tool, know the difference between peacemaking and conflict resolution and when to use each, pay attention to what is not being said and non verbal communication and leave my ego at the door. Learning and practicing these lessons has made me a better communicator, listener, collaborator and leader.

Together with the stakeholders for my project, I can and we can, within our communities, increase the knowledge of compassion and its importance. If we can articulate well the benefits one gets when committing random acts of kindness, we can be more effective.  These aspects support the main goal of raising awareness of compassion and the need for its cultivation. The over-arching goal is to make the world a more compassionate place and I believe, with the efforts of the stakeholders, the collaborative process, and compassionate hearts, we can be successful.

Explore concepts of collaboration in human interaction

Artifacts
Dialogue and collaboration posts for week one and assignment one – Success and failure of collaboration, experience with successful or non-successful collaboration, and a current real-life collaboration situation.

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Rationale and Application
These two discussion posts for week one show our grasp on components needed for successful collaboration, as well as a practical example from our lives on our collaboration experiences. My life experience includes many collaboration attempts, along with several successes and failures. I point out in my posts, what I feel are the most important components of collaboration from our text: Commitment to mutual relationships and goals, jointly developed structure and shared responsibility, mutual authority and accountability for success and sharing of resources and rewards (Mattessich et al, 2004, p.4). Without this combination of components, collaboration efforts are futile. In addition, it is important to understand that the individuals’ level of commitment, sharing of resources and rewards, definition and execution of the collaboration plan, etc. are major determinants of success when collaborating. As examples in real life, I gave my large family as the prime example and the fact that I’ve had to collaborate all my life to survive, and included the collaboration project I am currently working on for my Capstone Project. In this real life example, I discuss some of the barriers the team is facing and what I feel needs to be addressed, and I show examples from our text, on some options we have to improve the collaboration effort. This shows that I understand the basic fundamentals and have applied or noticed where they can be applied in practice.

Our first assignment is a testament to how well we have digested and internalized the collaboration materials and strategies for effective collaboration. We were tasked to discuss a current collaboration project in which we are involved and discuss issues within the collaboration in terms of stakeholders or lack of components. I chose to use my project team collaboration as an example and pointed out where we lacked effective collaboration components such as defined roles, a defined plan, etc. We also had to reflect on our intrapersonal communication and discuss how that bias affects the collaboration effort. It was a great activity for organizing and categorizing our thoughts and ideas and applying them to a practical situation. Also a good way for us to reflect upon all we have learned in such a short period of time.

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Change
Our text was very helpful in terms of defining proper collaboration and helping me create a map in my mind of how a successful collaboration is structured. I know what is needed for a group to come together and be successful, but the text defined the components and factors and gave me a means to articulate the concepts and a way to visualize the concepts in action. For example, if I was asked what collaboration was before internalizing our reading materials, I would have hit on some major factors but not all of them. After the first week, I can truly say I can speak to what is needed for effective collaboration and can touch on all the major points.

Articulate contemporary understandings of power and privilege differentials in organizations and society

Artifact
Week three dialogue discussion – Personal view of power, position and privilege.

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Rationale and Application
My response for week three’s dialogue post, is my understanding of power and privilege and how I can apply the power and privilege I may have to collaboration projects and conflict resolution, in order to benefit others. The discussion post also discusses how I see the power and privilege components in society; shifting or not shifting. The important take-away here is understanding what I can do to help others. The example I give is compassion and community based, describing how random acts of kindness and projects that increase the world’s compassion index are where I feel I have the power, position and privilege to benefit others. Another way I show how well I am grasping the concept is through my thoughts on how I see the world shifting (or not). The example I give of a shift in the world is in music content (lyrics about women being strong an independent) and that I notice increasing diversity in government positions in my area of the world. Claremont Lincoln University and the Presido University in San Francisco are additional examples of a shift in power and privilege. These universities offer meaningful programs that promise change, as well as making education more accessible to a broader spectrum of people. Until these universities were established, there was not an affordable option or any potential for scholarship, for those less affluent, wanting to expand their educations beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Change
The change for me this third week was a big one. I had never thought of myself as having any position, power or privilege so it helped me to recognize that I do, and more importantly, how I can apply that in the world to influence positive change. It also caused me to reflect on the changes in the world and how I see those flowing together into something new for those who have long been labeled as “different” or even “wrong”. Atlee’s power types helped me to realize there are different types of power and this changed my perspective of power, making it more broad and not so narrow and negative (Atlee, T.  2011 p. 1). Power can be used for the benefit of others; it simply depends on how it is used.

Identify and engage stakeholders to achieve definable goals

Artifact
Week five assignment – As a team, develop a conflict resolution strategy for a specific context.

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Rationale and Application
For week five, we had to put our collaboration skills that we had learned thus far into action. We were to create a final paper as a group, which required us to coordinate meetings, problem solve, use influence, and most importantly, commit to a common goal within a specific deadline. The objective was to develop a conflict resolutions strategy, so we were able to incorporate many theories and topics we had recently learned. Looking back, I realize our collaboration could have been more organized, however, we did define roles first and that was a grand step in the right direction. We did not make a strategic plan, which we should have. It was also interesting to see how ego plays a part in collaboration and conflict resolution… as it can render the effort useless if satisfying an ego becomes important. Overall, we identified, and engaged each other as stakeholders to achieve a definable goal. One member, and this is worth adding, was MIA for most of the week, appearing finally on Sunday, the day the project was due, and came through with his portion of the project. This did cause us to problem solve and create a back up plan, should he remain MIA. It also shows how one stakeholder can affect the collaboration with level of commitment, or lack thereof. We still had a choice as to whether or not this would affect the outcome, and that was clear. We achieved the goal.

Change
The group project validated how I enjoy working in groups, as well as individually. As we were collaborating, I wasn’t, and I should have been, thinking about effectively collaborating in addition to the quality of the common goal. I realize that now. We were building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence, however, we could also have rationally applied several aspects of our Mattessich text. I am referring to defining an initial plan. I will do this in the future. I can’t give examples of how the group was more mindful during conflict resolution and collaboration efforts, but we probably were unconsciously. I do have a better understanding of how groupthink can affect people and how cultural elements play a part in engaging and influencing stakeholders. In terms of our tech-mediated communication, we did not have any difficulty; we used video conferencing, texting, phone calls and phone conferences. In our group, less the one member who was MIA most of the time, collaboration was alive an well, but still had vast upside potential.

 
Create conditions for stakeholders to synthesize diverse perspectives in group settings

Artifact
Week six collaboration discussion – Styles of conflict resolution.

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Rationale and Application
The post for week six collaboration discusses understanding conflict resolution styles. This can help us to become more self aware and more aware others’ styles. Understanding the way others deal with conflict, especially as a default, can improve collaboration by decreasing fear of unknown reactions or decreases chances of misunderstanding. Another way to create an environment for stakeholders to collaborate effectively is to create a safe place where they can be comfortable expressing disagreement (Engagement Streams 2013 p. 3).  Turning conflict into a positive and using it as a tool to explore other perspectives helps others to to embrace diversity in perspectives and to feel safe doing so. The artifact shows that I have a strong understanding of the different styles of conflict resolution, how being aware of the concept is important and that the environment for collaboration is key.

Change
Week six offered a major change for me. In our culture, conflict is generally negative. The TED talk by Margaret Heffernan explored conflict as a positive and showed how it can be used to offer other ideas and address unanticipated challenges. This new view of conflict is liberating as I don’t have to view it as a problem, which means am not so inclined to avoid it, as is my default conflict style, and more inclined to embrace it as a learning opportunity.

Effectively manage interpersonal, organizational, and technology-mediated conflicts

Artifact
Collaboration week five – Explain strategy for effective peacemaking, conflict resolution and cultivating collaboration.

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Rationale and Application
This discussion post shows my understanding of establishing and maintaining effective collaboration, dialogue/negotiation inter-personally and organizationally by discussing some vital ways to manage conflict and find a solution. I gave an example of Goodreau’s conflict resolution tips:

  • be wise, not smart
  • put your concerns on the table
  • avoid “I” statements
  • engage with your body language

(Goodreau, J. 2012 p. 1)

When communicating using technology mediums, the same rules apply, however non verbal aspects (tone of voice, inflection, body language, facial expressions) become even more important when the interaction is not face-to-face. One tip that is not mentioned in this post that I would like to add is the importance of leaving ego out of the mix. For successful resolution, people cannot be defending positions, rather they must be open to new ideas and new perspectives. The tips discussed are great ground rules or guidelines to follow when trying to find a solution to conflict.

Change
Simply having some guidelines when facing conflict is helpful and having these specific tips and techniques will help me immensely when I find myself in these types of situations. I generally avoid “I” statements and generalizations but keeping the conversation results oriented is new for me and I find it vital for the purpose. Week five broadened my toolkit for conflict resolution and introduced me to new ways to enter into dialogue to negotiate, collaborate and problem solve.

References

Atlee, T. (2011). Four types of power. Retrieved from:
http://www.tomatleeblog.com/?p=86456025  

MindTools. The ladder of inference: Avoiding “jumping to conclusions.” Retrieved from: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_91.htm 

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Engagement streams framework. Retrieved from:
http://www.ncdd.org/files/NCDD2010_Engagement_Streams.pdf (Links to an external site.)

Mindtools. Avoiding groupthink: Avoiding fatal flaws in group decision making. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_82.htm (Links to an external site.)

Mattessich, P. W., Murray-Close, R.A. & Monsey, B.R. (2001). Collaboration: What makes it work? Fieldstone Alliance: MN.

MindTools. Conflict Resolution: Resolving conflict rationally and effectively. Retrieved from: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_81.htm (Links to an external site.)

Rykrsmith, E. (2011). What is your conflict resolution style? Retrieved from: http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2011/10/13/what-is-your-conflict-resolution-style/ (Links to an external site.)

Goudreau, J. (2013). The Secret art of negotiation: Take your ego off the table. Forbes. Retrieved from:http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/10/08/the-secret-art-of-negotiating-take-your-ego-off-the-table/

Buell, B. (2007, January 15). Negotiation Strategy: Seven common pitfalls to avoid. Stanford Business. Retrieved from:
http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/negotiation-strategy-seven-common-pitfalls-avoid

TED. Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree. Retrieved from:
https://www.ted.com/search?q=conflict