After learning that a “turned outward” perspective is essential to begin to see and hear from community members intentionally, the next step is changing how dialogue begins.
According to workshop leader and Harwood Institute founder, Rich Harwood, when we focus our conversations on shared aspirations instead of "problems" or "visioning" exercises devoid of tangible outcomes, we engage in conversations based on reality and a sense of possibility. Those conversations tend to shift from the individual perspective to the community interest. Then and only then people are able to share what matters – what’s really important – to them. And why does that matter? Because by exploring shared aspirations, the possibility of galvanizing public will and establishing a set of ideals that people will go to bat for begin to emerge.
That's why United Way's Katie Knight and Jane Grogg, Sarasota County's neighborhood services manager, both were moved by the possibility of engaging with the public in ways that elicit shared aspirations. As her first steps, Katie will "work to improve my listening to others and include what I learned as I make choices or decisions at home or at work." In Jane's two-step process she wants to focus on “applying the principles to help make her organization aware of the need to turn outward” and in turn, help the greater community “realize their shared aspirations.”
Look for progress updates and opportunities to see Harwood principles in action in the near future!
Grace Carlson is a board member of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence). She may be reached - firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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