“Do Over” — Harwood Strategies Bring Out Those Voices Seldom Heard

“Do Over” — Harwood Strategies Bring Out Those Voices Seldom Heard

Posted on February 06, 2017 by Cheri Coryea, Manatee County Administrator
Editor’s Note: Cheri Coryea is Director of Neighborhood and Community Services Departments for Manatee County and a participant in the Harwood Public Innovators Lab underwritten by The Patterson Foundation for library leadership in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

You think you’re a top rate facilitator. You make sure that you’re well prepared for each session you are in charge of. You’re thrilled when you get the results you expected, but are left scratching your head when you don’t.

Recently, we had a Community Conversation with a group of county-appointed community health care advocates to find out what they wanted their community health care model to look like. It seemed like a great idea. One problem, we forgot that while they all were striving toward the same goal, quality healthcare, they were each coming at it from a different angle.

The setting was good, a group meeting in a familiar place. Chatter abound during the session, bouncing from one idea to another. Healthcare professionals jockeyed for position. The consumer sat quietly unable to find a suitable/comfortable place to jump in. At the end of the session, grandiose ideas appeared on the white board. What had we gained from the session that could be put into place and impact the citizen/consumer quickly?


We had forgotten that we had one consumer in the group with 10 seasoned healthcare professionals —back to the drawing board for a do over!

Thank goodness we decided to conduct a second round. Our entire group had the time to think about their place in the healthcare conversation, and was more mindful of where each member was represented. We found common ground for the consumer in the group by opening up the new conversation with questions related to their neighborhood and people they frequently talked to about everyday issues — which included their health and access to care. Before we knew it, we had a set of strategies that brought out all voices in the healthcare access discussion.

Don’t be afraid to admit that the quality of your conversation might be enhanced by a “do over.”

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