Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Oh how I am changing.

I am discovering that Integrative Process (IP) and Dynamic Governance (DG) have traction in the world of design and construction, and also positively affect every situation. My language is changing, my focus is strengthening, and my reflections are deeper.

Building Respect –

It is amazing how the levels of respect increase and solidify when some traditional approaches change in simple ways. Beginning meetings on time, yet also allowing for friendly exchanges at the start of the meeting, alters the dynamic. Calling for full ’rounds, as is part of DG, ensures that everyone has the time and the right to share their thoughts, creating deeper involvement in the work. Expressing gratitude, especially for difficult meetings, by saying “I truly appreciate the time you’ve given to this matter, and I think our discussion has been valuable” blows people away, and helps them to realize we are not adversaries, but co-creators.

Building Capacity –

A recent change at work has seemingly created another silo organization within the whole. Earlier, this divide was palpable due to geographic distance, mostly, but it was not part of the organizational structure. Yet, with one of the key concepts of IP, we can look at this change to see how the new constraint can inform our next steps. In this case, making the division a structurally separate one means we can justly create structural ways to ensure connectivity and to increase capacity and knowledge sharing. We can plan info sharing meetings, create project teams in a way that can help bridge the gaps, and seek information deliberately from that organizational entity, while sharing information, deliberately, from the other longer-established units.

Building Community –

This is one of the most powerful examples. I am the Chair of the NESEA Building Energy NYC conference this year (wahoo NESEA!) and very glad I am working with such an amazing staff and planning team. We are beginning the planning of conference content, and forming the content committee. Typically we have held two in-person meetings to plan the content (along with some homework) and this is proving harder to do as so many of our deeply involved people are busy. Also, travel to NYC can be tough and expensive as we pull knowledge from all over New England and beyond. So we have opted for one remote session, and one in person meeting, and we are now tasked with deciding which meeting to hold in person, the first or the second? If the first is in-person, this is a great collaborative kick-off, yet we know we will have more robust info on the sessions by the advent of the second meeting, making that in-person exchange more dynamic and useful. How do we build community AND have robust discourse?

Using the idea that constraints can inform a greater solution, we have decided to hold the first meeting as a remote session, and to do so in a way that excites curiosity, almost as a teaser trailer of a film, about the participants. Perhaps we do a ’round with a question and people then know to link up at the F2F based on their answers. Maybe we create mini teams that will engage at the F2F. Maybe some of the homework is to call and then discover something fun about another committee member, to then share at the next meeting. In this way the second committee meeting will be that much more connective, as well as more informative.

Building Commitment –

Each spring, the DEC holds Green Your Commute Day (GYCD) to help people try out ways other than single occupancy vehicles to get to work. State employees were the first participants, and now the event is broader, intending to encourage greener travel by all. There is a service called 511 that helps to connect people for commuter travel carpooling and we want to link 511 with our GYCD outreach to increase awareness of the service and encourage more carpooling. One option is to automatically sign up to 511 everyone who signs up to GYCD. One is to ask people to opt-in for this, another to ask people to opt-out. Another is to just provide the information to encourage people to access the service themselves.

Behavior response experts have shown that the default should always be the choice you want people to make, such as listing the healthiest food first on the menu. This truly supports change. So we have decided we will provide the info on 511 and automatically sign people up, unless they opt out. This way they have control, and we are leading them to our preferred outcome. Additionally, those who prefer to do the activation themselves may do so. This empowers everyone in the process, and drives the change we seek.

Each Little Bit –

Each of these examples illustrates a slight shift in action, created by a slow-down of thought process that helps in exploring the opportunities. Nothing here is hard, or out of the ordinary, yet each one can help us to reach our sustainability (and other goals) more effectively.

Slow down to speed up, and be greener,

Jodi

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