This last week we continued our work with the labor-management committee from our blog on May 14th.
The previous week, we worked on some basic problem solving skills with some specific techniques to help labor and management come together. We talked about brainstorming and how to get the most from brainstorming sessions. There are some techniques that can help with contentious relationships and also to get everyone participating. We also spent some time on consensus. One of the biggest fears groups have is not being able to come to consensus so we focus on some ways to help with consensus decision making and do some practice with it. We also talked about prioritizing a long brainstormed list of items and how to come to agreement on a starting point.
The group we have been working with brainstormed a list of items on how to interact with local committees. The list consisted of more than 25 items on how to build a good relationship with local committees. Most of the items were positive behaviors we encourage all groups to have. Some of the examples are: make sure everyone is heard, be open-minded, be a good listener, be honest and use ground rules. We wanted the statewide committee to come to consensus on their roles. I am happy to report they did. For every item listed, we asked if it was an item that needed to stay on the list. With some tweaking on some of the items, we came up with the list.
We also asked the questions what they should not be about. That list was not as long. It had more than 10 items but the items on the list were just as good as the other list. Some of the items included: don’t be controlling, don’t criticize, don’t dominate and don’t take a position.
We also did another real-life exercise on consensus about the advantages to having local committees and barriers to local committees. Once again, the lists were great! We divided the group into 2 small groups to work on the lists and to practice technique. What were some of the advantages? They included items like better communications, improved morale, and ownership. What could ever be a barrier? There were some and included attitudes, culture, personal agendas and lack of support from both sides. The barriers provided some work for the committee to overcome.
People always expect certain items from one side whichever side they are referring to. It always seems to surprise people both sides come up with the same things about their own individual side. It’s funny how people forget we are ALL people and names and labels really are not necessary.
I’ll give some additional information about work with this committee in another blog.