NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I stand by my orginal post on GV team building

Becky Trout writes about Grass Valley City Council, Team-building talk turns testy, September 28, 2005
Previously buried bitterness burst into the open at Tuesday's Grass Valley City Council meeting during a discussion about team building.
Back in May I commented on this issue, and I stand by my original comments.

Click here for a private e-mail comment. For public comment select comments below.

5 Comments:

Blogger steve frisch said...

Russ, when you originally posted the following comment I thought about replying and did not. I am sorry I let it pass last spring.

"I spent two days a month for, nine months, learning how the Sierra Business Council builds community teams around issues, and how to manipulate the outcome of community meetings."

A little disclosure for readers who do not know me: I am the Vice President for Programs at the Sierra Business Council.

If your experience with the SBC sponsored Sierra Leadership Seminar was negative, I am sorry. I suspect it may have had something to do with attending the class with people who did not necessarily agree with you on all issues.

More than 150 Sierra leaders have gone through the class and the vast majority of them find the experience helpful. The class is led by some of the most accomplished trainers in thier field, and your class was led by a nationally recognized leader in the field of consensus building.

Not all issues can be resolved with consensus building processes or collaboration. Sometimes a model based on more traditional forms of conflict resolution are appropriate.

However there has never been an emphasis on "controling the outcome of community meetings." The emphasis of the program is to empower local communities to make thier own decisions, and assist communities with skills to achieve their goals.

Dozens of SLS trained individuals are leading collaborative efforts in their communities that welcome in diverse points of view.

Thu Sep 29, 06:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...

Steve:

I agree, the classes by Susan Carpenter were some of the best I have ever attended. And I agree, the emphasis was not on controlling the outcome, but to develop the collaborative process. In listening to the participants and in overheard conversations, how they would use these tools to bring their communtiy to recognize the wisdom of their views was a bit disturbing. Starting with that kind of attitude is driving the agenda.

An off and on again SBC Member, I have suggested several times the SBC needs to examine some collaborative failues like NH2020, in a lessons learned mode. NH2020 was a clear example of how a small number of people drove the agenda, and controlled the outcome.

After seeing the SBC success in Placer Copunty, I was a big supporter of a similar program in Nevada County. Unfortunatly the Board of Supervisors, graduates of the SBC Leadership program, hijacked the process generating community outrage. This outrage grew in to a political movment and a new Board of Directors.

The SBC does good work. It is how the leadership graduates choose to use their new skills, that is the problem.

Thu Sep 29, 10:02:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...

Oops, that should be s Supervisors, not Directors

Thu Sep 29, 10:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Sherry said...

"However there has never been an emphasis on "controling the outcome of community meetings." The emphasis of the program is to empower local communities to make thier own decisions, and assist communities with skills to achieve their goals."

Though I won't be spending time in any class on leadership, I feel qualified to point out that WHEN these leaders meet, (on other than agreed upon terms), to "support" community needs, CONSENSUS BUILDING and MANIPULATION of meetings is not only expected, it's required, and ESPECIALLY if what your "goal for the community" relies on in help, all the way from the BOS to the Congressperson, if needed.

"If your experience with the SBC sponsored Sierra Leadership Seminar was negative, I am sorry. I suspect it may have had something to do with attending the class with people who did not necessarily agree with you on all issues."

In considering "experiences" with any meeting as "community issues" are to be discussed, and as "community" learns to "team play", it would be nice if THE PRIMARY FUNCTION stressed THE EXPLICIT NEED for QUALIFIED COUNSEL, not just COUNCIL, in seeing any community needs MET. Ultimately, and no doubt, realistically, much depends on that counsel, which then has to make one wonder why any major "leadership" role, would ever even be considered by someone other than an attorney, and why "building community teams" are even necessary. If you (community)want bang for your buck, try to find one (attorney or team) that HASN'T been "bought" or WON'T be "faithful to the system". No, I don't expect to see that challenge met.

Thu Sep 29, 10:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger steve frisch said...

Russ:

Thank you for the clarification.

I just wanted to make clear that what SBC professes as its core values and how people may use information we provide are seperate issues.

I think you confirmed that.

Steve

Thu Sep 29, 09:15:00 PM PDT  

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