Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Portland Gathering 2013. Tuesday: Decision Making, Risk and Conflict

I'm currently attending the Portland Gathering in Oregon. The gathering began on Monday, but I spent this day travelling, arriving pretty late Monday evening so I can tell you what happened on Tuesday.

The theme of Tuesday was focussed around supporting people to make decisions. Leigh Ann Kingsbury began the day, talking with Mary Beth Lepkowsky about the issues involved in helping people to make their own decisions, and about involving people in big decisions about their services, teams and organisations.

Leigh Ann pointed out that while we imagine that our decision making is logical, rational and sequential, in reality we often make impulsive and emotional decisions. Mary Beth continued the theme, saying that "Decision making is not always a clean process, but it can be a thoughtful process", the key question, where people lack capacity to make a particular decision and therefore need someone to make it on their behalf being "Does this decision align with what we know about that person's core values for their life?".

Bob Sattler asked the question "We often tell people 'It's your choice', but is it really?" He shared a tool that looks at the things that are important to us, ranks them using a score of exactly how important they are, and then also rank how present they are in our lives.

Julie Malette presented a brilliant summary of the person centred approach to risk, pointing out that everyone has the right to make risky and bad decisions, and using practical examples to help people explore some of the tools in the person centred risk process.

Mary Beth and Leigh Ann explored issues and pitfalls of co-productive decision making, sharing tools that help identify who should be involved in particular decisions, and what role they could play in those decisions, concluding "We've learned that the more inclusive we are in any process, the better the outcome".

In the afternoon I presented on person centred approaches to conflict, asking questions about what it is that means the difference between a positive conflict that leads to progress and change, and negative conflict that leads to harm to one or both parties in that conflict.

People particularly liked Helen Smith's volcano' tool that asks people to think about issues and situations that put them into particular 'zones'; the comfort zone, the stretch zone and the danger zone, and if there are particular methods or techniques that help them get back from their danger zone into one of the safer zones.

Wednesday's session starts in an hour or so, so I'll do my best to let you know the key items we discussed tomorrow.

Watch this space!

(Photo of me thanks to Douglas Tennant)

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