Submitted by Romi Boucher, PhD
What some participants of the Practicing CMM Series are saying about the series that began in February and will continue most months for the rest of the year (July, September, and one holiday month dark due to summer holidays and conferences):
- “When I listen to other people share how they use CMM in their practice, I understand their mental models better, and shift my own mental models…I have used the serpentine with a client in a modified way and the results were quite powerful.”
- “My take-away is a clear model for the benefits and the situations when using the serpentine model to diagram “the other” perspective. You helped me build my confidence so I can use this in my practice. Paige, you make it seem easy…thank you!”
- “I listened to the session—and I think it is amazing! The format works well, the content is so easy to follow, so practical, so sharing and accepting and informal—I love it!”
On the 4th Saturday of the month, approximately 9-15 people show up for the webinar on practicing CMM in the world from 10-11:30 am PT (how to use it in real-time situations is emphasized, not studying about it or writing research). The purpose of this 2015, monthly series on “Practicing CMM” is to enable people to practice CMM so they can be more effective with CMM in practical situations and increase the likelihood of creating the kinds of outcomes they want. Three main benefits are possible to get out of using this communication approach….you could help clients or people you work with:
a. Get out of jams
b. Change a frustrating dynamic between themselves and their boss or teammate
c. Initiate the kinds of conversations that lead to collaboration—between us as scholar-practitioners and between our clients for mutual empowerment.
The emphasis is on practical application and interaction for the application of CMM principles and techniques. The calls have been recorded (with a mutual understanding that there is confidentiality to uphold if one should listen to a session, for our protection of clients and our own vulnerabilities), and Marit Haavimb and others in Europe make regular use of these recordings!
Our series began in February with Paige Marrs, PhD, who demonstrated how she works with a conversation-gone-bad at work so people can shift their unworkable patterns. The participants range from managers to consultants and coaches in health care, education, government policy, Fortune 100’s, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and medium to small business. In March, Kim Pearce shared “Budget Cuts and Ripple Effects”, a way of analyzing and effectively addressing a disturbing large system dilemma on a college campus. One of the ways I can tell this series is working is when I hear comments like these:
- “I am finding that I use the serpentine so much more frequently now with clients, even though that session on it was back in February: My clients like it, get it, and can use it themselves.”
- “This reminds me of the episode work and pattern recognition conversations Kim empowered the administration with at her college, for the purpose of mutually inventing a whole new way to approach the intractable issue of budget cuts. Maybe I could use the same ‘mutual checking’ process she encouraged the College to use?!”
But, since this call is really sourced in a commitment of co-creation amongst practitioners and with an intention of getting CMM out into the world with intentionality and impact, when a participant said, “I really appreciated hearing from Paige and tapping into her considerable experience and expertise…However, I would really like to be able to spend some time getting to know other members of the group…”.
One way to become known is to ask and offer help, where someone else could benefit. In April and May we did that. We did not have any “expert” on the phone with us: no “guest” speaker, but instead, we “jumped in”---openly sharing what dilemmas we were dealing with and asking each other how could we would approach these professional situations using CMM, fully aware that many dynamics were at play. Those that wanted to, offered possible solutions, other resources, etc., while the rest of us asked questions and furthered the interaction. We experienced community, and “at-home-ness emergence” intent on forwarding the issue, as the quality of the connections we were making took shape; as one participant noted, we seemed to “…put heart first and then case management...”
Beth Fisher-Yoshida expanded that emergence and deepened it with a co-creative move before our June session with her on “Decision Making and Critical Moments”. Given how interactive our calls have been, Beth asked the group invitees to share with her what they would find most useful for the session so as to align expectations with what might actually happen. Many people wrote their curiosities and this set the stage of a mutually enlightening session.
We hope to have Frank Barrett (and Romi, on design and CMM), Ilene Wasserman, Jesse Sostrin, and maybe Linda Blong or Lilliana Rossman for the sessions remaining (August, October, November, and December). Attendees are hungry to hear about how to apply logical force, LUUUUTT, the hierarchy, and shifting contexts for the future real-time. If you are interested in participating in any of these calls, please respond to Romi Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will send you a GoToMeeting invitation.
The series has attracted practitioners who do not “ride the hyphen” between scholar-practitioner, but rather look to use methods of intervention and approach that have successful track-records. In addition, these calls have helped current graduate students who are studying theory as well as maintaining successful coaching and consulting practices better integrate and apply tested theory to practice and become more confident. Finally, from both groups, we are expanding the enthusiasm for CMM as a practice for making better social worlds.
More articles from the 2015 Newsletter