2010 PKAL LSC National Colloquium

Plenary Session V: Overcoming Obstacles: A Win-Win Scenario

Scenarios and Questions

Reflections from Participants:

"Fascinating that during the time groups were role-playing the negative position, they were very loud. During the time that they were formulating their elevator speech, they become more somber. I noted how it is so much easier to be negative. It also seemed that people became very much engaged when their action was allowed to be ‘character-based.’ One unexpected value of the exercise was hearing the many different negative positions all at once, rather than trickling into the discussion, as happens often."

"This was a great experience in learning about the various perspectives and roles that different people bring to the table, and of the need for time to work through the tangled arguments and to arrive at a common vision, the case for the ‘why’ of our project. This also challenged us to understand that different stakeholders may have legitimate expectations for the project (why and how) that need to be attended to early on. We learned it was possible to move across broad chasms from the non-inclination to compromise if people have the time to work together to find the common ground. It was helpful to have the ‘crib-sheet’ in advance, so we all had a beginning sense of the points of view of our table mates; this helped us turn problems into solutions."

"I will now be much more aware of my role, how I play out that role, and how others play out their role in the planning efforts in which I am now involved. The power (and presence) of negative forces is a reality, but the other reality is that negative forces can be transformed into powerful ones, if there is time and intention to do so. It is important to listen and look for the common ground, to recognize concerns as valid (and those that probably will not go away) and think of how to turn them around."

"For me, an important lesson learned was that you don’t have to build consensus, but that all stakeholders need to be given voice and heard with respect. There has to be the opportunity for constant conversations about the project, and to have all the diverse stakeholders at the table in a timely manner. We talked about the importance of planning for communicating, as well as planning for learning."

"It was very hard for our group to be negative. But it illustrated just how much effort and stress everyone can go through if they are trying to facilitate the planning of a major facilities project. Process is important in planning, as it is in learning—the point is to share, listen and engage as a community, not as a collection of individuals."