The effective practitioner: a workbook 1
This is a resource file which supports the regular public program "areol" (action research and evaluation on line) offered twice a year beginning in mid-February and mid-July. For details email Bob Dick firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
... in which you have the opportunity to analyse and learn from an interaction which you would like to have handled better, or more easily, or more satisfyingly than you did
Overview of process
- Choose a critical event and describe it in detail
- Analyse it as if it were someone other than you involved
- Work out ways you might have approached it differently
- In small groups, further analyse the critical events one at a time
- Develop personal action plans to make use of the insights
(You can use this workbook in conjunction with the values questionnaire if you wish)
1 List a number of recent interactions
Take out your diary (or imagine doing so, if you do not have it with you). Beginning with the present, check back through it. Recall the events you have experienced over the last month or so of your life. As you do so, pay attention to events which display in some way your role as a consultant or facilitator, Make notes about the events that have occurred, and your consultancy role and style as displayed in those events. List some of the interactions that occurred
Jot down enough notes to build up a picture of your recent activities as a consultant or facilitator.
Look over the notes. Mark in some way those that did not turn out as well as you would have liked them too.
2 Choose a specific interaction
Now consider the events you have marked. They are likely to be interactions where you experienced yourself as...
- less effective
- less satisfied
- less supportive, or
- less helpful to yourself or others
From these events choose one which you found difficult or challenging in some significant way -- that you would like to handle differently if it occurred again.
It will be most useful if it is an interaction of a type which has happened more than once. The insights you gain will therefore have more application. However, it is also important for the following analysis that you analyse one specific instance of it. This gives you specific behaviour to analyse.
3 Recollect and describe the interaction
Reconstruct the event in your mind. Recall... where it was... what time it was... who was there... what were the surroundings... how did it begin... Recall it in as much detail as you can
Write a paragraph which describes the situation and what happened...
Now write a few paragraphs about what you thought you were doing at the time. Focus on the most critical part of the situation.
Describe yourself as "A" and the other people as "B", "C", and so on.
In particular... At the time, exactly what did you do and say? What were the actions and words which you would now like to perform or say differently?
At the time, what did you expect these actions or words to achieve, for yourself and others?
Be as detailed and specific as you can
4 Interpret the interaction
Your task now is to achieve a deeper understanding of your own actions and thoughts, basing your analysis on what you have just written.
This is important... Imagine that you are not the person described as A in the dialogue. Read through the description as if it is new to you. You have never seen it before. You are someone other than A, and you do not know A or any of the other people involved.
In addition, just for the purposes of this exercies, imagine that the behaviour of person B, and other people present, is entirely a response to A's behaviour and the material outcomes it causes for B and others.
Write down the actions by A which may have triggered B's (or others') behaviour.
For each, offer an explanation of how this might have come about. In particular, what misperception may B (and others) have developed of A's motives? Which of A's actions might persuade B (etc.) of the correctness of her (B's) assumptions?
Take into account that B (etc.) may be acting out her feelings at what has happened, rather than reacting directly to A's behaviour:
A's action --> material outcomes for B --> B's assumptions --> B's feelings --> B's reaction
There may be a number of explanations of how B's behaviour might be triggered by A's actions or their consequences.
5 Develop one explanation in more detail
Choose the most likely of the explanations from the previous step and develop it in more detail
Continue the analysis to take into account the actual or likely reaction of A to B (remember: this isn't you that you are analysing)
A's actions towards B -> Material outcomes for B -> B's assumptions about A -> B's feelings towards A -> B's reaction toward A -> Material outcomes for A -> A's assumptions about B -> A's feelings towards B -> A's reaction toward B
Identify other ways in which you might have acted
6 Explain the interaction to the group
Explain the interaction, in detail, to the other members of your group. Give the description as if it were A and B, whom you don't know, not yourself and people you have interacted with
At this stage, don't give them your hypothetical explanation of B's reaction or A's further reaction, or discuss the alternative ways you have now identified
7 Group members develop and exchange their analyses
Group members take five minutes or so, working individually, to prepare their own analysis of the interaction
The group then reconvenes, and each member in turn describes her hypothetical explanation. As each explanation is given it is recorded on butcher paper headed...
Finally, A adds her hypothetical explanation to the bottom of the list
8 Individual reflection
Each group member, including A, takes some time to reflect on the situation and the hypothetical explanations, and any insights drawn from the analysis...
If you were A, what other actions could you take to try to achieve the outcomes that you hope for?
In what situation do you sometimes find yourself where your behaviour triggers unwanted reactions similar to those of B?
Copyright (c) Bob Dick 1995-2000. May be copied provided it is not included in material sold at a profit, and this and the following notice are shown
This document may be cited as follows:
Dick, B. (1997)
The effective practitioner: a workbook.
Maintained by Bob Dick; this version 1.07w last revised 20000105
A text version is also available at URL ftp://ftp.scu.edu.au/www/arr/valwb.txt