Designing for Wiser Action — A Template

There are a few versions of this kind of template around, some evolution of clarity from fellow practitioners in the Art of Hosting Community. I find it ultimately useful in the work I do that bridges relational community conversational insight to project planning next steps. It’s a worksheet that can be a regular sized piece of paper. And it can be a full sized flip chart or more. Its intent is to encourage one, a systemic way of thinking and exploring, and two, emergent wisdom that can come from people interacting. I’m grateful to a few key folks who have helped me evolve something that works, and who have contributed greatly to our shared hosting field — of late, Ria, Chris, Toke, Rowan, Sam, Paul, Phil, Jerry, Bob — and a bunch of others that create such life-giving learning.

Process wise, using a template like this can be as simple as inviting a few folks to bring their projects forward, give them a template, and then have a group self-organize into conversations of an hour or longer to bring learning and insight forward. Or, versions of this can be used in a ProAction Cafe to create additional structured mixing of people in the know and people with fresh eyes.

Behind each section named on the template is a key and central question. I’ll share my versions of them here with hope that they deepen the conversation and bring added authenticity.

Background & Context
What’s going on? What is the essence of the circumstance?

Need & Purpose
What is at the heart of this situation? What is the essence of possibility that can make a difference?

Important Questions
What central questions are part of imagining and doing this work well?

Who are the key people that can help steward togetherness and comprehensiveness in this project? Caller? Core Team? Wisdom Council? Broader Community? Stewards? People in formal and informal power?

Principles & Animating Values
What values will keep the heart of this work alive, in service, and life-giving?

What tangible and intangible outcomes do we wish to cultivate?

What is the essence of approach that honors and dignifies this intention and purpose?

What resources will help to create needed support now and in the longer term?

Limiting Beliefs
Are there doubt and “yah buts” that are important to flesh out so as not to block natural growth?

Structure & Process
What are the overall steps, commitments, accountabilities, and timelines that will contribute life to this project?

Next Steps
What are the first next steps that give momentum to this project and people?

And on it goes. Minds opened. Bellies trusted. Hearts enlivened. Fields of learning strengthened. Encouragements amplified. Authenticity normed. Humility welcomed. Inspiration applied. Love quickened.

2 Replies to “Designing for Wiser Action — A Template”

  1. Ah, Tenneson! Thank you for sharing this today. It serves so well. There is much emphasis on ‘getting to action’ in some of the groups I work with. This is practical magic for inviting the wisdom to inform our way forward together!

    Warmly and with appreciation,

    1. I’m glad for years of connecting and growing Michelle! Thanks for sharing. A bow to the lives we create that insist on some wonder and depth with the things that we so care about.

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