Page 70 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 70

Skill Set 2:
Share Vulnerability Ideas to Action:
Make sure the leader is vulnerable first and often
It’s always there and will have your name on it. There is always some risk in any action
and that risk is seldom just one person’s responsibility unless you have an official scapegoat. Mistakes often start small and grow big. Easier of course to admit small errors or uncertainties and more likely to ease any longer-term issues. You will get the blame anyhow.
Overcommunicate expectations
Action it, it won’t just happen. All along the watchtower it will need help and prodding and feedback from all who have signed up to it. Factor all that in. Don’t do a Crossrail – let alone HS2.
Deliver the Negative Stuff in Person
Never an easy route but probably the best. No one wants a Notice to Quit and if it arrives without any prior discussion it can cause more problems than it should. Face-to-
face meetings can be more honest than an impersonal email or text. You might want a witness.
Focus on two moments in forming new group
The first vulnerability and the first disagreement should be dealt with effectively in a way that enhances the whole team. Are we exploring and learning together or are we winning interactions and appearing strong?
Listen like a trampoline
Be an active responder and bounce things back. Be supportive in conversation, indicate alternatives, gently question.
In conversation resist the temptation to
reflexively add value
Get the person talking to explain more and keep within his or her view of the matter when first time listening.
Use candour generating practices
What were the intended results of this action? What were the actual results? What caused those results/what will we do similarly/ differently/more successfully next time? It
will nearly always turn out rather differently than expected but a candid review is always in order. I am less sure that this type of practice is embedded within smaller organisations but, in outline at least, it is more familiar elsewhere – and useful.
Aim for candour not brutal honesty
Keep to smaller items, avoid making it personal simply to keep safety. We all have a shadow and a light.
Embrace the discomfort
Twin negatives of personal pain and a sense of inefficiency. Tolerated if the way to building a stronger unit is clear or is made clear.
Align language with action
Slightly less defined here but making a plea for the language describing the actors to be put in words that define the persons in the group rather than the functional task. ‘Design Community Leaders’ rather than ‘Project Managers’.
Separate professional development from performance review
Surely applicable at every level. But it hardly applies at individual association level and might only be expressed by nominations and voting at an AGM which may have the result of not doing either.
Use flash mentoring
Get a member to shadow an officer or committee member on a certain day
for a couple of hours. Don’t know of any organisation that actually does anything like this but it might just work??
Make the leader disappear – on occasions
The cliché has it that no one is indispensable but everybody is irreplaceable.
Skill set 3: Establish a purpose
Work through a narrative. We all have our reasons for allotment gardening. Other allotment holders will have their own personal narratives which may or may not be similar to your own. Behind them all a series of related stories can be told and in turn they will drive
a common sense of where you wish to be in
a future time. Getting a strategy applies at
all levels – personally planning the growing year and at a site level what you will want to see done over a set period of time. Larger organisations are more likely to have this in mind and in hand. Personally too, you have your own agenda for each season or even perhaps the whole year but in my view those smaller site associations that involve tens of members also need a collective sense of what is the purpose of the organisation; they need an articulated strategy as much as any larger group.
Ideas for Action:
Name and set your priorities
For allotment societies the risk is to concentrate mainly or even solely on the site tasks. The tasks relating to members are likely to be at least just as important. The list of both sets of tasks is quite likely to be rather long
but prioritise the top five or six. It is quite likely that these will attempt also to address past difficulties.
Be a lot clearer about your priorities than you think you are
You may know exactly what the priorities are but does the membership? A crucial piece
of communication to have with members – repeat in as many ways and as many times as needed. It will build a consensus within the members – but do not expect unanimity.
Where does the group aim for proficiency and where does it aim for creativity?
Both exist in allotment groups and both need rather different skills. Proficiency would surely be the purpose of routine repetitive tasks and everyone does need those clear organisational guidelines. Even they require review from time to time. But doing something new has to cover other areas such as getting the group concerned to work together to
look at all possibilities whether they are likely to work or not. Just how will allotment gardening embrace those millennials who seldom prepare a meal of any sort from basic ingredients but wish to grow and eat as exotically as possible?
Embrace the use of catchphrases
Too easy to dismiss but they do provide a focus. Keep them simple, action-oriented and forthright. This is an example you may or may not like but.......“Get Brexit Done.”
Measure what really matters
Measure what really counts rather than
just those things that can be measured
more easily. Don’t count just for the sake of counting. Try to provide a metric for those things that matter for the team. Can’t pretend that is at all easy.
Embrace artefacts
Put the emblems of the group on display
for all. It could be as simple as a communal cup of tea and known times for having all committee members on site; also, at set and known times. Celebrate the best of the site’s members.
Focus on bar-setting behaviours
Small effortful behaviours that really make a difference to eventual outcomes. They can be things that may not work every time but when they do, they will have been an essential part of that positive outcome.
         70 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

   68   69   70   71   72