Watch out for THE Best Community Engagement Team in the World!

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Watch out for THE Best Community Engagement Team in the World!

A few months ago, I was invited back to facilitate a development session for a client team that walks the talk of engagement. In this article, Hannah Goulding, the team’s Project and Policy Officer revisits their Away Day experience, tells us about their new “team self-care champ” role, and confidently asks us to “watch this space” as they collectively move towards making their vision a reality.

Over to Hannah:

How are we going to be the best community engagement team in the world? (and other light touch questions we answered on our team away day…)

Working with Obi, our recent team away day focused on understanding our strengths and weaknesses as a team, having time to reflect on our achievements and looking at how to achieve our ultimate goal – being the Best Community Engagement Team in the World!

Aspirational? Maybe.

Achievable? Definitely!

We worked on practical methods around stakeholder management – exploring the idea of a co-designing rules of engagement with our stakeholders – discussing upfront how both parties see our relationship working and agreeing some key principles.

We took time to understand how individually and as a team we respond to conflict and explored how we could use this to effectively manage our stakeholders.

Two key takeaways from this part of the day, which could help diffuse the tensions around miscommunications and differences in opinion were to;

  1. Use curiosity as the antidote to judgement. Understand why your stakeholder thinks in a certain way and explore their thought process, rather than jumping to judgmental and opposing conclusions.
  2. Find some truth (however little) in everything. Even if you disregard or disagree with 99% of what your stakeholder is proposing, find something you can agree on and use this as common ground to explore ways forward, rather than allowing the disagreement to escalate.

After having a break from the classroom and putting our culinary skills to the test in the form of pasta making at Mercato Metropolitano, we spent the afternoon exploring ways to win the fictional, yet no less worthy award of ‘best transformation of a team 2023.’

The afternoon gave us the space and thinking time to come up with the practical and tangible ways we can become ‘The Best Community Engagement Team in the World’:

  • we committed to carving out time to focus on our vision and strategy for our team’s future;
  • we appointed a Learning Champion to lead on a team skills matrix to identify areas of development across the team;
  • we have already successfully started team brainstorming sessions – to support one another, and flesh out new and emerging ideas/projects.
  • we are committing time to develop our internal and external community engagement offer, so we have a clear USP and are better at telling our team story.
  • And finally we’ve since appointed a team Self-care Champ, because ensuring team members are looking after themselves is integral to ensuring that our team continues to thrive.

So all that’s left to say is “World, watch this space!”.

Final note from me: I’ll be checking in with this team soon and look forward to celebrating some new successes!

Over to you, when last did you get together as a team to co-create, review and/or shape your vision and strategy? As a team, what are you collectively working on and holding one another accountable for?

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