Self-Examination Response TO-G2
June 22, 1991
Leslie for Process Team (PTM)
a way to encourage taking responsibility for our behavior
Self-Examination RESponse (SERES) is a method for dealing with any situation in which people feel that a person is behaving in ways that are having an intolertable impact on the community or the individuals herein. This method provides process steps and self-examination interviews that can be used by individuals and decision-making groups.
We now have a detailed process for calling feedbacks for memers. The use of a SERES process could prevent the need for a feedback. Self-examination can help the person who has concerns about someone else's behavior as well as helping the person whose behavior has drawn concern. Clarifying one's own needs and goals can sometimes bring resolution by itself. Developing tools and methods for finding resolutions for interpersonal ongoing conflicts seems to be a necessary element of living coopratively. What's needed by all members is an openness to considering concerns of others, and a willingness to consider changes that will promote harmony. This process was developed due to the belief that we can't afford to overlook actions which breed and promote mistrust, intimidation, and power plays. OUr agreements, bylaws, policies and norms all require a willingess to evaluate in good faith our actions as individuals within the community.
The Process Team will ask planners to help us conduct an evaluation of the SERES process in April 1992.
The attached two pages are a flow chart of the SERES process.
HERE'S THE WAY THE PROCESS WOULD BEGIN:
A member (referred to as Person C) is concerned about the behavior of another member ( whom we'll call Person B), and Person C has considered or attempted approaching Person B directly or through other about this matter. Possible avenues explored include: a note, face to face, facilitated help from a third party, involvement of manager, team, or council.
None of these has brought satisfaction, so the concerned member goes to the Process Team. (PTm)
1.) PROCESS TEAM FIRST FOCUSES ON THE PERSON WITH THE CONCERN
The PTm will engage with Person C, working toward possible courses of action, one of which might be direct commuitcation. An effort will be made to separate the issues from the personalities involved so that each component can be worked with separately. The Process Team first listens to person C and determines that appropriate and reasonable channels have been tried.
If it appears obvious that a clear norm or rule has been broken, or when the problem appears to relate more to the systems because a particular rule is constantly being unobserved, it may be most appropriate to skip to step 5.
If PTm then determines that either the rule or the violation is not clear, the PTm conducts an interview with Person C so that the individual who has the concern can first practice self-examination. This is probably one of the best ways of taking responsibility for how we impact each other. This first step of the SERES method would help people avoid attacking others, and maybe even help them be compassionate, fair, and effective. Some likely interview questions for Person C:
-What is the behavior I'm concerned about?
-What do I feel about this? What do I want?
-What do I need to look at, explore inside myself that could be getting in the way of thining clearly and creatively about this?
-What do I understand abou the needs, feelings of this person?
-Which of these can I validate? Where do I differ? Which am I confused about?
-Am I in 'attack' mode or 'victim' mode? Which of my defenses are operating?
-What privileges do I have that the other person(s) doesn't have?
-What ways can I use my awareness to help balance the imbalance?
-How can I help this situation? What kind of support can I len?
-In what ways are my judgements, assumptions of the person affecting my thinking about this particular issue? Can I check them out to see how much truth there may or may not be to them?
-How can I say what I feel and want in a way that will give me the greatest chance of achieving my desired results?
After conducting the interview with person C, the PTm asks Person C if co feels satisfied as a result of exploring the issue through the SERES questions or would like to pursue another avenue on cos own. If after doing this Person C is not satisfied, PTm proceeds to the next step.
2) PROCESS TEAM TURNS ITS FOCUS TO PERSON B- with Person B's consent.
PTm first goes to Person B (and perhaps others involved) and gets more information from them. PTm tells Person B that a member has done a SERES interview and wants to pursue the issue of Person C's specific behavior, through this method. Person B can choose to have a SERES interview at that point. Having that interview may cause changes in the conflict between persons B and C and may resolve the issue. Or it may mean that further PTm intervention could be called for, if person C or others are not satisfied.
2a) PERSON B CHOOSES NOT TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW
If Person B chooses not to have the interview, a card is posted to the community. Person B will be told the contents of the card before it is posted. PTm posts a card for a week to 10 days, describing Person B's behavior and Person C's concern, and soliciting input from the community. Input can be either in the form of support for Person B's behavior or support for Person C's concern, or both. The PTm would encourage Person C to identify coself, but would honor a request for confidentiality at this point.
2b) THOSE WHO SHARE PERSON C'S CONCERN ARE ASKED TO DO AN INTERVIEW
The people who give supportive responses for the concerns of Person C are each asked to do a SERES interview. (However, it is conceivable that if there is a large number of people expressing concern, the PTm may use its discretion and move on to the next step rather than interviewing all of them.) People who give supportive responses for Person B's behavior, are asked to do a SERES interview, to be a part of the self-examination process. (The questions would resemble those in #3).
It may be useful for all of the people who did the SERES interview to make their answers available to the rest of the community, to promote understanding.
3) PROCESS TEAM ASKS THOSE CONCERNED TO SHARE THEIR ANSWERS WITH PERSON B AND ASKS PERSON B (once again) TO DO A SERES INTERVIEW
PTm asks those interviewed about their concerns to make their answers available to Person B, to show good faith, and a willingness to engage and not simply criticize. This can be done in writing, or in person, with or without a third person. If at least some of the people supporting Person C's concern agree to share their answers, the process team approaches Person B and asks co to do a SERES interview, which might include thse questions:
-What is the concern expressed about my behavior?
-What was my intent?
-Did I get the desired response? Any undesired results?
-What do I understand about the needs and feelings of Person C?
-What privileges do I have that the other person(s) hasn't had?
-How can I use my awareness of the imbalance to respond with understanding and fairness to this situation?
-What do I want Person C to understand about me?
-What may be getting in the way of my thinking effectively about this?
-Am I in 'victim' or 'attack' mode? What defenses are operating?
-In what other ways can I improve the situation?
-In what ways can I take care of my interests and answer the concerns of my fellow communitarians?
4) PROCESS TEAM ASKS PERSON B TO SHARE COS ANSWERS or INTENT TO CHANGE
If Person B agrees to do the interview, the PTm will ask co to make cos answers available to Person C, and cos supporters who went through a SERES interview, OR at least make known any intent co has to change the behavior about which there is concern.
4a) PERSON B REFUSES, PTM CALLS IN A DECISION-MAKING GROUP
If Person B refuses the interview, or accepts the interview but refuses either of the above requests, there will be a call for involvement by a decision-making group. A decision-making group may also be called in if Person B fully cooperated with the above steps and PERSON C and cos supporters are not satisfied with the response. The group may decide to move directly to step 5. Otherwise, the PTm will ask the group or groups to call a meeting for input on the norms, rules, agreements concerning this behavior.
4b) EXAMINATION OF COMMUNITY SYSTEMS AND AGREEMENTS
This is a chance for the community to step back and look at its systems, through a community-wide set of SERES questions, such as:
-What policies, decisions have been made? How have they been implemented and communicated to the group?
-make an attempt to recall the intent of related policies and practices (what did we mean?)
-evaluate the result (did we get what we wanted?)
-make changes toward improving situation (how can we get it?) form or enlist a working group for this purpose
-evaluate the changes
Even if the issue is not a matter of agreement-breaking, but, rather, norm-breaking, or of a personally offensive nature, the meeting(s?) could address the behavior in a similar way, looking at interpretations of bylaws, systems, and practices, and discussing intent, evaluating results, etc.
With the input from this meeting(s), the decision-making group would determine whether or not violation has occurred, to the spirit or the letter of what's written, or commonly understood to be acceptable. They may also solicit a proposal or make a decision to refine or clarify a current rule or norm.
5) PERSON C AND THOSE IN SUPPORT STILL NOT SATISFIED
Depending on the outcome of the meeting, Person C and the people supporting co may still be unsatisfied and take any or all of the following actions:
a. attempt to overrule the decision made regarding the behavior
b. call another meeting, to approach the problem from a differnet angle, witht he help of the process team, if they feel this is useful.
c. call a public feedback for Person B
NOTE: While the SERES method is a process that may be used by the PTm, or any group, the planners may decide to call a feedback at any time. The PTm has drafted a proposal on Feedback Procedures, which describes where to go from here if that appears to be the appropriate next step.
Living cooperatively requires a delicate balance between individual liberty and personal responsibility for the way we impact others. We bring our own baggage into community. If there are concerns, we owe it to one another to take a look inside.