By , February 16, 2009 12:53 pm

Thank You, Volunteer Firefighters

Thank You, Volunteer Firefighters

Every organization needs top/down and bottom/up forms of motivation, community-building, and creativity. See Interest Areas Creative Edge Organizations and Building Supportive Community for Creative Edge Focusing(TM) models for incorporating collaboration into hierarchy. Here is the Introduction to “The One Small Thing” method for bottom/up empowerment from The Creative Edge Focusing (TM) website:

“Motivation = Engagement : Apathy Is The Enemy!

You are charged with finding that “one small thing” which will get every employee or volunteer or citizen fully engaged in your larger projects. No apathy allowed in a Creative Edge Organization! You want to become alert to noticing apathy, people at any level who are not caring, not involved, and then work at involvement. You want every person actively involved at The Creative Edge, the lively, creative, energized “intuitive feel” of being a living, thinking, involved  Co-Creator or Collaborator.

Finding “One Small Thing”

In the ongoing life of your Creative Edge community or organization, the weekly exchange of Listening/Focusing turns in Focusing Partnerships and  Focusing Groups or Teams will keep individuals involved at their own personal, unique Creative Edge. However, in addition, or perhaps first or independently, you can use the “One Small Thing” method to find one over-arching project that will get everyone involved.

You want to find “One Small Thing” that every person in the community or organization can become involved in with minimal effort but maximum sense of satisfaction in contributing something to the larger mission.  If the first step of involvement is too big, too difficult, then most people won’t be willing to do it.

So, you have to keep looking until you find something so small that everyone can do it, easily, willingly, yet so important that it will feel like a real contribution, a first step of commitment to the larger cause. Then, you can invite these involved, engaged people into further Collaborative Decision Making about the project.

If your “One Small Thing” project is not having the desired effect, then the step is too big, requires too much motivation or commitment. If that is the case, then you need to look for a smaller step until you find the one that works.

Example One: Achieving Corporate Buy-In

At Old Navy (Business Week, June,19, 2006), Innovation Champion Ivy Ross, catching the MySpace-type lifestyle of today, used a facebook-style CD in an effort to bind old and new employees into one new group.”    Please read more and  find “The One Small Thing” exercise at our website.

Spaghetti Binds Community

Here’s another recent example from my own experience:

For two years, my rural fire department (I am on the Board) has been trying to find a volunteer, a “strong leader,” to head up a federal program called Citizen’s Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Candidates appeared but chose not to proceed.

I wanted to do a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser, start at the grass roots, with the community I knew that we did or would or could have easily: people who were willing to bring spaghetti sauce or desserts and help out at a the dinner.

I put out sign-up sheets at community events, built up an email network of willing volunteers, and got it all going. Firefighters and their spouses and families, Town Council members and spouses, Board members and spouses and church volunteers, teenagers, lakeside and rural and town people, all pulling together for a fun community event.

Two weeks before the event, a massive ice storm hit, wiping out the town’s electricity. I continued contacting my volunteers by phone, hearing their ice storm stories, meeting new people.

Along the way, I discovered that the husband of one of the spaghetti volunteers was a retired Fire Captain. I put out feelers: “Would he be interested in helping with the CERT Program?”

By the evening of the dinner, 40 volunteers were involved, 100 people came, we had located two possible co-chairs for the CERT program, and neighbors who had been through the ice storm together were ready to mobilize into CERT Teams. We fed 150 people (including many free volunteer meals) for $210.37 and raised $1000+, including tickets for a drawing for a gift basket and outright donations.

But equally important, we had planted the seeds for community involvement, appreciation for the Fire and Rescue Department, and citizen’s emergency response.

So, starting from the bottom, with the “One Small Thing” of bringing food to the fundraiser, we started the motions to accomplish a larger community goal.  Try the “One Small Thing” Focusing exercise here.


Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out    “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! 

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-Course

 See  Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See  Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)


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