By Lewis Michaelson, Marty Rozelle and Doug Sarno, MCP3
“It was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.” Well actually, it was 20 years ago that the IAP2 President, Marty Rozelle, President-Elect, Lewis Michaelson and the Executive Director, Doug Sarno got together to create a training for IAP2 based on its Core Values. The intent of the training was to guide best practices in the field of public participation, provide legitimacy for our practice and create a sorely needed new income stream for an organization that was struggling financially. Little did we imagine at the time what it would become.
The precursor to the current Foundations Course in Public Participation was first offered in 1999 at the IAP2 International Conference in Banff, Canada. Since then, dozens of trainers have contributed their own intellectual capital to the original trio’s, expanding and updating the training to ensure it remains relevant and preeminent year after year. As a consequence, unlike St. Pepper’s Band, it has never “gone in and out of style.”
With twenty-five years of experience in facilitating community engagement, Barbara Lewis is best known for her creativity in engaging communities in local/regional decision-making and particularly her use of the Appreciative Inquiry approach.
Barbara’s involvement with IAP2 has been extensive over the years. In 1994, Barbara helped found the Colorado Chapter of IAP2 and was most recently the chapter’s president. In 2002, she was a key member of the team that developed the Techniques for Effective Public Participation course, now part of IAP2’s gold standard Foundations Program. In 2017, she was the “boots on the ground” Co-Chair of the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver. In short, Barbara’s entire career has been built around the implementation of IAP2’s Core Values.
Certification Task Force
This dedicated group of P2 practitioners and IAP2 leaders have spent the last 6 years developing a professional certification program from the ground up.
From using international practitioner responses to help determine the essential capabilities a P2 professional should have to effectively design, implement, and evaluate public participation programs and develop an assessment program to test and verify that applicants have these core competencies, please join me in recognizing the
Certification Task Force Members:
Additionally – the task force has asked that an honorary award be granted to IAP2 USA and Canada Executive Manager Amelia Shaw for her significant support and stewardship of this process and of the Task Force.
A tireless champion of good communications and community engagement, in little more than 8 years, Francesca Patricolo has established a P2 student chapter at the University of Oregon, participated on the Cascade Chapter executive committee, established her own P2 consultancy, served on the IAP2 USA Board of Directors, served as USA representative to the IAP2 Federation and now serves as President of the Cascade Chapter. Francesca has also been passionate about helping young people become involved in the practice of P2 and advancing the cause of equity and diversity within P2.
As you may be aware, IAP2 has been going through an important and ambitious change-journey over the last twelve months.
This time last year, the IAP2 Federation Board launched a process of re-design to help us articulate and create the organisation that we want to be – a sustainable and dynamic international association for engagement professionals. This process was led by a diverse working group of members and trainers. This work started in Denver, at the time of the 2017 North American Conference. Out of these two days came the ‘change committee’ – a group of volunteers tasked with scoping the change and shaping the future of IAP2.
With the input of your regional boards and the international board, the change committee came up with seven strategic priority areas and a series of recommendations that will enable us to reshape our international collaborative network that lives and abides by the IAP2 core values. You were invited to give feedback on the strategic priority areas and recommendations via an online engagement platform. Your input was fed into high-level discussions with representatives from each regional board earlier this month in Victoria, Canada. We now have seven endorsed strategic priority areas and 36 endorsed recommendations (read it here – I’ve deliberately kept the track changes so you can see what was discussed/ changed).
I’m really excited about these strategic priority areas and recommendations. They will ensure that the future IAP2 will place significant focus on advocating for and growing engagement practice around the world – both in terms of expanding engagement in new regions, as well as ensuring that IAP2 remains at the cutting edge of new engagement developments including innovations in tools, techniques and technologies. The recommendations propose that training can be developed and delivered anywhere around the world – and a global committee be tasked with ensuring high quality and consistency for all IAP2 products. Better international connections will be achieved through communities of practice and sharing of lessons learned across the IAP2 global community. In summary, these strategic priority areas will enable us to become the future-focused international professional organisation that we want to be.
However, there is a lot of work to be done over the next 6-12 months. This is where you come in. We need your expertise and experience to help us consider and explore the detail required to reshape IAP2.
We have divided the work into four key committees and we are looking for committee volunteers from IAP2’s global body of members, trainers and staff. Team leaders have been identified for each committee. Their first task will be to develop a work plan and, along with their respective committees, to nominate a chair and co-chair between now and the end of October 2018. Work will continue until at least March 2019 as each committee develops a detailed implementation plan for the agreed recommendations.
Please consider volunteering for only one committee as we anticipate the workload will be a few hours per week for several months. Thank you also to those of you who have already volunteered to be involved in committees. But we need loads more volunteers – so if you are interested please get in touch. The team leaders and committee members so far are;
Advocacy and emerging practice
Team leads – Tim Hart THart@SRK.co.za and John Poynton firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee members so far – Aldi Alizar, Bruce Gilbert, Lerato Ratsoenyane, Lucy Cole-Edelstein, Margie Harvey, Martin de los Rios, Steven Mamphekgo, Thato Shale
Brand and member value
Team leads – Cathy Smith Catherine.Smith@cityworks.biz and Catherine Rockandel email@example.com
Committee members so far – Anton Febian Taufik, Ellen Ernst, Kate Vallence, Lisa Carlson, Marion Short, Myles Alexander, Rachel Edginton, Rob Gravestocks, Tanya Burdett
Training and professional development
Team leads – Richard Delaney firstname.lastname@example.org, Amanda Newbery email@example.com and Ken SmithKSEServices@goalnet.co.za
Committee members so far – Alice Sherring, Cassie Hemphill, Deanna Desedas, Fran Morris, Gay Robinson, Grace Leotta, Joel Levin, John Godec, Kylie Cochrane, Mary Moreland, Ratih Damayanti, Susan George, Tannis Topolnisky, Wendy Lowe
Team leads – Mandi Davidson firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah Rivest email@example.com and Doug Sarno firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee members so far – Amelia Shaw, Ann Carrol, Jan Bloomfield, Jay Vincent, Lara Tierney, Michelle Feenan, Marty Rozelle
A few of you have asked who are the decision makers. For this stage of the change process there will be decision makers on several levels – at the committee level and at the regional board level. Specifically, the scope of each committee will be decided by members of that committee. The scope will be endorsed by the steering committee which will be made up of chairs and co-chairs of each committee, key IAP2 staff and myself. The international board will continue to oversee the overall change journey and regional boards will continue to be the overall decision makers. You will note we are using new language to describe our organisational model. Instead of using the words federation and affiliates, we are now using the words international and regional.
I would like to thank the members of the change committee who have driven the first 12 months of our change journey. The change committee will now be disbanded but their work (and all of these individuals) will continue through the four committees and/or the steering committee. Please join me in thanking Aldi Alizar, Amelia Shaw, Bruce Gilbert, Doug Sarno, Ellen Ernst, Jay Vincent, John Poynton, Kate Vallance, Mandi Davidson, Martin de los Rios, Marty Rozelle, Richard Delaney, Sarah Rivest and Tim Hart.
For those of you who are yet to get involved and/ or who have views on this change process, I strongly encourage you to get involved asap. This change process is deliberately designed to be inclusive and flexible however it does have a distinct timeframe and end date. So if you have a view and/ or want to get involved, now is the time.
If you have any questions, concerns and/ or would like to volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact me, committee team leads or your regional or international board representatives.
Thank you for your ongoing passion and dedication to expanding and professionalising P2/ engagement.
2740. Two thousand seven hundred and forty. That’s how many pieces of IAP2 literature are being shipped off to Ambassadors across the country. Our Ambassadors will be distributing postcards and brochures and engaging decision makers on a range of issues including incorporating P2 into planning, public works, and environmental policy.
They are working to initiate student chapters at universities and chapters in states and regions that don’t have them. They are taking P2 to tribal conferences, city utility and city manager conferences, to young professionals in the planning and sustainability fields, to the Corps of Engineers, the CDC, and to their local networks.
The list of new P2 opportunities is long and it’s growing.
Ambassadors are actively working in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Utah and Washington D.C. This list will also grow as new Ambassadors and opportunities to talk about P2 come online.
Conversations with the Ambassadors are the stuff P2 dreams are made of. Each one passionate and deeply committed to making the world around them better through their work. You’ll get to know their stories and projects in future blog posts. In the meantime, if you feel P2 in the air it’s because our message of pursuing the greater good, good decisions made together is literally in flight and will soon be hand delivered by our bright and brilliant colleagues to new niches all over the country.
As we reflect on the things we are thankful for, IAP2 USA would like to thank its members for regularly providing input and feedback on the services and programs we provide. You are taking the surveys, filling out evaluations, sharing social media posts and emailing suggestions. So, thank you for being engaged and communicating with us regularly!
The feedback you have provided through the membership survey, conference and program evaluations and via individual comments have been reviewed and incorporated into the updated IAP2 USA Strategic Plan (2018-2020). We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made since the creation of the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan and we continue to advocate for best practices in public participation, for the professionalization of the field and remain the organization of choice for good P2.
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, “I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.” – “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
Language is how we communicate with one another and, since it is how we communicate, it is often the fodder for our emotions. Our hearts swell when someone says they love us for the first time, we weep when we confront terrible news, we laugh when we are told a joke, and we are enraged when we are presented with injustice.
When IAP2 originally created the Foundations course, John Godec was the principal writer of the section that discussed risk communication and dealing with upset people. Frequently, the trainers would receive feedback that they wanted to spend more time on this section. In response to this demand Stephani Roy McCallum, John Godec, and Mary Hamel created a class called Emotion and Outrage in Public Participation (recently retitled Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in P2).
“The course is about human behavior. It’s about social psychology. About the psychology of people and people’s perception. How people perceive and interpret information differently depending on their emotional state.” -John Godec
Much of the content in the class on risk communication comes from Dr. Peter Sandman, an expert in the area whose model of risk is Risk = Hazard + Outrage. Dr. Sandman discusses three types of risk communication that can be understood by mapping where they fall on a chart of outrage and hazard, see the image below.
Much of the content in the class on risk communication comes from Dr. Peter Sandman, an expert in the area whose model of risk is Risk = Hazard + Outrage. Dr. Sandman discusses three types of risk communication that can be understood by mapping where they fall on a chart of outrage and hazard, see the image left.
See Dr. Peter Sandman’s full video on this topic here.
This is a helpful tool that provides a practical approach to managing people’s outrage. However, when I think about the kind of outrage that troubles the United States today, I can’t help but think that there is a third dimension to this chart. A z-axis that acknowledges that hazards are not experienced evenly across populations. And while we have made a lot of progress on a range of issues, I would also say that this progress was made without acknowledging the z-axis and, to Trevor Noah’s point, only in one language and that is the language of a group that is predominantly upper class, white, and male. As a result, we have left certain important pieces of issues unresolved and unacknowledged and all we know is that the solutions have supposedly “created jobs” or “grew the GDP.” These aren’t words that go to my heart.
I had the privilege of speaking with John Godec and Stephani Roy McCallum to understand how they believed the patterns of opposition and outrage have changed and what they think we can do about it. Do they see patterns in the opposition and outrage they encounter in their work? Yes. And more of it. John said that he believed a lot of this growth comes from the widening gap between the government and the governed. That gap has fostered a large amount of distrust fueled by rhetoric citing government as the issue rather than the problem and the fact that government doesn’t work well for many people. However, the closer people are to government services, the more likely they are to trust their government, which means somewhere there’s a fundamental breakdown in communication.
Stephani pointed out that these highly charged spaces are also more visible than ever with the support of social media, with more people engaging in the demonization of people who they view as “on the other side.” She went on to say that this is not an experience unique to the United States, but is occurring across the globe. “[The political situation in the United States] is just a bellwether of that shift.”
Taken all at once, these issues are incredibly daunting. What can we, as P2 practitioners, do to manage outrage and opposition in our own communities?
1. Go beyond the project level.
Dealing with emotion and outrage successfully is “about the whole system changing not just about completing a project,” says Stephani. She noted that this is a big challenge in P2, that so much of the focus is on the project level, which is not a way to change people’s hearts and minds. Emotion and outrage are often closely tied to a lack of trust. It’s important to do good P2 even when the public isn’t going to be upset and when you aren’t asking anything of them. Put goodwill in the bank over time, rather than starting from a position of asking for newfound trust at the beginning of each project.
2. Do your due diligence.
If there is one thing that John and Stephani taught me, it’s that there is no excuse for not knowing about opposition. None. You should never be surprised by the fact that there is opposition. To make sure this carnal offense never happens, do your due diligence. Talk to the community and ask them who else you should talk to. John said “the ability to predict how people are going to feel about a project is critical to the process.” Get out there and get to know your community!
3. Don’t underestimate your community.
Believe it or not, people want to help. Stephani said that she enjoys working in spaces with high emotion, because they “are spaces of opportunity and possibility; when people have passion, they give you something to work with.” An example of this is a story John told me about a transportation project in Arizona. A major intersection was going to be redesigned and would shut down access to downtown for 18 months. An environmental study predicted this work would lead to the closure of 15 local businesses. Originally the approach was an informational campaign, but then John brought the stakeholders into a room together with local residents and business owners to talk about any possible ways to mitigate the impacts. They adjusted, tweaked, and pushed the schedule around in a way that was able to “minimize anger and optimize the situation.” This was supplemented with a targeted promotional effort for the businesses that were going to be impacted the most. After much relationship- and trust-building, the community was determined to support these businesses. In the end six businesses opened, zero failed. Never underestimate a community’s ability to be creative and pull together.
4. Put down the templates
IAP2 courses on emotion, outrage, and opposition will provide new ways of thinking about these issues and will provide tools and approaches to try. They will also help you think about how you show up to a meeting and what issues you and your organization are dealing with. Stephani said, “the course is a powerful first step in thinking differently and learning how to approach opposition and polarization in a different way. But it is not a magic wand.” Sometimes people think that if they fill out enough forms or the poster boards are good enough that it will overcome the outrage, but that will never be the case because then you are speaking a language they understand rather than their language. Stephani worked on a project in Canada dealing with conflict about language, a highly polarized issue rooted in identity, and she said “it is not about results or facts. It’s about the culture of communities. For this, we need a model for having brave and honest conversations.” In her work to unpack this issue and transform the nature of the conflict, Stephani worked with participants to create a story-based process where they could share their experiences- good, bad, and ugly. There is no template for doing this, but effective and successful P2 will help participants see the whole person and not just the issue.
5.Relax, nothing is under control
Over-reliance on tools, process steps, and check boxes will gain you the illusion of control, but lose, as Stephani pointed out, “the heart, soul, and complexity of the issue.” It also, as John pointed out, makes you “lose sight of the fact that there are real human beings affected by what [you] do.” There is no magic formula for avoiding outrage. If opposition (that, hopefully, you were anticipating) arises, stop. Talk to people. Give them individual or small group attention and consideration. John noted that “the worst thing you could do is hold a public meeting.” This is an opportunity to build trust for both you and your community, and it is important to be able to trust them enough to give the control away. As Stephani said, “The messier it is, the more there is to work with.”
There is a lot of despair here in the United States and around the world. Despair created by nature, by humankind, and a combination of the two. I spent the last week surrounded by P2 practitioners at the North American Conference hosted by IAP2 USA and Canada, but attended by people from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Europe – and those are just the people I personally encountered. Each one of these people attended the conference to become better at showing their communities not what makes them different, but what they have in common with one another. It certainly gave me hope to know we’d all land back home re-energized and ready to expand our community vocabulary.
Thank you to John Godec and Stephani Roy McCallum for taking time to speak with me about their experience designing the EOP2 course and their personal experiences dealing with emotion and outrage in communities.