The Mary Parker Follett Network

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. - MPF

I am looking to present the concepts of Mary Parker Follett to a top-down agency.

It will be through a collaborative group of interested stakeholders and conflicting political agendas such as the timber industry, government agencies, environmental watchdogs, and landowners all with the shared value of wanting to re-introduce fire into fire prone forest ecosystems in order to create fire adapted communities, resilient landscapes, and reduce the catastrophic damage caused by wildfires that burn in overgrown forests.

The key to success for the group in my opinion is practical (not ethereal) concepts of networking.
I think I want to introduce the idea of integration vs compromise/domination and the need to set conflict to work.

I also want to introduce the idea of lateral diffusion of communication and innovation in networks vs the top down organization approach.

Can anyone point me to images, graphics, or concepts I can include in a short 45min-1 hour presentation?

Talking points? Suggestions?

Existing presentations you are willing to share?

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Great opportunity, Joe. Follett's "windows at Harvard" story is always a good example of integrating interests.

Matthew

Hi Joe,

What an amazing opportunity.  There must be a good story behind how you found/made/stumbled upon the opportunity to make this presentation.  Sounds like you are in a time crunch, so I'll try to be practical.

One of my favorite Follett' expressions is in Chapter I of Dynamic Administration:  The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett. (It is posted in the "Papers & Publications" menu under our Network name.  The title page, publication info and introduction are missing, so if you need that into, contact me.  See bottom for email.)  The first Chapter is titled "Constructive Conflict," and after her opening statement she states, "As conflict --difference--is here in the world, as we cannot aovid it, we should, I think, use it.  Instead of condemming it, we should set it to work for us.  Why not?  What does the mechanical engineer do with friction?" (DA 30) ... She goes on to say  "the friction between the driving wheel of the locomotive and the tract is necessary to haul the train."  And she sums it up with "All polishing is done by friction."  

So, she starts her chapter on "constructive conflict," by getting right to the heart of the matter.  When People start talking and the sparks start flying, most become afraid, and they want to walk away; stop before things  get worse.  One time I was asked by the Massachusetts Attorney General School Mediation program to prepare a workshop for their fourth grade school programs on dealing with anger.  I had done something similar for adults using an x y graph based on a book by P.H. Gulliver, Disputes and Negotiations:  A Cross-Cultural Perspective. I took his text and put in on a graph.  On the vertical axis I put the mood of the parties; and the horizontal, the stage of the negotiation process.  

The quick message for both the adults and the children is "just because things are getting "hot" does not mean that the process is "not working," in fact, it may well mean it "is working."  It is good for a group to get this lesson before they begin discussions, and to set a few simple guidelines for how to deal with the hot spots. Take a break?  Go for a walk?  Have a snack? Whatever.  And to agree to invent new guidelines if the original ones aren't working. The more the "parties" can own the process, the better the chance of reaching a creative resolution.

I have attached a rough copy of the handout for the fourth graders. I changed the rather cold graph to become a rollercoaster and added illustrations to suggest the moods.  It worked so well, I dumped the first and use the rollercoaster with adults . . . including the judges in the District Courts of Massachusetts where I was Director of Mediation.  It worked with them as well.

Most of the mediators I know in the environmental field include some advance training for participants in how to approach the exchange of points of view. There should be some in Arizona.  Try mediate.com Maybe someone on this MPF network does that kind of work and might have some practical suggestions.   If it is of any help, you should know that James E. Webb, the Administrator of NASA between 1961 - 1968, the period when the USA was gearing up to put a man on the moon, considered Follett his primary management source for NASA. So, she helped us get to the Moon. Recently I wrote an article about Webb and Follett. If interested, let me know and I will send you a copy.  It appeared in the July 2015 Negotiation Journal.  As an author of an article, I can share with colleagues but with the understanding they won't published it on the internet.

Good planing and good luck!  Albie Davis, Boston, Massachusetts (albiedavis@aol.com)

I am coming at this from the experience of a mediator.  I did not conduct environmental mediations myself, but have done a lot of training of mediators and their trainers.  The skill set seems to be the same.  

Attachments:

What a great visual aid! Thanks for the rollercoaster.

Albie M. Davis said:

Hi Joe,

What an amazing opportunity.  There must be a good story behind how you found/made/stumbled upon the opportunity to make this presentation.  Sounds like you are in a time crunch, so I'll try to be practical.

One of my favorite Follett' expressions is in Chapter I of Dynamic Administration:  The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett. (It is posted in the "Papers & Publications" menu under our Network name.  The title page, publication info and introduction are missing, so if you need that into, contact me.  See bottom for email.)  The first Chapter is titled "Constructive Conflict," and after her opening statement she states, "As conflict --difference--is here in the world, as we cannot aovid it, we should, I think, use it.  Instead of condemming it, we should set it to work for us.  Why not?  What does the mechanical engineer do with friction?" (DA 30) ... She goes on to say  "the friction between the driving wheel of the locomotive and the tract is necessary to haul the train."  And she sums it up with "All polishing is done by friction."  

So, she starts her chapter on "constructive conflict," by getting right to the heart of the matter.  When People start talking and the sparks start flying, most become afraid, and they want to walk away; stop before things  get worse.  One time I was asked by the Massachusetts Attorney General School Mediation program to prepare a workshop for their fourth grade school programs on dealing with anger.  I had done something similar for adults using an x y graph based on a book by P.H. Gulliver, Disputes and Negotiations:  A Cross-Cultural Perspective. I took his text and put in on a graph.  On the vertical axis I put the mood of the parties; and the horizontal, the stage of the negotiation process.  

The quick message for both the adults and the children is "just because things are getting "hot" does not mean that the process is "not working," in fact, it may well mean it "is working."  It is good for a group to get this lesson before they begin discussions, and to set a few simple guidelines for how to deal with the hot spots. Take a break?  Go for a walk?  Have a snack? Whatever.  And to agree to invent new guidelines if the original ones aren't working. The more the "parties" can own the process, the better the chance of reaching a creative resolution.

I have attached a rough copy of the handout for the fourth graders. I changed the rather cold graph to become a rollercoaster and added illustrations to suggest the moods.  It worked so well, I dumped the first and use the rollercoaster with adults . . . including the judges in the District Courts of Massachusetts where I was Director of Mediation.  It worked with them as well.

Most of the mediators I know in the environmental field include some advance training for participants in how to approach the exchange of points of view. There should be some in Arizona.  Try mediate.com Maybe someone on this MPF network does that kind of work and might have some practical suggestions.   If it is of any help, you should know that James E. Webb, the Administrator of NASA between 1961 - 1968, the period when the USA was gearing up to put a man on the moon, considered Follett his primary management source for NASA. So, she helped us get to the Moon. Recently I wrote an article about Webb and Follett. If interested, let me know and I will send you a copy.  It appeared in the July 2015 Negotiation Journal.  As an author of an article, I can share with colleagues but with the understanding they won't published it on the internet.

Good planing and good luck!  Albie Davis, Boston, Massachusetts (albiedavis@aol.com)

I am coming at this from the experience of a mediator.  I did not conduct environmental mediations myself, but have done a lot of training of mediators and their trainers.  The skill set seems to be the same.  

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