Keeping the energy going in a looong meeting
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
6M ago
Asleep on the job, pic by Alex Proimos on flickr. I love it when a new piece of work comes in: the excitement of getting to know a new client and group, the creativity in designing a workshop which will fit the ambition and the constraints, deciding what kit to pack… And then there’s the worry and even bad dreams about the many ways it might go wrong, fall flat, peter out, end in chaos and disappointment.   A recent assignment involved a four-day hybrid multi-lingual, multi-time zone workshop based around an organisational assessment survey tool of some 80+ questions. There were ma ..read more
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In the fish bowl
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
7M ago
Hand-drawn flip chart showing four different fish in a goldfish bowl. Captioned 'What difference do our differences make, as facilitators?'. What would you say if you knew the usual suspects wouldn't interrupt you? What would you hear, if you could be a fly-on-the-wall during an open, honest conversation about something difficult? This is the premise of the 'fishbowl' technique, and I ran one at the IAF England & Wales Conference earlier this year. What happened?   Fishbowl 101 At the core of a fishbowl session is the division of the space into a small inner circle (I went with ..read more
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Phases of development, inspired by the Olympics
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
8M ago
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, August 2023. Earlier this month I stood on a 10th floor roof terrace, looking out over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In front of me were the sweeping curves of the aquatics centre, the delicate frame of the London Stadium and the frankly disturbing tangle of the Orbital.      With around twenty other women, I was at the She is Sustainable Netwalk in the Park event and we were hosted and expertly guided by the very knowledgeable and delightful Ruth Lin Wong Holmes of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and London ..read more
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Three reframing strategies
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
9M ago
Ever had one of those days? The dog’s been sick, there’s a mystery leak dripping through the kitchen ceiling, and just as you’re finally leaving home you discover your bike’s got a flat tyre. Or, your beautiful project gets trashed by trolls on twitter, half the finances fall through, and your boss or client suddenly wants twice as much output in time for their end-of-year performance review. Bad days will happen, even to the best of us. We’ll deal with them better if we have some resilience strategies up our sleeves.  Here are three ways to pick yourself up and show the day who's the bo ..read more
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Sustainable retrofit: plus ça change...
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
9M ago
I've danced on eggshells and walked on thin ice (metaphorically). I've trodden on carpets, lino, floorboards, polished concrete, bricks, tiles and flagstones, non-metaphorically. But the floor of Wednesday's meeting space was made of large metal tiles and that was a first. They've probably been there, under my feet, in any number of office blocks as part of the raised-access flooring, but always covered with something else. The dull gleam and grey reflections were a subtle sign that the building was a bit unusual. "This is not an ordinary project. But it needs to be."  ..read more
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Troika consulting
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
1y ago
Three people on four benches, image by Erik Anestad on flickr I explained my dilemma to the other two people in my ‘troika’ group, and then turned my back. For the next few minutes, they discussed the problem as if I wasn’t there. I heard empathy, I heard honesty. They were free to talk to each other about what I’d said without worrying about me becoming defensive, or correcting them. They also said what they’d intuited about what I’d not said. It was liberating for us all. Something magical There’s something very powerful in this process, and it seems to happen despite the illusion being ob ..read more
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Milestones
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
1y ago
On 7th January, I passed a literal milestone: a striking sculpture marking the end (or for some people the start) of the South West Coast Path. I hadn’t been that bothered about this, as our ambition is to walk all of the England and Wales coast, but as we got nearer I started to feel light-hearted and was positively beaming by the time I saw the galvanised steel map and giant hands holding it. It was a blustery day and we had got soaked in the rain earlier, but a rainbow came out and there were some passers-by willing to take our picture and congratulate us. And we immediately began the West ..read more
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Signalling roles when you're facilitating
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
1y ago
Someone in a green t-shirt holding a green hat. "...and if there's any more [questions or feedback], please come and see one of us in the green t-shirts". How do we make it as easy as possible for participants - and the rest of the facilitation team - to spot us in a crowd?  Farmers who have been taking part in pilots for the new Sustainable Farming Incentive system came together to give feedback to the Defra team. This was a classic consultation event: no decisions were being made in the room. Instead, the client organisation wanted to harvest as much detail about what's working and wh ..read more
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Doing the sustainability team a favour
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
1y ago
pic by rawpixel Does it sometimes feel as if your colleagues treat their sustainability actions as a favour to you?  I'm working with a couple of in-house sustainability teams at the moment, whose situations have strong similarities, despite one being a global brand and the other a public sector agency.  The teams have hats which are familiar to most in-house sustainability specialists:  in-house expertise - on issues from climate to modern slavery monitoring and reporting - collating information from other parts of the organisation to help it understand how it's doing ..read more
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Experimenting with Mastodon
Penny Walker’s Blog
by Penny Walker
1y ago
I’m no longer comfortable with Twitter, since the change of ownership. It’s a dilemma, as so many organisations and people I enjoy connecting with are there. But I’ve started experimenting with Mastodon. If you are too, find me there. Ironically, this Squarespace platform doesn’t have mastodon as one of its built-in share buttons, so I’ll be sharing this on Twitter ..read more
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