Note: This is the third of a five-part series looking at how VisualsSpeak tools were used in a real-world context. View previous installment.
We get asked from time to time to give examples about how the VisualsSpeak toolset is used amongst the members of the VisualsSpeak community. So over the course of a handful of blog posts, we’re sharing one such example, with the Housing Authority of Portland.
It’s about the question
On the call, there was a lot of concern about creating a forum for a giant gripe session. After all, these changes could mean more layoffs and lots more work. To avoid this, the team focused on the question to ask people to respond to. If they steered people toward a supportive stance, they could offer attendees the opportunity to get behind the effort—rather than to worry about things that might never happen.
The team settled on, “How can I contribute to the dreams of the agency?”
On the day of the meeting
The first day began with lunch at an off-site location. Attendees sat at tables with people they don’t normally work with, giving them the opportunity to have informal conversations with the executive and management staff.
The keynote speaker, Jim Stockard, had a PowerPoint presentation, but didn’t show many slides. Instead he mostly told stories. His stories centered on the history of the affordable housing movement, how the industry was constructed to serve a client base far from what it currently served. He talked about his decades on the Cambridge Housing Authority board, and shared his frustrations of trying to make a difference on the local and national level for many years.
HAP’s executive director, Steve Rudman, continued in the next segment, telling stories about how the larger industry picture had affected the work in Oregon. He talked about how hard it has become to effectively serve all the people who desperately need service. Given the level of challenge, he started offering possibilities for solving them by aligning resources with other city, state, and county agencies. At the end, he answered a few questions and sent everyone on a break.