What would the Founders Say?

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Intent or purpose: 
To use the spirit of the founders of the organization as inspiration for confronting today’s issues, perhaps as an opening to a strategic planning session.
Used as component of: 
To begin a strategic planning session
Recognizable Components: 
Group reflection
Types of Participants: 
Recommended size of group: 
Remarks about group size: 
This can be done with a smaller group, but that permits consideration of fewer perspectives
Optimal amount of time needed: 
about an hour
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
Level of participation: 
Active participation
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Examples of successes and failures: 
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
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Pre-Work Required: 
One needs tolocate articles, press coverage, videos, etc. of both the founding of the organization, osme o fits founding indiivduals and also the era and the field in which the organization was started. Remarks from the competition are especially interesting.

1. After a story, film or presentation about the founding or early start-up of your organization, divide participants into teams of 5-7 people.
2. For each team, assign one of the persons involved in the beginning of the organization – this could include the founder him or herself, colleagues of the founder, competitors who sought to deal with the same issues in a different way, victims of the issues that your organization was founded to address and perhaps spokespersons for other organizations active at the time of founding.
3. Each team reflects on two questions:
What was this person’s perspective on what we were doing when this organisation began?
What would this person have to say to us today?
4. Teams report back their conversations and reflect:
What are points that struck you in this reporting?
What was encouraging for you? Uncomfortable?
How would you describe the times we are now in?
What should we take as priorities in our discussions today?

How flexible is the process?: 
Quite flexible -- it can also be adapted as a roleplaying event if desired.
Follow-Up Required: 
Maureen Jenkins, Imaginal Training
Derived from: 
Epistemological Framework: 
History of Development: 

I did some reflective sessions like this with religious orders who were studying their history. In the discussion surrounding the death of Steve Jobs, I realized that reflection on an organization's foundation period and its founders can be very useful for secular organizations as well.

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