Lessons from The Donald

Like you, I wonder about many things.  For example, if Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey were so filthy rich, why’d they only spring for a lousy three-hour tour…and on that crappy SS Minnow? And I wonder what can or should be done about the online jerks who spew made-up facts and snarky, vicious, anonymous commentary that’s now a normal part of the global conversation?

If you’ve ever read newspaper story or almost any other comment source online you know what I mean. And, how can we reach people who function at an all-time literacy low? Please read on:


Groping with Groups  

Group decision-making is a whole lot more challenging than just capitulating to a benevolent dictator. However, it is generally the system that we’ve got (at least until November) and when it’s done, well, it’s golden. Here’s a really good and entertaining list of 10 reasons that this can go wrong and ways to avoid failure:


And while on the subject of November, the biggest group decision that we have to make is the election of a President. In the last (2012) Presidential election, fewer than 54% of us bothered to vote. According to Pew, of the 34 developed nations, the U.S. ranks a pathetic 31st in voter turnout. Here’s one option for fixing that:


Trump Talks Like a Sixth Grader and Maybe You Should Too…  

Before you start snorting like a water buffalo over that suggestion, remember that he’s connecting with people and you’re probably not:


The hottest show on Broadway, an Academy Award nominee, and one of my all-time fave TV shows all provide lessons to communicators:


Standing on Shaky Ground  

Facilitators of controversial issues would probably agree that the above subtitle makes a nice metaphor for this work. Conflict resolution almost always starts with somebody who’s willing to stand in that shaky center and try to find ways to get the “sides” to step away from their hardline fringe to find some kind of resolution. And, although the current oil glut has made things quiet for now, nothing’s hotter than fracking:


“You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.” This quote attributed to (although probably inaccurately) Al Capone sort of sums up the negotiation style of both Donald Trump and Harrison Ford…


Anti-Social Media  

Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet (the parent company of Google) said, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”

Unlike Powdermilk Biscuits, which give shy persons the strength to get up do what need to be done, the anonymity of the web allows shy people to get up and do and say the dumb things that they would never do or say face-to-face.

Sometimes, like in the case of Boaty McBoatface, it can be just plain funny (Google it.) Estimates are that 5.6% of people are Internet trolls, the destructive kind, and here’s the best way to handle them:


As public and stakeholder information and chatter moves increasingly online, we have to get better at hearing and responding to it. As you’d guess, the following research is business-based but the strategy and tactics translate to the public sector easily:


One researcher says white-collar workers check their email 77 times a day – and some do it up to 343 times a day or more. Email is an aggravating part of most work lives, so if you’re looking for the next big thing, read on…


Conflict Resolution & Community Involvement in Your Neck of the Woods  

The Participation Company (TPC) has open workshop scheduled and open to anyone. Or we’ll bring our stuff directly to you. We work with the EPA, NPS, BLM, DOT, USFS, ACOE, BOR and just about every other acronym that you can think of. We’re also working with big and small companies, domestic state agencies, municipalities, NGO’s, tribes and organizations across both big ponds.

We have existing and customized workshop topics on (re)building trust, community involvement, facilitation, collaboration, risk and conventional communication, conflict resolution and prevention, effective meeting design, translating complex science and policy and other related topics.

We’ll customize and deliver the workshop that you need for your group and help you find the solutions to your problems.

* That was the best training I have been to for EPA so far. I learned so much!!
– Jackie, EPA

* As government employees we have our fair share of training. Not many rise to the level, as this one did, where you can say that it is one of the best courses you’ve ever taken.
– Geoff, BLM

* Thank you for a great opportunity to learn – it is rare nowadays to walk away from a learning experience and feel enrich not only as a professional but also as a human being. Thank you for enabling a truly a powerful experience!
– Elna de Beer, Golder Associates Africa

* I appreciated that the trainer came prepared with materials that were relevant, region specific and current.
– OSC, EPA Region 2

* I am convinced that this course will be of tremendous value to our staff.
– Tom, Urban Systems

* …Thanks again for the hard work you invested in making sure we had a valuable learning experience!
– Ann, Booz Allen Hamilton

* One of the best training sessions I’ve had in 29 years. John knows the Superfund program extremely well and understands firsthand the issues we face.
– Regional Project Manager, EPA Region 2

* The Samoan Circle (conversation circle) was a SMASHING SUCCESS tonight!  Thank you! 
– Kerri, Champaign IL

The Participation Company’s upcoming International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) classes — open to everyone — include:

The IAP2 Foundations 5-Day Course:

* Great Falls, MT: May 19 – 20, 2016
(2-Day Techniques)

* Omaha, NE:  June 1 – 3, 2016
(3-Day Planning)

* Omaha, NE: August 11 – 12, 2016
(2-Day Techniques)

* Fort Collins, CO:  August 30 – Sept 1, 2016
(3-Day Planning)

* Anchorage, AK: October 31 – November 4, 2016

* Fort Collins, CO: November 3 – 4, 2016
(2-Day Techniques)

* Salt Lake City, UT: December 5 – 9, 2016

The IAP2 Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation 2-Day Course:

* Chicago, IL: June 15 – 16, 2016

* Austin, TX: July 20 – 21, 2016

Click on http://TheParticipationCompany.com for the details.

The Participation Company LLC is a strategic partner and provider for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). 

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Remember: We waste our time scanning the Worldwide Interweb so you don’t have to…


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