Applying Active Engagement practices within an organization

These stories have been shared since 2004 as a wide range of individuals and teams began to employ the AE skills and practices. Positions and departments reflect those at the time the stories were recorded by Deb Witwicki.

DM Brad Pickering, “Learning in Practice.”
Nary an eyebrow would be raised among those in the know if they happened to catch Sustainable Resource Development DM Brad Pickering and Alberta Energy DM Dan McFadyen in a lively debate about caribou and moratoriums on mineral dispositions. After all, protecting the vulnerable caribou species in Alberta, a provincial mandate embraced by SRD, often rubs against Energy’s work in business development. Caribou comes up between the two ministries as often as money comes up in some marriages….MORE

Wildfire Prevention Section “Engaged Learning is Key to Service Excellence.”
Nondefensive Stance sees criticism as opportunity….MORE

Scott Milligan “Mindful Leadership at Work: Engagement that Diffuses Conflict.”
SRD’s Forest Management Branch counts on Manager of Forest Operations Scott Milligan and his staff to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Mr. Milligan’s study of Active Engagement: The Practice of Mindful Leadership has equipped him with the skills to do this from a new depth. Now, the first question he’s inclined to ask is whether there is a real conflict or problem in the first place. He’s also exploring how mindful dialogue can help to build understanding and prevent conflicts from developing….MORE

Grant Sprague “Clarity and Compassion Make Tough Decisions Less Threatening.”
How do you tell the boss that his or her directives appear to be off the mark? How do you tell esteemed colleagues that the ways they are accustomed to doing business are going to change, whether they like it or not? Few of us, no matter what our level of authority is can avoid dealing with at least some potentially uncomfortable, even downright threatening issues….MORE

Maureen Pulhug “Breaking the Assumptions Barriers.”
When it seems someone or something is barring your way to new opportunities, it might be worthwhile to look your jailer straight in the eyes. Maybe the person holding you back is you. Sometimes our untested assumptions about what is possible keep us from moving forward….MORE

Chris Van Tighem “Tried, Tested and Authentic Mr. Van Tighem Charts His Way Through Respectful Inquiry.”

Jules LeBoeuf “Situational Awareness at Ground Level: Active Engagement Helps Mr. LeBoeuf Notice When He’s Off Course.” MORE

Bob Justman, “Making a Difference in the Workplace: KVIE Employee Survey.”
Bob Justman was a middle manager at KVIE public television station in Sacramento, California. He spoke of what a difference the practice made in his life, helping change many attitudes and approaches he’d grown up with, and accumulated in a 20 year career in the US Air Force as a Master Sergeant before going to work at KVIE.
He initially struggled with doubts that he could make a difference in his work place, one which he cared passionately about. He began by holding lunchtime workplace dialogues (with higher management’s permission) to begin to rebuild connections and healthy patterns of conversation amongst departments and colleagues on general matters of shared concern and interest. This turned into shared learning groups that implemented skills of the practice in the workplace.
This brief email describes conversations he had shortly after getting the results of the annual employee survey. Bob died after a short illness in 2007, but is held in fond memory. MORE