IAF Methods

Handling Cynical Remarks

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These are different ways of intervening when a participant makes a cynical remark in a meeting such as, "we do this planning all the time but nothing is ever done."

When someone makes a cynical comment, often it comes from experience. Sometimes it is a way of avoiding responsibility for implementation. When the cynical comment is acknowledged and the person making it is asked what they would do, this becomes an opportunity to ask for their wisdom on how to address the problem.

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Additional info

Goal

The participants take responsibility for making a difference when actions have not been carried out.

Attachments

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Materials

  • paper and pens

Instructions


During

One way to respond is to ask the person "What could we do to make this time different?" 

Sometimes I have people write down their commitments for themselves, starting with "I will...."

Other times I go around the room and have each person declare their commitment out loud.

I also often suggest that there be a regular "check signals" mechanism in place for mutual accountability in the midst of their implementation timeline -- in this way they can celebrate accomplishments, acknowledge roadblocks in implementation, and  support each other to be successful.

After

Follow-Up Required: Check to see if implementation is being done

Background

Source: Jo Nelson

Derived from: A discussion on the GRP-FACL Listserve April 2005

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