11/13/08 - Strategic Plan Foundation

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Strategic Planning Introduction

CNVC Board of Directors Meeting Day 1 of 4 – Nov 13, 2008


Board Members:

Gail Taylor – Board Member
Margo Pair – Board Secretary
Marshall Rosenberg – Board Member
Robert Gonzales – Board President
Stefan Wisbauer – Board Vice-President (by phone)
Valentina Rosenberg – Board Treasurer
Facilitator: John Buck
Notetaker: Elin Skappel
    • The following is a synopsis, not a transcript**
  • John: In February, it was a nice moment when Robert reminded us to connect with what is meaningful to us so that we are coming from what really matters.
  • Robert: The basis of strategic planning is implementation of the consciousness that is shared, therefore it is important to define and articulate what that is: compassionate giving and receiving at all levels of groups and organization. Most present in my awareness is that there are three levels of this consciousness: individual (I), relationship (you) and group (we). It is important to define the "we" of our organization.
What is this group consciousness? I would like us all to be clear on that, so our following planning is consistent with what that is. Unless we do that, I don't think that what we do as a group will be consistent with what the value of NVC is. Important elements are shared power, group decision-making, "power with", inclusiveness with all the stakeholders in the organization on all levels. Since I joined the Board, one of the goals I had was to create one of the vehicles: the Communication Coordinator. I think that whatever this group consciousness is, it exists on all levels in concentric circles of inclusion.
One of the primary characteristics is that every voice be given the space to be heard. Then following, on every level of the concentric circle: group decision-making. If there is a person on any level that is not operating within the idea of letting every voice be heard and move towards decision making level, then we are not living in tune with the mission, vision and aim of CNVC.
Every individual is to have a consciousness and shared vision of everyone's needs that exists in the group on every level. For me the strategic plan needs to take that into consideration. Whether it's IT, circles, Board, to include all stakeholders: organizers, certified trainers, certification candidates, donors, etc. We need to define how they can be engaged in "power with" so they can influence the organization. Wanting to remember to include all the important stakeholders in every decision we make at any level of these concentric circles. I am happy we are including certain identified leaders in the NVC community in the international call tomorrow.
A living vision in our hearts, that is where this needs to come from. Sometimes we are coming from fear or defensiveness, or from a reactive place or a place of protection; this is part of life, and I want us to acknowledge it. One of the primary elements of the consciousness is the fullness and beauty of our needs. When we do not act from lack, but when we act from fullness and beauty, we are living in accordance with our hearts. Jeff Brown was alluding to this, how are we living this consciousness.
  • John: how to stay based in life sustaining spirit...
  • Marshall: I like very much how Robert described complicated but important things we need to work on. One of the things that concern me is how difficult it is to have the connections and discussions with people, to be in harmony with our mission.
  • Valentina: I appreciate what Robert shared, for me also, I don't want to be part of this organization if we are not living consciously and that all needs are valued. What I have learned these last few months, as we are more grounded and not traveling as much, for me personally it has been painful when things have come up because we were moving so fast that we were not following through, that at the time, not knowing how to balance that because we had to catch another airplane, IIT, meeting, I am mourning all of that. At the same time learning that we can build that infrastructure to make and take the time to be able to connect with those and ourselves whose needs are not met or there are disappointment or discomfort. For me that would be an enormous piece, will start with myself to be able to not have a pattern that has been in the past of getting involved in conversations and situations and not following through. Very conscious now that I can take undertakings, and want to be very conscious to take the time, to be able to connect with the individuals that are helping us to reevaluate who we are what we are about, to really be conscious of the purposes of why are we here. Is this for the highest good of all concerned, or going for the intention because it looks really good - did I check my motives. If my heart is clear then I feel the connection with the The Divine Energy and I can walk my walk and talk my talk. Would like to spend as much time re-establishing time, making sure we have the time to continue and finish whatever was started, so it can be finished to where there is balance, because as I look back I realize that there are so many unfinished things, because we were moving too quickly too fast, and now I really feel that if I want to stay conscious in the heart of the spirit of why I'm here and contributing. I want to be clear with these precious connections that Robert and Marshall mentioned. This is like a new awareness that I didn't even have until Robert brought it up to us. I didn't understand what you meant that we had a pattern, and then I needed to understand what created the pattern. After looking inside my Heart and realizing that we were moving to fast and saw that we had 30 people in front of us, asking for request and not following through was creating patterns of unresolved unfinished communication - learning from that, and I feel that we have already started, very carefully and diligently to connect with those who have pain or need to come to a resolution of what was left behind. Very confident that it can happen because I already see it working for us. Now that we are more Present! Really feel complete right now.
  • Gail: When I was looking at the agenda I saw that one of the bullet points asked what NVC means to us personally. To me NVC is a powerful tool for living a deep commitment of mine - to live as much as possible as a channel of or conduit for the Divine - for divine inspiration. NVC gives practical tools for how I can express and embody the face of God, if you will, in the midst of the fact that we have fears, we are human, we have personal agendas, or stacks of unresolved pain. When I try to define what is the "Divine," for me it's three points of a triangle. One apex on the triangle is Love/Compassion/Connection to my heart (open vulnerability and receptivity). Another is Service; we have three levels that we are serving: our needs, the needs within our groups and we-space, and an "It" that is greater than us, that is a consciousness expanding outward to the entire globe so we're serving the expansion of consciousness on our planet. The third apex of the triangle I think of as reflection/contemplation - Am i coming from a space of equanimity or am I coming from my emotional hijack: fear, protection, pain, contraction, closure. So in answering the question, "How do we do strategic planning from the Spirit of NVC consciousness?", what I most want for myself is to continuously be coming back to Am I doing my absolute best in this moment to be coming from Love, Service and the space of Equanimity, so that what comes from me is from divine inspiration and less from pain and protection and fear. If I'm doing direction and decision-making I can get into my head. (I might even offer my pain or fear as a gift of love). So for me doing Strategic Planning from the spirit of NVC means checking each moment - as best I can - to see if I'm coming from that space of love/compassion, service, and equanimity.
  • Margo: A beautiful sense of aliveness, each of you touched on the essence which is more than the individual. I really cherish life in everyone, regardless of situation, location. Nonviolent communication is a beautiful way for me as an individual to connect with others, and for us to help each other be the best we can be, there is a beautiful sense of abundance. I love numbers and can easily be caught up with them, but you are all helping me, and adding to - what life serving systems, how can we be in the community, in teams, the person you are next to in a workshop or sharing the book with someone, what's the next level that just keeps nurturing. What each of you shared nurtured me. This "we" that is life supporting. Situations that are excluding someone, inadvertently, or not life serving for them or harboring their growth, I want to be open to hearing and understanding, a sense of openness, the energy I am trying to bring and keep within my presence. co-creating together and asking others to share in that.
  • Stefan: Feeling in alignment in this longing for integrity standing connected with the consciousness of NVC, really precious to me, certainly don't want us to come from a sense of fear or out of defensive motifs, but want to come to the planning with excitement. Over the last months we are getting closer, there is still pain in the network or frustrations, fears, but the level of this organization, a lot of things are just handled better now and allows us to step up. Look at the big challenges we are facing on a global level, the potential of NVC applied properly in the world, to child education, and many other things, potentially, it is beyond measure. We are a small force in a large world, the high level points that get us excited, not tying us down, telling what to do or not to do, we set out collectively to reach goals that have high impact, and the freedom to follow my feelings and needs, creating the overall map, collective consciousness and intention, in teams and organization - can gain a lot of momentum and progress together. The last thing I want to say is that I want the planning to happen at multiple levels. Define goals, collaborative groups, on specific topics, areas (geographic) - how are we going to influence how to make peace, connect with global leaders, such as Obama - get Marshall with him? It is important to stay connected to the consciousness.

  • John: Stefan's Plan from 2006.
Third page: different strategies, some of which we have started stepping into:
- interactive website
We have done some of the things we were looking at:
- progress in clarifying cert. process.
The back part of the package goes more into detail,
-getting fundraising more together,
-some process on local organizations
  • John: Stefan, question: Having been the leader of putting this plan together, where do you see us now, what are your thoughts?
  • Stefan: I want to point to page four, priorities. Part of the exercise that will be useful, priorities that we all share. I want to make sure these things get the attention they need, once we got a set of priorities, maybe more internally focused... created systems that connect "power over", how do we link up better with the GCC, as well as a more externally focused thing... more detail behind them, how do we make this happen. Alignment around priorities, and how to go after them. How do we want to push it further? What else do we want to do with the website.
  • John: Emergence of local organizations, that is the most significant difference since Stefan’s plan was created. We didn't have this group to bounce thoughts off of. I think that the step we have to make is to make it everybody's plan, not just CNVC's. Perhaps we need some sort of process that kicks off this planning to be more part of local groups.
  • Stefan: Better established GCC, more local circles - but also "this is what we see, what do you think", start with a proposal.
  • John: Stefan's plan is for the CNVC governance, not for the whole community
  • Gail: There is a distinct difference in the survey results in regard to responses related to the CNVC Governance circles, and responses related to CNVC Global groups/community.
  • Robert: Including the global community is of highest importance. How to create this inclusion.
1. Give them voice
2. Include them in the actual decision making
How to do this?
I get scared when I say this, but I am not sure how to implement this in a practical way.
There are rich resources in the NVC community, people who want to contribute, who may or may not have tried to be available to us.
  • Gail: If I may add on a #3, or maybe you meant this as included Robert -- is the element of transparently communicating back to the network how and where their concerns were included. It seems to me that much of the pain in the network has to do with this. It's not that their concerns weren't considered, but they didn't hear how or where the needs were included - they can't see where their voice was included in discussions, which stimulates the sense that they are not taken into account. I think this can shift as we continue to increase the transparency through the website, etc. Put a kind of loop on the input back out to the community so that they can see where we are attending to the needs and responding to their voices even if we didn't find ways to meet everyone's needs every time in the way they might like.
  • Valentina: To be clear when we are asking for recommendations. Sometimes there is confusion when we ask for feedback.
  • Robert: And also, how is this process even defined. Recommendation? Input? Who are the "we". What group/circle are we addressing. A complex process, but not undoable if we share the intention and vision. We = the CNVC community.
  • Margo: Even just having that as an intention to sharing it.. starting as we did an hour ago, connecting into what is alive in us with this, and then start connecting and making movement forward. Without it, it seems so disjointed and hard to get clarity around.
  • Robert: I have a sense, an inner template model of a way of us co-creating the strategic plan that is helpful to me. Starts out with having the shared conscious intention. What emerges from that are the specific qualities that emerge from that intention, qualities like mutuality, power with, integrity. When we are in this space right now, what happens emerges from some mysterious way, that is how I envision a plan. We may have a topic, like certification or media, and for me I want to be in the resonance and fullness of that need, heartstorming, and unless language is resonant with feeling that need, I don't trust it. Then it becomes intellectual exploration, but I want the intellectual clarity of mind to be the vehicle for the heart, aim and manifest our plans. That three dimension thing is important to me. I'd love us if we can share the intention to have this be a co-creative act from that deep resonance.
  • Stefan: I never saw the strategic plan from 2006 as being at the expense of the rest of the network, we had just put the GCC into place when this was written, the intention, we are just making steps to make this more concrete. I very much resonate with you, Robert, in what you have been saying, and I don't want to see it as either/or. How about beginning each board meeting by inviting GCC proposals as fixed agenda items, let's find concrete steps to get that connection, a broader consultation - like the surveys - like other forms online to get information, I just want pragmatism, concrete proposals, contemplating larger decisions.
  • Robert: That makes perfect sense to me. Not an either/or. The emergent quality I was talking about includes information, pragmatism, on a very real level. And that these concrete steps emerge from the consciousness.
  • Stefan: To have both sides in our consciousness.
  • Robert: There is a problem in the network with communication flow, and I want to connect the pieces, one of the central pieces in the strategic plan. Working hard on it. Is this work being communicated to the network so the community knows what is going on? We need transparency in knowing what is happening. The Communications Coordinator will play an important role in making crucial, vital information flow out through transparency to the network.


To provide input or feedback to the Board, please use one of our feedback forms:

  • If you want the input you provide to be immediately accessible by other members of our community, please use the form labelled "Public", which is located at
  http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=p6HBFi7KGIunfDcZAl7RIEg .
  • If you would like your input to be visible only to the Board, please use the form labelled "Private", which is located at
  http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=p6HBFi7KGIumNAcd-FNDVUA .

Both of these forms are available at any time from the bottom of any page of the CNVC website (www.cnvc.org) by clicking on the link "Provide input/feedback to CNVC Governance Teams".