News from the Network
Exciting times at Corryong Neighbourhood Centre
Upper Murray Community Bakery, the new social enterprise run by the Corryong Neighbourhood Centre, will be opening on July 1st.
Social enterprises are run as commercially viable businesses, but with the purpose of generating social impact in their community. Importantly, the profits made from the business are reinvested back into the community.
"The bakery is the ideal business for us to start a social enterprise scheme in Corryong" said Michael Leonhard and Sara Jenkins, joint CNC Coordinators. "The bakery is a long established business, it is the only one of its kind in the town and the premises are right next door to our offices".
Michael Leonhard with former bakery owners Gary & Bev Hogg
The CNC has been able to purchase the business with funds loaned by Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA). SEFA offer a wealth of experience and advice and flexible lending arrangements.
"We decided to start the business because demand for our services and activities is increasing, but funding is decreasing," said Michael. "We needed to create a sustainable source of funds that can be utilised to meet the needs of our community.
"Initially, profits will be used to repay the investment and support the CNC operations, then over time additional funds will be available to sponsor and develop other social enterprise initiatives and community projects." (Photo and extracts of article from Corryong Courier, 11/6/2015.)
Exciting times indeed for Corryong Neighbourhood Centre - congratulations on a great initiative!
Information about social enterprises can also be found at Social Traders.
Don't forget - we are on the lookout for your stories to share. What are you doing at your House that you are really proud of? Why not share it with other members? Send an email to Trish at email@example.com with a paragraph or two (and a photo if possible!)
Spotlight on Network members
(from Groupworks Institute of Australia)
Conflict. It’s all around us
Yet, for many of us, facing conflict is terrifying - we do everything to avoid dealing with it!
So what can we do when we find ourselves embroiled in conflict?
Listening to understand
At Groupwork Institute we define conflict as ‘a difference of opinion with strong emotions attached’.
Resolving conflict is all about dealing with the emotional component of that difference of opinion. And one of the most powerful ways we can do this is through good reflective listening.
We call this listening to understand and the key ‘magic ingredient’ is reflecting back the essence of what we’re hearing. Why? Because checking in on what we’re hearing allows us to unearth key pieces of information or feelings we may be otherwise unconsciously blind to.
When we reflect back, we might say something like: “Are you saying that I talk over the top of you and you feel like I undermine what you say…?” If we’ve got it right, the other person will actually be encouraged to say more because they’re feeling heard.
And that’s the alchemy of transformation right there: feeling heard. When we’re not feeling heard, part of us doesn’t feel valued – it can trigger old responses and we can go into a ‘downward spiral of defensiveness’ that manifests as strong emotion.
Giving the gift of validation
The entrenched conflict starts to soften immediately as we begin to hear more context and see how we were missing key pieces of the puzzle and jumping to conclusions.
This is what we would call the micro-skill of validation. It's where the listener puts all their energy into understanding the speaker’s experience and feelings. Remember – this is not agreeing with them! Validation helps open up the connection between the people involved: “So you’re feeling frustrated by the way we’ve been communicating lately”.
The power in vulnerability
With great listening comes a greater sense of safety and trust and eventually someone will step across the vulnerability threshold and risk something of themselves.
Revealing weaknesses is the last thing we think we should do when we’re in conflict because there is such a strong pull towards protecting ourselves. And it can take a lot of courage for a person to risk the shame of revealing a mistake or weakness.
But revealing a mistake via an apology for something that didn't go well is an irresistible cue for others to drop their guard. It’s almost impossible to stay defensive when someone else is dropping their armoury in front of us.
There is something about our shared humanity - we are constantly on the look out for moments to re-connect with other humans. Saying sorry is one of those moments.
Great working environments are created when we (re)discover the art of talking openly, honestly and with a willingness to see our own part in any situation.
This piece was contributed by Steve Ray, one of Groupwork's senior facilitators. If you'd like to learn more about the Groupworks Institute of Australia click here.