Erin Warner’s Transformative Session at the 2024 Facilitation Lab Summit

At this year’s Facilitation Lab Summit, Erin Warner led a captivating workshop titled “Daring Dialogues: Refining Ideas and Embracing Bold Action.” Erin, known for her unique blend of movement and facilitation techniques, encouraged participants to engage physically and mentally throughout the session.

The workshop began with a lively introduction, where Erin emphasized the importance of community, movement, and holistic well-being. She shared her journey of integrating diverse experiences into her facilitation practice, highlighting the power of books like “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker and “The Joy of Movement.”

Erin’s session was structured around two core elements: trust and emergence. She introduced participants to the concept of embodied decision-making, explaining how our bodies can provide valuable insights into our levels of trust and enthusiasm.

Participants were invited to stand in a circle and make eye contact, gauging their trust levels with each other. This exercise was both meditative and revealing, helping attendees understand the importance of trust in group dynamics.

Erin then guided the group through interactive decision-making activities. One such activity involved physically moving to different areas of the room to express preferences for various ideas. This embodied voting method highlighted the significance of commitment and authenticity in decision-making processes.

Throughout the session, Erin encouraged participants to reflect on their experiences and share insights. The workshop concluded with a discussion on how to maintain a safe and productive environment in facilitated sessions, emphasizing the continuous nurturing of trust and openness.

Erin’s workshop was a powerful demonstration of how movement and embodied practices can enhance facilitation. Her approach left attendees inspired to incorporate these dynamic methods into their own sessions, fostering deeper connections and more effective collaboration.

Watch the full video below:


Erin Warner:

Hello, everybody. Great to see you. Hope you had a good lunch. Very excited to share, yeah, those diverse things that I bring to facilitation with you all today. Thank you, those of you who danced with me yesterday, hope you had fun. I’m going to bring a little bit of movement into this session as well. Is anyone afraid that I’m going to ask you to dance? Is there anyone who’d be excited if I said, hey, we’re going to get up and dance? Okay, cool, well, we’re not going to do that, but we are going to move a little bit.

So just a few words about me. Where I am now really is the result of taking all these very disparate strands that seem unrelated and experiences and then weaving them into something coherent. So community is something very, very important to me. I absolutely treasure it, and this picture right here is actually the summit two years ago, and those are people that I went through the certification with. Of course, it was all online and that was the first time we met each other in person, so it was a really special way to deepen the community that we have with each other. These are the people that I danced with at the gym, and I always say it’s more than just a fitness class. We are really building emotional wellness and social strength through coming together and doing our physical fitness.

Some of my favorite books, of course, The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. I was talking to someone last night who hasn’t read it, and if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it. It’s just a really beautiful book and very applicable to what we do. The Joy of Movement, it’s about, again, the three-dimensional benefits of movement, both on your physical well-being, but your cognition as well, your creativity, your sense of resilience, your sense of belonging, so it’s very holistic. I also facilitate a racial healing and racial justice book club. I feel just as an American, that’s part of our responsibility to educate ourselves and engage with those issues. So those are some of the books that we read together.

Yes, I used to be a lawyer and I’m going to talk to you all today about decision-making processes, and as a former lawyer, that’s just something I’ve thought about a lot. I think it’s really important and it’s the practical side of me. I have the fun dancing, all this, but also I really like results. I really like driving things forward, so I’m going to try to provide that today.

And lastly, this picture of colorful vegetables. I am really passionate about produce, fruits and vegetables, for so many reasons, but I’m just going to leave that there. If anybody’s curious about that or if you’re passionate about fruits and vegetables too, let’s talk. But I won’t go into that quirky side of myself, but I’ll just leave that there for anyone who’s intrigued.

The title I gave to my session is Daring Dialogues: Refining Ideas and Embracing Bold Action, and those are nice things to aspire to, but it can be daunting or scary. So we’re going to look at some things that support being able to actually follow through on that. And I wanted to give you an overview of what we’re going to look at today, and I called it Our Flow because I am very inspired by nature. And we may not get there in the way that I think, we’re going to go co-create this, but the water might go around that hill, it might come around it the other way. There’s even a little waterfall trickling over the top. But one way or the other, we’re going to explore these things. We’re going to flow through.

First, what I consider secret ingredients for successful group decisions because as we know, group decisions are very differently made than individual decisions that we just make on our own, and there’s different dynamics you have to take into account. We’re going to look at how we can bring our bodies into what they can tell us, how we can bring that into the picture. We’ll do some interactive demos of two exercises and we’ll reflect and share. I hope you all are on board for that.

So food is one of my love languages, so I like using the metaphor of secret ingredients. I like being able to share yummy things with you, like star anise or vanilla or cinnamon. This is what I consider two essential ingredients for successful group decision making. Well, actually, sorry, first of all, I wanted to define what I think is successful, because there’s the outward looking and then the inward looking. So it’s successful if it’s moving the organization towards its goals, right? Simple as that. But also when we feel strongly about something, we’ll engage in debate, but there could also be hurt feelings or I feel like I wasn’t heard, I wasn’t respected, they didn’t understand what I was saying. And then there can be, and I’ve seen and experienced this when I facilitated, there can be grudges, wounds. They’re not really surface, they’re just held. And so I think a successful decision making process protects the cohesion and the rapport within the group so that it can then continue towards its mission. So those are the two vectors of success that we’re going to be trying to work towards today.

We’ve been putting ourselves in the shoes of the user, and I want us now to shift to the point of view of the ACC decision makers, because they’re the ones eventually who are going to have to say, how are we going to promote this program? And there’s a lot of ways that we already know about how decisions are made. So I wanted to first just surface some of them. What are some standard ways that groups make a decision that we already know about? Just popcorn style. Sorry?

Speaker 2:


Erin Warner:

Voting, yes, and then there’s so many kinds of voting.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible 00:06:43].

Erin Warner:

There’s majority rules, right, 50%, 51%? Thank you.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:06:50].

Erin Warner:

Yes, stacked ranked voting. Yes. What else?

Speaker 4:

[inaudible 00:06:56].

Erin Warner:

Yeah, decider, decider. That’s nice and simple. Cool. Anything else? Yes.

Speaker 5:


Erin Warner:

Consensus, yeah. That’s always the holy grail if you can … Has anyone ever seen it. Jimmy? Consent, yes. Can you explain the difference? And Nellie’s bringing you a mic.


Decisions by consent are like, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I can consent to this.

Erin Warner:

I’m not going to veto it or block it. Thank you. Thank you. Monica?


Not deciding anything.

Erin Warner:

Who’s seen that and experienced that? Man, that’s frustrating. Cool, thank you. So the next thing is, so we know these because we see them and we experience them, right? So does anyone want to make a case for which one is the best one?

Speaker 8:

[inaudible 00:08:00]

Erin Warner:

Yeah, and if you don’t want to make a case, would anyone like to talk about why you don’t want to say this one’s the best one? Over here.

Speaker 9:

I can make a case for having a single decision maker such as a boss or a manager, assuming that they have heard all of the feedback from everyone else in the group and they’ve taken that into consideration and answered questions, but generally having that single person helps present churn. And then of course you can be iterative, so if it turns out to not be the right decision, you can revisit it with the group later and pivot.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Thank you, and then I think your neighbor over here had an idea.

Speaker 10:

I don’t think there really is a single best one. It depends on the circumstances and the whole group dynamic. In some situations you might need to get a consensus, you might need to get the majority of people to agree on it. Or if you just need quick action, you might need just one person to say, we’re doing this, go. Even if it’s wrong, we have to go and do it, so it really depends.

Erin Warner:

Yeah, thank you for that. It depends, I think is where I come down on it and that’s why I want to give you these next two tools that no matter which decision-making process you’re going to use, there’s two secret ingredients to get back to that that will support the success of that decision-making process and one is trust and the other one is releasing that inner narrator. There’s always at least one perfectionist in a group usually, or maybe it’s in all of us, and allowing space for emergence. So if you have those two factors in place, then it really frees you up to do those things I started the talk with, which is bold actions and giving yourself space to refine your ideas.

And the reason why those two matter is even if you do disagree with the ultimate decision, if you trust the intention with which it was made, then it’s a lot easier to consent to disagree and commit to get on board if you trust the intention. And also if you trust and you know that it’s part of an emergent strategy, it’s going to be revised, it’s going to be checked, then again, because the thing is if we knew the right answer, it would be easy. And so all of us admitting that we need space to discover for a right answer to emerge will take a lot of pressure off. How are we going to decide?

So we’re going to look at those topics in two activities that will get us up out of our seats and into our bodies, but we hear that word embodiment a lot. I just wanted to see in the room what that word, what you think it means. So again, a little popcorn style, when you hear embodiment, anyone want to speak into that? Over here?

Speaker 11:

Mind and body connection.

Erin Warner:

Beautiful. Can you say more?

Speaker 11:

I think of embodied as an experience that you’re feeling inside of your body and then understanding it more from a mental capacity.

Erin Warner:

Beautiful. Yeah, thank you. Yeah. Right now I’m feeling like energy in my body, everyone’s looking at me. I can feel like the blood coursing. Maybe you’re feeling something else because you just had lunch, but how is that affecting your experience? [inaudible 00:11:34] She’s bringing the mic.

Speaker 12:

The word that comes to mind when I hear embodied is becoming or to become.

Erin Warner:

Interesting. Can you say more about that? Because I’m curious.

Speaker 12:

Yeah, I think to embody something or a concept even in our earlier practice where we were to become or to embody the solution we had in mind with making the shape with our bodies of what this concept was, I think it provides a different layer or experience or a way of thinking about something when you internalize it that way and think about different aspects of the piece and how it translates to your physical body, so yeah.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Yeah, it definitely is another layer that we’re recently becoming more conscious of and trying to receive whatever wisdom or information it has for us. Yeah. Does anybody else want to talk about embodiment?

Speaker 13:

You could also think about not only do they say they’re willing to lean in and do it, but do they actually do it? So it’s actually attaching the willingness, but also the action, so you can actually see it. I’m not just saying it, I’m going to show you that I’m bought in and I’m going to be supported.

Erin Warner:

Absolutely. Yeah, I’m going to come back to that and underline that. Thank you.

Speaker 14:

When I’m thinking about embodiment, I’m thinking about giving form and shape to something that otherwise would be abstract.

Erin Warner:

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you very much. So this very much aligns with the way I’ve summed it up, so thank you very much. You guys are really tuned in. So when I use the word today, embodied, I am really looking for congruence between what the mind is thinking and what the body is either feeling, experiencing or expressing. So it is taking the abstract of just what’s going on in your head and making it more concrete. I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name back here, who you said about … Yeah.

Speaker 15:


Erin Warner:


Speaker 15:


Erin Warner:

Diana, about actually enacting what you say you think or feel. So that’s how I’m using the word today, and that takes me to our first activity. So I’ve seen and experienced this being very powerful and it has to do with the secret ingredient of trust. And we’ve been doing a lot of, I think, activities in day one with the different facilitators building trust among us as a group. And I just want to invite you to look at trust now with fresh eyes as not just a team building thing or thing that has to do with morale, but that’s actually integral to decision-making that it actually frees up a group to be able to make a decision.

So I want you all to imagine that we are the ACC decision-makers, okay? So we work together on this project over time. We’re not going to just see each other today and tomorrow and never see each other again. We are a team. So imagine that, we have relationships, we have a history, and we also have a goal that we need to do together, right? So to embody or to examine the level of trust that we have, what I’m going to ask is actually for everyone to stand up and we’re going to make roughly a circle. It’s going to be similar to what Solomon had us do earlier in terms of a line, but it’s going to be a circle shoulder-to-shoulder. The key is that it’s an uninterrupted shape, whether it’s squiggly, awesome, where hopefully you can pretty much see everybody eye to eye if you were to look around the room. Beautiful, beautiful.

Okay, so imagine that we’re all in this team together and you’re about to make a decision together, and the invitation is to slowly look around the circle and look at people in the eye and feel into what’s true for you. Either you look at that person and you feel, I trust that person, and you believe it, you feel it. And if you don’t feel that, then I invite you to feel, I want to trust that person? Either it’s a question or it’s a statement. I want to trust that person. Those are the two options.

And if you feel I want to trust that person, then ask yourself, what would make that possible? Is there a rupture that needs to be healed? Is there just something you need to get off your chest or is it like I just don’t really know that person. We haven’t connected, so I don’t know. I want to, but I don’t yet. So this can be really powerful in a smaller group where you literally can look every person in the eye. This group is a little bit bigger, but I’m just going to give you the time to literally do that and listen to your body and what it’s telling you. It might be uncomfortable. That’s okay. Take a deep breath, shake it off.

Okay, now go ahead and go back to your tables. Thank you very much for trusting me to do that. Now I recognize that trust is something that’s built. Some of us know each other, but not so well as a whole group. But imagine doing that with your team, a group of people who you know maybe as well as dear family in some ways. I know yesterday I was asking some people to dance and I was like, they don’t have any reason to trust. They don’t know me very well. They don’t trust me well enough to do that. And then maybe they would again in the future if I asked them again. But having done this very simple activity that I’ve witnessed and experienced to be very, very impactful for groups, I’d like you to just, solo, take down your reflections on how that felt for you, good, bad, and ugly, and then we’ll share. So how did it feel to evaluate trust from an embodied perspective? What did your body tell you? Does anybody want to share how that felt for them? They could imagine using it if they had resistance to it.

Speaker 16:

I think I’m more willing to do it here, looking at people who are here for a shared purpose, with people I know less well than I would be back with people outside my team at the place I work for. Within my team, whom I know very well, I’d be okay, but with other people at my company who I know a little bit, I think I would feel more uncomfortable. I was more comfortable here among people I know less well. I don’t know why. There’s an inner narrator in there, I am sure.

Erin Warner:

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that.

Speaker 17:

I trust very naturally. That’s just my general inclination is to trust, but I also recognize it can get derailed when I start to judge. I’m like, that dude seems pretty opinionated or something like that. So that’s where it gets sometimes in the way, and I need to go back to my defaults and start with trust.

Speaker 18:

I mean, in going around the room, I think for me it was a big difference of people who I’ve had a chance to engage with and people who I haven’t. And so primarily it was like I trust this person, I don’t know this person.

Erin Warner:


Speaker 18:

And it sounds funny, but there were a number of faces around the room that also felt like it was the first time I was looking at them because we are all at our own tables and they’re just like, oh, I didn’t know that person was here, and so that was very interesting for a group who doesn’t really know each other here. But something that it brings up for me is in an organization that I was recently a part of where a lot of trust had been broken and going through really difficult leadership transitions, if we were to do that activity, it would be a very high risk activity, and so I’m wondering how you move that. That is a very engaging moment that can have a lot of vulnerability in it. How do you actually move it to a place of trust when it is clear that there is so much distrust in that space?

Erin Warner:

Thank you for surfacing that because I think actually fully intended to share the context, at least where I’ve seen this be really powerful, because it was a similar situation where there was a lack of trust based on some experiences that had happened. So we used this after doing a really vulnerable unpacking where everyone got to say their peace and not be responded to, just be heard and received. And that was quite emotional, but also it surfaced the reason why there was emotions because everybody cared so much, right? So I think it surfaced that unity of purpose, disagreement about methods and not always communicating with the care, and then after that facilitated conversation, having the trust reflection.

And again, you’re not sharing it with anyone else and you’re asking yourself if I can’t honestly say I trust this person, the option I gave you is not, I don’t trust this person. I mean, you’re autonomous humans, you can make that choice, but the option I invited you to was I want to trust this person and what would make that possible? And again, you’re not sharing it with anyone, but now you have that knowledge. They’re like, I’m not so sure about her. Why, and what can I do about that? Taking responsibility also for trying to meet them. Yeah. Thank you. Anybody else? Julie.


I want to tell on myself a little bit here. I found it awkward, but I also found it meditative and I was very sad when the exercise ended that I hadn’t been able to catch everybody’s eye. And something that hit me personally was if you had asked me to do this exercise 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it would’ve felt extremely dangerous to be in a room of so many people I don’t know, and make eye contact and set out that good intention. So I guess I just want to reflect that this practice of facilitation as a human being I think has changed that for me in a really powerful way.

Erin Warner:

Wow. Thank you. Thanks, Julie. Anybody else? Yeah, I definitely understand and expect that it can be awkward and some people might really love it and be touched by it. Some people might be like, there’s no way I would ever do that. I’m okay with that. It’s like the dancing, I did a little poll at the beginning of this session. Some people would totally cringe like, no, that’s not happening. And then other people are like, yeah, that’s for me. So I think that is as expected. Yeah, Leah?


Thank you. I’m curious to learn more about when you do this exercise, because I saw you define trust with unity of purpose, and so what I noticed about this is first and foremost, to trust others, you have to trust yourself and so just how that shows up, because in the embodiment piece, it’s how do you trust your own body and trust your own thoughts? So I’d just be curious to learn more about if that comes in to these kinds of experiences.

Erin Warner:

So first about the unity of purpose. You can define trust in many different ways, and that’s the one that I think is crucial to being able to make decisions, and again, that disagree and commit. If you trust that their intention with which the decision is made, it’s easier to get on board. And then yeah, I think the embodiment comes into play because your body will tell you if you trust someone or not because probably, well, possibly you might think, well, I should. That’s your mind. And then I wanted to bring up the unconscious biases that we have too. We all have them. Again, we try to override them cognitively when we’re aware of them. So maybe actually you “should trust a person.” But some unconscious bias is coming up that maybe by sitting quietly, looking in their eye, you can notice that and say, oh, actually I have some work to do to not let that dictate my relationship with that person.

So the next secret ingredient is making space for emergence, and I’m very much inspired by Adrienne Maree Brown, who wrote the wonderful book Emergent Strategy. I mean it’s a concept that I think it’s expressed in many, many different ways, but what I found really resonated with me in her book and her perspective is two things in particular. One, she’s very, very inspired by nature and very clear on the fact that we are nature. So we’re not separate from it. Whatever we can learn and observe in what we say is nature is generally true on some level or in some way about us as well, and she’s also very inspired by science fiction in a very optimistic way that I love.

So basically if we can imagine and dream an alternate reality that we would like to see become reality, then we can work towards it, but it is an act of creativity, right? It doesn’t exist, so we have to dream it first. That’s the first step, so I love that about her. And just some axioms from her book that I think applied to the decision-making is moving at the speed of trust, again, to keep the health of the members of the organization, the rapport. Never a failure, always a lesson, we all know that one, small is good, small is all. The large is a reflection of the small, so it’s not insignificant, the small steps. It’s like the fractals and the microcosm. What you pay attention to grows, so we’re going to come back to that in terms of enthusiasm, and then change is constant, be like water, always be flowing, always be looking for a different path, and there’s multiple ways to get to your destination.

And another way of saying it that, I am very grateful to the certification process because I came up with this working on my portfolio and the certification process, is that small is better than not at all, direction is more important than the finish line and enthusiasm is the fuel. So we’re going to move into actually evaluating the ideas that you all generated in the previous session using this lens, this framework, especially, we’re going to focus on enthusiasm.

So I had to collect from you all high level the ideas that you all generated in the past session, and there were nine tables, but it seemed like there were basically five big ideas and I wrote them on the pieces of paper. So if you have the block paper on your table, could you just stand up, one person from each table, and say what your big idea was, very high level, what pain point you were solving for and what your idea was? And listen for these because I’m going to ask you to express your preference and your enthusiasm in a minute here, so it’ll be a form of voting.

Speaker 22:

So the pain point was geographic and cultural diversity, and what we came up with were gatherings, convenings, community gatherings at installments because, well, the spouses know where their spouses work and they go there every day. And how about creating community there as a way to share about these things in the way the military shows up and offers convening and gatherings and luncheons as a recruiting method?

Erin Warner:

Thank you.

Speaker 23:

So we focused on building a personal connection and what we landed on was partner with universities for belonging and prestige, so universities that carry a lot of clout in the business world, the Stanfords, Harvards, those kinds of universities. Not only could that help bring attention to resumes, but you also would start to feel a belonging with that university, like I’m part of Stanford or I’m part of Harvard, and so it helps build a community that’s global and really easy to plug into.

Erin Warner:

Thank you.

Speaker 24:

We focused on lack of trust and we thought that could be ameliorated by storytelling of the individuals who were in the program. So I started out with the same problem you had in terms of feeling lonely, not having childcare, and through this program I was successful. Also, on the employer side, I’m an employer. I hired these people and they were super successful in my organization, and so that kind of storytelling would help build trust if it was success stories.

Speaker 25:

So we started out with competing messages. As we started building this out, we’ve realized it might’ve touched on another. We were focusing on that one as our pain point, but we thought we would partner with a national corporate sponsor, for example, a big IT like an Oracle or a Google because they could help us with communication, outreach. They have the name notoriety, they have the bandwidth within their own company. They know how to do this well in terms of communications and branding and that kind of thing. And they also could help with funding with scholarships for the spouses, providing internships and potential job opportunities as they complete the program.

Erin Warner:

Thank you.

Speaker 26:

So we were focused on lack of trust and one of the ideas that we came up with was to create listening circles between the military spouses. So hosting some sort of event where it’s like a family night or something like that where people can all come together and share their pain points and what has been their process so far with their job search or whatever pain points that they might be going through.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Fantastic, and so I consolidated it to five because I heard a few similar ideas about partnerships and that kind of thing. So hopefully I captured most of the genius in the room. So again, we’re going to have to use our imaginations onto accounts. One, we’re going to imagine that we are the ACC decision makers and we’re going to do something to promote this program and it’s going to be one of these ideas, and we also are going to imagine that we’ve had time to really engage with these five ideas. So we’re really fast-forwarding to, after all that debate, conversation, exploration has been had. But I would like for you all to take about one or two minutes to reflect on these five ideas and which one you think is the coolest.

We’re just going to use enthusiasm along these three vectors if you think there’s potential here represented by that bud, that flower bud, or if you think it’s moving the organization towards its mission or if you just think it’s cool, you’re enthusiastic about it. So I’m going to go back to the five here because in a minute we’re going to get up. We’re going to move around the room and express our preferences by physically locating our bodies. Reflect on these five ideas and where your enthusiasm is and why.

So wait, wait, wait. So we have community gatherings and installments and listening circles. Is everybody who’s standing here saying I’m on board with both of those or should we keep them separate? I think let’s keep them separate for now. I’m going to ask you to choose, so Jenny [inaudible 00:34:05] further away.

Speaker 27:

Jenny, I’m over here.

Erin Warner:

Jenny, stand over here. Spoiler alert, you might get a chance to combine ideas, but work with me. Okay, thank you. So I would just like to hear what you all are noticing so far both in terms of what information you have from just being able to see how the people are distributed. And also I saw some people walking like, I guess I’ll go over here. So what is your body telling you about your true level of enthusiasm or what is it telling you? Does anyone want to respond to either of those questions?

Speaker 28:

My body brought me here even though this was our idea, over here because I remembered that we said we were supposed to be thinking about her, so immediate, something that’s immediate and personal, and I have personally benefited from these kinds of what it would be as a support group.

Erin Warner:

Nice. Thank you.

Speaker 29:

To be honest, I was thinking about it when you asked why I came over here and I think that I still feel somewhat disconnected from the purpose, and so I’m hoping that storytelling will help me feel more connected to it. And yeah, I mean I was thinking that even yesterday when we were doing the system mapping, more information, and so I enjoy hearing a story to learn more about why it should matter.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Okay, so we have five ideas and I’m now going to give the people who voted for the smallest group to now vote for one of the top three. Now I would like to invite the people who just cast their second vote, one person who did that to say why. So someone who’s at storytelling who was not there initially, would one of you please share why you decided to give your second vote to them?

Speaker 30:

You had me at purpose.

Erin Warner:

Is there anything from your original vote, any element of that that’s important to you that you would like to propose to fold in and add to this one? Margaret has her hand up.


So the two things are, one, we wanted it to be national, so it had to be something that could be broadcast and storytelling can do that via different media. The other one was, we can start this tomorrow. Our media students here at ACC can take these stories and film them or gather them. We can make an experience for the students too. So it’s immediate and national, which were two of the original goals.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Actually, could someone scribe that add to what Dan’s holding, just the immediate and national so that we’re capturing the new hybrid idea? Thank you. So someone who initially did not vote for corporate sponsor partnership but now has gone there, could you please share why?

Speaker 32:

As they say, follow the money.

Erin Warner:

Very good. You guys are both very concise in why you changed your vote. And was there anything from your original camp that you felt was important or special that you’d like to embed into your new camp?

Speaker 33:

I think the only other thing I’d want to bring is when we highlighted prestige, what I was thinking is if these people don’t have a lot of experience, they’re probably lacking confidence, and so just a name brand with some teeth that can make them feel more confident going into those job interviews and make them feel like they can really get this job.

Erin Warner:

Thank you, and then someone who was not initially at community gatherings, but who was there, what brought you over there?

Speaker 34:

Yeah, so I was just saying, yeah, with the community gatherings it is something that is low touch, high impact, whereas some of the other things like building out a partnership with the university or sponsors can be high touch, high impact, but it’s going to take more time. So yeah, this is grassroots, similar, you can get it started-

Erin Warner:

Similar to what we heard over there.

Speaker 34:

You can get it started immediately.

Erin Warner:

And someone who wasn’t initially in this camp, could you say where you were initially and something, an element of that you’d like to fold in?

Speaker 35:

In partnership with over there, it’s immediate and regional, but has the same spirit going, so regional and national has a nice partnership. Let’s get together. [inaudible 00:38:38].

Erin Warner:

Exactly. Exactly. Beautiful. Thank you. So you see how we could do this again until we got down to two or one, but we’re down to three, which I think is great. And you see how the process works, how you are able to build a hybrid proposal, bring in the elements that were appreciated and the ones that didn’t rise to the top and how you can build consensus. You can’t always achieve it completely, but you can build it a little bit and let everyone feel like their voices are heard. So I would suggest that we have come up with three really great ideas that could be a provisional, advisory opinion that we could provide to ACC for them to evaluate.

So that was really beautifully done. I’m actually really moved with the fact that we have … The lawyer in me is very gratified by the concreteness of what we just did, that we had ideas, we collaborated. They can of course be fleshed out. You all used your imagination and trusted me to go through this process that was a little bit sped up. And so the outcomes that we have is not two but three ideas that I want to hear your feedback, but the intention is that they’re selected inclusively, transparently and with consensus building. So is that landing? Do you think that’s what you just experienced or how did your experience differ?

Speaker 36:

Excited, to be honest. At first I thought maybe we missed the mark on the messaging and I was thinking through in my head, should I have elaborated more in some areas? But I think there was enough overlap with the idea we ultimately merged with that it made sense and it broadened the scope and the reach of what we originally wanted to do.

Speaker 37:

They were all generally really good ideas and we were able to let go of our ego.

Erin Warner:

Yeah, I think that’s right. There wasn’t too much attachment, but the idea of the process is that when there is attachment, that whole part of getting to say what you want to keep alive though from your initial idea can help go to assuaging any feelings of disappointment, loss. Exactly. So we did an embodied process of allowing ideas to emerge and co-creating ideas that weren’t there in the room initially, and I wanted to ask you to just reflect on how that felt. Again, we’re not super attached to this, but would it feel vulnerable to go and actually walk across the room when it’s more controversial, and I’m here? If it does feel vulnerable, is that a good thing in some ways and a bad thing in other ways? Just what does it mean to express yourself with your whole body?

And how did it feel if your idea didn’t become one of the top two? Did you feel included? I said inclusive, but that’s my aspiration. Does it feel that way to you? And yeah, how do you think trust is implicated in this experience? So if you all would take just a minute or two to gather your thoughts, because again, I want this to be useful for you. You won’t do it exactly the same way, but what here can you take and use? So our final share out debrief, and again, I would love to invite anyone who hasn’t shared to the whole group, we value your voice here. So we’d love to hear from anyone who hasn’t yet taken that plunge what you want to share. Go ahead.

Speaker 38:

When you were talking about when there is significant weight to the decision being made, there can be loyalties along team lines, and so it all goes back to that trust. If you didn’t have it in the first place, it doesn’t help to not have it toward the end, because you’re not going to vote authentically or really speak the truth if you know eyes are watching and you’re going to have to pay for it at some point, and it really reinforces for me the key critical importance of trust here.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Thank you for that, and that goes back to there’s no one best way to make decisions. So you obviously wouldn’t use this in every situation and that’s why there’s such thing as secret ballots. I mean that is very important to have secret ballots or to go in reverse hierarchical order when you express your opinion. So yeah, thank you for that. Hi.

Speaker 39:

As somebody who gets really sleepy after lunch, I really appreciated that we got to stand up and move around. And I think just in general in facilitating classes and that kind of thing, I’m always looking for that, an activity to do after lunch to get people up and moving around, so this was a great way. I mean, sure we could have done it still seated, but it was great that we were up and moving around.

Erin Warner:

Fun. Thank you so much. I’m glad that helps you. Go ahead, Mimi.


So something that I felt very challenged by in this on a personal level was just this desire to come to the true right answer and a desire to want to debate the merits of one idea versus another idea and go from five to three to one. Really, I wanted to stand for my idea and why it’s superior to all the other ones, which is probably also inner narrator stuff, but I think that thinking about using this strategy when you have to make a decision and you have to make a decision where you take it from there or where you sit with ambiguity, sit with a continued space of variation and iteration and when you have to get to the closing point or it seems like the push and pull there.

Erin Warner:

100%, and I think, yeah, this was a very truncated version. You could expand on this quite a bit, and one thing you could do is when people are doing their second or third vote and maybe they’re reluctant at that point, they’re like, no, I don’t really love this idea, and you can invite them to bring in something that’s important to them, it can be a time box on it or something that makes it iterative, something like, let’s try this for so much time, or let’s only invest this much money in it, that kind of thing to help them get on board to make them feel more comfortable or safer with it. Yeah, there’s a lot of ways you could go with this.

Speaker 41:

Erin, what struck me about this versus other voting mechanisms, and we’ve encountered people who were like, can I split my vote? Can I tear my sticky? Or I guess I’ll raise my hand for that, is that there’s a whole self-commitment. You cannot separate yourself from your body. So when you go to a place, you are there and it’s visceral, and I think someone mentioned the word authentic, which I also wrote down.

Erin Warner:

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah.


On a quick yes hand on John’s commitment for our projects, when we get to those decision moments, we’ll talk a lot about, we want commitment over consensus. So I like you’re merging with this group and people know you’re coming in from the outside and you’re bringing something with you, but it’s like what makes you willing to commit to trying this? And if it doesn’t work, we’ll go back and we’ll try something else. But that diffuses, am I fully agreeing with this or am I just willing to do an experiment?

Erin Warner:

Yeah, thanks, Phil.

Speaker 43:

To add on the things that have been said, I also like the prompts of checking back in with your body because I tended to realize when you didn’t give that prompt to stick in my head and then start to argument why I would go left and right versus truly feeling, how does it feel to now stand here or leaving the idea you had at first and go there? So it’s one thing to use going somewhere to vote, but then to also maybe even suggest people to close their eyes and say, how does it feel? So I think there’s maybe even room to play with the embodiment.

Erin Warner:

Definitely. Yeah, add another layer.

Speaker 44:

Having people move was helpful because you get to watch people’s bodies as they move and you can see the manner in which they are voting because you’re asking them to check in with their body. You’re like, oh, that person is just moving along. But that’s helpful data for the facilitator to see, oh, there’s a lot of bodies that either they don’t give a shit right now or they’re really about this vote and they really committed. It’s interesting to be able to watch the story of voting happen as opposed to just, here’s the outcome.

Erin Warner:

Absolutely. Thank you for that. Yeah, and you can inquire into it. I literally noticed someone … I think they were undecided between two and their body literally was … They were going like this and like this, so that’s something I could have inquired into. It seemed like you were torn about which direction to go and it really … Yeah, there’s a lot of information there for the facilitator. Yeah. Thank you.

So thank you very much for trusting me and going there and knowing something a little different. Just to recap where we’ve been, and I don’t know exactly how we got there, but I introduced what I consider the secret ingredients for successful group decision-making, trust and emergence. We talked about when embodiment is, and then we experienced it. We did some interactive demos with the trust circle and expressing your preference with your body and we reflected and shared, so thank you all very much. I just want to remind you that I’m Erin and I would love to keep in touch. Community is such an important thing to me and that’s actually what I love so much about Voltage Control. I feel such a part of this community and now I’m so glad to be in community with you all. So please keep in touch. Thank you.