Technique 1.95 Turning Points


This is developed from a process called 'history trips' and involved a concept called 'collecting shared history'.

"...History trip participants share from a collective history stories of events that have an important influence on their system's culture and trajectory. Organisational old-timers often find the activity affirming. Newcomers find that it conveys information to help them better understand the organisation..."

Bob Dick, 2021b

It is based on a number of assumptions about culture, ie

"... A collective sense of identity and unity necessarily underpins shared aspirations. In turn, shared aspirations inform the way in which collective action can take place..."

Bob Dick, 2021b


Each participant shares personal stories of important events, ie turning points, in their own life and work.

To encourage self-disclosure, sharing takes place in groups of fewer than 4. Ideally each group will be as diverse as possible and to include people they know the least.

Each member is encouraged to listen with intense curiosity to the others' stories.

Participants are given preparation time prior to the exchange of stories in the small group. This involves a person thinking back over their life and working towards the present to identify major events and/or people who made a difference. Select 3 major ones and prepare your brief presentation by answering these 4 questions:

- what is the story of it, ie how did it begin and what happened?

- what made it a turning point?

- what was its impact?

- how are you different as a result of it happening?

Usually it can be useful and helpful for the person facilitating the session to explain some of their personal and professional 'highs and lows' at the start of the session. The facilitator's willingness to be vulnerable with their stories will encourage the participants to do the same.

This activity will help explain why self-disclosure forms the basis for building good relationships, ie 'you don't know somebody until you know their story'.

After the exchange of stories in small groups and if possible in the whole group, answer these questions:

- did the activity make a difference in your feelings and thoughts about others and your attitude towards them?

- If so, how would you describe the difference that it did make?

- If so, what specifically led to the difference?

You need to be aware that this activity of self-disclosure can

- build trust and develop the right relationships

- deepen the storytelling, ie as trust develops, people often risk more vulnerability and disclose more than originally planned

- look for common themes so that participants identify with one another and realise their common humanity.

This is a great way to enhance the organisational culture.


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