Estimated time: 20 min
This activity seeks to put the whole group on the same page regarding the reasons for being of the organization and the goals that it pursues. In the case of activist organizations, this can be a propitious moment to reinforce the concepts and values of social justice that motivate the group to do the work they do. In the case of media workers, the values of access to accurate information and freedom of expression which motivate journalists can be strengthened.
This section seeks the participants to put aside the stress produced by high workloads and concentrate on the internal motivations that lead each of them to be part of the team. It also works as an icebreaker to cope better with the development of the following activities.
- Mission, vision and objectives of the organization.
- Map of reasons why the organization exists from the point of view of the participants.
- Collective awareness, according to the objectives of the organization.
- Similarities and discrepancies between the perception of the team and the formal function of the organization.
- Find out if it is easy to obtain, mission, vision, objectives of the organization and prepare the corresponding material.
- Post-its or sticky notes for participants.
- Papers printed or written with the mission, vision, and formal objectives of the organization or its equivalents in case they are presented in a different way.
Depending on the number of participants and the convenience of the facilitator, the following steps are required, either individually or in pairs.
- Distribute an adequate amount of post-its or sticky notes and markers among the participants.
- Ask the participants to take 5 minutes to write on post-its or sticky notes the reasons why the organization exists, it can be helpful to raise sentences to complete as:
- The organization exists to…
- One reason for this organization to remain is…
- After 5 minutes, ask the participants to stick the post-its or sticky notes on a specific place (wall, board or table), and then take a few extra minutes to group the notes that are very similar or just repeated. It is important that it seems easily evident when the same group has several associated notes, so it is not recommended to completely cover those similar ones.
- Perform a summary based on what has been collected, putting special emphasis on common subjects found.
- Show the mission, vision, and formal objectives available by briefly discussing the similarities and/or discrepancies that may exist between what has been collected back on the brainstorming, and what is actually formally written. If you find very marked differences, this could be a sign for:
- The organization to update its formal documents in order to reflect its evolution and current status.
- The organization to realize it deviated from its initial intentions, and should consider redirecting its actions to insert itself successfully in what was initially proposed.
In any case, this it is not the facilitator’s responsibility to initiate an in-depth discussion about those differences, but to invite reflection and review at an appropriate time for the organization, maintaining a friendly and respectful language when recognizing the value the exercise had. For this methodology, knowing how the organization works today is enough to continue along with the activities, so these discrepancies should not affect the success in any work session.