On September 18th Class 29 of Leadership Napa Valley had the pleasure of learning about “Leading Through Collaboration” with John Glaser. John helped us understand how to create a community of problem solvers and how to understand different sides of any problem. We also learned how a group of problem solvers needs to have people filling different roles while working together toward a common goal. We worked in small groups on solving a simulated problem that involved the roles of two different groups with two very distinct interest.
The simulation, facilitated by John Glaser, encouraged our LNV class to think about the common interest and build on them to arrive at a common solution. It is easy for groups to approach a conflict with only their problems in mind. It is the duty of each side to understand what the interest of each other are and solve the most urgent and important matters first.
The conflict simulation was put forth as follows: one group took on the role of University officials who were concerned about the financial well-being of a book store. This concern was tied to the book store’s sustainability along with the potential future inability of students to get their books for the upcoming school year. The University officials were prepared to take control and remove students from management if nothing was done.
The other group was an alliance of students that operated the book store and wanted to make books and materials affordable to all university students. However, as we learned more details about the problem we realized that the student group was not doing a good job at managing the bookstore which gave rise to their current problems. We found that if the bookstore lost any more money the book store would close down. The common interest then from both sides was not to allow this to happen.
Our solution was to reorganize the student group with the help of the University officials and make the bookstore sustainable once again. In this way there was no need to remove students from the book store’s management and would achieve the solution both sides wanted.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Shiff who is the Practicum Coordinator for Leadership Napa Valley. Suzanne introduced us to our group which we will be working with for the next several months. Suzanne shared her experiences and best practices when working within our practicum groups. She shared examples of previous classes and how they were successfully collaborating along with what not to do.
This day was a very productive one because after learning about collaboration and conflict resolution, we were introduced to our practicum group. We will take all the learnings from our conflict resolution simulation to our practicum group and apply them there. Wish us luck!
Submitted by David Avina and Danielle Barreca, members of Class 29.