Birgitt and Ward Williams designed the Genuine Contact™ program with simplicity in mind. The program, focusing on attending to organizational health and balance as a foundation for organizational success, uses meetings as a catalyst for organizations to develop as conscious, life nourishing, interconnected creative organizations. Meetings are used as a catalyst. Management learns to manage differently. We call these organizations Genuine Contact Organizations. The process is organic so that every organization brings about its own unique change from within.
Beliefs of Genuine Contact
Within the Genuine Contact approach and program, we work from the following five foundational beliefs:
- We believe that spirit or Spirit matters, that through spirit or Spirit, all of creation is connected, and that people are precious.
- We believe that every organism (including the organization) has within it the blueprint for its own optimal health and balance.
- We believe that focusing on genuine contact enables individuals and organizations to achieve the individual and organizational health and balance that is needed for optimal effectiveness. Positive change in the organization is directly linked to positive change in individuals. Both are required for sustainable new ways of working.
- We believe in keeping it simple. Simple frameworks and processes enable success with complex situations. In keeping it simple, we recognize that any sustainable change must begin from the inside and cannot be externally initiated or driven.
- We believe that change with its accompanying loss, grief work, and conflict is constant. Organizations that develop mastery in working with change can sustain optimal effectiveness. These leaders and organizations recognize that change cannot be managed, that energy spent trying to manage change is wasted energy, and that productive use of individual and organizational energy is achieved by working with change rather than against it.
Components of the Genuine Contact Program
The Foundational Workshops and Advanced Skill Development Workshops make up the Genuine Contact program and approach. The series provides skill, capacity, and competency development in the Genuine Contact program as well as providing the conditions to assimilate the Genuine Contact approach.
- Foundations 1: Path to Organizational Health and Balance offers leaders an opportunity to make the difference in the performance of your organization through the importance of balance, cleansing, and nourishing in a way similar to the holistic approach to the health of the human body.
- Foundations 2: Achieving and Regenerating Organizational Health and Balance explores the state of health of organizations from a holistic organizational growth perspective and aids in developing your own prescription through a self administered diagnosis, towards achieving and maintaining a healthy organization in these rapidly changing times..
- Foundations 3: Individual Health and Balance explores the state of individual health and how to maintain a state of optimal health even in highly stressful situations.
- Foundations 4: Holistic Leadership Development develops the skills, capacity and knowledge for the new leadership paradigm ‘leading so that people will lead’ and to nourish a culture of leadership.
- Advanced Skill Development 1: Working With Open Space Technology develops and enhances skills in facilitating meetings in which a frequency is held for people to make life nourishing choices from amongst agenda items within a particular theme and givens.
- Advanced Skill Development 2: Whole Person Process Facilitation develops and enhances skills in facilitating meetings in which a frequency is held for people to make life nourishing choices based on what is presented to them to solve within a particular topic and within stated givens.
- Advanced Skill Development 3: Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution develops and enhances skills to facilitate meetings in which people determine personal boundaries and view situations from flexible rather than fixed perspectives.
- Advanced Skill Development 4: The Genuine Contact Organization develops and enhances skills in leading and mentoring conscious interconnected learning organizations. These organizations provide the conditions for choices to be life nourishing rather than life-depleting.
- Advanced Skill Development 5: Train the Trainer develops and enhances skills to teach others in all of the components of the Genuine Contact™ program, ensuring that the program maintains its integrity (wholeness) and respects the unique contributions that each individual makes to the program.
- We offer Mentoring as a forum to learn the art of mentoring and to walk the talk of mentoring of both individuals and organizations.
- We underpin the Genuine Contact™ program with the healing circle or medicine wheel as the overall matrix for our learning, healing, development, evolution and consciousness. As Medicine Wheel Tool© it assists us in walking the mystical path with practical feet and bringing about results that exceed expectations.
Key Concepts of Working with Genuine Contact
There are 9 key concepts supporting the foundational beliefs and development of the Genuine Contact Program:
- Opportunities for genuine contact begin with the courage to be in genuine contact with the self and extend into all relationships.
- Work of, with, from, and to Spirit can be experienced as a harmonic resonance that can be facilitated, beginning with establishing the harmonic resonance within the self as the facilitator. This requires discipline in a state of BEING in this harmonic resonance as the key work for the facilitator. In doing so, we work with healing energy, drawing from knowledge in the healing arts.
- We work with the blueprint for health in the organism (the individual and/or the organization) by attending to balance, cleansing, and nourishing.
- Change is constant and organizations must be developed to thrive in change. Organizational effectiveness in motion is a required organizational capability if they wish to thrive in future times of intense change.
- We use meetings as a catalyst to assisting the organization attain a state of health and balance. The two meeting methodologies used are Open Space Technology developed by Harrison Owen, USA and Whole Person Process Facilitation developed by Birgitt, USA. Both meeting methodologies are highly participative, within a boundary established by predetermined “givens”.Within Open Space Technology, a harmonic frequency is held for people to make life nourishing choices from amongst agenda items within a particular theme and givens.Whole Person Process Facilitation was developed by Birgitt Williams to complement working with Open Space Technology as a meeting methodology equally as participative, with similar values, and yet serving the organization when a process as open as Open Space Technology is not appropriate to the agenda and circumstance.
Within Whole Person Process Facilitation, a harmonic frequency is held for people to make life nourishing choices based on what is presented to them to solve within a particular topic and within stated givens. The topics are predetermined, thereby offering a more obviously structured agenda than Open Space Technology.
- We believe that a liberating structure, combined with a participatory architecture is essential to achieve and sustain organizational health and balance so that organizations are highly effective and able to thrive in constant change.
- We work with Open Space Technology and Whole Person Process Facilitation as interventions that enable health and balance in the ongoing life of the organization. We recognize these meeting processes as powerful and impactful in the ongoing life of the organization, therefore we attend carefully to both the pre-work (before a meeting) and the debrief work (after the meeting).
- We recognize that everyone facilitating and leading using the Genuine Contact™ program will do so with their own unique style and experience. However, it is also necessary to guarantee to organizations who bring this program into the organization that they are receiving consistency with the component parts and/or their development as a genuine contact organization. Clients are entitled to assurance that when they engage in any components of the Genuine Contact™ program, that it maintains integrity. Within the Genuine Contact™ program, the components are standardized and can be easily duplicated. When any of the components are offered in an organization, the client is guaranteed of a certain standard.
- Component parts of the program have value if taken on their own.
Foundational Givens of the Genuine Contact Program
Birgitt and Ward Williams established minimal Foundational Givens for the Genuine Contact™ program. Foundational Givens define the approach and are not open for change. Basically, Foundational Givens are keys in defining what the program is and what it is not. On September 21st, 2001 Birgitt and Ward Williams invited the first group of graduating GC Trainers and all graduating GC Trainers in subsequent years, to participate in a Genuine Contact Organization within the theme of developing the approach within the following five Foundational Givens listed below.
In 2006 the GC Co-Owners Group Ltd. was formed and additional Operating Givens of the GC Co-Owners Group Ltd. have been developed over time and are open for review and change by all members of the organization. The Operating Givens are available in the Co-Owners Space online (ask Program Director for access). Foundational givens are not open for change.
- The 5 foundational beliefs as noted above.
- There are 11 components of the Genuine Contact™ program as noted above.
- Requirement to provide the Workbooks developed by Birgitt and Ward Williams when a GC Training is offered.
- Limited givens, maximum choice and participation.
- Limited external consultant involvement with maximum skill and capacity building.
The overall goal is to have the Genuine Contact™ approach and program make a life nourishing difference in the world.