Here are some thoughts based around what I have done and the conversations I've had over the last week.
1. In a conversation with Jean-Louis on Friday, we mused that we did not have a vocabulary to articulate strengths. I guess that what we are saying is that our vocabulary is not well developed. It's a bit like trying to discuss wine. We are all comfortable to say that is good or not so good, but we (I) find it very difficult to describe what is good about it and what is not so good about it. Perhaps a challenge for the Constellation is to develop our skills at articulating the strengths of communities.
There is a part of the Salvation Army's documentation that I always push back against: This is not exactly the way that they express it, but they have developed a vocabulary to discuss strengths. So Claire's texts will talk about drawing out strengths along the following dimensions:
Learning and Transfer
It seems to me that these are the baskets that they use to discuss strengths. They don't work for me, but I now see what they do and I think the challenge for me is to develop my own. Perhaps we as the Constellation should have a go at developing something that is an alternative/complement/supplement to the Salvation Army's.
2. The 'nature' of the SALT visit is still gnawing at me. In the same conversation with Jean-Louis, he came up with the idea that the conversation that you were looking to have and the relationship that you were seeking to establish was not far away from the initial meetings between male and female one of whom is seeking to establish a relationship (a date in familiar English).
When you look at the SALT visit in that context, things become really very clear. Matt Campbell's 'Five Top Tips for a SALT visit' become obvious. (e.g. don't take a notebook with you; don't write things down during the visit)
It's the most useful metaphor that I've found for the SALT visit. It leads you away from the analytic approach which we have in much of our documentation.
3. I think that we need to develop an alternative to the AAR, that is more in tune with the Ways of Thinking and the Ways of Working of the Constellation. The origin of the AAR (as far as I know) is the United States Army. Don't know much about military operations, but I guess they need to have a clear objective (take that hill, kill those people, destroy that tank). The outcome is usually clear (we did take that hill, we didn't kill those people, we did destroy that tank).
So how about if our questions were along the lines of.
What were the strengths of the people we were working with?
What strengths could they develop?
What were our strengths during the 'action'?
What strengths do we need to develop?
Any other ideas? (Or is it just me who feels uncomfortable with what we have?)