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Practices. You know, that sometimes tricky-thorny part of the CLC Process that comes right after the dream and before diving into the self-assessment?

Well, the global support team of the Constellation is thinking of bringing more attention to it by adding it as a separate step between the dream and SA.

As we are thinking of giving more weight to this step, we want to learn from you!

  • What is a practice?'
  • 'What does the full set of practices allow us to do?'How do you facilitate the process of surfacing the practices?
  • why is this step important?
  • stories of times you have used it and found it useful

 SALT and the CLC Process have always been alive and changing as we learn from experience, please share yours below :) !

With deep gratitude,

Celicia on behalf of the Global Support Team.


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Hi to you and the global Constellation community.  Greetings from Cape Town.  

Thanks for the prompt of your question and proposal regarding Practices.  Could I perhaps respond with a couple of initial counter-questions?

1.  Can you clarify why the Practices are 'sometimes tricky-thorny'?  Is there experience there within our own CLCP community of practice for how this component of the process is a concern or why it is challenging?

2.  I'm pleased to see there is an intention to give more weight to the step between the Dream and the Self-Assessment and, looking at the two diagrams above, articulating it as a 'separate step'.  Having said that, has it not always been a separate step?  Has that not always been one of the reasons, methodologically, for doing The Dream (ie. that it allows a community to extract the practices/behaviours against which that community defines and describes Level 5 - and perhaps other levels - before Self Assessment and Planning)?  So in that I'm curious:  has the Practice 'step' not always been a separate step?

Talk soon,


Hi Ricardo :) !

Thanks very much for your response and your questions, which help us clarify our intention. Yes, for many (most?) of us practitioners this has been a separate step and systematically done following the dream.

It has not, however, been addressed as a separate step in the CLCP when we have formally transferred the approach through what used to be called "Blended Learning" (our Online SALT Programme: - it was included as part of the "dream" step.

By addressing it as a separate step, we hope to give it more weight, and give participants more time to read about it, try it out in their own contexts, and exchange their experiences with others in their Triads.

Why? Because of its "tricky-thorny" nature as reported by many practitioners :-D !

In my own experience, the move from the uplifting/uniting/creative/right-brain energy of the dream to the more studious/left-brain energy of coming up with "We + action verb + complement" sentences has always proved somewhat painful...

Energy levels drop, people find the process tedious, and disagreements come up in the wording.

And that's why it's so important :) ! It's a bridge between the dreamer and the actor, and it allows for the expression of dissension and for the group to find its way back to an energy that is just as uplifting as that of the dream.

But initially the tension that often accompanies writing down the practices can feel scary and uncomfortable to both participants/community members and the facilitator.

Also: there are many ways to do this step, and we're certain many fellow Ning members have excellent techniques that they use that make this part more engaging and fun for everyone!

This is why we are seeking to gather people's experience for collective learning and growth.

How can we learn from each other to give "practices" the attention and intention it deserves in a way that is energy-giving for all!?

So Ricardo, please share your animation techniques for surfacing the practices :) !

Hi Celicia and colleagues

Recognizing that each situation and group is unique, there's a certain amount of intuition and improvisation required to facilitate a process that is organic and responsive.  But, certainly, almost always, this practices piece is a separate step.  And I'd probably approach it this way most times:

1.  Before The Dream (which is an analysis of Vision), I always ask the group (individuals, pairs or small groups, plenary) to reflect on Concerns (not a needs analysis, or problematizing.  I think the concerns question is much deeper and taps into the human motivation and power for response).

2.  The Dream process follows.

3.  If the conversation about Concerns has happened, it's possible - conceptually and abstractly, but most times pretty visually - to draw a line between Concerns and Vision.  And ask the group to reflect on those things - Ways of Working (behaviours) or Ways of Thinking (attitudes and perceptions) - that may stretch between those two ends of that line.  Either these things have prevented them from achieving that Vision before, or they are things that are necessary, but not yet reflected in the dynamic of the group.

4.  Sometimes, as a Facilitator, I'll kick off that process of identifying those 'things', in summarising what's transpired between Concerns and Dream.  Reflect back what I'm hearing, check it with the group.  Ask them to confirm or challenge that interpretation.  Expand on it.  Talk it through.  Let it start to take shape as a 'proto-Practice'.  There may be one or two others I'll check in the same way.

5.  And then, once that formulation is somehow familiar in the group, I'll ask if there's anything else.  Any other 'things' (we might call them Practices) that - if we incorporated them as Ways of Working or Ways of Thinking - could help bridge the space between our concerns and our vision.

6.  Level 5 for these practices are about how we know we're successful.  The previous incremental steps may emerge from the analysis of each practice in the discourse of the group.

That's a very rough and dirty description.  Not particularly technical.  Hope its helpful.

Talk soon.


traduction en français:

Etant donné que chaque situation et chaque groupe est unique, il faut un certain degré d'intuition et d'improvisation pour faciliter un processus qui soit organique et réactif. Mais, certainement, presque toujours, la définition des pratiques est une étape distincte. Et je l'aborderais probablement de cette façon la plupart du temps:

Je trace une ligne sur une feuille entre les préoccupations et la vision, cela aide à réfléchir à ce qui les a empêchés de réaliser leur rêve et à façonner la «proto-pratique»

1. Avant le rêve, je demande toujours au groupe (individus, couples ou petits groupes, plénière) de réfléchir sur les préoccupations (pas une analyse des besoins, pas une problématisation.) Je pense que la question des préoccupations est beaucoup plus profonde et puise dans la motivation humaine et la force de la réponse).

2. Le processus du rêve suit.

3. Si la conversation sur les préoccupations a eu lieu, il est possible - conceptuellement et abstraitement, mais le plus souvent visuellement - de tracer une ligne entre les préoccupations et le rêve. Et demandez au groupe de réfléchir à ces choses - manières de travailler (comportements) ou manières de penser (attitudes et perceptions) - qui peuvent faire le lien entre les deux côtés de cette ligne. Soit ces choses les ont empêchés de réaliser leur rêve, soit ce sont des choses nécessaires, mais pas encore reflétées dans la dynamique du groupe.

4. Parfois, en tant que facilitateur, je vais lancer le processus d'identification de ces «choses», en résumant ce qui s'est dit lors de l’identification des préoccupation et la création du rêve. Se faire le miroir de ce qui a été dit. Demandez-leur de confirmer ou de contester cette interprétation. Développez-la. Discutez-en. Laissez-la commencer à prendre forme comme une «proto-pratique». Il y en aura peut-être une ou deux autres que je vérifierai de la même façon.

5. Et puis, une fois que cette formulation sera familière au groupe, je demanderai s'il y a autre chose. D'autres «choses» (que nous pourrions appeler «pratiques») qui, si nous les incorporions comme manières de travailler ou manières de penser, pourraient aider à combler l'espace entre nos préoccupations et notre vision.

6. Le niveau 5 est l’objectif à atteindre. Il permet au groupe de se situer par rapport à la réussite. Les étapes incrémentielles précédentes peuvent émerger de l'analyse de chaque pratique par le groupe.

C'est une description rapide. Pas particulièrement technique. J'espère que cela pourra être utile.

Hi all,

For me it has always been a seperate step which deserves ample attention.

It works by giving a set of example-practices for instance by using the dream of "living a health-conscious life" .

The simple sentence construction proposal usually makes it ok to do with a group/ community/ individual.

Then sometimes we use the "Bingo" proces: someone shouts out an individually prepared practice-sentence and those that have a similar one shout "Bingo" which clusters the individual preparations and helps to boil them down to a manageable set.  

Thanks very much for sharing Jan! Yes, I've also found that "bingo" works really well, with small teams clustering around a specific "umbrella practice" to boil it down to a single sentence formulation. And it adds some fun to it, too :) !

One question: how do you explain what a practice is?

I usually say "it is a description of the dream, in words. If we project ourselves 30 years from now and discover the world around us as we have dreamed it, and ourselves in action, what is happening there? What are we (or our children/grand-children/successors) doing that makes this dream possible?"

I also really like the way Fabien Manirakiza once introduced it:
"You wake up one morning in 30 years' time. You pick up the newspaper in this dream world, what are the headlines? What are these people doing that is so wonderful?"

Dear Ricardo,

I have struggled with drafting the practices and often differentiating between the practice and level 5. I am gaining confidence with experience but still far to go. 

How do you facilitate this step? Hope can I learn from you though you are miles away in another continent.



Developing our stepping stones [Practices]


So, here is your dream! What big steps would we need to make to effectively achieve our dream?

In discrete groups, participants had a conversation on what big steps would take them to their dream.

See the full story here [page 8];


Dear Autry, thank you. I love your drawing as it conveys the big steps very well. Please would you make the link shareable for all in google doc. Also please elaborate on how do people arrive at practices after they mention the 'big steps.' 

So Rituu......All participants are divided into groups. The total umber of participnats determine the size and number of groups.

Each group determine the 'stepping stones' [practices] needed to achieve the common dream.

Each group presents its list of 'stepping stones'

We do merging of the 'stepping stones' and do 'titling' to make them active. Here we ensure that each 'steeping stone' that is presented is included in the final list in someway. They decide on how this happens or not happen (^_^)

For me, their involvement in doing the above list of exercise allows for inclusion and ownership. They own the list of 'stepping stones' they feel are important to achieving the common drea.


Wonderful Autry! Thanks for your generosity in sharing your of your many strengths.

I have come experience to share on this but I am away from home just now. Give me 10 days or so and I'll be back with my files.

I can share how we first constructed the self assessment for AIDS competence. In fact if you are short of time the practices of AIDSCompetence can be used for almost any challenge. The words will be different for the different levels but the practices have been used for Malaria, Cancer, Life etc.

Alison Campbell got people to stand in different places in the village square for Level 1, Level 2 etc. And then explain why they ranked themselves there.

I can also share a 2 day workshop conducted with senior government officials in the UK. This started from a blank sheet and the conversation to get to a self-assessment was fascinating. Essentially the workshop developed an agreed language to allow sharing and learning between departments.

For me the method is not about assessment but about having a conversation, sometimes about emotional subjects but in a non emotional way.

If you can't wait for me to get back you'll find some of this documented in "No More Consultants."

Remember: It's all about the conversations not the assessment.


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