Phil's Blog (49)

Measuring your progress is a job for a team

This is a transcript of a video clip by Gaston  

In the video, he describes the community of Ta Wang Tan in northern Thailand:

"This is in northern Thailand in the province of Chiang Mai, a little community called Ta wang taan. This community has been using…


Added by Phil on December 13, 2013 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Checking on progress in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

In this YouTube video, Gaston discusses how the young people in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, keep their finger on the pulse of what is happening in their community. If you want numbers, they won't have them. But they do have a sense of the progress that the community is making and they are able to take action when they see a problem.…


Added by Phil on November 29, 2013 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

More about inclusion at Hua Rin Temple in Thailand

I recently wrote a blog about measuring the response of a community to inclusion at Hua Rin Temple in Thailand. I have been asked if I had more detail about the measures that the community took in order to encourage inclusion. Here they are. The conversation took place in 2006.

The Health Centre in Thung Satok sub-district, San Pa Tong district, Chiang Mai province…


Added by Phil on November 18, 2013 at 3:08pm — No Comments

Measuring our way to inclusion

This story was told to me by the Abbot of Hua Rin Temple, Phra Athikarn Tahanawat, in 2006. I used this experience recently so that we could understand more clearly the power of measuring progress in a consistent and persistent way. I thought that perhaps it might be useful for others.

The people of Sanpatong District in northern Thailand worked long and hard to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS were accepted by the community. In such a situation, it is easy to become…


Added by Phil on November 6, 2013 at 8:07pm — No Comments

Listening with filters

This note is based on an article and a podcast by Malcolm Gladwell. I will give the links at the end of the posting. 

In the article and podcast, Gladwell asserts that when we listen we filter what we hear through our own biases. He tells the story of Konrad Kellen who is seen by Gladwell as having the gift of listening without filters. It is a fascinating story and I recommend it. The story tells of the disasters that can follow when we listen with filters and I think that he is…


Added by Phil on July 31, 2013 at 3:00pm — 8 Comments

Death Competence

This is the story of John. He died recently in a village in what I think is the most beautiful part of my country, England. During his long life, John lived and worked in many places, but he died 5 miles away from where he was born. He was 85 years old when he died.

John was a quiet, even shy man. But he had a wide range of interests. He had a deep love of music. He…


Added by Phil on February 8, 2013 at 1:24pm — 9 Comments

Would you like to learn more about the learning tools that we use in the Constellation?

I have started to put content on a site called 'Constellation Learning'. The hope is that it will contain material for people who facilitate the Community Life Competence process.


I have added a section called 'Learning tools' to this site. It contains a description and discussion on the Constellation Learning tools. It is taken from the updated version of Blended Learning. The tools discussed are AAR, learn-and-share, story telling, peer assist, knowledge asset and knowledge…


Added by Phil on April 4, 2012 at 2:53pm — No Comments

We appreciate strengths. But what is a strength?

Carol Dweck is a professor of psychology at Stanford University. She has carried out a set of experiments with children that make a distinction between appreciating talent (‘You are very good at that.’) and appreciating effort (‘You really worked hard at that.’)

Here are some quotations from her work.

‘In the last 1990s when our country was at the height of the self esteem movement, the self esteem gurus told everybody to praise their children’s intelligence, to…


Added by Phil on December 13, 2011 at 2:37pm — 2 Comments

A song about malaria from Nanergou in Togo

Jean-Louis' video from Mali reminded me of a wonderful experience of singing and dancing from Togo that continues to inspire and to please me.But it also shows the remarkable power of song to get messages across. Here is the link

Added by Phil on September 3, 2010 at 9:56pm — No Comments

SALT: ‘Confession with everything turned upside down’.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a week working with a group of young people. We spent the time in a world very different from their normal environment of a large city. And you could say that the week was about

appreciating the strengths of these young people.

At the end of one the sessions that I ran, one of my colleagues a retired priest started to talk to me. ‘You know’, he said, ‘what you do is very similar to Confession, but…


Added by Phil on May 13, 2010 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

SALT visits; the usual way and the SALT way

I would like to share with you a story that comes from Luc Barrière-Constantin about SALT visits. It helps me to be very clear about the difference between my 'usual' way of doing things and the possibility of doing different. Luc is a founding member of the Constellation and currently works for UNAIDS in Tanzania.

In his story he compares two visits that he made to the Karyako Health Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. In his first visit that he made in 1994, he came as an expert…

Added by Phil on April 25, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

The power of appreciation in SALT

How do we know that appreciating strengths works? Well, I know. I am absolutely clear of its power. Here is how I know.
I have told this story twice within the Constellation and on each occasion I have felt a little embarrassed and uncomfortable. But what happened was for me so powerful and changed what I do that I thought I would share it here.
My wife was a governor at our local secondary school. It is quite a large school with about 1,400 pupils. Well, as sometimes happens, there was…

Added by Phil on April 18, 2010 at 1:05am — 7 Comments

More on SALT and appreciating strengths

I want to describe a way that I use to appreciate strengths. It helps me. Perhaps it can help others.
In a previous blog, I described how I came to understand one element of SALT as the idea that I needed to learn from an engagement with a community.
Before I start I would like to explain a little about my attitude toward knowledge. In a world that values knowledge perhaps this explanation will cause some surprise. I do not value knowledge highly. It takes time and effort to…

Added by Phil on April 9, 2010 at 9:17pm — 1 Comment

SALT and learning

The L is SALT is for Learning. For me, this part of the acronym had the most immediate and powerful impact on how I did things.

I first heard about SALT when I visited Ian and Alison Campbell at the Salvation Army Headquarters in London in (I think) February 2004. I had heard a lot about Ian and Alison before the visit, but that did little to prepare me for the flood of ideas and energy that I encountered that afternoon. It took me a long time to take in all of them. But…

Added by Phil on April 2, 2010 at 6:59pm — 10 Comments

SALT and appreciating strengths

Last week, I reflected on whether by appreciating STRENGTHS we failed to appreciate the individual or the community in all of their diversity. Here are some thoughts that have been developing during the week.
I wish that I had learned many years ago about the power of appreciating strengths. I think that it is fair to say that it has transformed my life. I want to be clear about how I understand the idea. It is not that I move away from analysing weaknesses. It is not that I seek to balance…

Added by Phil on March 28, 2010 at 5:14pm — No Comments

Exploring SALT visits and SALT behaviours....part 2

With SALT, we 'appreciate strengths'. Why do we appreciate STRENGTHS? Why don't we appreciate individuals for all of their traits, weak or strong? Are we failing to appreciate the full glory of our humanity by focusing on strengths?
A story.
When my children were growing up in England, I was one of the coaches in the local football team. Each year, for each year-group we selected the best players to make up 2 teams and that was it. Those best players became the players in the…

Added by Phil on March 19, 2010 at 6:00pm — 5 Comments

Exploring SALT visits and SALT behaviours

I would like to explore some aspects of a SALT visit (and SALT behaviours) that intrigue me and that puzzle me. To some extent this is a personal exploration, but I would be very intrigued to hear the thoughts of others.

I want to explore the power that comes from letting go of hierarchical relationships during a SALT visit. When a group of visitors merges with a group of visited so that the distinctions between them (us) fade away, the opportunities to learn from each…

Added by Phil on March 15, 2010 at 4:27pm — 6 Comments

Learning about Appreciation from outside the Constellation

In my work outside the Constellation, I have just learned a very powerful lesson about Appreciation. I thought I would share it.

I have been working with a colleague quite closely over the last 12 months. Recently, I commented to her that I always seemed to learn a lot from her even though we often seemed to look at things in different ways.

Her comment was that even when she couldn’t understand my point of view she felt very confident that I had thought about it carefully… Continue

Added by Phil on October 12, 2009 at 12:37pm — 2 Comments

The Evolution from AIDS Competence to Community Life Competence

This is an exploration. Please read it as such.

In the AIDS Competence Self Assessment framework, we have 10 practices. The first six are related to AIDS Competence (with the emphasis on AIDS) and the last four are related to AIDS Competence (with the emphasis on Competence).

When we talk about the practice of ‘Access to Treatment’, we are dealing with the specific issues related to AIDS. But when we are talking about ‘Mobilising Resources’, we are dealing… Continue

Added by Phil on October 9, 2009 at 8:10pm — 2 Comments

Do we need to measure change? Perhaps we should assess our progress.

Recently I was asked for my thoughts about the difference between Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and SALT. There is a mountain of material on AI on the web and I read some of it. As I was going through it, it seemed to me that 2 words that people kept linking with AI were ‘change’ and ‘empower’.

If I were looking for a distinction for what the Constellation does, it would be easy to talk about empower, but I stayed with the idea of ‘change’. Many people claim to be able to make change… Continue

Added by Phil on September 25, 2009 at 8:34pm — 2 Comments


The Constellation: who are we

The Constellation vidéo, where we journey in less then 2 minutes from space, through nature, to villages, in homes and back while exploring what the Constellation stands for. Thank YOU for being part of it. 

Social Media


Newsletter EnglishFrench Spanish  


Twitter @TheConstellati1

Instagram: constellationclcp

Youtube channel: The Constellation SALT-CLCP

© 2020   Created by Rituu B. Nanda.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service