Individual strength and group process
Currently I am involved in a group setting that is engaged in community organizing. This group setting is different from any types of organization that work or communicate with the general public. Community organizing is a kind of group setting that maintains direct link to people in a given community who share the same interests, beliefs and pursue common goals and ideals. The crucial role of community organizers is to bring people in a particular community together and help resolve community struggle and social conflict so to engender collective power or influence for the people.
Since community organizing is usually engaged in social works and planning like coalition building, conducting political orientations and fundraising, community organizers need to have the right philosophy, worth ethics and strength to contribute to the development and success of the group setting (Weil, 1997, p.115). On my part, in order to contribute to the organization, I have maintained sense of professionalism, social awareness, openness to different cultures, as well as political, social and religious beliefs, integrity, ability to communicate with people clearly, alert and always inspired when dealing with people and even community problems.
I have learned through my years of involvement in this group setting that this strengths and skills are what make an organization that engaged in community organizing successful. These strengths and skills largely benefit the group since the goal is to communicate with people (Pyles, 2009, p.121), help solve their problems, determine their shared or common interests, resolve their conflicts and struggle and give them the power they deserve. It is not enough for a community organizer to be smart and intelligent, he/she needs to have a heart or honest sympathy with people who feel they are powerless and who think that they do not have the capacity to improve their lives and build their own community. The message that this organization wants to tell community people is hope— that they need to have hope and action in order to build their lives, as well as their community.
It is important for other group members to also embody these strengths and skills because this organization should act as a team. If all group members possess these strengths and skills, it would be very easy to institute group processes like planning, dealing with people, communicating with them, and mobilizing them to assert their rights and protect their interests.
In community organizing, it is necessary to make people aware of their rights and interests, and then teach them how to assert their rights and protect or achieve their interests. That is why it important for community organizers to be socially aware, broadminded, good communicator and to have unassailable integrity and moral values because these strengths and skills undeniably affect group processes. So far these strengths and skills did not bring drawback to the group, instead they helped the group develop and influenced other members to succeed in their goals and bring positive changes to the group.
Other members’ strengths and skills affect group processes by giving new insights and by helping understand difficult community problems. For example, other group members who have adequate legal knowledge helped the group understanding legal problems affecting a particular community. Other members who are good at mobilizing people are also helpful in generating social change.
Apart from these skills, there are also other strengths that need to be improved to foster more effective group environment. Some of these skills are clear vision, clear ideological perspective, formal training, and better understanding of the objectives of community organizing. Some community organizers falter and do not succeed because they lack these positive qualities, particularly better understanding of the purpose of the profession. If one really understood the vision of the group, he should know that it was not motivated by charity but justice. Thus, it is important for every group members to embody all these virtues and quality in order to contribute to the group’s success.
Problem solving techniques and group decision making
When it comes to dealing with problems, the group generally utilizes the three-pronged problem-solving techniques: a) to know the nature of the problem and what causes it; b) to determine possible solutions to the problem; and c) to narrow down the solutions and apply the most suitable one to the problem. This is known to the group as the risk analysis and risk management. Group members usually engage in the problem-solving process in order to know their insights about a particular problem and to encourage them to give solutions to the same (Minkler, 2004, p.374). However not all problems require the concurrence or participation of everybody, but when it comes to difficult problems or the type of troubles that affect the organization as a whole, the involvement of all members is highly encouraged.
These techniques influence group decisions because first, their main objective is to approach the problem systematically and second, members’ involvement is highly encouraged. Through this process, decisions are made based on the nature of the problem and the kind of solution to be made. Decisions are also influenced by the individual insights and opinion of other members who participated in the problem-solving process.
There are also other problems solving techniques that can be used when making group decisions. Some of these techniques are not yet explored or not yet applied to the field of community organizing. However one technique that is highly applicable to the group is the PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal) analysis. For example, a particular problem is analyzed through determining the six core aspects that usually affect a particular community. This PESTEL analysis is highly compatible with community organizing because they are able to extract solutions based on a particular community problem. This is because most community problems deal with political, social, economic, legal, environmental, and even technological aspects. In community organizing, group decisions must be one-hundred percent reliable because they can affect not just a given community, but the lives and future of the people who live in that community as well.
There are a lot of things to do in order to develop or improve the group’s problem solving techniques. However, before going to the technical aspects, it is important for the group to first focus on the basics. In order for the problem solving techniques to be effective, the following must be first established: develop and nurture a successful organization, ensure that members reflect the different sectors and cultures of the community, and gain skills, abilities, knowledge and incentive to meet the group’s overall goals and objectives. These basic principles must be developed to have effective problem solving techniques.
In community organizing, individual strengths and skills mainly contribute to the success and development of the organization. Every member must possess the needed qualities of a good community organizer so to meet all the organizational goals and objectives. On the other hand, effective and efficient problem solving techniques must also be established in order to engender reliable and potential solutions. But to have a highly dependable solution that can be used to work out any given problem, membership involvement should be encouraged because members are not simply part of the organization, they also possess individual strengths and skills that are considered indispensable assets of the organization.
Minkler, M. (2004). Community Organizing and Community Building for Health. New Jersey:
Rutgers University Press.
Pyles, L. (2009). Progressive Community Organizing. Florida: CRC Press.
Weil, M. (1997). Community Practice: Models in Action. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Haworth