By Kerra L. Bolton
How Restorative Practices Rescue Work from Being a Four-Letter Word
The average worker in the United States spends more than 90,000 hours at work.
If we spend so much time at work, why is it so difficult?
A Restorative Approach to the Workplace
At Building a New Reality (BANR), we believe work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word.
We believe in applying the principles of restorative practices to the workplace, as one of the six facets of society—Enterprise, Governance, Learning, Care, Justice and Spirit.
Billed as “the science of relationships,” restorative practices operates under the guiding principle that people are more willing to make positive changes if those in authority do things with them, rather than to or for them. The practices themselves can include affective statements, check-ins, circles, and formal conferences.
Restorative practices may seem like a pie-in-the-sky theory to people who haven’t been exposed to them. “Something nice to think about,” the uninitiated might say, “but it can’t happen in the ‘real world.’”
But restorative practices do happen in the real world. They occur in schools, courts, police precincts, corporations, and communities around the world, every day. To prove our point, we continue to highlight examples of restorative practices applied to real world settings as they happen in a public school in Bolivia, an Irish citizens’ assembly, or the Third District Court in Detroit.
The Power of Check-Ins
For the next few weeks, we’re featuring the work of Richard Cohen on our blog.
Richard is an internationally recognized writer and trained mediator, facilitator, and corporate trainer. As the founder of Great Ponds Resolutions, he enables individuals, teams, and organizations to increase their influence, collaborate effectively, manage workplace conflict, and be more successful.
One of Richard’s current initiatives is to highlight the power of check-ins through his online resource, “Check-in Success.” Check-ins are a simple, deceptively powerful approach that encourages each person in a meeting to speak and be heard by their peers.
“Check-ins encourage each person in a meeting to speak to their peers,” Richard says. “One by one, group members respond to a selected question or prompt. Prompts are chosen to elicit who participants are, how they feel or what they think about an almost limitless range of work-related and personal concerns. Leaders use check-ins deliberately to further a group’s development and ultimately, to enable it to perform at the highest level.”
In the next three blog posts, excerpted from Richard’s Check-In Success website, we’ll explore the power and importance of check-ins. We will provide resources, strategies and tools you can use to learn more about restorative practices, apply them in your life, and help build a new reality—one in which we all have more voice, choice, and shared responsibility.