Courageous Connections Through Relational Networking

We all hear it… and some of us believe it:  “It’s all about relationships!” 

Yes, it may be true that one can “get ahead” by building trust-based relationships.  But, what about situations when relationship-building means conflict or lack of understanding between people in work/community life?  What if we simply just do not like someone?

As a foundation for leaders to better navigate increasingly complex issues–while fostering equity and mutual understanding in communities, the “Making Courageous Connections through Relational Networking” framework uses the concept of “wicked problems” as a starting point to teaching how to develop an intentional, relational practice.  The premise is that, only in relationship, can communities navigate the challenges at hand.  And, even those relationships that are “hard” (take extra practice and effort) are crucial to our success.

Next, the program guides participants through exercises to illuminate a range of diverse and dynamic personal and social identities.  This allows learners to appreciate the fluidity of identities in ourselves–and others.

Throughout the workshop, learners will engage with one of the central skill for relationship building: “reflexivity.”  Reflexivity is the first and primary competency of the program.  Mastery of the skills allows us to be more self-aware, interact appropriately and generously, and then “calibrate and grow” our sense of self through relationships.

The compelling teaching style of the three Extension program designers will wholly engage participants while leaving them with tools to continue refining their relationship-building practice.

Want a preview?  Check out some of the foundational content pieces of the program here.
Wicked Problems
Social and Personal Identity Wheels

“Courageous Connections through Relational Networking” is a research-based curriculum developed by Jessica Beckendorf, Jessica Jane Spayde, and Amy Greil from the University Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension.

Contact Amy, Extension’s Community Development Educator working in Kenosha County, at amy.greil@wisc.edu for more information or to hear of upcoming training sessions.