Discover more from Cardijn Reflections
We all have heard the voice "Mind the Gap"
I love this picture for many reasons.
First, it shows the importance of paying attention to the gaps. Don't just look at what's there before you; put it in place before your arrival, and attend carefully to what's not there. Every plan and path forward has gaps. And you're much better off seeing them in advance rather than, unaware, stepping into them.
Second, this image can give many people inner chills- and that's good. Even if you don't do extreme sports and outdoor challenges like the one depicted, you can metaphorically confront a version of the same fear when you try anything new and daunting.
Now, think about those two points as we reflect on the work of Joseph Cardijn and his followers. We all understand the SEE-JUDGE-ACT method. For some, it is pretty straightforward; often, we hear others say it is "lacking," I often ask what that means and hear the word "process" come up in conversation.
I studied and reflected on the Franciscan and Jesuit versions of the See, Judge, Act process. I came up with a high-level picture of adding process to the method. I then integrated more of the work of Aristotle, Aquinas, and renowned physicists, such as Eli Goldratt, into the methodology, blending several approaches into one process.
"The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out." ~ Dee Hock
Think of how often we are faced with using the method in a group or even a personal situation; we find what is at the heart of the matter, a conflict preventing us from achieving our goal and our vision. How do we resolve the conflict for the greater good? For a Win-Win situation? How do we get consensus and buy-in from all those involved? How do we overcome objections? Think of every problem-solving session and workshop you have been in or leading, and you know in the group will be at least one person who will say to the efficacy of a solution, "Yea Butt…"
When we study the life of Cardijn, his followers, and those who were the thinkers at the table of Vatican II, we see "strategic thinking" front and center. At the heart of all strategy is the core principle of resolving conflicts. Those conflicts may be the roadblocks that prevent change or the greater good from becoming reality.
I compiled a little diagram of an approach to resolving conflicts in our SEE-JUDGE-ACT method. I call them "Tools Types for Strategic Thinking." I am sure you can see Aristotle on the slide
Innovation is at the heart of the Cardijn method. When we look at his work, we see the movements were innovative, brought an awareness of education, and, most importantly, instilled a strong collaboration among the people. This should be our focus in our work today: to innovate solutions, educate those involved and the greater community, and collaborate for the greater good. Doing so brings the Kingdom of God here and now through our social justice programs and Catholic Social Teachings.
Think about deliverables. How often do we assume "deliverables" will magically happen independently? Deliverables give people a sense of a plan and steps to follow to ensure we plan our work and work our plan in bringing about change in our world. Here is a sample at a high level of deliverable thinking. Of course, every situation will be different, but this gives you a flavor of the thinking process to move forward with the Cardijn methods.
Cardijn used the See-Judge-Act method for his workers' Catholic Action groups (especially Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne); as it evolved into Catholic social teaching, it became the fundamental hermeneutic for decision-making for the greater good. Cardijn told his people what/how they should observe, how to evaluate the situation, and what to do about it. His discernment was from a "top-down" way of thinking. It worked for him and the situation in time. (Think Sitz im Leben) Today, we are much more cautious about this authoritarian thinking model. We see new and rising divisions in our lives, politics, and the church. But as the old saying goes: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." We build upon what we have learned and move forward.
Over the next few weeks, I will share more of the process I have put together around the See-Judge-Act method and how to think about using the tools for situations you may find yourself leading and facilitating.
The diagrams are JPEGs, so you can expand and save them.
So, for now, think about:
See - and ask yourself: What should we change?
Judge - What to change to?
Act - How to make the change happen?
Bridge photo courtesy of Sandra Korman Photography.