Tracey Jones-Grant was one of the first people to experience the Worldview Intelligence program a couple of years ago in Halifax and it has changed her. “You don’t just walk away from it and go ‘done with that, what’s next?’ It seeps into your skin and blossoms as you learn how to verbalize it.” The impact grows even stronger with the passing of time and application of skills and concepts learned.
Of her experience in the program Tracey said, “You are in that first question, the next thing you know your perspective is changing and it happens in a gentle way. It causes you to think differently, which causes you to act differently.” It doesn’t necessarily happen dramatically overnight. You learn the skills and then you practice.
Tracey is a long time diversity trainer and her experience with Worldview Intelligence has caused her to think differently about this work. She has worked for the Halifax Library, the Halifax Regional School Board and is now the Diversity Manager for the Municipal Government in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is bringing a new way of working, meeting and educating to her position thanks to her Worldview and also her Art of Hosting experience. She asks different questions that helps her see where people are at and helps them think about their worldview without needing to ask directly about it. Questions like where are you now? How does that define how you see and experience diversity and inclusion?
I first met Tracey through our mutual friend Carolann Wright-Parks, who is currently leading the Restorative Inquiry for the NS Home for Coloured Children, when Carolann was interested in bringing the Art of Hosting to African Nova Scotian facilitators. Tracey brings an inherent curiosity to her learning process and asks lots of questions in her quest to understand. You can see the wheels in her mind turning as she translates what she is learning into the practicalities of life and work.
In addition to asking lots of good questions, Tracey brought Africentric principles into our Art of Hosting work – principles she lives by. When we introduced the concept of Worldview Intelligence in that AoH training, it caught the attention of many of the participants, including Tracey. I asked her why she decided to attend the first Worldview Program a few months later. She said she was intrigued by the idea, even as she was hesitant. “Nobody asks you what your worldview is. It was an opportunity to see what that means. At the same time, you could be afraid of knowing your own worldview.”
Despite the initial hesitation, Tracey’s experience with the program was very positive and impactful. “I discovered the exploration allows for your own internal view. For me, this is aligned with africentricity. Knowing your own worldview allows you to center yourself. And when you know where you come from, the core of who you are, that prepares you for whatever else you will encounter, including worldviews very different from your own.”
When I asked, what is the lasting impact for her, she took a deep breath and became reflective for a moment. “It is not easy to say – there are no standard words. It’s something you feel. I have a greater belief in myself, more confidence in what I know and I don’t need external validation anymore.” She went on to say, “Anybody who knew me before and sees me now, sees the impact, sees the difference.”
The difference in her makes a difference in her work. She said the biggest difference is in simple things, but things that were not in her conscious awareness before. “I plan work in different ways now.”
Tracey noted that understanding worldviews, where they come from and how they influence communication and relationship means she tunes in differently to what is going on with the people around her. As a result of the program, she offered, “You develop stronger communication and facilitation skills. I have a greater sense of awareness of people, of communities I work for and in – and I’ve been working in community for a long time. I check in around where people are at in their own experience rather than assuming I know. I make suggestions differently now than in the past – in ways that have a greater likelihood of getting through the other person’s filters.”
In the long run, Tracey says that the practices of Worldview Intelligence improve client interactions, inter-office interactions and outcomes in the workplace. In her view, “Business needs to invest in opportunities for staff to understand where they are at. This will make them more open to understanding where others are at and to seeing new ways forward, even on issues that are challenging.”
Tracey also talked about the power of having a mentor to turn to, a support in the system
to keep going so the initial rush of excitement post training doesn’t wither away. She has that in Carolann. It is one of the benefits of going through a training with others in your workplace or your networks of support.
She says, “This kind of investment is not a check mark on the training box. It is an essential business and life skill.” And more so now as we move into increasing fragmentation, isolation and diversity in our communities and at work.
The next Worldview Intelligence program is being offered in Halifax, NS May 30-June 1, 2016 and registration is open.