Oshkosh: a Civil Community The Oshkosh Civility Project April 2011
The Oshkosh Civility Project Major Financial Benefactors
Speak Your Peace Oshkosh! • Credits to: • Dr. PM Forni – Johns Hopkins University • Truckee-Tahoe Community Foundation • Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation
Getting Started • Visit to Truckee-Tahoe Community • Exploration of efforts in Duluth-Superior • Politics • Letters to the Editor • Blogs – Anonymous and Otherwise • Economic downturn • Mood of the public • High visibility incidents – Rutgers & Tucson
Our Goal • Can’t we do better? • Aren’t we known for friendliness and hospitality? • We should set a higher mark! • Provide a common framework to discuss civility-related issues.
Let’s Agree to AGREE • This is NOT a campaign to end all disagreements … this is a campaign to make it safe to disagree. • Focus: Improving the character and quality of interpersonal communication.
Key Strategy • Involve all major stakeholders • Attract interest ~ secure buy-in • Work small ~ grow bigger • Encourage grassroots interest & involvement • We are not just targeting those who are uncivil, but those who allow uncivilized behavior to happen.
Choosing Civility • National speaker • Recognized authority • Provide visibility • Conceptual structure
What we did … • Concern -> ACTION • Core Group • Formulated Plans • Truckee Leadership Breakfast • Forni Community Breakfast • Forni – Library & School Board • Mayor’s Proclamation • Website • Continued outreach/dialogue • Promotional Materials
A Day of Civil Discussion • The people of Oshkosh were urged to reflect on the importance fundamental values • Respect • Understanding • Compassion • befitting a proud community with a rich history & heritage of an active, engaged, informed and involved citizenry. Feb. 24 2011 Walter Scott & Mayor Paul Esslinger
Civility Defined • “Benevolent awareness of others” • Civil ~ when weave restraint, respect and consideration into fabric of awareness • Civil ~ when we care about others and treat them well
What does civility do? • Strengthens social bonds • Reduces stress • Increases satisfaction • Increase work quality • Good for relationships • Good for business • Civility does the “everyday busywork of goodness”
Incivility At work Costs us all • >90% of workers experience incivility • 50% lost work time worrying • 13% left the company • >50% American workforce has high stress levels • >1/3 identifies “people issues” to cause of stress at work • Workload is #2 • Estimated cost of workplace stress: $300 billion per year • Source: P.M. Forni
Civility: City & Society Me, Myself & I “The Other” Known Other Group Unknown Other Group My Group To be Revisited …
1. Pay Attention Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.
2. Listen Much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple but unhappy fact: we don’t really listen to each other.
“We in America have everything we need except the most important thing of all—time to think and the habit of thought.” Norman Cousins
3. Be Inclusive Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community. Remember to “Invite the Stranger.”
4. Don’t Gossip Don’t discount the power of your words. Speaking with consideration and kindness is at the heart of civil behavior.
5. Show Respect Disagree without being disagreeable. Respect includes recognizing that others are entitled to look at the world differently.
The Principle of Respect for Persons We ought to treat others as ends in themselves rather than as means for the satisfaction of our immediate needs and desires PM Forni
6. Be Agreeable Two key ingredients for being agreeable in conversation: 1. The ability to consider that you might be wrong. 2. The ability to admit that you don’t know.
7. Apologize Be sincere and repair damaged relationships Simple, decent words, that soothe the bruised soul: “I’m sorry.”
Life today is more about feeling good and less about being good. “We spend much more time tending to the quality of our emotional lives than to the quality of our moral lives.” Joshua Halberstam
8. Give Constructive Criticism Intention must be to help, not to humiliate. When disagreeing, stick to the issues & no personal attack!
9. Take Responsibility Don’t try to shift blame onto others. Share disagreements publicly.
Civility: a Model Me, Myself & I “The Other” 1 Pay Attention 2 Listen 3 Be Inclusive Relationship Focus 5 Be Respectful Relationship Focus All Others 6 Be Agreeable 7 Apologize 4 Don’t Gossip! 8 Constructive Feedback 9 Take or Accept Responsibility!
Responding to Rudeness • State the facts • Inform the other person how you were impacted by their actions • Request that hurtful behavior not be repeated SIR
Choose Civility • Engage others • Inform others • Learn from others • Learn with others • Model or establish • ideal community • standards
Choose Civility! • It is quite possible to be true to one’s beliefs and be civil at the same time • The issue is not whether to stand firm or to compromise, but how to express our firmness
Just Say YES to Civility • www.OshkoshCivilityProject.org