SWITZERLAND, Urban Gehrig •
Last year most likely the majority of the Leitungsteamtreffen (LTT) (Leaders’ Gathering) members from the Swiss Family Branch asked themselves “Good, and now what do we do with it?” In September 2015 under Maria Fischer’s direction, they worked vigorously and attentively on a communication concept for the Swiss Family Branch that included three questions and their answers:
WHAT do I want to achieve? To reinforce families
WHO do I want to reach? Christian families and couples who want to grow
WHAT MESSAGE do we want to transmit: Strong, free and connected families can change the world.
These three questions were the result of hard work and a cause for great joy – however it was difficult for the majority to accomplish. Just repeating the answers to the three questions from memory was difficult. This communication concept was not yet present in the group. Or, as Fr. Kentenich would say: It was a leading idea – but far from being a driving force. However, as we say, practice makes perfect.
Radio Maria–a case study
A request for information from Radio Maria that the main team received a few months before was an ideal situation for a case study. The participants practiced posing questions correctly, providing answers, sharing and thinking. Knowledge grew, and it was here, that in a relatively short time, a solution to the case’s problem developed. Everyone felt competent enough to implement the communication concept independently. And a “surprising” discovery– that concept was really useful!
And how is our project?
One topic at each of the team leaders’ annual meetings is a review of different members’ projects. An important part of every LTT is to know the main work, as well as problems and difficulties. How has the project progressed? How is it going for the leaders? What stories can they relate about their projects? This year, the communication concept was made for the very same six questions for the report on each project – plus “a story.”
First, the story: Through different stories, they related the most outstanding aspects, the most touching ones, and their most beautiful projects. Consequently they listened to very different narratives. Five criteria were provided to evaluate the story: how had the story reached people in relation to their life situation, suspense, impetus, message and how this touched or moved me? Every story had a special accent: one had a greater impetus, another touched the heart– every story received its own profile.
Then six questions helped the participants orient themselves with their projects, seeing where they could place it in relation to the requirements of the concept of communication. They were:
- Who do we want to reach with our project and with whom have we accomplished it?
- What do we want to accomplish and what has resulted?
- What message do we want to transmit and what have we already transmitted?
- What people have we gained as collaborators, what people have we lost?
- What successes and failures have we had? Why?
- What subject of our project do we still want to discuss…
The participants faced a difficult task, a sort of the cart before the horse scenario, since the projects were born before the communication concept, and they did not always fit these six questions. And partly, it was the first time that they had seen their projects from this perspective. Each team had a space to discover where they could still modify their project.
A fruitful outcome
Then it was question number six’s turn, which gave every participant the opportunity, with the help of the other couples, to obtain important contributions to solve a problem. This was a fruitful round for the leaders of couples’ vacation week. Many ideas arrived for new sources of possible participants moreover, there were many other suggestions.
Without a doubt, questions 1 to 5 also offered a potential to obtain information. One cross comparison of the same questions in all the projects produced an exciting and interesting atmosphere and perhaps, even for the first time, a comparison for such different projects.
Photos: Markus Infanger
Original: German. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA