Essential Action for Engagement

Almost 15 years ago, I began consulting a small town in rural Alberta on how to most effectively engage its youth. After working with more than 500 organizations in hundreds of communities with thousands of people since then, I have grown confident in my ability to discern what the essential action for engagement is. Here is my list:

Essential Action #1: Don’t know how to do anything. When we’ve made up our minds about anything, we block out everything else that may be useful. That includes people, ideas, resources, places, and actions. Rather than posit anything as knowledge, realize that its understanding that you hold. Knowledge is concrete and unbendable; understanding is fluid and elastic. Embrace ambiguity and simply be with uncertainty, and more options will present themselves than you can shake a stick at. When you make decisions, make them strongly and with confidence—and realize that they’re understandings, and all understanding can be transformed. Ambiguity, with/and not either/or, etc. 

Essential Action #2: The first essential action is the only thing you need to know.

These essential steps all boil down rather simply, don’t they? Now, let’s try it out and see how it works.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

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