Liberating Structures for Liberating Resources: Communication

Part One of Liberating Structures for Liberating Resources Series

Becoming a Person of Purpose and an Organization of Purpose

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path.

Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”

– Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way

Becoming purposeful in positively impacting your organization and community is a big challenge that includes significant barriers. Those barriers to action include Communication, Time, Analysis Paralysis and Short on Courage, which are common to all endeavors and must be addressed head-on.

  • Communication – Where and how to discuss the data?

  • Time – When is the right time to tackle these issues?

  • Analysis Paralysis – With so much data, where does one start?

  • Short on Courage – Who is ready to lead the charge?

Eric Keck, VP of Customer Success for ResourceX, addresses each of these barriers in his presentation, Liberating Structures for Liberating Resources. His addressing of each obstacle not only includes his perspective as a former City Manager and PBB implementer and relevant examples from current PBBi clients, but he also provides concrete exercises and structures that you can practice and put in place immediately to hurdle these barriers.

This series of posts will break down Eric’s presentation and tackle each barrier individually, beginning with Communication.

Part 1: Strategies for Communication

Communication with Your Organization

Move in the Direction of Your Conversation

The first, and most important, action to take, is talking about your data. Having and holding onto the data will not inspire change. You must make the data a part of the conversation in these ways:

1. Focused Conversations: schedule time for the specific purpose of having “adult conversations” about the programmatic data you created.

2. Regular Cadence: Carve out consistent times to ensure that you establish and practice communicating in the data-driven, programmatic language.

3. Safe Conversations: Set ground rules that establish a safe space with the freedom to fail. There must be no judgment of an idea in order to drive creative, innovative and impactful ideas and conversations.

Part 2: Structures for Achieving Communication

Liberate Your Organization

Utilizing Liberating Structures

It’s one thing to say communication is a necessary exercise, it’s quite another to put this into practice. How the data is introduced is going to direct the conversations and associated action. The use of the exercises shared through Liberating Structures is a way to tackle the “How”.

Eric Keck is the ResourceX resident expert on Liberating Structures and is more than happy to direct you to the open-source resources provided by Liberating Structures or to discuss facilitating these types of exercises within your organization. These are his recommended structures for tackling the barrier of Communication:

Explore “What is made possible” from two different perspectives with Appreciative Questions and Wicked Questions. What is essential for success? and What would we need to do to fail?

  • Appreciative Questions: Discover and build on the root causes of success. List the conditions that are essential for success.

  • Wicked Questions: Reveal the challenges and possibilities that are not intuitively obvious. Safely expose the tensions to discover valuable strategies.

The next barrier of Time will be outlined and discussed in the next segment…

stay tuned!



Implementing Program Based Business Intelligence, or PBBi, gives your organization the opportunity to learn and communicate what you do, understand the true costs of the services you provide, clarifies why you are in business, and sets you up to be proactive regarding future business-intelligence.

Build business intelligence that transforms how your organization thinks. communicates, and makes decisions - through programs!


Priority Based Budgeting is a specific application of your PBBi data that drives the budget process. The additional scoring layer, Scoring Against Results, aligns programs with the priorities of your organization and community.

Priority-based budgeting is a common sense, data-driven, strategic alternative to incremental budgeting. The philosophy of priority-driven budgeting is that resources should be allocated according to how effectively a program or service achieves the goals and objectives that are of most significant value to the community. Priority-based budgeting is a best practice in municipal finance.

About Liberating Structures

Liberating Structures make it easy for leaders of all levels to create conditions for people to work at the top of their intelligence and creativity. In this environment, people thrive and enjoy their work. It is also the path to top performance.

Practice is the only way to discover the amazing differences that Liberating Structures can spark. Since practice is also the only way to master the use of Liberating Structures, they focused their attention on how-to” descriptions. They have tried to make them practical, easy to follow and concrete.

They have chosen not to copyright any of their work and instead publish it under a Creative Commons License. They want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to feel free to use, copy, and disseminate this material and make his or her corner of the world a better place.

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