Talking About Security in Groups and Teams

Prepare detail 04

Purpose & Output

The purpose of this exercise is to reflect on how and when we talk about security with our peers, colleagues or team. It is best facilitated by at least two people, but can also serve as a useful individual reflection on your interaction with your colleagues.

The exercise helps start a process to constructively talk and discuss security in your team / group.

Input & Materials

To do this exercise in a participative way and in order to document it, you may need writing material (cards or stickies and markers). A large area of wall-space, a flip-chart or pin-board may also be useful.

Format & Steps

Individual work & group discussion

Step 1. Divide the group into pairs. Ask each pair to consider the following questions concerning group dynamics and write down their answers.

  1. What topics take up the majority of time in group conversations?
  2. What topics do we never seem to find time for? What aspects of our group interaction do we find energising?
  3. What aspects of our group interaction do we find exhausting?
  4. What happens in the group when people disagree?
  5. Have you created any space to develop and refine your own security practices (as an individual)? Describe it: where and when does this space exist? Is it sufficient, and how might you expand this space, if necessary?
  6. Do you have enough space to talk about security issues with others, such as peers or colleagues who work closely with you, and how might this space be created or expanded if necessary?

Step 2. Collate the full set of responses to these questions on a board or in a notebook.

Step 3. As a team, consider the following questions.

  1. Where and how do we want to set our priorities concerning security?
  2. What are common problems that arise around talking about security as a group?
  3. What can prevent us from talking about security? How can we deal with this?
  4. How can we create and maintain sufficient and adequate space for talking about security? What will this mean in terms of time and resources?
  5. How might we increase the effectiveness of our group interaction on security?
  6. What problems arise around committing to changing our security practices? Do we resist change, individually or collectively, and why?

Step 4. Invite each person individually to reflect on:

  1. Whether you should have a similar awareness for your family and loved ones?
  2. What are the differences in the dynamics and ways in which family and loved ones are affected?
  3. In what ways do you communicate the threats you are facing to your family, community, friends and others not in your work circle?

Step 5. In the whole group, share the points that people feel free to share. Then you should agree on what can be communicated to those 'outside' the group, for reasons of confidentiality, intimacy and security. Agree on these guidelines for the whole group.

Remarks & Tips

Consider also discussing the steps and requirements necessary to put your ideas of how to talk about security in the future into practice. Important questions to think about might be:

  • What happens if you don't progress on 'talking about security'?
  • What happens if someone does not stick to the guidelines on what can be communicated to the outside?