Large, complex and ‘wicked’ problems (problems that have been around for years which get dusted under the carpet) call for a journey of adventurous discovery and discernment, rather than a few meetings of monologues.
The relating and relatedness of the interested parties is paramount and trust needs to be built. But this takes time and, all too often, potentially great dialogue becomes heated debate, forcing people into polar positions. So when the going gets tough, people tend to split away and abort their involvement, often choosing instead, to return to ‘more pressing matters’ where they feel in control, or can provide instant results.
Another potential danger at this point is that a small group splits off independently, beginning their work from a set of incomplete assumptions, resulting in the group becoming both trailblazers and martyrs to their own over-inflated cause.
In all cases, good dialogue often feels like an impossible situation and only becomes possible when you have people with highly developed awareness and patience, who can truly release their agenda and maintain a desire to work for the greater good. No, we’re not talking about missionaries. We’re talking about great leaders who understand that organisational change is all about the journey of communication and generating conversations that count. It is also rather like the work of a midwife – accompanying, harnessing and creating conditions that allow an important new state to be born.
Unacknowledged performance loss
Sensitivities towards language, values and beliefs create more separation in our world than the mind can perceive, preventing quality authentic dialogue for such ‘journeys’.
Often we think we are ‘connected’, when we are in fact sleepwalking through veils of unacknowledged performance loss and ambiguity, a loss so profoundly hidden from the world, that it is imbued with all the poignancy of deathwalking and ‘what might have been’.
As Rebecca West once said, ‘There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues. That is all.’
The more one contemplates this performance loss, the more it quietens the chatter in one’s mind to consider what is really the lifeblood of organisational effectiveness and improvement: the art of plentiful heartfelt conversations where people really know the art of listening, opening up and co-creative discerning, enough to allow new understandings to emerge. So simple, so obvious and yet so often seemingly out of reach or view.
About the Author
Lorna McDowell is an international executive coach, learning facilitator, consultant in organisation analysis, and leadership coaching supervisor/mentor. She has a background in international corporate communications, branding, organisation culture and group relations.
Lorna is founder and CEO of Xenergie Consulting and heads up the consulting and coaching service teams, continuously improving and pushing the bar higher on Xenergie’s client service delivery, recognising that today’s environment requires leading edge solutions and client challenges are becoming more and more complex.
Currently she is adapting Xenergie’s services for international market contexts, notably India, where the next opportunity to certify in the Foundation Certificate in Systemic Team Coaching will take place in Bangalore, India on the 15-17th October 2015.
For more information visit - http://www.xenergie.com/introduction-systemic-team-coaching-foundation-certificate/