What is the most remarkable dialogue you are engage in at this moment? Not a decision, evaluation, or a conversation. Rather dialogue where one builds on the ideas of others, asks questions to clarify intent, and willingness to listen without judgement. Patrick Davis lead a remarkable session at the BoardSource Leadership Forum building a case for the power of dialogue.
Has your enterprise spent as much time in dialogue as it spends discussing the budget? Why not? We rarely address transformational issues by making a quick decision or collecting data. Rather, it is in our divergent discourse that we offer ourselves the opportunity to engage with new ideas.
Two individuals who have developed compelling frameworks for centering ourselves around dialogue are Bohm and Bonnie. Their guidelines follow:
No group decisions (we make fewer decisions than we realize already)
Suspend judgement and suppress “we have already done that” thinking
Build on ideas with ‘yes, and…’ statements
Be aware of which lens we are using as engage
Establish clear intentions
Listening not only what is being said, but why it is being said
Avoid building a case against or for while listening
Promote advocacy and unscripted thought
Engage in inquiry with questions that allow for greater understanding
Ask ‘what am I doing?’ Where the head turns so goes the body
Asking ourselves to tackle the wickedly big questions is a courageous act. Balancing the interplay between hope and the brutal facts is akin to drawing an arrow on a bow. The right amount of tension and extraordinary precision can be achieved. Too little or too much tension and the impact of the arrow declines precipitously.
I am bringing the practice of guided dialogue to my ecosystem and look forward to reporting the results. I wonder which brave organizations will risk a few quiet moments and a little change to reap extraordinary rewards?