A few colleagues and I got into a deep conversation the other night as we discussed what it might look like if we included “dialogue and interaction skills” into school curriculum beginning in Kindergarten through University. Can you imagine how we might interact differently with each other in our families, communities and organizations if we were taught early on how to build stronger relationships? How our ability to address domestic and international issues would change if we enhanced our engagement and communication skills each year as we progressed through school? This could be a real game changer for society, especially in today’s new world where everything we do is interconnected.
However, if you’re reading this you likely did not have the good fortune to learn these skills in school and have been left to your own devices. How do we learn to have “conversations and interactions that matter” to give all of us a stronger sense of unity and purpose.? Perhaps it is our responsibility to drive this organically from a grass roots level and be socially responsible beings? What if we started a community of learners and shared “effective engagement methods” with each other through blogs and discussion forums? We could continue to develop our skills by learning from each other. For example, here is one approach to designing effective interactions that might come in handy – This strategy comes from Charles Holmes, colleague and strategic partner in our Collaboration Centre at Kingbridge:
“Successful interactions depend on how well we design processes that engage, connect and mobilize individuals, families, communities and organizations to create their desired futures. When the end goal is to develop a shared vision whether it is with one other person or with a group of people it is important to create a supportive environment where the right conditions can exist for authentic, open and respectful conversations to take place. This is especially important when diverse perspectives need to surface and be understood allowing many voices to be heard.”
Because we are social beings, and we understand that everything is interdependent and interrelated here is another simple approach to build a stronger sense of community which also creates great interactions – Develop neighbourhoods or ‘front porch’ style exchanges like we do in our home communities. This method, which comes from colleague and strategic partner Michael Jones quickly connects people in ways that can help them see how their strengths add value to what the group is trying to accomplish whether it be innovation or problem solving. This provides each person with a sense of purpose and belonging allowing the group to mobilize around change initiatives with more passion, clarity, speed and precision.
John Abele, owner of Kingbridge and I are so passionate about this topic that we would like to spend the next few months engaging in dialogue via this blog platform with others out there who are equally as passionate about this subject. If you would like to be a part of this community of learning, please let us know by leaving a comment below. For those of you interested in engaging we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Michael Jones and Charles Holmes who practice this type of work all over the world. They are great friends and strategic partners in our Collaboration Centre and have agreed to join our learning community. Michael and Charles recognize that building connections for the future involves creating communities of belonging, where people are drawn together in authentic and at times challenging conversations. It is in these conversations that people begin to see and share strengths or gifts that we see in each other. These gifts are discovered thorough stories of experiences and places that hold meaning and significance for us – experiences and places that have shaped our lives. These stories are infinitely practical, in that they illuminate ideas and insights that can lead to new possibilities for innovation and ways of being together in community. Michael and Charles recognize that the vision for the communities we create together are often not found in the “flashlight world” of spreadsheets and strategic plans, but are more likely to occur in the complex and subjective “candlelight” conversations that bring to light our aspirations through embracing a world of imagination, possibility, mystery and surprise.