Success in Communication

david.harrell's picture

We spend a lot of time in the World Café looking at issues, and the interesting thing is that it almost always comes back to our own perceptions of how I (the individual) can fix things.

What I find fascinating in the World Café is we all bring our baggage to the discussion, but it almost always turns into a discussion about how we, the individual, can change to better improve the situations. Not once (and maybe this is a phenomena) have I heard anything such as "well, that person needs to do this" or "change that". I think this shows a tremendous growth in communication. As Adam Kahane (2008) showed in his article "The Potential of Talking and the Challenge of Listening," we evolve in our skills from Downloading to Reflective Dialogue. That is what I have observed happening in the World Café, we can see things from different perspectives.

This is a great medium to create an atmosphere for this metamorphosis. It is fascinating to watch as I am currently hosting my second World Café. From this perspective I can see how the conversations evolve and take on a true life of their own, where as a participant or even as a table host I didn’t get this perspective. While this is a great medium, it is important to realize it is the attitude the participants bring to the meetings and the evolution of those individuals who are willing to adapt to new and innovative ideas that make this such a great experience.

Take time to reflect on your successes as much or more than the problems. In a workshop that I attended in December 2004 at the Idaho Police Academy Training Facility, it was (and I believe correctly) pointed out that we as a society spend 95% of our time struggling to fix problems that arise 5% of the time. We, as the Pegasus Group, stress leadership in communication as much as anything else: using this evolution of thought leads through communication and not just dragging people along.

What are you most proud of? Make that a high point. Then ask the others, "What can I (the individual) do as part of the organization to make today's challenges tomorrow's success?" This is something I have really been able to explore as part of the Pegasus group, moving from "me-to-we." I know this sounds like the old "there's no I in team" but in group dynamics and systems thinking this has never been truer.

As a supervisor, in one capacity or another, for almost 20 years I have finally learned that communication is the key to leadership, and leadership is the art of showing people the path, whatever path that may be. If the path is to happiness in life, communicate to discover what you/we are looking for to achieve our goals (small or large it doesn't matter). We migrate together in life based on common interests and passions as Bob Stilger wrote in "Landmarks for Leader in Times of Uncertainty and Chaos" (2008).

We're all in this together. Talk to each other. My success is your success and yours is mine. Ask the questions and listen to the answers. I know I don't even have the questions I want answered in life yet; and that's OK, because I can celebrate what's gone right so far!

    Anonymous's picture

    This is a great medium to

    This is a great medium to create an atmosphere for this metamorphosis. It is fascinating to watch as I am currently hosting my second World Café. From this perspective I can see how the conversations evolve and take on a true life of their own, where as a participant or even as a table host I didn’t get this perspective. While this is a great medium, it is important to realize it is the attitude the participants bring to the meetings and the evolution of those individuals who are willing to adapt to new and innovative ideas that make this such a great experience.