In the introduction a common thread was there’s tension in family, organizational, and community systems between our individual role and interests, and belonging. Raw Authentic Notes from our Sharing - In the US culture though, we’re conditioned to think of “we” and “I” in opposition which creates a culture of conformity - The WE can bring out the I – leveraging the strengths of the “we” and the “I” can strengthen the other - Meditation, song, spirit itself are really alive in collectivity and so much more powerful in the collective; I can go deeper when I’m in a collective - Being a strong “I” in the collective is an ancient way of being from indigenous cultures, where individuality was still expressed
- In high performance teams (ie: when a team really jells) individual strengths are seen more, affirmed, amplified, and there’s more empathy
- When I’m talking, I’m taking your rite to talk. - There doesn’t have to be anything taken away from me, listening is part of my identity. To get the best of me, I don’t have to consider the “me” as a separate experience.
- When we’re using the strengths of “me” and it doesn’t work, or I can’t get behind something the “we” wants: What do I need to give up to be with us? Or does the Law of 2 feet reign so I leave. In which case, what does “we” lose?
- Anecdote: Alfred Sloan – CEO of GM from 1920-1950, running a meeting, everybody agreed on next steps, so Alfred said “ok, it’s clear. We need to table this to the next meeting where everybody will come back with we shouldn’t do that.” when we all agree, come up with reasons why we don’t agree
- The leadership team and organization was pretty lucky. If you don’t have a leader with that kind of foresight, who allows for that dissenting voice, then what are the risks to disagreeing? And what’s the risk of making a decision when there is no disagreement. - So there’s a dance with the devil’s advocate to keep you in check with the marginalized voice. - Sociocracy.com: we’re all equivalalent - Not wanting consensus, want consent … “is there anybody blocking?” has different quality than “can you live with it?” - Trying to create vertically interlocking decisions in a hierarchical setting
- It’s more about the spirit you bring into the room + cooperation - Don’t lose sight of formal/informal power - Eg: GM CEO quote above, if anybody else had said it then maybe nobody would’ve listened to it - And it’s often those who don’t have the power that have the insights - How do I meet my “I” needs when I’m ambivalent about authority, and there are consequences to that … so do I need to not question to keep my job? - Another voice: I figure I’m paid to think and solve problems – if it’s about disagreeing with my boss then so be it - Questioning Authority: I usually do it in the form of questions o Women have been able to undermine power systems using questions as a strategy o It’s an “acceptable” way to defer and challenge authority – questions can be a way to manipulate power o Intention behind the question/challenging authority is to be respectful and to make the overall outcome better connecting to the bigger purpose - Power relationships are always influencing the room
Rule of engagement of how we have conversations - there is room for dissent and can agree to disagree - Sometimes there’s all sorts of differences: culture, gender, beliefs, culture of origin, different family of origin all contributes to us bringing different perspectives to the”we” When there’s that level of tension in the conversations - Do talking circle - Have agreements to give permission for everybody to say what they want to say - Brings all the voices there - Entitlement versus discernment - There can be 2 reactions 1. your “I” need to state your opinions for the “we” to catch 2. The discernment where the “I” questions if I should involve the “we” in my internal process o Our culture, gender, etc will impact what choice we make o Note: entitlement was offered … just b/c it’s offered doesn’t mean it has to be taken - As facilitator: I can say the impact the tension has on me using I statements; the tendency is to not declare this because we’re so socialized to be polite
Tool – Crucial Conversations - Tool for talking when the stakes are high; it’s a tool for how to maintain your seat @ the table when the conversation gets hard
- There’s a range between silence on one end and violence on the other end, in response to conflict - In every conversation there’s a moment where it becomes crucial – high emotions or high outcomes - Go to silence or violence or we can go to the pool of shared meaning which would look like o staying in the container/context rather than going into the content – call a halt on the content o Group has a collective memory of what is in the group, which will inform our offering of the comments - Response is: 1. I respect who you are. 2. I understand/hear what you want to do - I understand what you’re trying to accomplish. - There’s an identity piece – some of the I is not being met, so we act it out in the we - This process is about slowing the conversation down - So what do I do when I’m in the middle of it? Articulate there’s something here
Formal versus Moral Authority - Personal Story: Courage to go against that power and have moral authority – it’s a personal decision to be willing to be the voice of dissent – it’s a very strong “I” that takes that role - Bottom Line: Leadership responded with “Don’t like hearing your opinion and we appreciate hearing it.” - Stand in position of authority in the organization – formal and informal authority - Who has moral authority? - Personal Story: o Hired to help them create a multi-cultural org + v.dysfunctional org o Questioned who had moral authority versus structural power o Unwillingness to talk about the power Exercise: - Everybody line up ranking their formal power (ie: formal role) - Then had everybody line up in the position showing their moral authority - Interesting awareness in this case where the people with the highest moral authority were not the official leaders
Ensuring my “I” is aligned with the values of the “we” - Before taking a gig, test the leader - In job interview: I interview them as much as they interview me
- As facilitator: o Find out what’s really on the table … what are the boundaries for this conversation you want to have with this group so we can be clear in advance what the range is o What do I want my reputation to be – do I really want to be known as the person who only does this little piece, or the bigger picture o More I can do stuff that’s totally aligned with who I am, the more I’ll be called to do that