Tension between individual and group membership. The moving of the ME to WE. What is lost or has to be offered for group membership? Conveners: Mary Ellen Sanajko, Anh Vo Attendees: Richard Bisbee, Rachel Lyn Rumson, Doug Marteinson, Catherine Crim, Nina Escudero, Margo Adair

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