By Annette Simmons
This article indicates readers tips to use the method of "dialogue" to assist teams become aware of and enhance their undesirable verbal exchange behavior. It explains the character of discussion and why it's so tough to accomplish, and provides a step by step "recipe" for discussion.
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Extra info for A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths: Using Dialogue to Overcome Fear & Distrust at Work
The "Real Problem" When a group fails to address difficult issues, something has affected its members' willingness to see and tell the truth. It could be a turf war, an ego battle, a tyrannical hierarchy, old fears of retribution, or learned helplessness translated into apathy. At one level it doesn't matter. When coworkers will only speak privately about the "real problem," then dialogue has become taboo in the larger group. The "real problem" is code speak for the one thing that needs to be fixed, yet everyone is too scared to mention it for fear of retribution, losing personal ground, or being shot as the messenger of bad news.
But at what price? Holding back the truth means holding back other things, such as enthusiasm and commitment. Why can't we create a place safe enough where we can tell the truthwhere we want to tell the truth? It would have to be a very safe place. People would need to trust one another, and they would have to care enough to take the risk. They would need to believe the result was worth the risk. They Page xiv would have to want to learn from each other, even if it meant admitting their own ignorance, fears, and shortcomings.
All are accurate, but guaranteed to generate eye rolling and wristwatch glancing the first time you introduce it to a bunch of executives or a workgroup. When you describe dialogue to people, you need only persuade a group to try dialogue. The experience of dialogue will do the rest. So keep it simple and sell the benefits. Go Big Picture and Benefits It helps to use metaphor to describe dialogue. Metaphor makes it easier to introduce a concept as mercurial as dialogue. When you want to entice a group to dialogue, it is important to start with a shared big picture first.