Todd Hoskins chooses and uses tools, products, and practices that could belong in an entrepreneurial business toolkit. He’ll be checking out how useful they are to folks in a business environment.
Cool Practice Review: Dialogue Exercise
A Review by Todd Hoskins
Credit: I learned the structure of this exercise from Leilani Henry who runs a great business that creatively helps organizations learn, develop, and collaborate.Â She’s also quite the artisan.
A clear agenda and good leadership usually makes for a good business meeting. But sometimes, spending time exploring possibilities and perspectives is valuable for creating strategy, nurturing the connectedness of the team, and getting a break from the task-heavy day that can drain and dry up our creative wells.
This exercise in dialogue, based upon the work of David Bohm, is a wonderful practice that can be used in team meetings, executive retreats, or even board meetings.
First, sit in a circle so each person can see one another. This works best for a group (not a few people on a couch), and the intimacy would be lost if you have more than a few dozen people.
The group leader asks a question. The person to the left or right will respond to the initial question, then ask a follow-up question to the person to his/her left or right. Move around the circle until you’re back at the beginning. Time limits can be suggested or enforced.
1. No question “answering.” The temptation will be strong to give an answer. Instead . . .
2. Ask open-ended questions – nothing that can receive a simple yes or no
3. Share your stream of thoughts in response to the question being posed to you. This may begin with “That makes me think of . . .” Or, “I’m wondering . . .”
4. Do not try to “stay on topic.” You will not escape the direction of the first (or tenth) question. The suggestiveness of the initial question is important
5. No judgments on the questions or responses being offered
6. No decisions are made during the dialogue – it’s a process for its own sake
1. At the end of the exercise, you will likely have a pool of meaning in the midst of the circle.
2. The questions and responses can give you a new perspective on issues, possibilities, and people within the circle
1. Have one or a few people write down key words and phrases as they surface
2. Take a break, then at a later time ask, “What could we learn from this?”
Some possible questions:
What will our company look like in five years?
Why are we not meeting expectations?
How do we make decisions?
How do creativity and work go together?
How could we be more involved in the community?
Again, NO ANSWERING!
Summing Up â Is it worth it?
Enterprise Value: 5/5 â Pushes people out of their comfort zones a bit, but in a good way
Entrepreneur Value: 5/5 â Great team-building
Personal Value: 2/5 – Family reunion fun? The principles apply. Adapt it for your personal relationships.
Let me know what you think!
Todd Hoskins helps small and medium sized businesses plan for the future, and execute in the present. With a background in sales, marketing, leadership, psychology, coaching, and technology, he works with executives to help create thriving individuals and organizations through developing and clarifying values, strategies, and tactics. You can learn more at VisualCV, or contact him on Twitter.