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Disruptive Conversations

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Disruptive conversations is a blog series where I record conversations with people who are working to transform or disrupt a sector or system. Sometimes I do in-person interviews, but they are usually online. Continue Reading >>
Disruptive conversations is a blog series where I record conversations with people who are working to transform or disrupt a sector or system. Sometimes I do in-person interviews, but they are usually online. << Show Less
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Ep: 101: Rethinking everything you thought you knew about facilitation. A Disruptive Conversation with Adam Kahane. In this episode, I speak with Adam Kahane about his new book, Facilitating Breakthrough, Facilitating Breakthrough: How to Remove Obstacles, Bridge Differences, and Move Forward Together. In the conversation, several things stood out for me. Here are a fewWhat does it mean to be a facilitator? Many years ago, when I first received training, I thought about this question a lot. Since then, I have taken its meaning for granted. Adam got me to take a second look at the word and its purpose. For Adam, his work is about facilitating collaboration with groups from different organizations and sectors who may not agree with, like, or trust each other but think they need to work together. In this book, he is trying to upgrade the meaning of facilitator so that anyone can be a facilitator. Secondly, it is a way of helping groups of people collaborate. The facilitator as a partner. In this part of the conversation, we refer to the insider/outsider tension that often pops us in change work. Adam reminds us of the notion first pointed to him by Bill Tolbert. It is not that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Instead, and more interestingly, is the idea that if you're not part of the problem, you can't be part of the solution. Your capacity to help a situation is limited if you cannot see how you are part of the problem - even if it is a small part. Otherwise, you are trying to bring about change by force. To facilitate effectively, you must move between an outsider and insider stance with whomever you work with. Adam calls this partnering. The role of polarities Facilitation does not involve choosing between one approach to facilitation over the other. It is knowing when to use a particular strategy rather than another direction. Adam reminds us to lean into tensions and avoiding the tendency to collapse polarities rather than hold their tensions. Perhaps most insightful about both the conversation with Adam and his book is the new casting of facilitation. He argues that there are only five dimensions of facilitation. These five dimensions involve ten moves. DimensionsMovesHow do we see our situation?Inquiring and AdvocatingHow do we define success?Advancing and ConcludingHow do we get from here to there?Discovering and MappingHow do we decide who does what?Accompanying and DirectingHow do we understand our role?Standing Inside and Standing Outside
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Ep: 101: Rethinking everything you thought you knew about facilitation. A Disruptive Conversation with Adam Kahane. In this episode, I speak with Adam Kahane about his new book, Facilitating Breakthrough, Facilitating Breakthrough: How to Remove Obstacles, Bridge Differences, and Move Forward Together. In the conversation, several things stood out for me. Here are a fewWhat does it mean to be a facilitator? Many years ago, when I first received training, I thought about this question a lot. Since then, I have taken its meaning for granted. Adam got me to take a second look at the word and its purpose. For Adam, his work is about facilitating collaboration with groups from different organizations and sectors who may not agree with, like, or trust each other but think they need to work together. In this book, he is trying to upgrade the meaning of facilitator so that anyone can be a facilitator. Secondly, it is a way of helping groups of people collaborate. The facilitator as a partner. In this part of the conversation, we refer to the insider/outsider tension that often pops us in change work. Adam reminds us of the notion first pointed to him by Bill Tolbert. It is not that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Instead, and more interestingly, is the idea that if you're not part of the problem, you can't be part of the solution. Your capacity to help a situation is limited if you cannot see how you are part of the problem - even if it is a small part. Otherwise, you are trying to bring about change by force. To facilitate effectively, you must move between an outsider and insider stance with whomever you work with. Adam calls this partnering. The role of polarities Facilitation does not involve choosing between one approach to facilitation over the other. It is knowing when to use a particular strategy rather than another direction. Adam reminds us to lean into tensions and avoiding the tendency to collapse polarities rather than hold their tensions. Perhaps most insightful about both the conversation with Adam and his book is the new casting of facilitation. He argues that there are only five dimensions of facilitation. These five dimensions involve ten moves. DimensionsMovesHow do we see our situation?Inquiring and AdvocatingHow do we define success?Advancing and ConcludingHow do we get from here to there?Discovering and MappingHow do we decide who does what?Accompanying and DirectingHow do we understand our role?Standing Inside and Standing Outside
Ep: 100: Creating a flywheel? A Disruptive Conversation with Paul Desmarais III. In this conversation with Paul Desmarais III, we talk a lot about Disruption. In this episode, he shared many unique insights. Here are a few that stood out for me. What is Disruption? Naturally, this podcast has explored the word Disruption and what it means. Paul describes it as adding more people into the majority. He even said it was like growth. This idea that Disruption is about breaking things needs to change. The idea that we are going to dismantle entire industries is not helpful. It should be about creating value and pausing patterns that no longer work for us. Exploring Disruption is fruitful. Playing the long game. As a coach, I often work with my clients to help them raise the level of their gaze. Help them play a long-term game. Paul Desmarais III is part of one of the most successful families in Canadian business. One of the things he points out in this episode is that one of the benefits of being part of a family-owned group is taking a long-term view. For those of us who can play the long game, it can genuinely change our destiny. Families in BusinessPaul reminds us that they are not a family business. They are family in business, and that is an important nuance. As Paul notes, being in a family business ties you to a specific company, industry or business. When you are a family in the connection is to values and a particular philosophy. A family’s goal is to transfer the entrepreneurial and philosophical approach to the next generation so that each generation can reinvent themselves. When family businesses can avoid the shirtsleeve-to-shirtsleeve pattern, they can truly build something great. The specifics of the business matter less than the entrepreneurial spirit. Focus on what you can impact. Particularly this year, I have been coaching my clients to draw three columns: Complete Control, Partial Control, and No Control. What you need to do is move as many things as possible into the complete control box as possible. Paul told a story about dining with David Rockefeller. David told him at the dinner to only worry about what you can impact. To worry about the things you can have no impact on is a waste of time and energy. Instead, the goal is to focus only on what you can impact. Over time, you succeed at what you are doing. Concentrate on the things you can have no impact on can be harmful to the here and now. Focus on what can I do not to impact my current reality? The power of infrastructures of serviceOne of the conclusions I have come to is that it is tough to disrupt infrastructure businesses. For example, it is challenging to disrupt whoever owns all the fiberoptic cables of the internet. They own the infrastructure. As a strategy for Disruption, what if you take a page out of Pauls book. He describes how the entire world of financial services was going to change in the years ahead. He also notes that most companies are playing a zero-sum game. With a small amount of capital, you could create a delightful experience in today’s world and could change how consumers interact with financial services. So instead, what if you focused on an adjacent area and find profit pools there? Creating a flywheel. I have always thought about innovation as affecting the way we live. With Paul’s Flywheel notion, he suggests that by partnering with marketing defining companies, they can create prosperity in the communities in which they invest. For example, in Canada, they want to make many jobs and a lot of wealth. They are creating a flywheel so that those entrepreneurs can create wealth, philanthropy and employment. So in their goal to create five unicorns companies, they are making a flywheel of prosperity. What is your superpower? Paul described his superpower as networking. He tries to deploy his network for good. Recently Paul co-founded the Black Wealth Club to leverage his superpower. He asked himself, how do you build a network with a group of people with who you have had very little interaction? Then, how you leverage your network to help a new group of people access new things. In this approach, it is essential to note that he is defining wealth as more than money. Wealth is about intellectual capital, human capital and relationship capital. Your most valuable asset is your people. In thinking about his own companies, Paul is making sure that he attracts the best talent. He wants his teams to behave lives that are in balance. He commented that “your most valuable assets walk in and out of the door every day.” His jobs, as he sees it, is to build a platform that makes them their best. He believes that nurturing talent means investing in talent. Not investing in people puts you at a competitive disadvantage. We approach every conversation with a bias. The question of imposter syn
S3: Ep. 99: Why we need philosophers in the board room? A Disruptive Conversation with Christian Madsbjerg. Christian Madsbjerg is a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, where he teaches German and French philosophy from the 20th century. He has also founded a company called Red Associates. Red Associates is a Social Science-based or anthropology-based company to advise on human behaviour and how humans make sense of the world, and what is meaningful and important to them from the level of experience.In this conversation, we explore perspectives on the role of social science in business. Here are some of the things that stood out for me.Design systems, products and services for humans?This might sound obvious or, as Christian described, banal. Yet, much of the thinking around organization has come from management science. In many ways, management science attempted to bring the rigour of science to the business world. As a result, the field has been influenced by disciplines like economics, engineering and Mathematics. Social Science has much to contribute to the study of human arrangements. The proposal is simple. Reduce risk by using social sciences to produce new products and services in the business world.Do not pass judgement too quickly.Understanding people is about waiting, careful observation and not passing judgement too quickly. To find insight, we have to observe humans slowly, intentionally, and patiently. We need to be open to the first judgement not being true. Building your capacity to suspend judgement is the core to finding good insight.Seeing things work.When you see things work, it can be transformative. Using slow observation, you can find frugal, novel or simple insights that can be transformative.Disappointment is a better source of innovation than wonder.Where do people find inspiration in their search for innovation? It is an interesting provocation to ask the question, what disappoints you? What are you disappointed in, and how can you change it? Think for a second about where you find your inspiration. Where are the philosophers?The technologies of tomorrow will transform our future in ways we cannot imagine. What if we had philosophers at the decision-making tables? For example, what if there were philosophers in the room when we first launched Facebook? What questions might they have asked to help curtail some of the unintended consequences of technologies like social media?Insights can spread like wildfire.When an organization can find beneficial insight, it can spread throughout the organization. Insights can be fuel for transformation.Who is too comfortable in their power?Christian gave the example of what happens when Finance and Technology are too comfortable in their power. When one of these becomes too comfortable, it does not end well. This might be true of any domain. When people are too comfortable, especially too comfortable in their power, it can increase their blind spots. How do you notice when you are too comfortable in your power?Be interested in humans. We often find comfort in abstractions, models, or systems when we need to be focused on humans. When need to be interested in the things humans do, feel and say every day. We live in a world that has placed enormous trust in abstractions that don’t often get us as far as we thought.You are probably wrong.Christian tells a beautiful story about working with Samsung. At the time, he thought it was a terrible idea to put a camera on the phone. What he learned is that it is better to go with observation and analysis than intuition.Tap into talent as it is globally.It cannot be that the best people in the world all come from the same country as you. It does not work that you tap into talent globally. Learn to tap into global talent.Questions can change your world.Christian shared a story about working with Adidas. They asked the question, “Is Yoga a sport?” That question took the company on a journey to explore sports that are not about winning. Today, 60% of their revenue comes from sports that are about winning.What is like to be?The central message from Christian is to observe. His favourite quote is, look, don’t think. As I understand it, he is on a quest to understand why people do what they do? When we observe the everyday activities of real people, we gain real insight. We need to start with observing everyday human interactions. Questions bring perspective. They often can lead to insight or something new.To learn more about Christian Madsbjerg, visit:https://www.redassociates.com/
S3: Ep. 98: Conversations create a new way of seeing. A Disruptive Conversation with Paul Pangaro Paul Pangaro has a deep interest in the relationship between machines and people. He describes himself as an interaction designer, pragmatist and practitioner. He thinks, like me, believes if you have a good theory, you can then make progress. Currently, he teaches at Carnegie Mellon in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute there.In this conversation, talk about how conversations help us make sense of the world. Several things stood out for me, and here are just a few of them.Conversations are not just between human beings.In referencing Gordan Pask, Paul makes the argument that conversations are not just between us as individuals. We can have conversations with objects in our space. We can have conversations with ourselves. One school of thought can have a conversation with another. It is these conversations that make us human.Without conversation we cannot learn from one another.The thing that distinguishes human beings as an animal from other animals is our capacity for language. Language gives us the capacity to create agreements, actually to agree and to collaborate. For him, conversation is the essence of all things human.If you wish to accomplish something design the conversation.What is the action you take when you want to accomplish something? For most people, the default is to assemble a team. Here Paul puts forward what might seem like an obvious provocation. What if you started with designing the conversation? What if you thought about the cadence of the conversations you need to have. Everything we ever hope to accomplish is done through conversations. So why not pay attention to how you design your conversations. In doing so, you increase your capacity to act. We need to think about the goals, means and classes of conversations.What do we need to learn or what did we learn?What if you ended each conversation in your organization with what we need to learn or what did we learn? Do we or did we have the right people in the room? New conversations and language help you see things in completely need ways. Conversations can help you rethinking distinctions, relationships, and values. Business gets better at doing the same thing better and better. They thus do not see what the new is.We ask the wrong people to come up with innovation.When we ask people who are operational to thinking about the new way forward, we ask the wrong people. These people are two caught in the existing paradigm. Getting people to think in new ways is to remove the conflict of their day to day activity with the future you hope to bring forward.Language helps us create new language.We need to use conversation to create what we do not know we are going to create.Find your misfits.We cannot expect the people who invested in the current paradigm to help you imagine the new world. To do this, you need to find your tribe of misfits. Our self-interest always drives us.There is a distinction between choice and options.Paul references a quote by Heinz von Foerster, which says, “I shall always act to increase the total number of choices.” Paul points out that the quote is really ethical imperative. Where we help people make real choices in a world that generally gives us options.No matter the change you wish to make, it should be couched in your values.If you are always honouring your values, you will still have your values no matter what you do in the world.A great quote referenced in the episode by Heinz von Foerster, “Person A is better off when person B is better off.”For more information about Paul PangaroVisit his website: https://www.pangaro.com/
S3: Ep. 97: Be a billionaire of influencing positive outcomes. A Disruptive Conversation with Joel Solomon Joel Solomon is a financial activist and co-founder of a mission venture capital firm called Renewal Funds. He is also the author of The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism. In this episode, we explore many a wide range of topics. Here are some of the things that stood out for me. How do we make money a force for good?The question can seem so simple. It is loaded. In our conversation, Joel and I discuss the notion that money as a force for good should be the status quo. For example, his company invests in clean food, nontoxic households and climate. I love that he is walking the walk and trying to bring others with him. On his journey, he spends time ensuring that as many people as possible can do things that matter, something they genuinely care about and invest in businesses or organizations that do things that matter. It all starts with his story of origin. When I asked Joel how he got into the work, he talked about early life experiences. He admitted that early childhood experiences of seeing African-American’s hosed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He also referenced the Vietnam war and hoped for a career in creating a kinder and gentler world. The Golden rule vs The Platinum Rule. Joel and I talked about how his life has been informed by “do onto others as they would like have done onto them”. We discussed the Platinum Rule, do onto others as they would like done onto them. These rules have informed both our lives. The prospect of death can give us great perspectiveJoel told the story of how he was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease. The diagnosis was, he could die soon, or he could live long. And there’s not a lot that he could do about it. Having to live with that from an early age greatly influenced him. Joel described how it caused a certain kind of awakening in him. He was keenly aware that time was limited. A question he posed was who you would like to have been? Ib considering that question, it became salient for him that death was around the corner. I ask the silly question, what it was like to be living in a way where death was always imminent. Joel reminded me that it was true for all of us. We just live “as if” it could not happen to us. When death becomes salient, it becomes influences our choice and our perspective of the world. The inner work is the most critical. Joel admitted that he works with four different professionals who help him do inner work, reflection, and seek insight. For him, some of the most critical work is to be questioned by experienced, intelligent people who work to support him. The goal for him is to move from challenge-based seeking help to anticipatory practice. For many of us, we seek help when trauma, fear or other challenges arise. It is an important question to ask, what if you instead worked from an anticipatory lens? How did I get to be who I am and how I am? I thought this was simply a wonderful question to consider. What is the role of purpose and vision in capitalism? Joel describes himself as a financial activist. He believes that capitalism can bring out humans’ very worst aspects without a clear motivation and purpose. For him, the goal of merely accumulating money without a clear purpose is an empty choice. We all die someday, and we cannot take all with us. In my own words, I understood his comments to mean that some questions require deeper or continuous reflection. Questions like, how much is enough? Why am I here? Are not questions that can be answered quantitatively. For Joel, he prefers to have influence, especially to influence positive outcomes in the world. We are ancestors of what’s coming. His fundamental belief is that we can do better. The goal for him is to choose a path he can be proud of on his deathbed. A few question he posed in our conversation were, “How do I want to be thought of, felt, and known when I die? How did I impact the world? How did I first find myself? Joel considers his job to be a good ancestor. The test for him is when he walks into a room, how does the room respond? In this is grounded in his belief in the inner work. The tragedy of the under-examined human species. When we have not taken the time to examine ourselves, we are driven by emotions, reactions, responses, and interpretations of the world that generate unhappiness, poor health, poor relationships, and harmful practices. How do you work on yourself, so you become proactive about how you respond to the worldDisrupting by being. I found this idea to be powerful. One quote that stood out for me was, “the inner work leads to the ability to, first of all, choose what must be disrupted and then ultimately not even to choose it, to just be it.” For Joel, he has come to the
S3: Ep. 96:We build our world conversation by conversation. A Disruptive Conversations with Elizabeth Stokoe. Elizabeth Stokoe is a conversational analyst. This means she studies conversation in the wild. She looks at real-life conversations works to understand how talk works. Her work focuses on social interactions. What are people doing as they interact?Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.We build our world through social interactions.This may seem obvious, yet so few of us pay attention to the things we do and say daily. I have come to believe that the things we say and do build our future. In this conversation, Elizabeth and I tune into the conversations play in shaping our interactions.Revel in working with people who are better than you.When I asked Elizabeth about the best lesson, she ever learned she told a beautiful story about her dad. Her dad was a teacher. He taught woodwork. Elizabeth explained that he would revel in working with students who were or would one day be better than he was. I found this to be such a glorious insight. Her dad wanted his students to be better than he was. He wanted his students to pursue and treat woodwork in the same way they would treat traditional professions. Perhaps most insightful for me here is that we then get scared or intimidated by the competition. How would your life be different if you found really talented people and worked to support them?People show you what matter to them.We had a nerdy conversation about research, but I love that Elizabeth used a research lesson to demonstrate the impact of what she does. For example, she pointed out that people show you what they care about in the words they use. Someone might say, “oh, you know, there were three girls, sorry, women”. This self-policing demonstrates what people care about. Her research uses examples to show how gender is constructed and how our interactions build our gendered constructs.Communication science is likely the most important thing to understand in the 21st Century.I often refer to this as the debate between big data and thick data. Thick data is qualitative research that goes deep. Elizabeth’s work is a great example of how thick data can be so informative. She uses thick data to bust very compelling myths about conversation and communication. For example, there is an extensive belief that communication is largely done through our bodies. It is based on a study that did not actually find that. If however, that was true, we would not be able to communicate in the dark. We would not be able to talk on the phone. Researchers like Elizabeth helps understand the world just a little better so we can bust these very compelling myths.Conversations are organized and messy.In our conversation, Elizabeth also described talk as being full of idiosyncrasy, yet massively systematic. She gave a great metaphor for thinking about it. “Imagine you are in a helicopter or a hot air balloon high above a field. You can see from above what the path is. Now imagine that you’re looking down on that field and you can see a dog walker and their dog. The dog is on one of those long leads that extend and retracts. When you look down in one field, you see the dog walker and the dog. They’re basically moving across that field in a fairly predictable way along the path without much variation. They transverse the field. When you look down again, there’s another dog walker and their dog. This time the dog is absolutely all over the place and the dog walkers got to keep going back and get them out of the field and come off the path. But you also know from above that you can see where they’re going to end up because that’s kind of where everyone ends up.” This is what a conversation looks like. We often end up in a predictable place.What is effective communication?Effective communication is when you sort of get from one point to another. We hope we can minimize friction, misunderstandings, and having to do it again. We want to smooth out the journeyJust because you talk, it doesn’t mean you understand communication, scientifically.In our conversation, we talk about how people have strong feelings about conversations. People have conversations every day and as a result, feel they understand communication. Understanding communication scientifically is very different.We build our world conversation by conversation. Perhaps my favourite insight in my quest to understand conversations is that we build our world conversation by conversation. This quote sums up much of what I have been exploring when we think about organizations as conversations.Hope you enjoy this episode with Elizabeth Stokoe.You find her at https://www.carmtraining.org/ and on Twitter as @LizStokoe.Hope you enjoy this episode.
S3: Ep. 95: Bringing out the best in others is not a logical endeavour.A Disruptive Conversations with Dr Larry Richard. Dr Larry Richard is a former Lawyer, who now works to understand what makes Lawyers tick. In our conversation, he shares his findings from his work with lawyers. His major insight is that skills and tools that make Lawyers good at law do not necessarily make them good leaders. In analyzing a variety of personality assessment tools, he found that Lawyers tend to be overrepresented in various traits. For example, when you analyze a population using the Caliper tool, you usually get most people scoring around 50 on each trait. With Lawyers, you get seven traits where the majority score outside of the middle range, usually 40-60Scepticism being the most dominant. The challenge is that although these traits help with performance as a lawyer, they are often less helpful in things like Leadership. In today’s world, for Lawyers to be successful, they also need to develop skills for which a larger portion do not score well.Here are some of the other insights that stood out for me.Leadership is about admitting you do not know the way forward.Having worked with many Leaders, very few are willing to admit that they do not know. Richard commented, “leadership demands that you ask your constituents to trust you as a way of getting them to follow you.” For him, “Leadership isn’t necessary when things are stable. Leadership only needs to emerge when things are changing and uncertain. So leaders can never say, I guarantee this is the right path, which means they always have to say to their constituents, I think this is the right path. Follow me, please trust me.” His point is that because Lawyers are so high in scepticism, it is difficult for them to trust others and ask for trust. Lawyers then are immediately in a dilemma. Asking for and gaining trust from a group of people predisposed to be, and trained to be sceptics, is hard at the best of times. Additionally, in my experience, most people think leaders need to know it all.When should you choose emotion over logic?When you are trying to get people to do teamwork, logic can be helpful. Emotions, however, can get you there faster and easier. Logic is a great tool for finding solutions. When it comes to implementing solutions, however, we need to leverage emotions.Bringing out the best in others is not a logical endeavor.People are multifaceted. In our conversation, we talk about how, for some people, their talents may not be valuable, until a particular context arises. People are complex and multifaceted. Bringing out the best in others is not a logical endeavour.Boost performance by helping people find satisfaction and productivity. In our conversation, we share some of our insights on workplace performance. One conversation that stood out for me is that insight that productivity and satisfaction feed each other. This really resonated with me. Effectively doing things with less friction and better results can be the holy grail of many people’s performance. Workplace engagement has a satisfaction component and an engagement component. When you can connect the two, you increase performance.Avoiding the hedonic treadmill.For so many of us, we spend our lives chasing the next goal. In our conversation, we talk about how lawyers are prone to get stuck on the hedonic treadmill. They chase the next thing. I will be happy when I become a partner. I will be happy when I get that new house. When we met those goals, we set new ones. This is the hedonic treadmill. In my own work, we help people work from a lens of consciousness. We help people be intentional about how they spend their time. Doing things today that give them what they want in the future.Sometimes people are their own worst enemy.We have a conversation about we often get in our own way. When we look at the things we want to achieve, often the biggest barrier is ourselves. Predictive tools vs. Heuristic ToolsIn our conversation, we talk about how we should think about psychometrics tools. The distinction we discuss is that some of these tools are better predictive tools, (help us predict the future) while others should be thought of as heuristic tools (help us think about and imagine the future). This distinction is important in several additional domains. For example, strategic planning is often thought of as a predictive exercise. The truth is close to it being a heuristic tool.Quote:I loved the quote Dr. Richard shared.Absence diminished mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and kindles fire. – Francois de La RochefoucauldFor more information, about Dr. Richard visit: https://www.lawyerbrain.com/
S3: Ep. 94:What is the default setting for your conversations? A Disruptive Conversations with Daniel Stillman. In this conversation with Daniel, you hear from two people who are really fascinated with understanding conversations. We take a practical and philosophical journey thinking about and exploring our current thoughts on conversations.Here are some of the things that stood out for me in this conversation.We are designing conversations all the time.If you have ever asked a friend to read an email, you are about to send. If you thought to yourself “how should I say this?” If you have ever done anything similar to that, you were designing a conversation. We design conversations all the time. The challenge is that we are not often intentional about designing our conversations. In this conversation, Daniel gives some great tips on how you should approach designing conversations. In his words, “We’re all designed in conversations to try and titrate and clarify our intent in hopes of achieving our goals.” You should also visit his website: The Conversation Factory to read his book and download some great material. We have conversations all the time, yet we spend very little time thinking about them.Daniel spends a lot of time thinking about and designing conversations. We communicate every day, yet very few of us thinking about this action we take that builds our future. One of the ways to design a conversation is to be as specific as possible.Conversations have structure.Spaces influence the conversations we have. This space can be physical, or it can be the space between words. All our conversations have a structure. Most of the times, we are not aware of the structure. Space is just one example of the elements that influence our conversations. In his book, Daniel outlines what he calls the Nine Elements of the Conversation Operation System. The elements are:PeopleInvitationPowerTurn-TakingInterfaceCadenceThreadingGoalsError and Repair.I strongly suggest reading his book. It is both a great introduction to conversations and an excellent summary of help frameworks for designing conversations.What are you tuning into in a conversation?In conversation, we tune into things. Sometimes we are intentional about what we tune into. However, most of the time, we are unintentional. There is considerable value in paying attention to what you are attending to in your conversations.Design your conversationsWe set up our spaces to have conversations. The spaces in which we have conversation speak to the kinds of conversations we can have. One of the things that Daniel has helped me do is to double down on my belief that people should be designing their conversations. He helps people do it for a living. In the same way that we work on other skills, we should strive to have better conversations.Designing the conversations starts before the conversation.In the podcast, we talk about designing conversations within a facilitation setting. This principle, however, is one that I believe should apply to any important conversation. If you have a conversation that matters, try designing it before you enter the conversation.There is value in silence.One of the easiest ways to design your conversations is by leveraging silence. There is, however, a caveat, most of us respond after about two hundred milliseconds. In conversations, if we take longer than that to respond, our brains interpret that as trouble ahead. So ask permission to think for a bit. Having said that, silence can give you tremendous control in conversations. Use it wisely. Before we segue off of this point, here is something to think about. We can think at 4000 words per minute, yet we speak at 125 words per minute. What does this mean? It mainly means that you are getting only a small portion of what they are thinking when someone is speaking. Silence can transform conversations.What do we mean by design?In my view, design usually starts with a question. In the best cases, it is focusing question. In our conversation, four conversational design questions stood out for me:Daniel talked about how design asks you to notice the choices that you are making. What are the implications of the choices that you are making? What if versus what is? Are you thinking about who is attached to which question? Are you thinking about who has a vested interest in exploring one question over the other?Are we having the same conversation?How adaptable are you? A question inspired by the Tendayi Viki who appeared on episode 61.I am going to continue to think about these questions.Midwifery and Palliative careFor regular listeners, you may notice that theme of Palliative care and Midwifery has appeared again. Daniel talks about it within the context of grief and that people
S3: Ep. 93: Is it okay to be you in the world? A Disruptive Conversations with Dan Doty. Dan Doty describes himself as a father, husband, entrepreneur and outdoorsman. He is the co-founder of Everyman. A global organization that brings men together to learn and practice emotional skill sets. Men too can learn to be in touch with the vulnerable parts of life. They can learn to express as fully as possible.This conversation with Dan was an inspiring one. Here are a few of the things that stood out for me.It stops with me.Perhaps the most powerful thing I took away from this conversation is that more and more men are saying no. They are saying that no exploring the full spectrum of masculinity stops with me. This is a powerful statement and undercurrent to notice. I love this as a potential movement that we may see in the world.Society has gap in it defines and prescribe masculinity.The make experience ought not to be defined or prescribed too narrowly. Masculinity should explore the full spectrum of human emotions. What does it mean to be a man? Although there seem to be many groups grappling with this question. Dan’s work seems to be one of gaining significant traction. We explore how so few men had fathers who were present during their childhood. We talk about what it means to be a good husband. The time has come for men to explore the full spectrum of the human experience. Talk about ‘girly’ stuff. To broaden the definition of what it means to be a man.A different way is possible.In this episode, Dan tells the story of attending his first men’s group. Past podcast guests have described similar experiences of being introduced into another world. It makes me wonder about the role of experience in our journey. How not knowing there was another way limits the choices we make. I love that he and I explore this question throughout the episode.Meditation and outdoorsWhen I asked Dan about the best lessons he ever learned, he talked about mediation and being outdoors. I could not help be see the obvious connection. Using being outdoors as a time to do active mediation. As someone sceptical about the role of meditation. It leaves me with questions. For example, what is the value of intentionally allowing your mind to rest?We can find sanctuary wherever we are.Dan describes how finding the men’s group gave him a similar experience to being outdoors. The idea that he did not have to get outdoors to find sanctuary. This is powerful. It reminds us that we can use the resources we have access to. This may sound like a simple insight, but it is profound.What does it mean to be married to a mother?Since becoming a father, the question, “What does it mean to be married to a mother?”, has sat with me. In response, a friend asked, “What is like for your wife to be married to a father?” The mirror question had not crossed my mind. So, “What does it mean to be married to a father?” In one action, my identify changed, and so too did my wife’s. I had been so focused on supporting my family. I had not thought about how my needs. How have my needs changed since becoming a father? What does this new me want? What are his hopes, dreams, and desires? These are all new questions for me to sit with and explore.What would we notice if masculinity was healthier?Dan pointed out to me that men who had supportive families are rare. He also noticed that perhaps adults who had parents who were happily married are also rare. So what would it be like to live in a world where neither of these was rare? I loved this question as a place to land in my conversation with Dan. I have no answers. I do enjoy that I get to sit with these questions.
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