When was the last time your group sat down to discuss how you are doing – in terms of your working together?
I recently helped a client group have that conversation and it quickly became clear that some things weren’t going well. Yet folks were holding in their frustrations and not talking about what was getting in their way.
As I led an inquiry, they were able to talk about some troublesome habits that had developed that were causing difficulties. This was happening just as new opportunities kept adding on expectations and the pace had been accelerating. On top of that, there were some personnel changes that slowed things down while folks got up to speed.
It can be hard to bring up things that aren’t going well. I find that’s especially true in groups like this client where people genuinely like and respect each other immensely. No one wants to create hard feelings or be seen as griping or criticizing. Yet it’s inevitable that people’s differing needs and perspectives will sometimes lead to dislocations and dysfunctions. Not addressing them can lead to serious problems.
The best way that I’ve come up with to avoid that risk is to have a standing agreement to talk openly about how things are going – and do so explicitly in terms of your inspiration and agreements.
With this client, I proposed a judgment free learning conversation so everyone could talk freely in terms of (one of my favorite concepts) "workability." It was when I proposed the context for an open assessment about what was working – and what wasn’t – that folks felt comfortable raising their issues. Talking about workability helps to stay out of notions of "right and "wrong" ways to do things and keep things from getting overly personalized which just leads to defensiveness.
This group’s conversation ended with a great deal of clarity, relief at not having to hold everything in and try to solve it alone, and specific plans for how to move things into greater "workability."
This is the practice I call Renewal in Group Alchemy. I recommend you set an agreement in your group for a routine schedule for this kind of learning conversations.
Knowing there’s a special place and time in the group to raise concerns and make requests for how to get things done will help everyone stay inspired and committed to your workability.