Many organizational challenges stem from an inability to conduct successful dialogue. In business situations, we often don’t listen to one another. We become invested in our views, caught up in our own preconceptions, and we disguise our feelings and fears. Better-designed dialogue is the most effective way to change our organizations. Conversations provide space for exploration and reflection, if they are designed appropriately.

 

Socrates engaged small groups of people so that they would challenge each-others’ assumptions and objectively examine their beliefs. When people are allowed to test their assumptions, learn from the experiences of others, and abandon the fear of needing to be exactly right, we reignite their childlike interest in discovery.

 

 

Think of the last time you had dinner with a good friend. When you’re completely immersed in conversation, you tend to lose track of time. I love the way William Isaacs explains the concepts of kronos and kairos in his book “Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together— a pioneering approach to communicating in business and in life. ” Kronos, is sequential time, measured, and linear, whereas kairos time reveals the movements of natural rhythms, and people become more conscious of the present moment. The process of thinking together with a group in dialogue seems to enable people to shift their experience of time and embrace kairos.

We mimic that environment in our learning design. People start to feel the energy from their dialogue and are often surprised that so much time has passed.  They often resist stopping the dialogue because “something meaningful is happening here.” The power of this type of connection time  should not be underestimated in organizations.

  • Does your organization need to communicate a sense of urgency?
  • Does your organization need to ensure awareness and understanding?
  • Do you need to empower your people to act?
  • Is your organization implementing change?

One-way communication is not enough to do the job. Setting up interactive dialogues to communicate these messages is the best way to ensure engagement and presence of mind.

 

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