A Question Before Questions
Do you want to talk?
Most of my work as an OD practitioner and Coach is about conversations.
Last month I designed and delivered a workshop for a Tech company. The CEO was complaining about managers' accountability. He mentioned that managers do not put skin in the game.
After several meetings, I designed the workshop around finding opportunities for increasing performance. It was a two-day workshop in which managers had to work together, design questions, and talk to each other to find opportunities for extraordinary performance.
At the end of the workshop they realized, they need to be more transparent and communicate obstacles more clearly.
During the workshop, I was observing participants. There was a person who was silent most of the time. Didn't talk much. A week after the workshop, the CEO called me and mentioned that we want to fire that person. The silent one. He told that he made big trouble in the company and it's something we can't stand. Red lines have passed.
I know, and for sure you know that conversations are the most important solution for all interpersonal challenges. The suffering of silence is existential for human beings. That guy's silence was suffering. Suffering from all the problems he had with the company.
I was thinking about what could I do for his inclusion.
I realized that I started with the assumption that people want to talk. We started the workshop with this assumption. I mean we usually talk about approaches and methods for meaningful conversations. But there is a question before all the questions:
"Do you want to talk?"
If the answer is no, we need different approaches. We need inclusion strategies. In such cases maybe the question is:
"How can have meaningful conversations?"
"How can we create a safe space for conversations?"
I remembered times I had the same experiences. The times I didn't want to talk. I chose silence over the conversation.
You may also have such experiences. In such cases maybe we need to ask this question from ourselves:
"Do I want to talk?"
If the answer is No, then we may ask ourselves:
"Do I need a pause to understand my needs, thinkings, feelings?"
"Do I want to leave the game?"
"What will be the result of each approach?"
“What do I expect or need?”