Why this practice now?
As we are all aware, organizations are under tremendous pressure today, trying to deliver real value, in a global, interdependent and more complex world. Success depends on the ability to integrate interests, and work in a collaborative manner.
We now understand the need for higher order personal skills not only in policy content, knowledge or direction, challenging as that is, but also in the human factor of engagement practices across complex, often competing systems.
Skills and practices that:
- Allow ourselves to engage and be present in a non-defended way, allowing much greater group effectiveness and successful, timely outcomes
- Support others in engaging differently participating in meetings without becoming hotly polarized, wasting countless hours, effort, goodwill and morale
- Develop a stronger overall culture that can ‘reflect in action’ allowing multiple audiences or stakeholders to learn their way more quickly through ‘sticking points’ or ‘missed steps’ so that the system becomes self-correcting, preventing itself from potential derailments.
We continue to understand that we can’t take for granted the need for more advanced skills of dialogue and engagement –the ability to meet rhetoric (what I say I do) with reality (what I actually do), so that our values are congruent with our actions, reducing the historical divides of mandates, polarized positions and defensive strategies.
What is needed is advanced learning in personal mastery; learning that is replicable beyond the ‘classroom’ through disciplined practice, one conversation at a time – with the multiple demands, stakeholders and projects we each face.
The Active Engagement practice supports each person to ‘make real’ the cutting edge theories we hear about; to internalize and practice higher awareness and engagement with the ability to better lead a group through those stuck places, ‘undiscussables’, and high conflict situations.
“Learning is often too narrowly defined as mere “problem-solving”, so leaders focus on identifying and correcting errors in the external environment. Solving problems is important, but if learning is to persist, managers and employees must also look inward. They need to reflect critically on their own behavior, identify the ways they often inadvertently contribute to the organization’s problems, and then change how they act. In particular, they must learn how the very way they go about defining and solving problems can be a source of problems in its own right.”
“Teaching Smart People How to Learn”
Chris Argyris, James Bryant Conant Professor, Harvard Business School