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AGENDA-less TEAMS

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These notes were compiled by John in January 2021 in response to experiences gathered during Michael Hallam's Friday morning Stop The Week meetings. They may not represent the views of all (or any) participants.

Some Assumptions

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  1. This idea challenges the genre of invention as a solitary act of genius
    • (i.e. the 'light-bulb' moment of epiphany)
  2. An alternative approach is the creative duet
  3. This was inspired by Arthur Koestler's theory that the creative act is always combinatorial
    • i.e. it is the result of a combination of agents/players that include:
    • EITHER - a creative insight that occurs across two parts of the brain of one person

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    • OR - when two collaborators exchange ideas and, together, come up with a new one.
    • In either case, there is a need for difference.
  1. In Koestler's classic technique of bisociation, two very different, perhaps incongruous, ideas are forced together.
  2. However, if this difference is represented in 2 contasting personalities, styles or belief systems, this may produce friction.
  3. Sympoiesis is a benchmark for achieving innovation through creative collaboration.
    • Sympoiesis is also designed to encourage the emergence of team spirit
  4. In cultivating creative difference, some team coaching may be required.
  5. Ideally, an 'opportunity-seeking' team should be flat-structured rather than hierarchical.
  6. One method of reducing innate inequalities in the team is to use the levelling tool that identifies possible criteria (e.g. seniority / rank / experience) that might bring about unhelpful power imbalances within the team.

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Consciousness

Team Coaching

  1. Some sceptical, analytical, critical, adversarial, opinionated members may expect to debate, rather than working playfully and constructively towards new opportunities.
  2. We recommend avoiding any reference to negative factors (e.g. SWOT analysis is 50% optimistic and 50% fear-based.
  3. This may mean adjusting the mindframe to one of radical optimism means being prepared to (try to) believe the impossible.
  4. This might mean shifting the process from analysis and debate to openness and acceptance, perhaps transitioning from a SWOT to a POUT mentality
  5. Participants may need to learn how to transition from the 'me' to the 'we' and back again
  6. In moving towards the 'we' state, the group may find it helpful to start by seeking shared values
  7. It may then like collective story-telling
  8. When animosity between two different personalities stifles the group's creative spirit - find a suitable person to act as an emulsifier

Lack of An Agenda

  1. Some participants feel uncomfortable because they prefer listening, rather than speaking.
  2. Some participants are unnerved if there is no prior aims or agenda.

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Here is a sketch of these two parameters represented as a 2D map.

  1. This may be because they are more modest, or self-effacing<?>
  2. Hypothetically speaking, this kind of map could be used to make (new) participants feel at home.
  3. It might be used to offer preferred criteria (conversational etiquette) that invites each person to make the best balance of listening, think, talking and sharing.
  4. Speaking and listening are both vital aspects of a conversation.
    • See Otto Scharmer and U-Lab
    • In meetings, silence is rarely negative.
    • Implicitly, Freud valued silence in his notion of 'active listening'.
    • Perhaps we could think about the different qualities of silence during meetings.
    • We might regard sullen, or 'passive-aggressive' silences as unhelpful because potentially useful doubts or criticisms are withheld from the group.
    • On the other hand, the ability to listen and to offer constructive feedback is really important.
    • Science has the notion of catalysis, which is inspiring because it reminds us that new and emerging possibilities can only take place where there is some kind of space (e.g. silence).
    • I suggest that members might be invited to place themselves on the map and to feel completely free to move around. If required, perhaps we might devise an etiquette / ethics of respect and balance in which every participant is a kind of trim-tab who helps to steer the whole conversation.
    • non-violent communication
    • http://www.smallgreenconsultancy.co.uk/good-will-ill-will-flip.html
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holacracy

Moving To Agendas

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