Many respected thinkers and writers on the topic of organisational change such as Peter Senge and Margaret J. Wheatley write about bringing about positive change through the power of conversation (ref: The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter by Juanita Brown, David Isaacs, Corld Cafe Community, Margaret J. Wheatley, Peter Senge).
If you really want to learn what an organisation is about, what it's values are, what type of place it is to work in, wander around for a while and listen to the conversations that are taking place, on the production floor, in the board rooms, at the water coolers. If you want to bring about some positive change in an organisation, a good place to start, and some might say the only place to start, is with those conversations.
In my personal experience of working with organisations and teams to develop cultures of innovation, high performance and success, the one thing that allows individuals and teams to engage fully in their work is the feeling that what they think and do matters. And one of the simplest, most powerful ways to give them that feeling is to listen to them and to make sure that they feel heard.
So, if you want to start having some powerful, positive conversations in your organisation today, the number one most important thing you can do is start listening and ensure that everyone else starts listening too. And be careful, this type of listening is not shutting your mouth long enough to let the other person finish speaking. It is listening with the intention of truly understanding (as Stephen Covey says in his 7 Habits). It is listening hard enough to ensure that the other person is heard and feels heard. Then you will find them able to listen to you and to engage with their whole heart and mind.
What are your thoughts of the most important aspects of a powerful conversation? Have you used the power of conversation to bring about change in your workplace?
To learn more about how you can change the conversations in your workplace contact Miriam at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org