Smooth Projects... Effective Project Management!
Project Management Software Articles
Project Management Dialogue or Discussion
Management meetings across all industries fall prey to the "Dialogue
vs. Discussion" phenomena written about below. Although Smooth Projects
offers an excellent Project Management Software
Solution that can assist in collaboration and effective project
management the human element and our inherent need to pontificate may
need to be bridled.
Dialogue vs. Discussion
By Graeme Nichol
you ever sat in a meeting where everyone is busy giving their point of
view and trying to prove why they are right? Where no one is actually
listening or trying to understand other individuals’ points of view.
The alternative meeting format is where everyone listens to and agrees
with the meeting leader. No one contributes or adds ideas, they are
In my experience
most meeting are either one or the other. But when you think about it,
what is the point of most meetings? Meetings are usually held to make
decisions. The outcome that most people would want from the meeting is
that the BEST decision is made, not that any decision is made, or
another sub-committee is formed but that a decision that delivers
results is made. Then we move on.
as we hustle from meeting to meeting being very busy, achieving nothing
in the way of measurable results, we land up with yet another
sub-committee. All because we have lost the art of dialogue. So, the
question is; what is the difference between dialogue and discussion?
– Discussion is the way that most people communicate. During discussion
we present our ideas and everyone analyzes and dissects them from their
different points of view. The purpose of discussion, though, it to make
sure you win, or that your point of view is the one that is accepted.
During the discussion you will support your idea and give your points
more strongly until, eventually, others agree with you. You want to
prove that you are right, and the most knowledgeable, as does everyone
else in the discussion. Great! With everyone trying to win the
argument, no decision is ever made and we eventually need to form a
sub-committee to decide. Or the CEO, or team leader, uses his or her
divine autocratic right and decides for the team.
– Dialogue on the other hand is an exploration of ideas. It is not a
new form of communication but is the way the ancient Greeks and many so
called ‘primitive’ societies are seen to explore ideas. During dialogue
everyone works together contributing towards the idea. Remember the
team is greater than the sum of the parts; therefore more is achieved
from the dialogue as each person’s ideas add to the last. In a dialogue
no one is trying to win. They are trying to learn and create. They
suspend their individual assumptions and explore ideas and issues. It
is a free flow of ideas where participants continue to think and watch
themselves think. The great physicists Heisenberg, Pauli, Einstein and
Bohr described the conversations they had with each other. As we know
from history their conversations (dialogue) changed traditional physics
because what they could achieve as a group exceeded what each could do
as individuals. Interesting? So who is ‘primitive’ now?
How do you get your team to dialogue? There are 3 conditions needed:
must suspend their assumptions. Dialogue comes to a grinding halt when
someone digs in their heels and says “this is the way”. They need to
suspend their assumptions to really see where the truth lies.
Suspending ones assumptions is not easy, as often they are so deep
seated that we don’t even know that they are assumptions! Instead, we
take them for being the truth.
members must be thought of as colleagues and equals. If you manage to
think of others as colleagues you will interact as colleagues. Team
members will feel less vulnerable and less likely to either want to
dominate the discussion or not say anything at all. Thinking of
everyone as colleagues can be difficult in a hierarchical workplace
environment. Can an individual in authority come down from their lofty
position and talk to everyone else as an equal or do they like their
elevated position and pontificate wildly?
should be a facilitator. A facilitator can help ensure that ALL
assumptions are suspended. This means questioning statements and
beliefs as they are mentioned. They are also important in keeping the
dialogue moving. As a team gets better at dialogue the needs for a
facilitator is reduced.
are closer to achieving dialogue when your team meetings are filled
with questions. Questions indicate an attempt at understanding. Sit
back in your next meeting and see how often a question is asked. No
questions = no dialogue.
enter dialogue if everyone knows what is expected of them in advance
and if they truly want the results created through dialogue. Dialogue
is playful conversation and everyone must be willing to play with new
ideas. Who says you can’t have fun and grow at the same time?
hope you can achieve dialogue in your teams. Since we became aware of
the difference and have been trying to practice dialogue we have really
had some amazing insights into our business and what we do. We have
achieved a whole level of new understandings.
knows, maybe there is something amazing that your company could achieve
if you all just put your heads together. 1 + 1 = 3 makes a lot of sense!
Advisors works with businesses and teams that are struggling to
formulate a strategic plan that delivers bottom line results. Using
tried and tested planning systems that have achieved results
internationally for 20 years we ensure that you transform your business
through focus, alignment and accountability.
GRAEME NICHOL, President, Arcturus Advisors.
Nichol has worked on 4 continents and in 117 unique businesses gaining
experience in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture,
communications, banking, direct marketing, consumer goods and retail
amongst others. He has significant management experience and consulting
experience, including Business strategy, project management, change
management, big six consulting, team productivity, business
productivity and quality improvement, ERP implementations.
works with businesses and teams that are struggling to formulate a
strategic plan that delivers bottom line results. Using tried and
tested planning systems that have achieved results internationally for
20 years we ensure that you transform your business through focus,
alignment and accountability.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/