What Would It Take To Make Work a Better Place to Be?
At the heart of the work that David and I do, we are interested in inspiring people to do their best work and live their best lives. It’s a simple vision, and for us, a compelling one. What is it, we wonder, that makes it so hard sometimes for people to say what needs to be said, listen to what needs to be heard and work together in service of a common goal?
Why Does it Go The Way It Goes?
Many years ago, a man named Barry Oshry began to study the dynamics of people inside of organizations. Barry’s life work has revolved around the lessons of what makes organizations (and people) “work”, and what causes things to fall apart. From Barry, David and I learned that what he calls “systems thinking” provides a framework for understanding what consistently goes wrong between people within organizations. And this is a funny thing for us. Even as we understand, on an intellectual level, the research and dynamics of what it takes for organizations to work toward their vision and goals, David and I still sometimes find ourselves caught in the web of relationships that don’t make sense at all.
So, how can that be? It’s a complex question, but one simplistic answer is what Barry calls “system blindness” – when we are part of a system, part of an organization, we become caught in the “can’t see the forest for the trees” dynamic. We become unable, or are “dis-abled” in our ability to see the part we actively play in keeping the things that make us crazy about organizational life going. Because of “system blindness”, we are not able to see that we are co-creators of the problems with which we are faced. And here is another funny thing. . . even if we get tired of working within the craziness of one organization’s environment and move on to another organization, we are probably 100% guaranteed to experience the same frustrations within the new organization we have joined. How fascinating! As someone famously said. . . “wherever we go, there we are.”
What Else is Possible?
We run a very special workshop that helps answer this important question; it’s called Power, Politics and Partnership (also known in the training world as the OW, or Organization Workshop).
Based on the work of Barry Oshry, the OW is a simulation in which participants experience universal conditions, traps, and dilemmas of organizational life. By learning firsthand about these traps, along with solid theory on avoiding them, participants emerge with concepts, methods, and a common language to improve their interaction in any organization. And the learning is fun, we promise!
The OW places a strong emphasis on our ability to create and sustain satisfying and productive partnerships. Partnership is defined as: A relationship in which we are jointly committed to the success of whatever process we are in … and to each other.
The questions we will explore in the OW are:
- What would an organization look like if this sort of partnership permeated throughout?
- What gets in the way of that happening?
- What does it take to make it happen?
The OW has great possibilities for you …
- To see organizations more clearly than you have ever seen them before
- To open up new possibilities of partnership for yourself and your organization
If you are ready to help make work a better place to be, Power, Politics and Partnership is a good place to begin.