What do you see in organisation where the climate is unhealthy, morale and motivation is low, senior leaders are behaving out of integrity and operational performance is poor. Typically, communication is affected in the following ways:
- Conversations can be of the monologue variety with the formal leader making all the decisions thereby creating a dynamic where it is not ok to oppose or challenge the decision.
- Conversations lack debate around critical issues making them one dimensional, thereby creating a culture of silence “in the room” and covert opposition “outside of the room
- Courteous compliance became the norm amongst most of the leadership population – with conversations looking like gentle disagreements in hushed tones – where someone had the courage to disagree, they were ostracised or driven underground.
- There can be evidence of “silencing the witnesses”.
Does some or all the above look familiar? How do you break out of these negative patterns of communication and create a new healthy dynamic within the business whereby it feels safe to speak openly and honestly and to work through differences?
The Houston Exchange’s response to this is to “read the situation” and interpret and name what we see happening using Kantor’s model of Structural Dynamics. The approach is based on the work of leading systems psychologist David Kantor who has spent decades studying how communication works, and from his research has derived a model, Structural Dynamics, that sets out how communication in face-to-face contexts either succeeds or fails.
Using Structural Dynamics focuses on developing skills in shaping conversations that enable:
- People to speak with their true voice (in the room not outside)
- Challenge to be offered and received in a way that recognises its value
- More effective cross functional working within the team to accelerate delivery of change.
Other potential focus areas for team development are usually explored during a one to one coaching session which is then communicated to the client for the work, without compromising confidentiality – this helps shape up the agenda for the team intervention.
Why do it? Most business conversations are nowhere near as powerful or directed as they need to be. As a result, issues get swept under the carpet or otherwise glossed over and not dealt with. And in many cases, conversations are dysfunctional and divisive on some level.
The Behavioural Propensities Profile (BPP) (an online assessment tool) used as part of a group/team intervention supports a whole systems approach to enabling individuals within an organisation to understand the contribution they make to the system and what needs to change. In times of change leaders need to find a way for real differences to be surfaced and for people to find their authentic voice and bring new understanding to the table. Individuals, while working on real change issues learn to engage with each other about what really matters, considering the perspective of everyone in the conversation.
Do you want to cultivate new more powerful ways of talking to each other that recognises each other’s value, addresses the issue that really matter, and gets things done – with honesty, courage and optimism? When used consistently and well, coaching is a powerful aid in transforming leadership skills, workplace conversations and dynamics. If you’re interested in finding out more, please go to: