Validation Generates Deep Collaboration

picture-2There are some things that do not need explanation. Want to feel real good at your next gathering or meeting? Then take time from your busy schedule and allow yourself to feel good for a couple minutes. Check out these two AWESOME videos. Play one of these at your next meeting or pow wow and watch the difference in the way people connect with each other. And the next day, try an experiment: See what comes as a result of validating each other.

Technology's Influence on Behavior Changes

I watched this interesting video on company and personal branding, which are often one in the same these days. Check it out because it tells an underlying tale of how technology is influencing our behavior. Additionally David Armano tells a story here of how positive interactions with his iPod has changed his ‘dropping’ behavior. This triggered an insight for me that is relevant to collaboration and design. Online collaboration tools are rapidly filling a new industry space, and it is my belief this phenomena will continue to grow and evolve to the point where human interaction will dramatically increase within the virtual space of the web. Now, did you feel a hit in your gut with what I just said? Some of you, I’m sure, felt excited. And many of you, I’ll bet, heard an inner voice of concern for how you think technology is separating our humanity by disconnecting us from our physical interactions. You know, after a lot of thought about this, I think this later hit needs serious review. Certainly it is going to change our behaviors. That is, the ways in which we interact and are comfortable with, are going to change. Personally, I have gone from a place of concern, to being keenly watchful of what’s happening, to going fully on board with these changes. To the point where I have committed myself to a study and emerging business offering of online collaboration environments. Because I see it as the future of how we can rapidly change (shall we say) our ‘meta’ behaviors on this planet for the betterment of a world that we want to live in.

I encourage you to open your mind and heart to the possibilities that might unfold for you and others by daring to step into the uncomfortable places being created for collaboration within the online virtual world. For me, thinking about what I can design and who I can design with rrrrreally exicites me because possibilities have opened up to a point where my long standing vision and bag full of ideas could actually be manifested. So cool! All with what I believe will include a deeper sense of compassion and reverence for our world and the people in it. Also note that, so far, it has been WAY easier for me to find others that think like me and want to create things that I am interested in ….  And I find that even more exciting!

Sooooo, behavior change? Yup. It’s happening, and that’s a good thing in my book. As long as we stay conscious watchers of the changes that are occurring and constantly question them deeply and collaboratively.

Let’s talk more about this soon.

Defining the Innovation Economy

Podcast from iInnovate


Geoffrey Moore –

VC, Consultant, and Bestselling Author of Crossing the Chasm … Geoffrey Moore is a VC with Mohr Davidow Ventures, consultant and, most famously, the bestselling author of Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado and Dealing with Darwin.

Talks about:

-Darwin vs Ecosystems
-Competition vs Altruism
-Self limiting boundaries
-Google as aggressive organism
-Patterns of success
-Social networks (web 2.0 latest)
-Core vs Content Innovation
-Morphing from strengths
-NonPharma-based Life Sciences trend
-Renewable energy trend
-Software as a medium (has evolved from a product)
-Digitation of Culture (online phenomena)
-Choosing who to hang out with
-Disruptive technologies
-How free online tools are shifting the economic model
-From gimmick innovation to innovation that points to a better way of doing (ex: virgin airway)

The Need For Communicating About Our Communication

Join Abhijit and I in this dialog about the evolution of “communication” …


Dec 24, 2008 AM


I’ve been in the business of mass communication and making efforts to ease the man-to-man communication process.

Abhijit Banerjee, 54


Hello Abhijit,
I am curious to learn more about your statement: ” efforts to ease the man-to-man communication “.
Vic D


Abhijit Banerjee
Reply Message

Hi Vic

I was expecting this question from the time I joined Copperstrings. And when I almost gave up, you asked. It’s a rather long story, but to cut it short, I am supposedly a mass communication specialist. Made my living in this profession for 30 long years. Created mass communications which helped sell several products, benefitted a number of companies. And all the while I kept wondering why when we are in direct communication with people – even one-to-one communication, there remains in most cases so much which is half understood, misunderstood or not understood at all. My wish is to ease this as far as possible. Not been very successful so far. Love to be your friend.

Best wishes.


Hello Abhijit,

Yes, yes; I agree with the principle inquiry you are making.

As a facilitator of group collaborative design processes (, I am very interested in what makes communication happen between both individuals and the among the global collective (the masses). It has triggered some thoughts for me, which I’ve added below as a list of points.  We may be able to build on a couple of them and see where the possibility of helping to generate more evolved forms of communication …

1- I believe that the primary glue that holds (or doesn’t hold) a group of any kind and size together is ‘communication’. It seems in today’s world that building group infrastructure needs to be based on how communication emerges between individuals within companies. Rather than the other way around as we do today, where people step into preconceived info-structures.  This backwards approach works for the masses but fails miserably for individual to individual interactions.

2- With such poor interaction between us humans as individuals, it amazes me that functional products get out the door of any company. It does seem that ‘mass’ communication is ruled by principles that are different than ‘individual’ communications. This raises a thought that ‘fractal’ theory may be relevant to clarifying and creating an evolved forms of communication.

3- Our technologies may get out the door, which is a direct result of communication. Yet there seems to be underlying design principles that are not “communicated”, which is causing huge decline in the ecology of our earth system. This loss of ‘ecology’ (i.e. the interaction between living systems) could be thought of as a breakdown in communication at the larger earth scale. This is beyond just human communication. The concept of ‘sustainability’ is helping to bring in new forms of awareness into our language and as a result, the way we create and live on this planet is changing.

4- The internet has opened a portal for entirely new forms of humane communication to emerge. What this looks like is not for any one of us to decide since they are mostly ’emergent’ through a collective process (i.e. emergent means showing up in organized ways that are not pre-planned). At the same time however, many of us are riding the desire for humans to connect in unique way and across world cultures (as we are now) to watch for patterns that may help to identify who we are becoming or want to become. The ideas of self responsibility, interdependence and collaboration have never been so relevant.

5- You may want to join my new online community called It is an experiment in advancing human interaction and collaborative design, and is founded on the question: “What is communication and how does it become a tool that we use to deepen our physical and spiritual lives as both individuals and the collective become aware of communication as a guiding tool or map to the creation of chosen states of being. Rather than today’s approach to communication which metaphorically acts like a vehicle that we are unknowingly riding in. This level of conscious communication falls under what I call ‘the squared principle’ meaning that it is about the “communication about communication”. This is what you and I are doing in this dialog.

6- Our connection has triggered me to start a blog conversation about this subject regarding ‘mass communication’ vs ‘person-to-person communication’. I was hoping that you might join me in this dialog there so that other’s may be able to jump into the conversation as well. Plus it will be easier for us to review, synthesize, and track the lineage of conversations that emerge. More later …

What are your comments or insights?

Best to you,
Vic Desotelle

Living Strategies: Bringing Innovation To Life

Guiding Your Organization Through The Rugged Landscape Ahead

By Arian Ward of Community Frontiers

As we all know well, the world has changed dramatically since the times when traditional strategic planning first became the foundation on which organizations of all types are based. The landscape on which organizations operated then was relatively predictable, stable, and homogenous. Now it is filled with uncertainty, rapid change, and increasingly diverse players and dynamics. These players not only think and act differently than they used to; they keep changing their minds about what they want and expect from the world around them.

Yet given this dizzying environment in which organizations find themselves, why do so many keep doing strategic planning as if it were still 1960? And even if they have an inspired vision of who they want to be based on their changing environment, how do they create the bridge between their aspirations and the day-to-day operations that members actually experience as the organization?

What organizations need is strategy and a process for creating it that flexes, adapts, and evolves to still make sense in this complex environment, while keeping the organization seamlessly aligned with these strategic dynamics. In other words, they need a “living strategy!”
In a nutshell, living strategy is:

* the dynamic story of the shared aspirations, strategic direction, and strategic outcomes of the organization and the community it supports,
* emerging and continuously evolving
* from the collective knowledge of the community and
* from an expanding network of ongoing strategic conversations among all members of the community around the questions that matter most to them,
* all seamlessly interwoven into the “fabric” of the current organization through a continuous process of reflection and renewal.
One of the fundamental concepts of living strategy—both in terms of its content and of the evolving process itself is that in a dynamic, complex environment like what organizations face today, the future can’t be “planned.” Instead, we want the strategy process to come alive through discovering and exploring questions that really matter—through collaborative dialogue, thinking together, and sharing stories among all stakeholders, not just among a select group of leaders and experts.

Living Strategy recognizes that organizations and their environment are much more like living organisms within a complex ecological system than they are like mechanisms within a human-designed and controlled system. After all, they are made up of people within a world of many other people. What could be more natural, more unpredictable, and more “alive” than people with all our frailties, moods, and dreams? Therefore, Living Strategy, as we practice it, is based on the sciences and tools related to living systems, particularly those that can be applied to organizations as living systems. These include complexity science, life science, social science, community development, dialogue, storytelling, and organic approaches to knowledge and learning.

To help further clarify what we mean by Living Strategy, the following tables offer some distinctions between traditional strategic planning and Living Strategy and between traditional enterprise management and a living systems approach to enterprise management we call a “sense and respond system.” Finally, we leave you with a few tips on how any organization can begin to develop a Living Strategy approach to the future.

Table 1: Living Strategy Compared to Traditional Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Living Strategy

Assumes you can predict the future and develop successful plans based on those predictions Consists of strategic thinking, questions, dialogue, and stories; assumes you can’t predict the future, but you can collectively prepare for what might emerge and therefore, successfully respond to it.

”The only kind of strategy that makes sense in the face of unpredictable change is a strategy to become adaptive…. Planned responses do not work.”

Rigidly scheduled and time-bound; e.g., every 1-2 years, looking out 3-5 years into the future.

Assumes that strategy needs to be newly developed, deployed, and implemented each time you do strategic planning.

“Strategy as Inquiry” – ongoing and dynamic, designed to change whenever change is indicated.

Produces more stable strategic direction (unless the environment changes drastically), because it only changes when it needs to, not when the calendar says it’s time to generate a new plan.

Planning is done by a select group of leaders and “experts” within a rigid, hierarchical organization that uses strategy as a political tool to maintain the status quo or jockey for more power, prestige, and resources. After a few face-to-face group interactions, a small number of individuals develop the “final” strategic plan. This select group uses a linear planning process, producing a static text document that is meant to serve as the complete expression of the organization’s strategic direction.

Living Strategy continuously emerges out of ongoing, interwoven:
• individual reflection and work
• group face-to-face and virtual interactions and collaborations
• dialogue across the whole community of organizational stakeholders

It “lives” as compelling stories, images, questions, and expressions of the community’s aspirations, priorities, and inquiries into the future. It acknowledges that the organization and its environment form an interconnected system, where strategy serves to focus and align the interactions of the whole system toward a future collectively envisioned and evolved by those stakeholders.

Textual expressions of the strategy are considered to be “snapshots” of the organization’s strategy at a given point in time. Graphics, such as those produced by a graphic recorder , illustrate and bring to life the textual expressions of strategy.

Like an all-knowing, all-powerful patriarch of old, the organization assumes responsibility for the future of its members and other stakeholders. Yet much of the organization’s strategy for dealing with the future is its planned response to external forces which it doesn’t really understand and over which it has little control. Our society’s revered values of democracy and free speech get lip service, at best, even in many organizations who call themselves “member organizations.” “The law of requisite variety” – If a system is to be able to adapt to its external environment, it must incorporate as much or more variety than its environment.

Living Strategy emerges from and supports the organization’s community. This community includes anyone who may have a stake in the outcome of the enterprise, even if they don’t yet know they may have a stake (such as potential new members or markets).

The diversity, intelligence, and passion of the entire community is tapped to creatively seize or make opportunities to co-create its own future, rather than waiting to let it happen to them.

Strategic planning is mainly an academic exercise with little relevance to the daily work of the enterprise, as people must refer to a “cheat-sheet,” wall chart, or web page to even remember this year’s plan. Everyone in the organization lives strategy as a natural part of their work and relationship with the organization. Each person has a deep understanding of Living Strategy, in their own words but with the same shared meaning. They keep “one foot in the present and one foot in the future.”
Table 2: Traditional approach to enterprise management compared to a living systems-based approach – what we call a “sense and respond system’, since that is how living organisms survive and thrive within their environment, by sensing the environment and responding appropriately to what they sense.

Traditional Approach to Enterprise Management
Plan, control, change

The complement to a “strategic planning mindset” is that if you plan everything well enough you can then control everything and everyone in the organization according to the plan.

Mechanistic approach which relies on traditional management processes and information systems to find out what people need to know about the environment, make centralized decisions about what they should do with this business intelligence, and then inform and manage them to implement these decisions. Traditional research methods are used for intelligence gathering and environmental scanning.

Measurements give us the ability to plan and control. If something is within our acceptable measurement range, it’s working fine; if not, we either have to make people improve their performance or we need to change the plan.

Sense & Respond System
Understand, influence, evolve

The organization is an organic, “whole system” of interconnected, interdependent individuals, informal groups, and formal organizations, who can’t be predicted and controlled, but they can be understood to a sufficient extent to influence their behavior. By understanding their mindsets, needs, and behaviors, we can try to design a whole system based on our understanding that is flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate the changes and uncertainties inherent in living systems, and then continuously evolve the design based on our observations of the system in action.
The nervous system of the organization is an interconnected, knowledge and trust-based, communication system, consisting of:
• Sensing – supplements traditional information gathering by tapping into the collective intelligence of all stakeholders within the system – their existing knowledge + their real-time awareness of significant events, ideas, trends, and needs in the environment. The intelligence they provide is far richer than traditional research surveys and other intelligence gathering methods, since it doesn’t have a built-in time delay or filter, plus they can provide the context around the data such as the stories and thought processes behind their answers – what turns the data into meaningful information.
• Sensemaking – A “triage process” that enables the enterprise to determine the best course of action to take for a given sensory input. Not another mechanistic gatekeeper that impedes rapid decision making and response, but an organic process, driven by a set of simple rules and roles, that builds the intelligence into the whole system that enables this decision making – what turns the information into useful knowledge and surfaces the rich underlying patterns and themes that are not evident when looking at independent data streams.
• Response – The organizational capability to quickly respond to sensory inputs that warrant an organizational response, at the point in the organization where the response will be most effective. This means this part of the organization must already have access to the knowledge and the necessary authority and responsibility to respond appropriately – what turns the knowledge into effective action. This is the essence of the agile organization and the intelligent organization.

Like with Living Strategy, ongoing dialogue forms the heart of this “living system.” This is because rich, meaningful dialogue tends to create trust-based relationships and shared knowledge – two of the most critical factors in the success of any organization. Uninformed dialogue rarely produces much value for anyone, so the dialogue needs to be linked to the enterprise’s information and measurement systems and to decision-making elements of the sense-and-respond system. Measurement is about informing this dialogue to make it more meaningful and resultant decisions more effective, not about making sure everyone “makes their numbers.” Measurement also helps us understand the system better so we can continue to evolve its design and improve the likelihood of getting what we want from our actions by clarifying what in the system drives what outcomes.

The sense-and-respond system uses systems thinking and other whole-systems tools to help understand and guide the enterprise. But systems tools can be applied just as mechanically as any other tool. For that reason, any use of a tool should be accompanied by meaningful dialogue both before it’s used, to provide the context for what we’d like to learn from using the tool, and after it’s used, to gain deeper, shared insights around the questions that prompted its use. This cycling between dialogue and focused, tool-supported action is characteristic of an effective sense-and-respond system.
How Can You Apply These Concepts To Your Organization?

1. Living Strategy/Sense & Respond are about following these principles, not about following a specific recipe or methodology. You can customize your approach to fit your needs and culture any way you wish, as long as you follow these principles. You only need to do just enough to gain a shared understanding of what the future holds and what kind of future you want for your organization and the communities, subject areas, products, and services it supports, as well as a reasonable approximation of how best to navigate the organization toward that desired future (assuming you can make mid-course corrections as you learn more about what you’re facing).

2. Get your senior leadership – paid and volunteer, thinking and talking strategically – in deep, meaningful dialogue , not in shallow discussions or political debates. Focus on the real meaning of the content, not on the format or process. Take the wordsmithing offline. World Cafés are an excellent way to help you do this because they are based on many of the same living systems principles we are relating here.

3. Invite diversity and inclusion, but be prepared for what might emerge when you do. The best way to do this is get out and engage your key stakeholders. Focus on listening to them, not telling them. Then harvest the wisdom that emerges, such as the most important questions, issues, and opportunities for the organization to be paying attention to. Again, World Cafés are an excellent means of engaging your stakeholders around these questions that really matter to them.

4. Focus the time and attention of your senior leadership and other key staff on these important strategic questions. You don’t have to wait to meet face-to-face to do this. You can continue your strategic dialogue between leadership meetings with email, conference calls, and online document libraries, discussion boards, and other virtual interaction tools.

5. Balance stability with flexibility. Abandon the calendar as the driver of your strategy. Instead, let significant events and information become the triggers of your strategic dialogue and changes in direction. You don’t have to change your strategy every time you review it, but you also need to be flexible enough to change it when your environment indicates its time to do so.

6. Think and work with your enterprise as a whole system. ”The elements of a living system can be understood only in relationship to the dynamics of the whole.” There are many systems tools to help you do this , but which tool you use isn’t what’s important. It’s that you are somehow able to create and engage around a shared understanding of the whole enterprise, especially how its different elements relate to each other and their environment. You don’t have to do this all at once or even get it perfect, since there is no such thing as “perfect” in a living system. You can start with small, simple steps like drawing and talking about how different elements of the enterprise relate to each other, and then evolve this whole systems view gradually through a series of similar dialogues with other stakeholders.

7. Evolve an organizational culture that supports this new way of thinking and behaving. Introducing dialogue as one of your primary means of communication (as mentioned above) is a good start in this direction. To help develop a living systems mindset, begin to introduce a living systems-based language to replace the mechanistic language organizations have been using since the industrial revolution. Examples of more organic terms that can be substituted for some of the more widely used mechanistic terms:

Use Instead of Use Instead of
Elements, aspects Components, parts Sensing Information gathering
System, cycle Process Sensemaking Information processing, analysis
Principles & Guidelines Policies & Procedures People, Communities Human resources, Constituencies
Direction setting Planning Leading, coaching Managing
Guiding, navigating Measuring, controlling Cultural evolution Change management

8. Accept the reality that we can’t predict the future nor can we plan and control the enterprise according to our predictions using simple linear processes and hierarchical structures. In the non-linear, dynamic system or environment in which we all exist, we can only anticipate what is most likely to happen through continuous feedback, inquiry, and learning, and thus be prepared to respond collaboratively, quickly and intelligently to whatever emerges from the system. This is often more of a personal evolution than an organizational one, since we all have an inherent desire to control the environment around us. Giving up this illusion of control and embracing the unlimited possibilities of the unknown can be very freeing, as we come to feel more comfortable with the increasing levels of uncertainty around us. Even better, it can give us more control over this uncertainty, since we now have the power to serendipitously recognize and act on opportunities that we might have ignored previously since they didn’t fit our “plans.” We can co-create our own future, rather than letting it happen to us.

Note: These are excerpts from a series of articles on Living Strategy published in the Journal of Association Leadership, the flagship journal of the association industry. If you would like the complete text of these articles, please contact Arian Ward – arianatcommunityfrontiersdotcom.

About A More Advanced Form Of Leadership

My good friend Maria Kostelas from Flutes of the World is an exceptional thinker, innovator, musician, and writer. She shared some thoughts with me today. Read up …

Maria says …

“Thought leaders do not wait in silence. Nor do they wait for others’ minds to be opened, or for safe places to speak into. Today’s thought leaders are the openers of minds so that they too may participate in the leading of the group. They are modern day prophets who dare say “we,” knowing their words spring from a place of unity.”

She suggests this book …

The Art of Original Thinking: The Making of a Thought Leader” by Jan Phillips.  Have you heard of it?  She’s a good writer and quite an eloquent, (w)holistic-synthesizer, offering content that addresses individual needs in relation to corporate and global community, economic conditions, and… possibilities.

A quote from Jan Phillips:

“… And this is the great challenge for any emergent thought leader-to know that one’s ideas will be criticized and resisted, and yet to dare to speak, knowing that these thoughts are the only building blocks we have to a new and safer world. …”

“… Transformation originates in people who see a better way or a fairer world, people who reveal themselves, disclose their dreams, and unfold their hopes in the presence of others. And this very unfolding, this revelation of raw, unharnessed desire, this deep longing to be a force for good in the world is what inspires others to feel their own longings, to remember their own purpose, and to act, perhaps for the first time, in accordance with their inner spirit.”

Other points that Maria makes …

The poet Audre Lorde reminds us:

“… We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for the final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us… The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation and that always seems fraught with danger. We fear the very visibility without which we also cannot truly live…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which is also the source of our greatest strength.”

Howard Bloom, author of Global Brain and The Lucifer Principle, writes:

“Imagine what it would be like if at every staff meeting you were expected to put the care of the multitudes we mistakenly call “consumers” first. Imagine what it would be like to go to work each morning in a company that saw your passions as your greatest engines, your curiosities as your fuel, and your idealism as the pistons of your labors and of your soul. Imagine what it would be like if your superiors told you that the ultimate challenge was to tune your empathic abilities so you could sense the needs of your firm’s customers even before those customers quite knew what they hankered after.”

This is not just about your boss. That’s not what the new leadership is exactly. No, this stuff includes you too. And if you are a leader of others: Can you relate to this?! No?? Best you start.

Collaboration: The Dance Between Inner and Outer Realities

So what’s real? And what influences it? Is it all withIN me where the control power lies? Or is it withOUT me? … And what the hec does this have to do with COLLABORATION ?

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Some say to themselves; I have no power of my own and I am controlled by the outer world, and by the influence of other people, events, and circumstances – an outer perspective. Yet the guru’s say that we are makers of our own reality – an inner perspective. So, if you go within yourself, then all the power you need to change is there. Well I would hereby like to raise the B.S. flag.

From this guy’s mountain top view both are correct. It is not one or the other that brings us to Nirvana. It is the dance between the Inner and the Outer that IS the FULL reality. For my world, your fire’s reality is outside of me. Yet in your world, your life’s flame is within you. So inner and outer are very relative to whose doing the conscious perceiving, right?

So the new Story (I believe) will be based on the relationship between INNER and OUTER reality. Between what happens withIN me and at the same time what happens withOUT me. (Notice my use of the word ‘without’ is different that is normally used.)

Interesting that is what Collaboration is all about. It is an unfolding story of how you the individual and we the collective are considered and co-created together. Diversity is from the individual theme, and Unity is from the collective theme. And COLLABORATION is just another way to describe the dance that occurs between me and them, you and us, I and we.

Insights on Team Identity and Self Expression

This is a real experience relating to my own personal authenticty awarenesss and development. I encourage you to do the same. Below are insights from John Voris of Authentic Systems after a healthy discussion on personal development and team building. Go ahead and listen in…

“Vic,  It was a pleasure talking with you. We have a great deal in common.

In the beginning, you seemed concerned with being boxed in and I hope that feeling lessened by the end of our conversation.  While we don’t like being labeled, we actually spend our entire life ensuring that we are. Individuality is not a state of doing in the sense of achievement but rather a way of life. It is how we pursue our desires. Liberty requires the freedom to choose the conditions in which to aspire toward our goals. Choosing our own direction makes our identity our own freely chosen.  Autonomy ensures self-development and cultivation of our faculties in the hopes of finding the best direction for full expression.

This self-direction finds structure by us always heading toward fulfilling our satisfaction of wants and desires and these passions are again structured in abeyance to the living design of our choices, heading toward our individual interpretation of what is fulfillment. The model of self is always imploding and feeding off itself.  Our identity finds definition in moral orientation that exists beneath the culturally imposed topography of self (Synthetic). We frame our inner self (Authentic) within a universally valid commitment and it is this commitment that generates our external manifestation.

If we were to lose this sense of orientation we would not know who we are. It is this linguistically transcending orientation that defines where you answer from when asked “Who are you?”. It is an abstract feeling that attaches to physicality of language. Our orientation is in this moral space–the  ontological basis to self. That is, to say that your Authentic Motivator is “Spiritual Connection” is a symbolic simulation at best.

To cultivate the “self” is to cultivate a “way of being” that has form. Even to say that all is relative and absolutes do not exist is still a “way of being.” Freedom is the willingness to be self-shackled.

I thought you might enjoy some additional thoughts on the subject.”

If you’d like to know what truely motivates you at your core, as well as what’s stoping you from achieving your goals, take John’s Authentic Identity Assessment and learn the truth about…you.

Vic on Team Building

Allow me to set the context for this section of my blog.

For me, team building is a highly important aspect of any organization’s development. Very few of you will argue me that.

However, I propose that it is rare to see team building as a process that is directly integrated into the work that needs to get done. Instead, team building is done using separate programs, like climbing trees together, or goofy games that create bonding. Yeah, it does that to an extent. But there is nothing better than a team that builds itself amidst the project they are working on – and doing that consciously together.

Now ‘that’ is the best way to build teams in my view.

It is a method that I emphasize strongly during the discovery process as I believe it is the way to fuel deeper forms of innovation. When team building is separate from the work at hand, it is harder to relate what happened when you were hanging 100 feet in the air from a rope when – back at the company – a statement is made by someone that just doesn’t make sense. How do you team with that?

Integrate team building with your project and get better more sustained results. Then go out and have some fun outside of the workplace together.