Conversation is now a key part of the work
In algorithmic work conversation plays no role in the work itself. Obviously, a lot of conversation takes place in organisations but because conversation was never structured to support the work it can be unhelpful.
An example might be ‘collective rumination’: one person recounts a recent issue that they have had with another person, a second person chimes in saying they have had a similar issue as well, a third adds their experience. What this does is make more likely in the minds of those involved that these memories will come back to mind when they see this other person next time. If this is a student in a classroom then the teacher will be primed to see evidence of previous poor behaviour. This is the opposite of what we want, and need, to optimise that student’s growth.
Just as rumination is unhelpful for the individual – chronic rumination is strongly associated with the onset of depression – collective rumination is not helpful either.
Leaders can change the character of the conversations that take place by modelling useful conversations and by laying down simple rules – don’t talk about someone who is not present, for example.
As heuristic work takes hold we are seeing more meetings, workshops and conversations being planned to ensure that the right type of conversation – that supports the work – is taking place.
Nevertheless, reducing the unhelpful conversations is a not inconsiderable task.
John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter. Earlier blogs can be found here.