It was many years ago when they called me to stop by and see their state of the art computer lab. As I walked in, the room was filled with computers in rows and a huge screen up front. My host that morning explained to me that the company had invested in all these machines and a new software program so everyone in the room could explore a strategic level question at the same time. Then, once people started typing, they could also read all the other comments people were writing plus add their own comments. A massive level of sharing was going to take place and it would all be recorded on the big screen so people could see it happening live.
I smiled as she listed all the benefits of this new strategic level computer lab. Then I asked a simple question, “Why don’t people just talk directly to each other and skip the computer?
A long time ago, I remember my young son calling up his best friend on the phone and checking to see if he was home. Then, he said the following: “Great! Hang up and let’s instant message.” And they did.
While I like novel approaches, there is something very powerful that happens when people listen and share face to face. They make a deeper connection than just the words. Clarity is more than just a head and ear experience. When it is real, one feels it, not just thinks it.
As Margaret Wheatley wrote years ago, "It is time to become passionate about what is best in us, and to create organizations that welcome our creativity, contribution, and compassion. We do this by using processes that bring us together to talk to one another, listen to one another's stories, reflect together on what we're learning as we do our work. We do this by developing relationships of trust, where we do what we say, where we speak truthfully, where we refuse to act from petty self-interest."
My hope is that this week you will commit to developing relationships of trust where our connections are based on meaningful sharing and listening.