developing shared meaning

Consulting Skills – Post 5

dialogos… developing shared meaning through the means of the word.

The focus of the consulting skills class and the org learning class seem to be on parallel tracks, converging… In Org Learning we’re exploring org culture which seems to be built on the tacit, underlying assumptions that evolve over time in an organization. In Consulting Skills, we are exploring the essence of dialogue, which seems to me to also require a significant amount of reflection in which we examine our own personal assumptions. Here we go again… digging out our own erroneous ideas, concepts, thought processes and being willing to consider alternative perspectives. Oh, this learning stuff just doesn’t stop, does it ??!!  Yes, I know I have soooo much stuff hidden in the blind, concealed, and unknown self…  how to get it out?? Is it through the process of deliberate feedback, dialogue, self-introspection, meditation, bloggin, or… ? Don’t they have some quick-fix on the market for this yet?? “…take this and all biases and erroneous assumptions are gone.”  Hmmm… is this what adult learning is about? …that I don’t know anything (or rather a little or maybe even very little…) about my own self?

Well, I know so much stuff influences my daily actions – untested inferences… whoa! These are so significant. And, I’d like to change some of them at least, but I know I’m not always conscious of how they affect me until or unless I trip over them sometimes. And I guess this is a point where self-introspection can help – to look back at those situations where I’ve tripped and made a mess and see what my thinking was leading into the situation. And perhaps some of those lightning-fast reactions where I run up the ladder of inference could be mitigated.

The concept of dialogue that Schein puts forward where I suspend judgment and entertain what the speaker is saying and watch the process going on inside – watch my thinking and see if it is in accord with values… i do like the idea, but it’s the act of suspending that is quite the challenge to put into regular practice. And yes, it is very helpful to consider the possibilities, reflect on situations where it could have helped, and then…, try again next time.

Indeed, all of this learning is hard work, but harder still is to stay unaware of such influences on many aspects my daily life and work. I may travel slowly down this road of self-awareness and development, but I do feel it is ever so essential on the path to becoming more human…

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2 Responses to “developing shared meaning”


  1. 1 Tim Arnette 30 November 2009 at 1:52 pm

    To me you express well the difficulty of searching out our blind side. I see the key to learning this is the feedback of others, either deliberate or spontaneous in conversation. But either way, we have to be ready/willing/reflective to learn. Our closer relationships can provide this, since we are already in a trusting bond, and since Schein says we need trust to step outside of the normal, cultural face work. There are some areas where I learn very slowly (just ask my wife!). But your openness is the key — keep it up!

  2. 2 michelle 7 December 2009 at 11:17 pm

    You have a poetic way of reflecting on our readings and assingments. As adults, it becomes more difficult to examinine our beliefs and remain open to new ideas. Sometimes I get bogged down with the quantity of information that is available today. The more I learn, alerts me to how much I don’t know. I appluade your ability to examine yourself. Your openess and exceptance to new information is a testament to your ability to grow and be a life long learner.
    MM


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