The last weekend was spent with 100+ of my fellow BGI green MBA compatriots at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island; it was Intensive #2. It's all a bit of blur, a total of four days with a group of experienced and creative people, feeding off of the collective creativity and energy, and continually marveling at what people bring to the community. Flying to Seattle (carbon footprint?) Wednesday evening and then taking the red eye back Sunday night makes for a bit of a fatigue producing event, but I think I am surviving. Add to that a bit of carrying-on with the youngsters on Friday and Saturday night made for a nap-filled Sunday afternoon. I suppose I would prefer to stay there ad infinitum; coming home is like leaving a comfortable and protected place (photo courtesy of classmate Patrick Torres).
In any case, the weekend's main event was an assignment to make the business case for a sustainability to a company. It could be a completely fabricated company, or it could be one that one of the students worked for (or maybe wanted to work for). We broke up into small groups and had one faculty reviewer along with our classmates. I found myself incredibly anxious leading up to the event; one main reason, I did not prepare as well as I could. I regurgitated a presentation I created for a job interview in NYC with Interface more than two years ago. I did not get that job...perhaps that was an indicator of how "good" the material was. While I believe the main points I had identified for the discussion were good, my analysis of their impacts on the company as well as the financial bottom line benefits of attacking the issues was weak. The good news is that I recognize the short-comings, accepted the feedback constructively, and learned from the experience; use the graphics and the material to support the message, don't force the message into the format.
From my reading this week, Leading Teams;
- Motivation (at the start)
- Consultation (half time!)
- Education (after the close)
Comments from Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline Chapter 11; Dialogue v. Discussion.
In dialogue there is the free and creative exploration of complex and subtle issues, a deep "listening" to one another and suspending of one's own views. By contrast, in discussion different views are presented and defended and there is a search for the best view to support decisions that must be made at this time. Dialogue and discussion are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two and to move consciously between them.