Dialogue LO24036

From: celia moriarty (celia_moriarty@hotmail.com)
Date: 02/22/00


I'm Celia, a facilitator who is enormously grateful for your goodwill in
sharing your thoughts and learnings. Since I discovered this list a
couple of weeks ago I have been thrilled to receive the gift of a glimpse
into the minds of others who are interested in subjects that are dear to
me. There are two postings I would like to respond to before I ask you
about dialogue.

1. Life Long Learning. LO23996
Nick, I met last week with the Exec Director of the Centre for Lifelong
Learning and Development in South Australia. His name is Prof Denis Ralph.
He was telling me about the global relationships he is forging so he may be
an appropriate contact for you.

2. John Gunkler - Piaget - my apologies but I have no ref no. as I noticed
this posting in what I think was the January Digest before I subscribed,
hope you see this John.

John, you mentioned concrete operational learning - when a child
physically manipulates objects in order to learn. There is a parallel to
my work with executives. One part of my work is coaching execs in the
understanding of and development of the impressions they make in face to
face communication. When our actions become automatic it is hard to
change them. The presenter who shuffles back and forth, or who speaks too
fast or has a presenting persona (experienced presenters often develop a
persona that they fall into and is not what they are like when engaged in
normal conversation)can't simply be told; 'hold still', 'slow down' or
'act natural'. I get them to do something Physically different. The
shuffler might put their leg into contact with a table or chair, the fast
pace can be broken by adding a physical pause where they shut up while
walking to a visual aid, and the experienced presenter (the hardest to
bring to consciousness) may see the difference by sitting on the table or
doing something physically different(at first uncomfortable) in order to
change. So your reference to piaget was interesting, as although we think
of this as an early developmental stage it is something in my experienc
that can be tapped into throughout life to make learning easier.

3. Dialogue.
Werner Heisenberg said "Science is rooted in conversations". For me so much
of my learning is rooted in converstation, reading and reflecting create a
germ, but it is through conversation that it comes alive. So I want to
converse with you about dialogue.

I have been digesting works of David Bohm, Peter Senge, Bill Issacs etc.
on dialogue. I am doing this in order to better articulate and develop my
work as a facilitator. So I return to the much loved work of systems
thinking (Von Bertalanffy) and discover you here and see parallels with
dialogue and what I do.

Initially I though WOW, this is what I do, but then as the original
concept of Bohmian dialogue "is not concerned with deliberatey trying to
alter or change behaviour nor to get the participants to move toward a
predetermined goal."(Dialogue a Proposal D.Bohm etal)I realised it isn't
what I do. Indeed Richard Burg later suggested that dialogue is not
really applicable in organisations and that facilitators distort the
process. I work whith senior teams who need to move through an issue
(intra or interorganisational), have limited time and need a better
outcome. We definitley have a purpose even though it may not yet be

I think what I do as the facilitator is suspend the groups assumptions,
allowing them to get on with it. In a sense I remove (as much as
possible)that element from their early communication. This way the group
(I work on the belief that THEY have the answer to the issue) can deal
with the issue not their emotional confusion and incoherence of all the
parameters of the subject. Process is invisible to them. They are always
amazed that they all fundamentally want the similar things - and then they
get on with creating and owning them.

To some of you may see my intervention as a facilitator as cutting off the
wholeness of the system of dialgue. That may be true. It is done for
expediencey and in order to work within the achievement culture of the
group. I do not as yet spend time with them reflecting on what they did
and how they can learn from it. My clients are not attracted to me because
they want to learn about their interactions, but because they want a
better business outcome regarding a specific issue - fast. What I'm
wondering is if their is room to move to the former with them after we get
tangible results.

So I'm interested in how some of you view dialogue and it's application
within the organisation. I agree that in it's original form (what I would
liken to Socratic Dialogue) it is rarely appropriate. But the basic
premises on which the process is based - the identification of those
factors that distort our communication and the creation of a forum in
which a flow of meaning emerges through group synergy, is most applicable
in business. In particular with a senior experienced group who can think
conceptually about the big picture and it's implications.

Thankyou for reading these thoughts and adding your own, I hope to hear
from those interested in this area. I would like to find some
opportunities for face to face conversation too (conferences, people in
Australia etc.).



[Host's Note: Welcome, Celia! ..Rick


"celia moriarty" <celia_moriarty@hotmail.com>

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