Intro -- Julian Elve LO13173

Bill Harris (
Thu, 10 Apr 97 12:02:19 PDT

Replying to LO13163 --

Julian wrote:

>With some external help we have started to explore the power of dialogue,
>skillful discussion and improved listening skills. The results so far have
>been some comments about a changed approach from our clients and a
>radically changed feeling within the group, both of which have re-inforced
>our will to keep practicing!


>a) how to use these skills with people who have not gone through the same
>development process, particularly as I am still at the conscious
>incompetence/conscious competence point

Honesty seems to be a good policy, as in, "Pardon me, but I'm feeling
uncomfortable with what we just started doing, and I'm not sure how to
address it." Sometimes that can start a useful dialog and correct a
developing problem.

>b) the dilemma when working with other people that it seems wrong and/or
>counter-productive to co-erce them to recognise a need for change but it
>feels that they will never get there without a push...

Yes, that's a problem. My experience suggests that it is
counter-productive in the long term to co-erce people to get quick change,
assuming the type of environment you are striving for has the lack of
co-ercion as one of its values.

>c) resisting the well-programmed biases to "jump in and do something"
>when under time pressure

As my son would say, "Hehe."

That requires judgment. I believe Dave Packard (of Hewlett-Packard) once
said something like, "When the boat is sinking, you don't hold a vote to
decide if you should plug the holes." On the other hand, as you note, we
often jump in to do something when that only makes matters worse.

>d) how to explain what "this" is to people who haven't gone through the
>same work

I used to (and still sometimes do) fall back on quoting major sources, as
if I were in academia. Others have counselled me to be myself and to
represent what _I_ think (and, obviously, to balance advocacy and
inquiry). That seems to go over with others as more authentic behavior as
well as being less intimidating. While I hadn't intended it to be
intimidating, my quoting of sources others hadn't read tended to shut them
out of the conversation. Discussing the ideas but not the sources was
seen by others as enabling dialog and not dishonest; I could always
acknowledge the original sources if anyone ever asked.

Good luck.


Bill Harris                             Hewlett-Packard Co. 
R&D Engineering Processes               Lake Stevens Division 
domain:               M/S 330
phone: (206) 335-2200                   8600 Soper Hill Road
fax: (206) 335-2828                     Everett, WA 98205-1298 

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