Elephants again

It was time to think about those elephants again, you know the ones in the room. Those hulking great issues that everyone knows about yet nobody wants to talk about. We’ve had a few sessions with dawn to try and flush them out. Can you flush out an elephant? Perish the thought.

Was this session going to be any different? I had hoped so. We needed to make the breakthrough that gives us another step forward to where we want to be. The management and leadership team are on the up from my perspective, slowly but surely and I wanted to keep the momentum going. In the end it was a good session

Dawn always has a few tricks up her sleeve. She started by laying some cards with words on the floor and each of us had to pick three that most represented our personal values. Now, you know that I get hung up on words, they always have more than one meaning and by the time I got around to it all of the ones I wanted had gone. I took some photos of other people’s instead. My words were openness, support for others and responsibility.

We went round the room and each of us described why the words were important to us. Of course we could have chosen others. In the end though everyone described their own perspective on a very similar set of values. Spooky.

We were then paired up for twenty minutes to chat about what was important to us. Our partner had to describe later what they had learnt about us. It was the first time that some of us had sat down and chatted with the other person, which was telling in itself and it was amazing how many myths were exposed. New bonds were formed. I was paired with Brian who I have spoken to on many occasions but I found out that enjoyment of his job is a big driver.

But this was just the warn up. In the afternoon we got down to the elephant and chose to address the issue about the relationship between corporate and traded services head on. It seems that each party has a number of gripes about the other. Dawn had some flip chart pads with three concentric circles. On the outer one we wrote all the things about the issue we were concerned about, on the inner one, everything we thought we could influence and in the middle one everything we thought we could control the outcome of. In the end there were only four in the bull’s (or elephant’s) eye. What is the financial position, what is the legal position, what is our trading strategy and what is our moral position?

Bob’s leading on a group to sort this out and in the meantime we all agreed that what we have now is what we go with until otherwise agreed. Oh, and we agreed to meet up with those we didn’t know well.

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