Co-design: Knowing how to dialogue

N°265b – Synopsis (8p.) – Listening Skills
Co-design: Knowing how to dialogue
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In a digital era that forces us to be more agile, open and cooperative, the aptitude for dialogue is an essential condition to innovate and adapt. How can you develop your ability to hold constructive team discussions?

Companies and their teams are constantly faced with issues that may seem contradictory. The quest for agility in which many organizations are now engaged is no exception. On the one hand, managers must be responsive—i.e., able to move quickly and decide rapidly between different options. On the other hand, in a continuously-shifting environment, they must also put their reflexes and assumptions into proper perspective. This implies, before deciding, that they take the time to consider what might have changed and compare various visions and opinions.

That’s why the art of efficient debate is more relevant than ever. Effective discussion permits the combination of multiple perspectives on a situation.  It also makes it possible to prepare for a decision when it rests with the leader, or even for the group to choose on the spot when decision-making is collective. Indeed, discussion is a core part of new work practices that are becoming more widespread in today’s business organizations. Agile work methods are based on recurrent team discussions and decisions at regular intervals. Likewise, collective discussion is one of the basic operating practices of businesses that take inspiration from holacracy, or the self-managed business organization model.

Not only does discussion play a crucial role, but the demands on it are growing constantly. Particularly notable is the reticence concerning “meeting-itis,” both by employees under pressure and by organizations which aim to be more efficient. This may lead to superficial discussions where pressure to decide rapidly drives people to consider only opinions expressed by those who speak with the most assurance. This is very far removed from the ideal of co-design targeted by many organizations! Fortunately, there are concrete ways to come closer to this ideal. There are no magic recipes—productive discussion takes time. But debates can be organized to ensure that this time is used wisely and ultimately optimized. The quality of the resulting decisions will then more than compensate for the time and energy devoted to structuring discussions productively!

In this synopsis:
- Encourage the confrontation of ideas within teams
- Co-design: Find the right balance between listening and confrontation
- Facilitating meetings: How to keep discussion moving?

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