Constructive conversations


A constructive conversation is a conversation between 2 or more individuals on a specific subject, where any of the individuals is free to express his opinion and uses other participant’s feedback and knowledge to discover the subject to new heights.

It is a process of discovery, in which each individual participates with the goal of of higher understanding.

A constructive conversation is successful if at the end, one or more participant learned something.

A constructive conversation is even more successful if at the end of it, the higher understanding achieved also produced an agreement for action.

Constructive conversations have no scope boundaries and could be as simple as discussing what tool to use to complete a simple task, up to discussing how our own company can improve to change the world.

Constructive conversations don’t have roles, there is no master and slave, no matter what the level of seniority, each participant receives the same respect and has the same ability to pose questions and contribute their thoughts.

Constructive conversations require engaged participants with equal desire to learn and enrich knowledge for all participants.

People with shallow knowledge on a subject will mainly use the constructive conversation to learn, but will also offer perspectives and questions that might not be immediate to the people that already possess high knowledge. They have the outsider view.

People with high knowledge will help other people by sharing it and request feedback because they know that no matter how high their knowledge, they don’t own the truth.

Constructive conversations require empathy. Constructive conversations require humbleness. Constructive conversations require courage. Constructive conversations require respect. Constructive conversations require empowering leaders and empowered people.

Constructive conversations are the backbone of successful agile organisations.

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4 thoughts on “Constructive conversations

  1. Do you have a reference you use for constructive conversations? I know this is an area that I find interesting and keep my eye open for new readings.

    • Hi Janet, I normally try to apply the Satir interaction model to my conversations and I believe that my “constructive conversation” fits in that model well.

      My post was a reaction to a non constructive conversation I just had in which I was not able to express my point due to the perceived superiority of my interlocutor. I wrote it to remind not to do to others what it was done to me.

    • Janet, sorry I forgot to add that recently I started doing something new to keep the conversation within the constructive boundaries. When I see that we are slipping in un-constructive territory, I openly express my feelings as part of the feedback. It normally works when dealing with empathetic people.

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