Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Openness: the agent of inclusivity

"How do we get people to ... ?"

I hear this all the time in my work on organizational learning initiatives and social tool use is definitely no exception. I've heard it so much that it's just became unquestioned white noise - until I heard it today, and something just felt wrong.

Worse than the directive of "get" is "we." The we here speaks of only those involved in the exclusive conversation and nobody else.

Us and them. Owner and worker. Manager and employee.... Have and have not.

If we start with a goal of changing people's behavior without those people in the conversation haven't we just set the stage for manipulation and disempowerment? Won't we just be playing the traditional role of power broker reinforcing all that is wrong with hierarchy?

Here's the thing. Don't we instinctively speak differently when we know everyone is listening? If everyone could at least hear the conversation, be in that space (if they choose to listen or join in is on them), I suspect the "how do we get people to..." questions wouldn't even be uttered or better yet, would be phrased in a very inclusive way. How could they not?

More community, less control.

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