Processing... Please wait.
Please do not refresh the page or click "Back" in your browser.

You are not logged in
Sign in

The Advantage of Dialogue

by Deborah Baker
There has to be a better way to conduct business. Government needs a new paradigm!

When I retired from the state a few years ago I left with a mantra pounding in my head that was all too familiar: “There has to be a better way to conduct business. Government needs a new paradigm!” In my 30 years ‘in the trenches’ I experienced a relentless decline of humanity in the workplace. The higher I got promoted the more the accepted mode of business seemed to disregard the people in the organization – the cogs of the wheels that kept the machine running – in exchange for the ‘platform’, the ‘legacy outcome’, the ‘sound bite’, and the deeply revered personal agendas of those in charge. Instead of leadership focused on serving the people, I too often witnessed leaders who expected the people to serve them; and staff that did not perform at the expected levels was considered to be disposable. Being in charge of administrative support services, I suppose, I saw more of this than other business areas may have; regardless, I was appalled by the impacts to people.

Fast forward to a practice that has not only transformed my life; I believe it has the potential to transform government. In fact, Dynamic Dialogue has the capacity to rewrite the ‘rules’ in support of humanity, period.

Based on the premise that each one of us has the freedom to choose to show up committed to being in relationship, it provides a map for both personal mastery and effective organizational awareness. It lays a foundation for becoming mindful of what is really happening rather than just reacting to the environment. Practitioners learn the art of non-defended inquiry by tapping into an authentic wanting to learn about the “other”. An innate support of whole-systems engagement, and open and safe learning environments, sets the stage for a new paradigm.

I recently agreed to do an organizational health review project where I experienced firsthand how transformative the Dialogue work can be in the workplace. In the past 2 years this support services group had experienced significant business challenges and excessive staff turnover. Firefighting rather than crisis management was the method of survival. Constant conflict, from both external and internal sources had taken its toll.

Over the course of 16 weeks of sharing dialogue concepts, I witnessed the emergence of a more aware and cohesive group. I saw people setting aside their fears and their personality differences for the sake of developing as a learning team; one capable of drawing from collective experience and wisdom to drive transformative change. I saw staff begin to risk placing trust in their leaders, at the same time they were taking stock of their own internal landscape and their commitment to public service. I was heartened that people were discovering a new willingness to challenge processes for the sake of improving systems, even at the risk of difficult conversations. A vehicle had come into play for people to “become the change” they wanted to see. There is still work ahead, but I am completely sold on the value of the tools they are learning to use.

Comments (0)

Add comment

Add comment
Copyright (c) 2022 DynamicDialogue®. All rights reserved.
DynamicDialogue® is a program owned and operated by Bread of Life, a community-benefit educational 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.