September 11, 2013

Mortar Between the Bricks

Let's get down to business and jump into the agenda. That is the way I run my classes and my meetings. Seems practical and tactical, but what about building connections with and between the participants? Funny that this is what I teach and yet I do not put it into practice.

Today I had a Skype meeting with my colleagues located in London and Oakland. I volunteered to be the facilitator and immediately jumped into discussing the website we are designing. Martin gently said, "I was hoping to have a check-in before we started, but if you want to skip that, OK." He was right, I skipped over the very important mortar of human connections, instead plowing straight through to the bricks of the business.

Why do I do this? My first reaction is shyness, even at 44. On a deeper level I think it is an avoidance tactic: stick to the business and we don't have to take on the responsibility of connecting and caring. But why would this be something I would want to avoid? The reason I partner with this team is because of the love we share - for each other and the intention of our work together in enabling people and organizations to reach their fullest potential. 

Imagine if I took time to build rapport at the start of each class I teach and each meeting I facilitate? Participants would be heard, their voices would matter. In turn, they would be attentive to each other and engaged in the content being discussed.

As a practice during these final two weeks of our Summer 2013 quarter I am going to start each class with a check-in. Everyone is stressed as finals approach and bringing a human element to the classroom will be much needed. Developing deeper connections is the foundation for creating a true community of practice and I can set that intention into action.