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The Power of Thinking Together

A visual to capture unlocking the power of thinking together about Trumps's leadershipHow can I draw on the intelligence of the people around me to improve decisions? How can I ‘read the room’ and disrupt ‘talking nice’, ‘talking tough’ or not talking at all? What can I do to change how my team talks together so that thinking together become possible?

Leaders who want to increase innovation and productivity are increasingly asking these questions. They recognize that whether they want to create an exciting vision, implement a new strategy, or make a better decision, it is by talking – and thinking – together that a better future emerges. In our rapidly changing and digitally connected world, the need to move forward in alignment with others has never been greater.

Changing our conversation is not, however, as simple as it sounds. Poor communication and ‘silo working’ costs organizations millions of pounds every day. Rivalry between departments, lack of trust in teams and unresolved conflicts between individuals all undermine performance.

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Talking together about big issues – Unlocking collective intelligence

Circle of leaders in dialogue unlocking collective intelligenceWhat does it take for a group of people to talk about what really matters? How can a group of leaders have more collective intelligence than the individuals present? What practical tools help leadership teams to improve their dialogue? On the eve of our next Leading Systemic Dialogue programme, I’ve been reflecting on these questions.

To agree a new strategy, articulate a compelling vision or create a new product, a deeper quality of dialogue is needed than often occurs in organisations. Creating the conditions where innovations emerge is an art – and science – that is underutilised by many leaders. It is, however, a capacity that can be learned.

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Leading Systemic Dialogue: From Silos to the Whole System

Co-authored with Edward L. Rowland

What is Systemic Dialogue?

Group of people in an office looking out over cityscape“Leadership is about being better able to listen to the whole than anyone else can”
Otto Scharmer (2009) Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges

During these times of upheaval, the need to move forward in alignment with others has never been greater. The leadership challenges of today are too complex for any one person to solve alone. In our rapidly changing, increasingly uncertain and globally networked world, leadership needs to be less about individual heroics and more about listening to – and mobilising – collective potential.

Developing the skillset of what we call ‘systemic dialogue’ is critically important for leaders and their teams, whether they want to create a new vision, implement a new strategy or shift their performance. We define systemic dialogue as:

The artform and skillset of holding powerful meeting spaces to navigate critical business challenges and find solutions that strengthen the system as a whole.  Read more