How can we promote organizational integration?
On December 13, we had a special presentation by Barry Oshry of Power & Systems. This was a sequel to his August 8 Learning Group program on the Organizational Workshop, made for the purposes of taping an additional segment. As with the prior program, this was an exceptionally stimulating experience, with the odd but somehow entertaining feature that we had to pretend that we had experienced the preceding part “yesterday”.
The session was a lesson in partnership. In particular, we did an exercise in which we worked as triads on devising a presentation that we wanted to give. As Barry explained, these “small groups,” even though randomly created, were highly productive because we were connecting in a positive and equal way.
Indeed, the exercise is model of how people in organizations can “integrate” instead of staying in the role of tops, bottoms, or middles. Integration occurs when like-minded individuals get together to share information, support each other, and consider new possibilities. The concept reminded me somewhat of Peer Coaching, the subject of our May 2004 program.
One could say that the Learning Group is an example of integration. Certainly the feeling of energy that this program’s exercise aroused also occurs at our program meetings.
Because this was not an “official” Learning Group meeting, we did select specific questions for follow up discussion. But members, whether or not they attending this session, no doubt can suggest some issues that the Organizational Workshop gives rise to.
One question that occurred to me was similar to one that I also thought of at the December 8 Otto Scharmer “Theory U” program: If the organizational culture does not already support open and honest communication, how can integration occur?
Another issue would be whether integration has to take place among tops, bottoms or middles or whether integrative groups of different levels can occur? Years ago, former member Joe Dabek and I started at Boston City Hall dialogue group whose members ranged from clerical grade to deputy commissioner. I would not hold this particular group up as a model of great success, but “vertical slice” approach is an interesting one.
The blog itself suggestion the question of whether integration can take place via virtual means. Perhaps, too, members would like to share some stories about attempts at integration.