Dialogue and The Power of Conversation

The way people talk together in organizations is rapidly becoming acknowledged as central to the creation and management of knowledge.

According to Alan Webber, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, conversation is the means by which people share and often create what they know. Therefore, “the most important work in the new economy is creating conversations”” Harvard Business Review. Dialogue, is a process for transforming the quality of conversation and the thinking that lies beneath it.

At the heart of bringing teams together is the process of having meaningful, heartfelt conversations which are sincere, honest and sometimes courageous. If you can get past the scripted agenda of most meetings and into a conversation, it will enliven and bring back what is real.

To quote Margret Wheatley: “In conversation we discover shared meaning.”

Its the primal human organizing tool. Conversation is what happens in the side rooms, the hallways, the lunches, the times away from the ritual spaces of authority and in the relaxed spaces of being human.

If you aren’t building conversation into the process, you will not benefit from the collective power and wisdom of humans thinking together. These are not “soft” processes. This is how wars get started and how wars end. It’s how money is made, lives started, freedom realized. It is the core human organizing competency.”

What we are discovering is that conversation- actually catalyzes action. Through conversation we discover who cares about what, and who will take accountability for next steps. It is the means through which requests are initiated and commitments made. From this perspective, a more useful operating principle for organizational life might be “start talking and get to work!”

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