A worker at an organisation was outraged and furious that some of her service users were being turned away from another service. I listened intently to the problem and she said she wanted to have a conversation with the manager of that service. Noticing how upset she was, I offered to visit the service with her and she snapped up my offer. We asked to see the manager and he duly appeared. He listened politely as my friend explained the position and voiced her outrage at the loss of dignity and humiliation to her service users’ facing rejection.

 

The manager was polite but defensive. It was obvious to me that, in the face of such disapproval, he would have little choice but to defend his service and their decisions. Quite quickly it was obvious that the conversation was going nowhere fast. I intervened. I used the Dialogue Road Map to listen and empathise with the manager’s position. I listened for his integrity as a human being, challenged by a system he didn’t necessarily agree with, but was required to uphold in his position as manager. He warmed, he opened dialogue and became willing to explore ways he could ‘bend the rules’ without impacting himself, his workers or his organisation. I acknowledged and offered gratitude for his willingness to explore the situation. I explained that I could see that we needed to be creative together and suggested we sleep on it and get in touch the next day. We left in a positive place. The next day the manager had thought of a solution which was entirely workable and seemed genuinely excited to be of service.

 

Names have been changed.

Reflection

Once I had connected to the manager, it was important to know when to end the conversation. All too often we expect to resolve things in one conversation but experience has taught me that opening creativity is the beginning of a process that might benefit from emergence. Given that we use less than 10% of our brains, I sometimes like to allow things to emerge from the hidden depths of our wisdom that isn’t always at our fingertips. It’s like waiting for a flower to bloom.


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