Knowledge Hub
Dialogue Community of Practice - March 2015 Newsletter
Dialogue and Culture Masterclass - 11 March 2015
In March, the Dialogue Community of Practice extended a warm welcome to Chris Rodgers who led a master class on culture and conversations.  Chris is a management consultant, coach and writer and has an engineering background.

Chris described the ‘wiggly world’ of organisations:
From a wiggly world perspective, what you get – good or bad; satisfactory or outstanding; routine or surprising – emerges from the widespread interplay of people’s everyday interactions. And this process is wiggly. That is, it doesn't operate in the neatly packaged and predictable ways that conventional management 'wisdom' suggests that it should”.
Chris reminded us of the conventional way we go about managing change.  He described the familiar elements of imposing change top down through ‘command and control’; the importance of  informing people through education and training; and involving people to tap into their talent and ideas so the change leads to an improvement.  Although these elements are important, Chris suggests this is not how change happens in practice.  Change and sense of change is carried through organisational culture in everyday interactions, what Chris calls ‘Informal Coalitions’.
The dynamics of organisational culture are complex, uncertain, and ambiguous, and cannot be reduced to the multitude of abstract models and frameworks on offer to managers.  Chris drew attention to the hidden, messy and informal dynamics through which organisation is enacted. As such, when coupled with the in-depth understanding of these ‘real world’ dynamics that is provided by the informal coalitions/‘wiggly world’ perspective, these frameworks can be applied with more insight and confidence than is possible with many other methodologies.

“The leadership challenge for managers is one of blending the sensible use of formal and structured approaches with their ongoing engagement with the hidden, messy and informal dynamics of people’s everyday (largely conversational) interactions.

It’s through these interactions that outcomes emerge in practice”.
During the day we were in dialogue in groups around the ideas Chris shared and about what we can do to connect with and ‘tune into’ the informal conversational networks which carry culture. 

This was our first Community of Practice event in our new masterclass format, and we had a great mix of new and returning community members. In reflecting on the group conversations, the facilitators commented noticed those more experienced in dialogue helped to introduce some of the core dialogue concepts to newcomers in their groups.

Participants shared some of their reflections on the day:
News and Events
Dialogue Masterclasses

We have three more Dialogue Masterclasses planned over the next 12 months:

Dialogue and Leadership for Public Engagement
21 May 2015, Stirling Management Centre
Wendy Faulkner will lead this session, focusing on dialogue and deliberation. Wendy will explain the work of the Edinburgh Beltane Beacon for Public Engagement, share knowledge about dialogue and deliberation, and share examples of how people are working this way.
Register now.

Dialogue and Developing Self
1 September 2015, Glasgow City Chambers
Anne Dickson will help the Dialogue Community of Practice to focus on emotion and resilience.
Register now.

Moral Dilemmas in the Public Services
21 January 2016, Edinburgh
Prof. Paul Hoggett will lead this session, drawing attention to contradictions and paradox in the Public Services
Register now.

New Dialogue Resources

We have added a few new dialogue related resources on Workforce Scotland on the Knowledge Hub, including an article and slides provided by Chris Rodgers. 

We are really excited about the production of a short Introduction to Dialogue animation which will help people new to the concept, get a handle on what working this way is all about.  The animation will be available on our Vimeo Channel in April along with stage one of a two stage documentary capturing the journey of Midlothian Partnership using dialogue approaches to integrate Health and Social Care.  Stage two will be filmed in December illustrating what happened…
New Dialogue Practice Development  Groups

In January 2015, we formed three Dialogue Practice Development Groups for beginners and experienced practitioners. We hope to start several new Practice Groups in September, again for both beginners and those more experienced in Dialogue. If you are interested in joining a practice group, please register your interest here before the end of July 2015.
Want to know more?

If you have questions or queries on any of the resources or interventions mentioned about, please email
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