Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Conversational flocculant

Dispersion is a distinguishing feature of so-called 'sodic' soils.

When a clump of sodic soil (a clay material) is placed in a beaker of water and stirred, the colloids disperse and discolour the water. If you've ever owned a chlorinated swimming pool you'll also be familiar with the milky cloudiness that can become more prominent over time.

The addition of gypsum to sodic soils causes the dispersed particles to clump together, and so it is possible to have structure emerge where 'slumping' has been the trend beforehand.

Last week, our business re-explored its approach to 'strategic conversation'. With the expert assistance of one of the our former associate directors (also one of the most gifted strategic conversationalists around), we began to dig deep into the stories of people within our business in the creation of new meaning, and directed action informed by those acts.

Strategic conversation allows us to walk into confusing and complex situations, to look at what is going on, to look at where we are at (and want to be), and to see crystallisation emerge out of cloudiness, meaning emerge out of apparent noise. I put it to Dave that his toolkit functions in many ways as a 'conversational flocculant'.

Dave's art is not to tell people the solution: his art is to help them see what is already there, to look it at it in fresh ways, and to hypothesise ways forward as they work together, reading their surrounds with wisdom, patience, love and resolve.

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