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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #175

Welcome to this week's newsletter. A weekly email exploring provocations, links and ideas about Leade
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #175
By Tom Barrett • Issue #175 • View online
Welcome to this week’s newsletter. A weekly email exploring provocations, links and ideas about Leadership, Learning and Innovation.
I appreciate you being here, it is a privilege to be able to share directly to your inbox. But if you want to leave, simply unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of the email.
Today a mental model, inspired from an optics metaphor used in ethnography, that explores our perception and understanding of behaviour. Use it as part of your team’s developmental dialogue and process.

Seeing through a lens
We all bring a different perspective to the challenges we face. My story and my experience is my bias. Recognising this foundational truth to collaboration is an important step.
Explore with your team the lenses that can be held up to view the situation you are in. Consider the lenses that are present in your group and those perspectives not immediately present.
However we are not just looking through a lens, we are attempting to see. Consider what it takes to shift our perspective and reveal gaps in our understanding. Follow your curiosity and deepen your understanding of alternative perspectives.
Your Talking Points
  • How does my bias impact what I see here?
  • Are we all using the same lens on this situation?
  • What combination of lenses might offer something new?
  • Which lenses are more opaque to us?
  • Which perspective should be represented more clearly?
Hold up a mirror
A further step is to hold up a mirror and consider our own participation in an issue, problem or challenge. Am I part of the problem?
When we look back, at first, we may identify the role we play or acknowledge our influence on an issue. We may reflect on the positive, negative or neutral impact we have on a situation.
When we look closer and see ourselves, we increase self-awareness which is an important trigger for learning and growth. Reflexivity is that circular loop of seeing and changing because we see.
Look through a lens, but hold up a mirror too.
Your Talking Points
  • How does this situation provoke my thinking?
  • What am I noticing my thinking is drifting to?
  • How might I change as a result of this?
  • What harm might I be causing?
  • This has helped me to change because…
What's in the shadows?
Ethnographic studies of human behaviour often refer to the goal, to uncover the unmet needs or poorly defined issues. For our model here we describe that as exploring what is in the shadows.
These are issues or challenges at the root of behaviour. However they may be masked, obscured or in shadow from everyone. With your team explore the shadows and consider what is poorly represented, unspoken or missing from your dialogue and discussion.
It is a challenge to see what is cloaked and obfuscated. This takes time. Commit to your inquiry and use a range of data sources to reveal more and more. Perhaps data becomes your torch exploring and illuminating the shadow.
Your Talking Points
  • I blind spot for me is…
  • What are we not paying attention to?
  • How do we know this is the right problem to be solving?
  • What is distracting our attention here?
  • If we looked in the opposite direction what might we see?
See through a lens ~ Hold up a mirror ~ Explore the shadows.
Thanks for reading this week. Let me know what resonates.
In dialogue we trust.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

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