I’ve long harboured a secret desire. It’s to offer a workshop with a guarantee of dissatisfaction.
The rather wonderful book, The Power of Discord, offers substantial justification for this counter-intuitive offer. The authors argue that in healthy parent-infant relationships, the baby and parent are only in harmony about 30% of the time. The rest of the time there is discord. The crucial thing is that in good relationships, both parent and child respond with a series of gestures to try and restore harmony. It’s a kind of negotiation of energy.
The book argues that many of us, as adults, respond to discord not by exploring ways to reconnect, but by various kinds of avoidance or aggression. I think we’re conditioned by social media and advertising to expect a greater degree of perfection than reality can permit.
Organisations have tools and processes that seem to imply that harmony is just a question of following a procedure, rather than… improvising. And then we either get bogged down in those increasingly bureaucractic processes. Or we act out. Or we resort to politeness and dropping hints.
The best groups come to life when they’re able to explore dissatisfaction more boldly than that. When something isn’t working, or we’re not comfortable, the person who names it can create a launchpad for some exciting learning. I’d like to suggest that as part of the spirit of my new Jaffa Groups.