Here in Calgary over the past month or two we have been seeing the most amazing skies. I am fortunate to live in a spot where I can really see them, and almost daily I have been stopping to look up in wonder and take pictures. Skies, like people, can be extremely moody. In the shot below the dark moodiness is contrasted by the sunny yellow of the car hood (in case you are wondering, a 1972 MGB). The darkness serves as a warning, and the bright hood reminds us to be optimistic.
If we are collaborating with others in decision making we may have very different perspectives and moods about our circumstances. We must heed the warnings and listen to people’s concerns, and we must stay focussed on our goal and the rewards difficult collaboration can bring. When we are able to learn from all perspectives and work together to reach an innovative goal which meets all needs, we are experiencing co-construction.
Nathalie Feuiltault is a Business Transformation and Human Behavior Specialist. Nathalie is currently pursuing doctoral research about co-construction. We were very fortunate last June to have Nathalie join us a at a Workplace Fairness luncheon to speak about co-construction.
Michelle and I practice co-construction all the time when we finish each other’s sentences – you have probably experienced that. Wikipedia too, could be considered a form of co-construction of learning (as it acknowledges itself). In the workplace, it is beneficial to be more strategic with collaboration so that you can mine the collective intelligence of the group. At our June luncheon, Nathalie offered us 4 steps for Co-Construction:
- Appreciate. Focus on the positive, and strive to make it enjoyable. Practice mindfulness exercises. Be present and positive. Music and movement help.
- Dream. Act as If. Describe your outcomes as if they already exist. Visit the future. Imagine a goal met. What does it look like? Feel like? What do you see? Hear?
- Construct. Look to the past, and imagine key steps that get you to your goals. Move backwards to explore what you did to get you to the goal. What are the 3 key steps?
- Commit & Realize. Look at yourself from the outside to see what you did, and share the outcome. Sharing makes it feel more real.
Nathalie is a very engaging speaker who had us up and about exploring the look, feel and sound of collective intelligence. She helped us explore capabilities of group intelligence:
- Mindfulness, and the capability to think systemically
- Innovativeness and the willingness and capability to try different things
- Connectedness and the capability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally.
We experienced it, saw it and heard it with Nathalie’s expert facilitation.
If you are interested in exploring co-construction and Appreciative Inquiry further, here are a few references for you:
- Gervais Busch: Foundations of Appreciative Inquiry: History, Criticism, and Potential.
- How the 4-D Process Works.
- Why Appreciative Inquiry Works (excerpt from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change by Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom).