I have the opportunity to work with very interesting people, and invariably they recommend very interesting books. Edith van den Anker suggested “The quantum leader”. A cracking book. In one chapter, the author describes in a beautiful way, why dialogue is so powerful and links dialogue and questioning to quantum physics. And explains, by extension, why Bookbuzz is so powerful. Thank you Edith.
Bookbuzz sessions are designed to expand the thinking of the executive team around specific business topics and develop a number of ideas and solutions within 4 hours, using books, dialogue and slow flow as the tools.
Questions create reality
“Why?” questions are critical to the whole scientific spirit, which is a spirit of endless inquiry. In quantum science, Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle established that asking questions actually creates reality. Questions pluck possibilities from the infinite sea of potentiality (the quantum vacuum) and turn them into actualities.
A quantum organisation is a questioning organisation
Everyone in the organisation is encouraged to think and to question. Dialogue is a method to think and question. Properly understood and practised, the dialogue process and the dialogue group are a practical tool with which companies can make the transition from old thinking and less effective business practices to new being and doing.
The history of dialogue
The history of dialogue is important. Its origins go back to ancient Athens. It was the primary teaching method used by Socrates, the method immortalised in Plato’s famous dialogues. The word dialogue itself is Greek, coming from dia and logos. Dia means “through,” or “by way of.” Logos has traditionally been translated as “word,” so dia-logos would mean “through words,” “through talking.” But there is an earlier and more original Greek meaning of logos. It is translated as “relationship.” Dialogos is “through relationship.”
In ancient Greece, whenever there was an important issue to be considered, the citizens would meet in the agora, the marketplace, and hold a dialogue about it—for hours, for days if necessary, until they had seen some way through. Each question was intended to undercut some assumption or prejudice or false belief in the last answer. That allowed the emergence of collective insight, collective wisdom, and a non-confrontational way of solving problems.
Dialogue is infrastructure
The word dialogue is familiar to most of us. Most people think they engage in dialogue whenever they engage in conversation, or at least whenever they have a good discussion or a good debate. The author describes dialogue as a very particular process of thinking together and a powerful group exercise by which members can grow new neural connections. Used in a corporate context, a dialogue group can be a crucial infrastructure for any thinking or learning organisation. An infrastructure through which the corporate brain can rewire itself continuously.
Dialogue is enrichment
Like good quantum thinking, dialogue makes us surface and challenge our assumptions. It leads to us changing our existing mental models, to reframing. It is a structure that dissolves previous structures. Dialogue is not necessarily about reaching consensus. It is about everyone emerging enriched.
Dialogue can change companies
Bohm saw that it was a particularly quantum approach to conversation, where ambiguity, the celebration and exploration of many points of view (“potentialities”), the holding of many points of view in one non-confrontational conversation gained real power. It was taken up by the MIT Learning Center and featured strongly in Peter Senge’s best-selling The Fifth Discipline. Bill Isaacs, a young protégé of Bohm’s, began the MIT Dialogue Project and took the practice into big companies. Today it is practised widely, and the practice is spreading. “We can think of companies as networks of power or hierarchy, or we can think of them as networks of conversation. Dialogue can change companies.”
Dialogue is an attitude
Dialogue is more than just a special kind of conversation. Dialogue is essentially an attitude. It is part of the new quantum worldview, quantum thinking in practice. If deep inside ourselves and in our approach to others. If we replaced knowing with finding out, answers with questions, inequality with equality, power with respect and reverence, and proving points with exploring possibilities and listening, then we really could change ourselves and our world.
The quantum self is a whole chorus of conversations and personalities. Dialogue groups can allow you to listen in a new way. Dialogue groups are powerful vehicles for organisational learning and transformation. They are a way of evoking, and embedding quantum thinking, and thus form a useful “quantum infrastructure.”
You can start your dialogue group and book here.