coherence ::

1. the quality or state of cohering: as

a : a systematic or logical connection or consistency
b : integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values
2. the property of being coherent <a plan that lacks coherence>

How can we best surface our gifts and strengths?

How can we engage in meaningful work that motivates us through the elements of autonomy, mastery and purpose?

How do we amplify the strengths of our peers and cocreators?

How do we appreciate those strengths and align with them in order to build dynamic, high-performance, and highly coherent work teams?

As I’m participating in projects more and more with people across disciplines and boundaries, we’re experimenting with new ways to ask and answer these questions.

In December I ran a Fusion event in California with David Hodgson, Kirstin Ohm, and Adam Scislowicz. When the even was done, David suggested an exercise for us to show our gratitude and appreciate for the things we noticed as the inherent talents of the others.

We distributed 5 points per person in any combination to rank the person’s “superpowers” (performance, attitude, awareness, etc). We logged these responses into a google spreadsheet with the following columns:

[person giving] / [personal receiving] / [experience points] / [gifts acknowledged] / [assessment]

Then we hopped on a google hangout and shared our thoughts with each other and gave specific examples about when we saw each person’s gifts shine.

A few great things came of this process.

For one, it was fun. I’d never been challenged before to identify people’s natural gifts in this way — usually it’s just the opposite – you’re asked to examine the “failures” and figure out “what went wrong.” There were things that didn’t go as planned during the event, but starting our session with appreciation for each others’ efforts created a safe environment for being open and honest. We were then able to honestly discuss the things that played out suboptimally, and then described scenarios for how we could handle that type of situation more effectively in the future.

Secondly, it helped me to better understand our ‘tribe dynamics’ – how our personalities and styles can actually amplify the overall performance of the team, if acknowledged and understood coherently.

And lastly, it taught me more about myself. I’m finding it very interesting to learn that the way I see myself, or the things I think I bring to the table, are not always the things that others acknowledge or appreciate in me. Some of the acknowledgements i was given in this exercise were “story weaving,” “emergent facilitation,” and “completion,” all of which I would probably rate myself as a novice or apprentice. And yet these were the hidden gems that they could see were waiting to be polished up and brought forth.

I plan to continue participating in this type of process, not just on co-facilitated events or projects, but on a regular basis as I’m interacting with the people in my learning community. Participating in these feedback loops and productive discussions accelerates all of our learning. We get clarity on who we really are and where we excel, receive continuous feedback from trusted peers and mentors, and generally get a better understanding of ourselves, each other, and the dynamics between them.

In the larger context of the creative economy that we’re bootstrapping, these kinds of practices seem to be part of the foundational structure that will build trust and cultivate the kind of culture that is favorable for the kinds of change we want to see in the world.

further exploring:

The Gabriel Institute – role-based assessments / organizational dynamics / technology of teaming

Drive – Daniel Pink