Create a Safe Container
Generative Dialogue begins with a safe container – a space where participants develop mutual trust because they are encouraged to speak openly and candidly without repercussion. This can sometimes be challenging – especially in a business environment where it’s often not easy to speak your mind – particularly in front of the boss. Yet if the atmosphere is such that people cannot speak honestly, trust will not be attained and Generative Dialogue will not be achieved. Moreover, creativity will be hindered.
Employees must be able to engage with one another and their superiors without fear. It is therefore imperative that senior leadership model the behavior they desire from the people in their organization – regardless of whether these senior leaders are sponsors of or participants in the Dialogue. Making a commitment and taking accountability to listen and speak openly — encouraging an open exchange of ideas within a framework of respect and understanding inspires your employees to do the same. You must therefore respect and have the willingness to listen and understand different points of view — valuing those differing views — whether you agree with them or not.
As a senior leader, your demonstration of trust, candor, respect and understanding will have a ripple out effect. Once your employees experience that it is safe to speak their truths and be candid with one another without consequence, trust begins to develop within the organization.
And once trust is developed, innovation soars because more trustful partners invest more fully in the group, maximizing their joint creativity. This stated by an innovation survey published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers where trust was identified as a key characteristic of the most innovative companies.