Are You A Conversational Organization?

Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation™ approach can get you there. One of the realities of corporate life is that office technology leads us to make a Faustian bargain with everyday office technology: What we gain from “always on” efficiency and responsiveness because of our digital devices is compromised by what we lose because of the isolation, disengagement and distraction that comes with digital life. Sherry Turkle calls our work dilemma that of “pilots in the cockpit.” Too often, we are too busy communicating online to have the conversations that count – on the phone or face-to-face. At every level, people find ways to move telephone or in-person conversations to screens on which they feel less vulnerable and more in control.

Sherry makes an impassioned case for pivoting back to conversation-based relationships. The ultimate aim is to become a conversational organization that values empathy, authenticity and engagement. The conversational organization also values relational over transactional encounters. When employees recognize the difference, they understand when an email offers little value and a telephone call delivers what they need. Everyone in the organization is in a better position to choose the right tool for a job.

The conversational organization leaves space for vulnerability on the path to learning instead of holding out the false promise of perfection as an ideal. And it understands that the capacity for solitude and the capacity for relationship and conversation go together.

With these underpinnings, employees will be more effective at relationships as they develop a competence for attention and focus. They will thrive – and so will your business.