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Joy, fear, vulnerability and trust in groups that lead : a storied account and call to action MacIver, Kenneth A. 2005

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Joy, fear, vulnerability and trust in groups that lead A storied account and call to action by Kenneth A. Maclver B.A., Mt. Allison University, 1974 M.P.A., University of Victoria, 1985 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Educational Leadership and Policy) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 2005 © Kenneth Alexander Maclver, 2005 Abstract This first-person, narrative and autobiographical-based study is intended to contribute to better understanding of building trust in groups that lead in service sector organizations. The groups in question include committees, teams, task forces, and executive groups. Success in building trust comes when a group cycles through six elements of a systems model. The model emerged from evidence I gathered from a population of fifty-seven research participants, most of whom dedicated at least eight hours to this work. The first three elements in the model are: planning and initiating trust, undertaking activities to earn trust, and creating a trust space. The trust space is created through the internalization of openness, deep listening, common passion and purpose, and shared responsibility. The pivotal fourth element involves an individual group member making a 'leap of faith'. The leap of faith requires exposure to vulnerability, risk-taking and uncertainty. The leap results in successful trust-building only where the group in question embraces the leap, thereby shifting vulnerability from the individual to the group. Groups that achieve group trust have 'fields' or auras radiating amongst group members: group identity, group bond and psychological safety. They also evidence the states of group success, cooperation and connection. Thus group members can go from the fear associated with vulnerability to the joy and release that come with success. With success, there is also an increased likelihood of group members participating in peak group experiences: generative dialogue, synergy, high performance, fusion of horizons, flow and common consciousness. The functions and roles taken on by trusting groups that lead include: performing leadership functions, contributing to a climate of trust in a larger organization, and providing individual leaders with support. I contemplate the model potentially applying to any type of service sector group that leads while noting that the model is not exclusive; there may well be other models and approaches to building trust in groups. The limitations in my study's research population mean that the only groups that I can directly postulate from the research as likely to build trust through the leap of faith are groups made up of knowledge workers. Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Table of Figures vi Dedication vii Acknowledgements vii CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Purpose and Intended Audience 1 1.2 Personal Significance, Passion and Privilege 4 1.3 My Perspective and My Pain 12 1.4 Where to From Here 13 CHAPTER TWO: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 16 2.1 Introduction :16 2.1.1 Telling my story through autoethnography 17 2.1.2 Telling the stories of others through narrative Inquiry 20 2.1.3 The Goldilocks Challenge 22 2.1.4 Ethnography through Observation 24 2.1.5 Validity 25 2.2 My Specific Methodology 26 2.2.1 The Three Stages 26 2.2.2 My Decision to Limit Research Participants 30 2.2.3 The Pluses and Predispositions Associated with RRU Learners 33 2.2.4 Focus Groups Readings and Atmosphere 36 2.3. Summary and Linkage 40 CHAPTER THREE: LITERATURE REVIEW 41 3.1 Introduction 41 3.2 Key Ideas as I Started Out 41 3.2.1 Leadership 41 3.2.2 Groups and Group Development 54 3.2.3 Systems thinking 66 3.2.4 Dialogue and Discourse 73 3.2.5 Personal and Interpersonal Factors 78 3.3. Focusing Specifically on Trust 85 3.3.1 Trust and Faith 85 3.3.2 Risk, Uncertainty and Vulnerability 88 3.3.3 Psychological Safety 90 3.3.4 The Extra-Rational and Non-Rational 91 3.3.5 Identity and Attachment, Trust and Cooperation 94 3.3.6 Swift Trust 97 iii 3.4. Summary and Next Chapter 98 CHAPTER FOUR: KEY FINDINGS ABOUT BUILDING TRUST IN GROUPS 100 4.1 Introduction 100 4.2 Describing Trust in Groups 101 4.2.1 Metaphors for Group Trust 101 4.2.2 Vulnerability: One Payoff for Trust 102 4.2.3 Getting the Job Done: A Second Payoff 104 4.2.4 The Sources of Trust 105 4.2.5 Levels of Trust 107 4.3 The Trust Space and the Results of Trust ...108 4.3.1 Four Practices and Three Fields 108 4.3.2 Six Processes to Achieve the Trust Space 111 4.4 Summary 116 CHAPTER FIVE: TEN STORIES ABOUT BUILDING TRUST IN GROUPS 118 5.1 Introduction 118 5.2 Trusting Groups that Lead by Generating "Fields" 119 5.2.1 Adrienne's Story 120 5.2.2 Ervin's Story: 122 5.2.3 Terry and Shauna's Linked Stories: 125 5.3 Trusting Groups that Support and Mitigate Loneliness 131 5.3.1 Pam's Story: 131 5.3.2 Linda's Story: 134 5.4 Trusting Groups that Lead by Ideas or Direction 136 5.4.1 Donald's Story: 136 5.4.2 Donna's Story 141 5.4.3 Joan's Story: 144 5.4.4 Erika's Story: 147 5.5 Summary 152 CHAPTER SIX: THE SYSTEMS MODEL FOR TRUST-BUILDING IN GROUPS 154 6.1 Introduction 154 6.2 Foundational Description of the Six Element Model 155 6.2.1 The Six Elements in the Model 155 6.2.2 Examples of Part 1 of the Six Element Model 193 6.3 The Three-dimensional Version of the Six Element Model 197 6.3.1 The Theory : 197 6.3.2 Detailed Examples of the Upward Spiral 204 6.4 Summary and Where to From Here 208 CHAPTER SEVEN: LIVING MY LEARNING: THE MODEL AND ITS APPLICATION TO RRU FACULTY AND THE UBC COHORT 209 7.1 Introduction 209 7.2 RRU Faculty: a Real-live Illustration of Layering 211 iv 7.3 My UBC Cohort: a Real-live, Present day Illustration of the Model and of Layering 220 C H A P T E R E I G H T : C O N C L U S I O N AND T H E R O A D A H E A D 243 8.1 Introduction 243 8.2 My Personal Journey and Commitment 244 8.3 Major Conclusions 247 8.4 Implications for Future Research 249 8.5 Implications for Members of the Academy and Others: A Call to Action 250 8.6 Where to from Here? Seeing and Exploring the Possibilities 252 R E F E R E N C E S : 255 APPENDICES 263 Appendix #1: A Summary of the Five Stories Sent to Stage Two Focus Group Participants263 Appendix #2: The Mechanics of the Phase Two Focus Group Process 277 Appendix #3: More Detail on the Systems and Dialogue Models 296 Appendix # 5: The Story within the Stories: Trust in the Focus Groups 314 Appendix #6: 19 Questions asked in the Focus Groups 327 Appendix #7: A Speculative Matrix on the Leadership Functions of Groups that Lead: What We Need our Groups that Lead to do 331 Appendix # 8: Graphic Illustrations of the Model from the Stage Three Face to Face Focus Group 333 Appendix # 9: The Six Elements of Trust-Building Model Illustrating Stories Told in the Dissertation but not Diagrammed in the Text 337 v Table of Figures Diagram 3-1: Blanchard et al. model 57 Diagram 3-2: Katzenbach and Smith, 1993 59 Diagram 3-3: Senge's reinforcing loops process 71 Diagram 3-4: Trust model: Korsgaard et al 95 Diagram 6-1: The Six Element Model for Building Trust in Groups: Foundations 158 Diagram 6-2: Peter's MALT story 194 Diagram 6-3: The Story relating to my People-oriented UBC course 196 Diagram 6-4: The Six Element Model for Building Trust in Groups: Systems Loops... 198 Diagram 6-5: Erika's story 205 Diagram 6-6: Joan's story 207 vi Dedication To Gail Maclver, whose patience, support and love throughout this project kept "the dream" alive. Acknowledgements This dissertation is the result of the ideas, experience, support and hard work of more people than I can name. The contributions, interest and encouragement from the forty-one research participants and my former teaching colleagues at Royal Roads University were huge. They got involved, they took risks and many of them spent way, way more than the predicted minimum of eight hours. Special acknowledgment also goes to Sherri Kreutler, who turned my circles and squiggles into the prototype of a highly presentable model, and to Garnet Grosjean for his help in formatting and his cheerful confidence in my work. Thanks to my committee, who waded their way through many lengthy drafts of this material. My supervisor, Don Fisher, kept me on the straight and narrow despite my best attempts to self-destruct on the dangerous shoals of still more research and matrices and analysis. Don's introducing me to the writing of Guido Mollering and his unfailing good spirits were essential parts of my process. Daniel Vokey modeled how powerful dissertation research could be with his inspiring work on discourse. He also provided detailed, helpful commentary, a small portion of which is acknowledged in footnotes, and dreamed up a title that was way, way better than any I had thought of. Wendy Poole asked incredibly important questions (e.g. The chicken and egg: which comes first, task or process? Does this research represent a moral imperative for you?), rooted out my many logical flaws, and pointed me in a whole new direction in terms of sequence. In sum, she filled in the part of my brain that is missing. Jo-Ann Archibald inspired me with her teaching, her use of circle and narrative, her integrity, and her calm, spiritual, emotionally supportive presence. She was a conscience when I was too anxious to move ahead, provided quiet, firm reminders of my problems with quantity, and gave me words of encouragement as I experimented with my writing style. Even with grown children, I owe a great deal to my immediate family. I wish to thank Corey Maclver for doing the first round of proof-reading and for the clear statements about my lack of clarity. I want to acknowledge Erin Maclver for her contributions to the model and also to Erin and her brother Jamie Maclver for listening to my endless talk about this research. Finally, I owe a massive debt for finishing this dissertation to my wife, Gail Maclver, who was always there, who juggled finances, and who read drafts of everything. Lastly, thanks are owing to the 2001 EdD 'Buffalo' cohort, whose inspiration and support were truly immeasurable. That contribution is chronicled throughout the dissertation. The cohort is a major reason I am sitting here writing these words. My story became our story during the course of these last four years. Thank you to all members of the cohort for your endless encouragement, your lovingly critical commentary, your reflections on the cohort experience, and a real opportunity to live group trust together. Special thanks to the three J's, Jeanie Cockell, Joan McArthur-Blair, and Jennifer Rodrigues, for assisting me in finally starting to understand power and privilege. CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Purpose and Intended Audience A moment in time from my doctoral studies at UBC: "So, how direct were you? " Those were my wife Gail's anxious first words when I called her immediately after the Monday morning doctoral student group meeting. The group in question was a project group in a research course in the program of which this dissertation is the culmination. "Well", I said, "I was the first person to speak out about us possibly moving too fast and I did push a bit. But it was Jean who specifically took the lead in telling Doug that his full-blown production might not work for us. So this time I didn't have to do the conflict stuff all by myself... " While this moment may not sound very auspicious, the group referred to above became a highly trusting group. The story of how that trust developed is woven throughout this chapter in italic type. The purpose of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of how we can build trust in groups that lead in service sector organizations. The groups in question include committees, teams, task forces, executive groups and other forward-looking, deliberative, information-sharing or problem-solving groups in organizations. Investing in building group trust can result in group achievement of three group states: cooperation, success and connection. These group states contribute to the increased likelihood of group members personally participating in peak group experiences. Peak group experiences include generative dialogue, synergy, high performance, fusion of horizons, flow, and common consciousness. Such peak experiences make it more likely that the organizations which contain these groups can sustain, continually improve and re-create themselves. Through these peak group experiences, groups can contribute in positive, memorable ways to our organizations and our lives. Group trust-building is a process that hinges on our demonstrating and embracing one or more leaps of faith. Any such leaps of faith expose those of us who make the initial leap to personal vulnerability, uncertainty and risk. One way to make these leaps likely to occur and to 'take' is to internalize key group practices or ways of being with each other, such as 1 shared responsibility. This creates a group 'trust space'. Various and sundry forms of procedural justice can assist groups in establishing the trust space. Webster's Online says a group is "a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship."1 Robbins calls a group "two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who come together to achieve particular objectives" (Robbins, 1991, p. 274). For the purposes of this dissertation, a group is two or more people with some reason for gathering collectively. Groups can lead through performing leadership-related functions, through modeling a climate of trust and through providing support to leaders. Groups that lead through this type of performance, modeling or support contribute to direction-setting, empowerment, coaching and front line connection in our organizations. I have three primary audiences for this work, all within the service sector or service industry. The service sector is "that part of the economy that creates services rather than tangible objects"2. One of my primary service sector audiences is an academic and professional audience. This audience includes those people who populate the many groups that make critical leadership decisions in postsecondary academic institutions: the tenure, recruiting, admission, curriculum, ethical and other committees that will help determine the future of our knowledge and information-related organizations. It also includes the technical experts who make up committees tasked with leadership functions in professional organizations. These people include many whose main problem in team building is that, "as a profession... they don't view people skills as relevant" (Goleman, 1998, p. 230). My second primary audience is organizational professionals who, like me, work with and study groups for a living. For Peter Block, consulting professionals working in organizations "are constantly bombarded with pressure to be clever and indirect and ignore what we are feeling at the moment". Block added that the "desire to be successful can lead us into playing roles and adopting behaviors that are internally alien and represent some loss of ourselves" (Block, 2000, p. 11). 1 "group" in Merriam-Webster Online, last viewed December 15, 2004. 2 "service industry" in Britannica Online, last viewed December 15, 2004 2 A relatively small population in the service sector is my third primary audience. These are people with long experience at, a high degree of sophistication about, and deep interest in, group process and concepts. These service sector members have an interest in these processes and concepts being constructively applied in their organizations. The latter group would include the focus group members who contributed in such an outstanding way to this study and who could be exemplars of the leadership from within that is vital to the future of service sector organizations. The service sector is now the dominant one in North American society: ... in the United States and other highly industrialized nations, the service sector of the economy became the chief employer in the 20th century. By the 1950s the number of people engaged in service occupations in the United States exceeded the number of those employed in industry, and the proportion increased thereafter... Work in the service sector is highly diverse, including everything from cleaning workers to business consultants, from truck drivers to financiers, from fast-food waiters to maitres d'hotel, from office clerks to advertising executives, from kindergarten teachers to university professors, from nurses' aides to surgeons, and government employees... That sector, particularly the information component of it, will continue to evolve in ways that we can only speculate on at this juncture: The next society will be a knowledge society. Knowledge will be its key resource and knowledge workers will be the dominant group in its workforce. Its three main characteristics will be borderlessness... upward mobility... (and the) potential for failure as well as success. Anyone can acquire the 3"work, history of the organization o f in Britannica Online, last viewed December 15, 2004 means of production, i.e. the knowledge required for the job, but not everyone can win. (Drucker, 2002, p. 237-8) Thus, we are at an important confluence between the opportunity and the need for trusting groups in the service sector in North America. 1.2 Personal Significance, Passion and Privilege My reasons for undertaking this dissertation go far beyond an academic purpose, intended audiences and the future of the service sector. The subject matter of this dissertation has deep significance for me personally. First, it represents the intersection of my personal passion and my personal privilege. Second, through this dissertation, I explain and defend my deeply held moral belief in the importance and value of people simply because they are human beings. Thirdly, this dissertation provides me with the opportunity to take a personal leap of faith. This leap of faith involves me demonstrating some of the very vulnerability, risk-taking and uncertainty that I am examining. Back to the moment in time from my doctoral studies at UBC: The Monday morning group meeting and subsequent conversation with Gail came after I had spent the better part of a weekend doing something quite different from what is typically described in the handbooks that are meant to prepare us for graduate school. What was I doing that weekend? I was dedicating substantial time and considerable emotional energy to stewing about the state of the group in question. In so doing, I kept coming back time and time again to my high degree offrustration with myself and with the group. At the group level my frustration was about a group struggling with the completion of a major assignment in a mandatory course in my doctoral program. At that same group level my frustration was also about being a member of such a talented high-potential group and thus being partly responsible for the group possibly wasting that talent and that potential by not really involving everyone in our work together. I was sure we would be wasting ourselves if we fell prey to "premature task focus " in the group. At another level altogether my frustration was deeply personal and all about not feeling heard. That was the level and source of frustration that was hard to acknowledge as a supposedly mature adult. Why? Well, one result of my not feeling heard was that I had allowed myself to essentially return to being a small boy. Returning to our small selves is so easy when we experience negative emotion. In my case, the small self I returned to was the childhood self which was devastated to see his family of origin torn apart by alcoholism, a victim mentality, rage, failed dreams and unresolved conflict. The small self I returned to 4 was also the lonely boy who sat on the outside looking at groups at play in my elementary school playground. As a child deeply battered by emotional abuse at home, and held back by shyness, awkwardness, shame about what went on in my home, and a sense of being a 'boffin' and 'different', Ifelt very much left out in those days. Thus I spent my early years with my family group and school mate groups as someone "on the outside looking in ". I did so in what were for me two separate worlds: the ugly abusive battleground at home and the playground Ijust didn't seem to fit in to at the elementary school. There was still another side to my deep personal frustration. This was the side that reflected my life of privilege. Since my early teenage years in a largely white, Anglo-Saxon middle class community in Montreal, I had been privileged to gradually assume positions of leadership in orderly, well-supported school and community groups. The shy, awkward child grew into a tall man with a deep voice who naturally led others and who won a Rhodes Scholarship. I won the Scholarship in significant measure based on my exceptional leadership of creativity within, and success with groups. Later I became an internationally-called upon consultant who provided coaching advice to corporate CEO's and government executives on how to work with their executive teams and other groups. I also became a university instructor who filled classrooms with students energized by the combination of my ideas, my passion, my belief in people and my capacity to structure positive group learning experiences. I was now accustomed to being heard. It felt odd and 'wrong' to feel discounted. The highly emotional state that I was in that weekend, right in the midst of learning many of the specific research skills that have informed this dissertation, reflected the profound ongoing impact of those early life and later group experiences. My letting go, acknowledging, recognizing and giving in to that raw, heartfelt emotion also, in the end, contributed to the development of a high degree of trust in that group... Passion, privilege, and morality are central concepts that require brief elaboration. "Passion" is what motivates, excites and drives me. My passion goes far beyond mere interest and involves real commitment, deep curiosity and a desire to make the world a better place in which to live, be, and work. I try to live my life consistent with the statement in a recent prominent business best seller: "We should only do those things that we can get passionate about" (Collins, 2001, p. 109). Thus my passion is my most fundamental driving force. "Privilege" can be defined as "a right or immunity granted as a particular benefit, advantage or favor" (Webster, 1971, p. 677). Privilege is a word that I have come to relate to myself relatively late in life, owing in significant measure to the influence of my colleagues Jennifer 5 Rodrigues, Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair in the EdD cohort. In my youth it was easy for me to label and condemn certain behaviors of others as unearned privilege. It has been harder to acknowledge my unearned privileges growing up as a white middle class male. I am conscious that my privileged status is in stark contrast with the destructive and abused parts of my life and constitutes one of the paradoxes of my life. The "moral" part of "morality" is synonymous with "ethical, virtuous, righteous and noble" (Webster, 1971, p. 550). "Moral judgments attribute moral value to something in pronouncing it morally right or wrong... We commonly designate as moral those values that we believe ought to take priority over other considerations in guiding action" (Vokey, 2001, p. 2). What values should take priority over others in guiding actions is, of course, a much-debated matter and varies according to our personal points of view. My base of passion, my position of privilege and my moral judgment combine with my experience of deeply felt personal hurt and my belief in taking action. From the interaction of these forces, I derive my belief in people: it is right and good, in and of itself, to improve the way we treat and work with others in groups. My belief in people is well expressed by the Peter Finch character, Howard Beale, in the movie Network (Gottfried and Lumet, 1976). The charismatic Beale cries out over the TV airwaves that we are "human beings, God damn it!" and evokes a heart-felt, even fevered, response from audience members who feel ignored as people. People in organizational and group settings are capable of more than many of them are experiencing: Many organizations are a puzzle put together in a darkened room. Each piece is clumsily squeezed into place and then the edges are ground down so that they feel well positioned.... Eight out often employees feel they are miscast. Eight out of ten employees never have the chance to reveal the best of themselves. They suffer for it, their organization suffers, and their customers 6 suffer. Their health, their friends and their family suffer. (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001, p. 245). Our ability to build trust in groups in organizations will affect everything from organizational survival to public support and success of service sector organizations to personal health4 and esteem. Having trust in groups will enable members of those groups to keep returning to work day after day. This is because members of trusting groups can have sustainable learning, personal development and networking experiences (Senge et al., 1999). The process, people, conflict-related, and task aspects of group development are ultimately connected, intertwined and interactive. In other words, they are a connected system. Seeing the system requires that we see the "wholeness" and stop dividing "the perceived world into separate objects" (Capra, 1996, p. 294). This means that the right focus on process, people and conflict can provide a way of getting a task done much better than it typically is done before we have this focus. The development of trust and the associated displays of personal vulnerability do have practical payoffs. Trusting groups will be increasingly cooperative and thence effective (Korsgaard et al., 2003). However, understanding trust in groups requires that we shift our attention "from objects to relationships" (Capra, 1996, p. 37). The part where we focus on task completion gives us a sharpness, an edge relating to the "willingness to make tough decisions" (Tichy, 1997, p. 153). Task completion also provides another purpose to the development of process, the treatment of people and the values-based resolution of conflict. Absent a task focus, group process could drift and become self-serving, as in the 'country club management style' (low concern for the task, high concern for the people, see Blanchard et al., 1986) that can be totally ineffective if people have not previously been led to develop a sufficient focus on task. While I will not fully agree that 4 The health issues associated with certain group and organizational practices are very real. More research will emerge on this in coming years, I suspect. vanOyen Witvliet et al. (2001), for example, reported on health issues associated with "social relationships marred by interpersonal offences" (p. 117). In results dovetailing with what they referred to as the psychophysiology literature and focusing on blood pressure, among other things, harboring grudges ("chronic unforgiving responses") was shown to increase physiological stress. On the other hand, forgiving thoughts "prompted greater perceived control and comparatively lower physiological stress responses" (p. 117). 7 the sole primary objective of a work-team is the performance challenge the group is assigned (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 12), I will suggest as part of the belief in people . that we cannot abandon a task focus in our groups—that a task focus, properly guided through appropriate group process, is exactly what you need to fully engage people in group process. Moreover, in a practical sense, a task focus is needed to make group processes sustainable economically. Back to the doctoral studies group. The four of us in the group had playfully initially called ourselves the "leftover group ". The three other groups set up in the research class had been based on a common area of interest (e.g., in narrative or in a particular research process). What our group had in common was two levels of difference. The superficial difference was in our immediate research interests: Jeanie in exploration of her story, Doug and Jean in doing interviews and myself in the observation function. The more profound differences were in the juxtaposition of our talents and our mental states as we undertook our work together. Doug is brilliant, witty and articulate. He is also someone who is quick at finding and taking advantage of creative outlets. He was also falling behind in some of his doctoral work. Jeanie is energetic, fun and extraordinary with groups. However, she was preoccupied with being the subject of the interview process that was central to our project and with a much-anticipated and needed break she was taking that weekend. Jean had both logic and voice going for her. My observation was that she had 'sparked' in an incredibly positive way with Jeanie in their part of the one on one interview processes we set up. However, Jean was from another cohort in the program and was thus still finding her way with a fairly cohesive group of strangers in this cohort. For my part, I had become totally engrossed in my observer role and in trying to figure out what had happened in the research interviews. For that reason, I had difficulty moving out of the observer function and coming back into the group. As well, under task-related pressure, I can too quickly agree to things that, upon later self reflection, I realize are problematic. What I didn 't realize was the extent to which I was allowing the hothouse environment of an intense five days a week three week course to act on me. Sure, I intellectually understood and could rationally describe at great length the reasons why our group process went askew, but mostly I was an emotionally frustrated group member. As such, I was acting in just the way any of us can act when frustrated with a group that doesn't appear to be working for us. As a group our task was reasonably straightforward, to make a group presentation on what we learned about conducting research through two separate interviews by Doug and Jean. The interviews were with Jeanie and were about Jeanie's life and career. I was to act as a silent observer, sitting back and apart from the interviews. However, our group dynamics were anything but straightforward. The dynamics were skewed, in my mind, by our allowing the task to jump prematurely to the forefront over group process and everyone being heard. This happened when, after all of one meeting where we discussed the results and the experience of the interviews, Doug jumped right to the task of making the presentation. Doug's focus was understandable— with the 8 presentation in six days and a weekend pending and eating up two of those days, the task loomed very, very large. We were still too raw and too much in the experience to be ready for agreeing on and moving to task, in my opinion. We needed agreement on what it was that we had concluded. The presentation, even with that looming deadline, should have been subordinate to that agreement rather than leading it. My uneasiness was further compounded by Doug's preoccupation with the Aboriginal interpretation of the subject matter of the interview. To me, with the twin advantages of being a silent observer and of knowing Jeanie better than Doug, Jeanie had clearly presented herself as a feminist, teacher and learner. She had cherished Aboriginal experiences, granted, but that was not at the core of the self that I had heard Jeanie presenting. Doug for his part appeared to be actively working through a moving childhood experience with Aboriginal people as the class progressed. I could see how he could potentially have been preoccupied by that process. Moreover, Doug's talents and natural assumption of the responsibilities of leadership had enabled him in previous cohort classes and activities to brilliantly contrive and deliver truly clever plays that had been enormously entertaining, fun and on point with the readings. However, for this group at this time, I felt that a play would work only if the fundamental premises on which it was based were agreed to by group members... M y earlier-mentioned passion leads me to want to challenge all of us who work with groups in the service sector in North America to build trust by including in our group processes those "outsiders" and "others" who have something profound and valuable to offer that we might otherwise ignore. Those outsiders and others include the many people with a creative bent who suffer the same fate as the Tom Hanks character endures at the hands of the John Heard character in the movie Big (Spielberg and Ross, 1988) while presenting a different perspective on future sales of toys. That fate is putdowns in aggressive language such as: "What exactly don't you get?... If you had read your industry breakdown... What?!?" . The inclusiveness that I am promoting would involve us making better use of and expressing more appreciation for the talented but often underutilized people already present in our organizations. As the personal story I have interwoven into this chapter explains, I allowed myself for a time to become one of these "others" in my doctoral class group. As someone who has finally come to understand how in the past I limited myself (or as the cartoon character Pogo famously said "We have met the enemy and he is us"5), I wish to see more people develop for themselves a combination of trust-enhancing abilities and experiences. One is a situational confidence in the way they conduct themselves in groups. A second is an understanding of some of the many tools they can use to be effective in 5 www.igopogo.com/fiiial_authoritv.htm; last viewed January 18, 2005 9 groups. The third is an understanding of the reasons that their lives would be enhanced if they took advantage of future opportunities to contribute more of themselves and thereby of their trust to groups. The joy I experience regularly in groups arises from experiencing support and accomplishing extraordinary things in group settings. I am fortunate enough to regularly work and play with groups which share triumphs and difficulties and which consistently come up with creative and quality answers to daunting questions about how to solve difficult organizational, social, marketplace, public and political problems. Returning to the doctoral studies group. When the group met on the Monday morning, we took a while and several leaps of faith to untangle the mess we had created together. I started by voicing disquietude about Friday's process when Doug and I were the first two at our meeting. We then did the normal group thing when all of us convened: we heard Doug out in the mandate we had given him. At that moment we experienced the first and most important leap offaith, which came from Jean. Thoughtfully, but firmly, Jean said that what Doug was proposing wasn't quite what she had in mind. The group, Doug included, responded positively to this overture, thoroughly engaging in addressing what had just happened, our individual and collective responsibility for our process, and where we had gone wrong. Through honest conversation flowing out of that first leap offaith we discovered that our positionality, task focus, time pressures and personal identity all emerged as features of our problems with our process. We turned our attention to really listening and working jointly together. We did so with a real sense of common purpose derived from our personal interests. Our group skills kicked in and it felt incredibly safe as we talked. Our leadership was shared and dynamic, flowing in, amongst and through us. Through our open and energetic response to Jean's leap of faith we changed our orientation, recognized, acknowledged and put aside agendas and introduced a whole new level of hearing each other as part of our group process. We were thus able to create something novel together. We went on to do a compelling group presentation, where we highlighted our process and our results. The new 'creation' was something that none of us could have done on our own or could even have contemplated before the group met on the Monday. We experienced a shift from positional discussion to contemplative and open dialogue. As the surprising ideas and revelations poured out in our group process, what struck me most was the level of honesty, both intellectually and emotionally, to what was coming forth. We were incredibly curious about each other and what we could accomplish together where not so long before we had been very closed. There was an enormous sense of trust. Months before I was to chose the specific focus of this dissertation on group trust, I was living group trust. The fear I have regarding group dynamics is that we can far too easily be overwhelmed, discouraged or distracted by the challenge of 'getting people to play nicely together in the same sandbox'. I expect in future to lament, as I have in the past lamented, the waste of people resources, personal and organizational energy, money and time that come through 10 failed groups. And yet, there I am in the story intertwined in this chapter, a teacher of group process for so many years, initially being overwhelmed, discouraged and distracted in the way our group foiled ourselves. At some level, our group experienced for a short while many things that can either be a catalyst to a leap of faith that contributes to trust or a sentence to group frustration. They are: conflict avoidance, task preoccupation, a rush to conclusion and judgment, and cyclical, superficial politeness and camaraderie. Our group ultimately made a catalyst out of them, but only through exceptional efforts. Significant contributors to group members foiling themselves are a failure by group members to truly listen to and understand themselves and one another because of the interference of preconceptions, biases, prejudices and mental models. These failures and interference factors are some of the very things that prevent us from reaching dialogue, one of the topics I will explore. We humans far too easily move or climb from what we see and hear to generalizations and premature conclusions based on our life experience (Senge et al., 1994, p. 242). The most potent root cause is a fear of the vulnerability that goes with trusting others in a group and all of the self-esteem and ego issues we bring to group process. I agree with Blanchard and Waghorn, who labeled "human ego" as the most serious addictive problem in the world today (Blanchard and Waghorn, 1997, p. 171). They note that there are two types of "ego-centeredness: self-doubt and false pride" (Blanchard and Waghorn, Ibid). I have lived the self doubt and battered psyche that came from my abused past, from the addictive behaviors of my parents, and from the realization that I co-created with my ex-wife for my own children some of the same negatives I experienced as a child. Thus, I know personally the perils of vulnerability and the hole left by the absence of esteem. Particularly when I am under negative stress, I can easily fall in that hole, as I did with the doctoral class group. In doing so I am behaving similarly to the Bill Murray character in the movie Groundhog Day (Albert and Ramis, 1993), who, until he learns better, keeps stepping in the same puddle. However, I can now also quickly recognize when I have allowed myself to fall and find constructive ways to climb out and build trust out of what could have been a negative. Returning again to the doctoral studies group. So there's the rub. No matter how healed and evolved I become I know that I can oh so easily return to my past. There will always be 11 an element of who I am that reacts as the abused boy as well as reacting as the privileged teen and adult. I was, as the forty-nine year old man who stewed for so many hours that weekend right in the midst of the research course, someone who was going back to hurts experienced by the child that went before. As Miller suggests, the damaged child has "a central need to express yourself (Miller, 1981, p. 81). I was experiencing that same need as an adult. 1.3 My Perspective and My Pain My perspective throughout this thesis is that of the post-positivist, combining the post-structuralist and post-modernist position, that "any gaze (including mine) is always filtered" (Denzin and Lincoln, 2000, p. 19). I hope to exemplify the "critical hermeneutical tradition" that "in qualitative research, there is only interpretation... the facts (do not) speak for themselves" (Kincheloe and McLaren, 2000, p. 285). I may, through the stories I tell, reach the heights or excesses of what Denzin and Lincoln call the "post" post-period, that of "messy, uncertain, multivoiced texts" (Denzin and Lincoln, 2000, p. 23-24). The above-noted messiness will, in part, come through my attempts "to keep the pain alive" (Maxine Green in Te Hennepe, 1993, p. 231). I want to use both the positives of my privilege and the negatives of my family of origin pain to assist in my own self-learning and in the learning of others as all of us strive to understand what it will take for us to build trust in groups. Part of keeping my pain alive is keeping a pledge I made after the death of the second of my parents in 1998. That pledge was to talk and write openly as a practitioner about overcoming shame, abuse6, low self-esteem and embarrassment on the way to building more effective groups and leading a more fulfilling life. My passion for ending the negatives of isolation, oppression and avoidance in groups informs my moral position. I hope to exemplify in what I write Gadamer's statement that "understanding is not a procedure... but a very condition of being human" (Gadamer quoted in Schwandt, 2000, 6 Note that I am using abuse here and elsewhere in the same sense that it is defined in the Encyclopedia Britannica Online: "The spectrum of child abuse is wide. It includes not only children who have suffered physical abuse... but also those who have experienced emotional abuse..." (see www.britannica.com; last viewed on November 24, 2004). The British Medical Association adds: "Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development" (see www.bma.org.uk last viewed on November 24, 2004). 12 p. 194). This leads me back to Finch and to the idea that we are "human beings, God damn it!" I intend to explore and test my moral position on groups, that we should and can live life in groups in more positive ways. I want to test my belief in people specifically as it applies to groups in post-secondary and adult learning situations and potentially as it applies to groups generally in service-sector organizations in North America. The latter groups include all of the many committees, task forces, executives and ad hoc groupings that make up such a big part of North American organizational life today. This applies to the business, education, government and not-for-profit sectors. 1.4 Where to From Here Wfiere have I just come from and where do I go from here? In this first chapter I set out to explain a purpose for this research and in general terms why and how that purpose matters to me. I have also interspersed into the text of this chapter the first of many stories that I will tell. The next chapter focuses on methodology. As the italicized and the personal portions of this first chapter foreshadow, I attempt to bring a highly reflective first-person autobiographical point of view to this work. The first thing I will do in chapter two is explain my reasoning for my point of view and for other parts of my method, including my extensive use of narrative. Secondly, I will acknowledge and attempt to explain my subjectivity in doing this work. Finally, I will explain and issue a disclaimer about my limiting my research participants mostly to learners associated with Royal Roads University while stating my belief that the contribution of those participants to this work was outstanding. I am building on the work of giants in the fields of philosophy, organizational behavior, sociology and systems thinking. I want to make clear both my debt to those giants and how those giants provide the foundation for my work. Thus, the third chapter looks at the literature on dialogue, groups and related matters. In the literature review I examine the relational issues, impediments and possible outcomes involved in putting time and energy into trust and other outcomes of group process. I also refer to the models which most influenced the development of the six element model for building group trust. 13 There follow four chapters where I summarize my key findings, the stories I heard, relived and lived for the first time in the process of preparing this dissertation, and my interpretations of those findings and stories. In chapter four, I focus on my general findings regarding such things as trust practices and the development of layers of trust. Chapter five illustrates through narrative what it means in real terms to develop group trust in a wide variety of organizational and group settings. It also contains a warning about the impossibility of developing group trust where one or more very specifically described destructive people are active members of the group. In chapter six, I explain and illustrate the six element model that I developed as part of this work. Chapter seven examines how I and others in two groups have tried to live learning about groups and trust. Finally, in chapter eight I summarize my research findings, my interpretation of my contribution to the research and my suggestions for further research work. My quest is to "write meaningfully and evocatively" about a topic "that matter(s) and may make a difference" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 742). I hope through my writing and other work to contribute to a tipping point. A tipping point is a "social epidemic... driven by the efforts of a handful of exceptional people" (Gladwell, 2000, p. 21) or a "critical mass" of people needed in order to effect change. My endeavor throughout this dissertation will be to contribute to making our time and life in groups more meaningful to us and our organizations, more supportive and challenging, more sustainable and ultimately more productive and satisfying than it is today. A final and very personal reflection on the doctoral studies group: I am left out no more! I reflect on my youth. I am left out in my family. The firstborn of an angry red slash of a man who wanted no children. The firstborn of a self-absorbed, victimized mother who had no room in her life for others. I am left out in the schoolyard. A brainy four eyes. I am left out in the picking of teams. An awkward obesity. I knew no choices. I had no trust. Forty-plus years pass. I am in a different place. I am a different person. I am in my milieu, the academy. I am a trusted professional. What! I am left out again. Left out in interest. A lone observer. Left out among class groups. Part of the lone group defined by no common topic. A leftover. 14 But left out is no longer a permanent condition nor is it a condemnation. Left out can be a deeply hued celebration of rich diversity, an opportunity for multi-faceted exploration of places we too seldom go in our exalted ivory towers. I and we can choose differently. Will we choose trust? A week passes. Our group is in a different place and yet I am in the same place. Left out again. Left out by a hurried decision. I'm not convinced. Left out by insight. Jeanie the person and Jeanie the feminist call out to me for recognition. But, left out is neither a permanent condition nor a condemnation. Left out can bring forth the shining honesty we so often scurry to hide, hurried, timid creatures too rushed or fearful to be ourselves. Left out can be a basis for divergent, challenging thinking that can take us to deep, unexplored places, avoiding scary groupthink. Left out can bring our group to a demanding crossroads. Easy or difficult? Shallow or meaningful? The choice is always ours. Moments pass. Jean speaks. Doug speaks. Jeanie speaks. I speak. We choose difficult and meaningful. We reach deep down inside ourselves, talking quietly at first and then, with rising voices, sparkle with excitement and awareness. We talk. Really talk. About where we have been, really, and where we want to go, really. Left out turns into the brilliant blue and green or red and yellow and black shades of shared horizons, the adhesive, unforgettable bond of common consciousness, the dazzling magic of unexplainable synergy. I, and we, choose trust... 15 CHAPTER TWO: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY Helen Hunt character (Carol): "Hey, we all have these terrible stories to get over & Jack Nicholson character (Melvin), interrupting: "That's not true—some of us have great stories, pretty stories, that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no-one in this car..." - From the movie As Good As it Gets (Brooks, 1998) 2.1 Introduction Personal reflection: Banishment. I sit. I sit terrified and distracted, as my world unravels. The sounds from the downstairs kitchen have gradually become more insistent, shattering the concentration I hide behind nightly, attempting to focus on eleventh grade homework. I am exposed. In the secrecy that defines our lives, we never talk about the abusive, drunken tirades and taunts that pass for evening conversation in this house of horrors. The sounds pierce the walls of my concentration. I hear the fear in my mother's voice. She calls my name, once and then twice. Twice also I hear an out-of-place sound. A squishy melon smashing violently against the kitchen wall. Startled, I realize the squishy melon is my mother's head being battered against the wall. I vault down the stairs. I have no idea what I will do when I arrive. My father stands, staggered and imbued with guilt, my mother's bloody head held in his fine hands, hands that properly belong to an artist. I reach within myself and become bigger somehow. I banish him from the room, banish him from the parts of my life that he has physically dominated with his anger, size and strength. I reach for a cloth to staunch the blood... Thirty two years later, I first tell my conflict-averse sister, who was upstairs that night, about that scene in the kitchen. "I thought there was something wrong but I never knew", she says... I undertook this research with knowledge of many "terrible stories" from which I have endeavored to recover. I also undertook this research knowing that the 'pretty stories' or positive stories many of us have are one possible route to partially moving us past the terrible stories. The positive stories give us an idea of what is possible and practical, consistent with the principles of appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry "is a kind of narrative inquiry in which participants tell stories of peak experiences to discover the best of what already exists in order to appreciate it, make it grow" (Cockell, 2005, p. 38). More generally, appreciative inquiry is: 16 ...a way of looking at the world... As its name suggests, it is based on discovering the best of what works through structured questioning. Appreciative Inquiry recognizes that people are highly motivated by their own stories and images of success." 7 Using the principles of appreciative inquiry, I focused my research participants on talking about and telling stories about the experience of being in highly trusting groups. 2.1.1 Telling my story through autoethnography In researching this dissertation, I was inspired by Ellis and Bochner's striking work on autoethnography. Autoethnography is "an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple levels of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 739). In autoethnographic texts we write "evocative personal narratives" specifically focused on our "academic" as well as our "personal" lives. Our primary purpose in any autobiographical writing "is to understand a self or some aspect of a life lived in a cultural context. In personal narrative texts, authors become T , readers become 'you' and subjects become 'us'" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 742). More specifically, I was inspired in my research by a need and a desire. I concluded that I needed "a form" to allow you as reader "to feel the moral dilemmas" (emphasis added; Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 735) involved in building trust in groups that lead. I had an incredibly strong desire to have you as reader "think with [my]... story instead of about it" (emphasis added; Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 735). Any success I have will come from my telling my story and the stories of others in such a way as to make an "affective connection" with you as reader (Egan, 2003). If I succeed, you will forever feel connected to this dissertation when you meet with groups that have the potential to build trust. "appreciative inquiry" from the website Appreciativelnquiry.ca, last viewed December 15, 2004. 17 I found myself captivated by the idea that "Social science that doesn't break your heart just isn't worth doing" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 752). My challenge was to expose my stories and those stories given to me in trust in ways that were personal without my becoming self-preoccupied or proselytizing. Thus I could practice "passionate scholarship" (DuBois in Wolf, 1996, p. 4) to contribute to the development of more high-trust groups that in turn could provide leadership in our organizations and in our society. A second doctoral studies story : This story, like the first one, involves Jeanie, someone whose areas of interest and whose expertise in teamwork almost directly parallels mine. She and I have become very close in the course of our time together in the UBC '01 cohort. Last year she asked me whether I would be willing to be one of five research participant subjects in her dissertation work on the magic of facilitation (Cockell, 2005). I agreed. Over the course of the next four months Jeanie interviewed four of us. She was also interviewed herself, as she was a participant- observer- facilitator- provocateur in the process. The five of us dedicated big chunks of time in the six weeks between February 16 and March 28, 2004 to an on-line conversation. We started out as a group where we all knew Jeanie. Each of us sort ofperipherally knew at least one of the other people. Our self-introductions were revealing and started us off on the right foot'. This was our way ofgetting ready through polite introductions, although we all evidenced some early vulnerability in terms of what we self-disclosed. We then established groundrules and affirmed our purpose in giving Jeanie the stories and ideas she needed for her dissertation. Jeanie started the conversation part with five snippet stories, five stories of amazing things each of us had done with a group where we had 'made magic' together. She called these 'peak experience stories'. We spent the better part of two weeks building on those stories and forming our definitions of what making magic might be, using stories to illustrate what we said. We used words like engaging people..., allowing people..., freeing people... giving permission... and our stories were full ofpeople learning important things, creating wonderful things together, expressing themselves emotionally and connecting and so on. As Jeanie provided guiding and gentle leadership, our purpose was affirmed regularly in what we said on line. We also lived and tested one of our groundrules in particular. Then we went to a different place as a group and got into a whole other set of stories, a set of stories that demanded a high degree of trust—we began to talk about our pure joy and our vulnerability as facilitators, the risks that we took, our fears, how scared and excited we were sometimes when we took risks. From there we went to our greatest learnings from failures and what is the balance between us 'delivering a product' and 'deliveringprocess Note: A n earlier version o f this story was told in the first three o f the nine focus groups that were involved in this research process. The story was intended to be an example o f a story that could be told about trust The story was amended to read as it reads on these pages to reflect the input o f the group the story is about For more on this group see Cocke l l (2005). 18 and learning'. One of us described this process thusly: "For me, the energy of the discussion was more about what we learned in moments ofperceived failure and vulnerability than "what made them failures". Part of what I got from the discussion was a question about whether my thinking about the word "failure" might be "limited or somehow incomplete ". The last week we were on line we went into the subject of 'when should we not even try to make magic'. We had a conversation about situations where the rancor or other difficulty in a group was so great that we didn't think that making magic was possible. In those cases we have the option to respectfully decline to get involved. We talked about what kinds offactors and emotions are involved for us when we do that. Quite outside Jeanie's original design, at the end of March we all arranged to be in Vancouver. We met and once again stories poured out. We had an absolutely fabulous, highly connected time, while contributing significantly to Jeanie's dissertation research. As members of Jeanie's research group, we trusted one another enough that we achieved some level of dialogue together. I sought in my research process to do something similar, to continually "encourage compassion and promote dialogue" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 748). As well, I am inviting you to be what Ellis and Bochner call "co-performers". I do so by asking you, story by story, "to take the story in" and use it for yourself, examining yourself "through the evocative power of the narrative text" (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p.748). For all of the above reasons, I was drawn to a research methodology based on the idea that "our research interests come out of our own narratives" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 121). I was also drawn to two ideas from Eichler and Lapointe. One was that "all perceptions and descriptions of reality are bound to be influenced by their perceivers and describers" (1985, p. 19). The second was that researchers "have to make deliberate attempts to identify their own points of view" (1985, p. 19). My hope was that "perhaps by acknowledging our own feelings and desires, we might actually look at other people more objectively" (Angrosino and Perez, 2000, p.682). One of my intents in telling my stories was to enable you to be more understanding about why I wrote this dissertation and what I wrote. My 'bigger' intent in telling both my stories and the stories of others (see narrative inquiry below) was for you to be inspired by the stories to consider changing the way you go about operating in some of the groups of which you are or will be a member. 19 2.1.2 Telling the stories of others through narrative Inquiry I embraced narrative inquiry as a third of the foundations of my methodology, building on what I knew about appreciative inquiry and autoethnography. Narrative inquiry "is a way of understanding experience". Narrative inquiry involves collecting stories from research participants. At its best it is "a collaboration between researcher and participant, over time, in a place or a series of places, and in social interaction with milieus" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 20). As such narrative inquiry fits with the concept of dialogue, that we supplement the "ideal of objective knowledge" with the "ideal of sharing in something, of participation" (Palmer, 2001, p. 40). I will say much more about dialogue in chapter three. One of the most collaborative processes I have ever been involved in was the research process I described in the 'magic' story told earlier in this chapter and elaborated on below. Participants in that process truly became co-researchers. We modeled what I wanted to achieve in the focus group work that was part of my methodology. The section that follows describes the thoughts of the co-researchers on the building of trust in the 'magic' group. Back to the second story from the doctoral studies cohort: At the end of the evening Jeanie's magic group physically spent together, after two of the five had left, three of us sat and talked casually. The conversation turned to the level of trust that was involved in our story-telling and other exchanges. The trust was particularly evident over our last three weeks as a group, where we showed how much of ourselves we put in our work. Later we had an on-line conversation about trust involving all five of us. In the course of these conversations we identified the primary factors we saw as contributing to trust in the group. The most significant common factor seemed to be Jeanie and her role. We all had enormous regard for and trust of Jeanie. We trusted her to put together a safe group, to facilitate the process if it ever proved necessary (it didn't), and to share responsibility for the process and the leadership with us. As one person put it, "I feel I had trust because we each had a relationship with Jeanie and extended our trust in her to the larger group ". Jeanie, who does not consider herself a poet, role-modeled vulnerability right at the outset of our time on-line by putting some of her ideas in the form of a poem. Jeanie also gave us confidence in the eventual 'product' by showing her extraordinary writing skills in composing the snippet stories that she shared about each of our peak experiences. One of these stories was about Jeanie's own peak experience. Once again she role-modeled vulnerability. 20 The second most significant factor seemed to be common purpose, passion, joy and deep interest in and commitment to the subject matter. This was particularly elegantly expressed in two separate e-mails. The first e-mail said:" I WANTED to be there...I was curious about the process, about how colleagues would interact, I wanted to know what you each felt about magic ". The second e-mail really reflected on the idea of layering of levels of trust: "I'm recalling that telling a magic story near the end of the process was enriched by our trust and shared caring. It was more fun to tell the highs later in the process because I had a greater sense of who you were and how you might appreciate my success. In other words, trust isn't just about the way to get at the soft underbelly, but is also about connecting more fully with one another's joys ". There were other factors that reflected on the making of magic. One factor related to having a common dedication: We had a common dedication to clients: ...the other thing I think would be important to mention is the care that we took to talk of our experiences in a way that respected our clients and others' stories. A couple of times I deleted a whole long response because I realized that much as I'd like to share that story, it would be unfair to my clients to do so. This is a really important part of the work we do... Our process was a factor: We had reciprocity through clear groundrules and the groundrules making it ok to pass (one member had family problems and had to pass for a while)... A form of safety came from the medium through which we initially communicated: We had safety. The on-line medium created a safe space where we could all be heard and tell our stories. Moreover for at least one of us there was anonymity that went with that: "Some of the most useful, deep, personal conversations I have had, have been with strangers at 35,000 feet on airplanes ...knowing it to be highly unlikely we would ever see each other ...there was nothing to lose and everything to gain ". Another factor was the type of people we were when we started out as a group (i.e. Jeanie's selection of group members). "We were a select group to start with: each of us being self-confident risk-takers by profession". The final factor was the process we engaged in as our first activity together: Building from getting familiar with each other: we learned from what bits we had heard about each other and what we learned in the introductions and the stories... The single text that was most useful to my informed use of narrative inquiry was Clandinin and Connelly. Those authors ask and answer a simple but vital question: "Why narrative? Because experience" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 50). "Life is filled with narrative 21 \ fragments, enacted in storied moments of time and space and reflected upon and understood in terms of narrative unities and discontinuities" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 17). My life experience and my narrative fragments shaped what I saw, heard and experienced as a researcher. I am, after all, "in the parade" I "presume to study" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 81). I am in this parade notwithstanding however much I might attempt to be objective and to see myself as a disinterested spectator on the parade route of group trust-building. Thus, I tell the stories I tell in here out of a "concern for human experience" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 17) and for bettering the human condition. Narrative involves "change... change in the world... in the inquiry in the inquirer... in the point of view" and in "the outcomes" (Clandinin and Connelly, p. 6). The reality is that most of you who read this from the academic, government and corporate worlds will have experienced mistrust in groups. The related reality that may be hard to accept is that you have contributed, by action or inaction, to the mistrust and thus would have become part of the problem (Stone et al., 1999). This is explored under systems thinking in chapter three. I certainly have experienced change through this doctoral and dissertation journey and being part of the '01 cohort. I want to encourage each of you to change and to effect trust-building in some of the groups in your life. My methods of choice to do so are through recording the stories of others and through writing about my own experiences. 2.1.3 The Goldilocks Challenge Even as I wrote the intentionally high-minded words I wrote above, I realized how I experienced this dissertation "living on an edge", trying to maintain my "own balance" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 147). I used autoethnographic methods to express my "own voice in the midst of an inquiry designed to tell of the participant's storied experiences and to represent their voices, all the while attempting to create a research text that will speak to, and reflect on, the audiences voices" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 147). 22 I had to recognize the peril of "abuse of subjectivity" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 148), of telling everything only from my vantage point or of developing in here a model that was already in place before the research was undertaken. I also strove to get a positive response from my focus group participants to questions such as: "Do you see yourself here?" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 148). The checks that I built in to a second round of focus groups in the late spring, summer and fall of 2004 were meant to ensure that I did not abuse subjectivity and that participants could see themselves. I was also challenged to find the fine line between telling enough but not too much of both my own story and those of the people in the groups about which I am writing. My own story is important because it informs the reader about my perspective and because it illustrates that, as researcher, I am subject to some of the same pressures and challenges as the people in the groups that I am writing about. But, if I overdid telling my story, I would be indulging in a form of self-absorption. This self absorption could be my own version of what troubles me so much about the destructive narcissists that I write about in the 'warning' section in chapter three and in appendix #4. "Charges of solipsism are commonly attributed to narrative work" (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 150). I consciously attempted not to come across as saying that my self is "the only existent thing". I also strove to heed the advice of my committee chair, to be present without being 'heroic' (D. Fisher, personal meeting, October, 2004). The method I chose to meet the narcissistic, solipsistic challenge and to heed the advice not to be heroic came from the Goldilocks fairy tale. Here I reference what I call the Goldilocks Theory of Management and Leadership. That theory suggests that one of our major challenges in managing and in leading is finding the intermediate "just right" between "not too hot" and "not too cold" (Maclver, 2003). Thus, in writing this dissertation I challenged myself to 'live' the Goldilocks Theory in relation to vulnerability, "allowing oneself to be vulnerable without being too vulnerable" (Angrosino and Perez, 2000, p.679). The 23 Goldilocks Challenge is echoed in the "Not too tight, not too loose" advice that is central to Buddhist teaching on the spiritual path.9 The Goldilocks Challenge balancing act caused me some considerable agony as I debated whether or not to include certain autobiographical stories. Thus, my finding the "just right" balance here was one of my greatest challenges. M y having achieved it wil l be borne out by how many of you are influenced by what you read to live your lives differently in selected groups. 2.1.4 Ethnography through Observation I used excerpts from my personal notes of my field observations of groups that had built trust (see the five stories that are referred to in section 2 below) as a lead-in to the focus group work that informed all of my findings. Observation "has been characterized 'as the fundamental base of all research methods' in the social and behavioral sciences" (Adler and Adler in Angrosino and Perez, 2000, p.673) and as "the mainstay of the ethnographic enterprise" (Werner and Schoepfle in Angrosino and Perez, 2000, p.673). Ethnography is a field with a "vector" (Atkinson et al., 1999, p. 465) of forces driving it in different directions. I realize that "inevitably there are going to be conflicting versions of what happened" (Angrosino and Perez, 2000, p.675). I also acknowledge that "the observer cannot observe anything without interfering or participating with its creation" (Wheatley, 1994, p. 20). Moreover, we "cannot study anything separate from ourselves" (Wheatley, 1994, p. 36). I strove to re-create the group environment in the Royal Roads University (RRU) Masters of Arts in Leadership and Training (MALT) program in the five observation-based stories I told. M y success in this striving was reflected on gratuitously (i.e. I didn't ask for this feedback) in writing by one focus group participant. That one participant expressed the experience that many participants put to me informally before and after the focus groups: 91 am indebted for this line of thinking on Buddhist thought from Daniel Vokey in comments to me on an earlier draft of the dissertation. 24 Flash Back! What I first picked out was how MALT-like these stories were... As I was reading, I was remembering the Dynamics, the Learning, the Safety of exploring group work in the first residency... This reflection is very significant to me because it shapes my biases on how I might (will) participate in this focus group... Moreover, I had two participants who were members of an RRU group on which one of the stories was significantly based. Those comments of those persons were quite consistent with the story that I told based in part on their group (see italicized notes in appendix #1, Story #1). 2.1.5 Validity The methods that I chose prompted me to ask myself important questions about the validity of my work. As Lincoln and Guba (2000) put it: "how do we know when we... are faithful enough... that we may feel safe acting on [our inquiries] or, more important, that members of the community in which the research is conducted may act on [our inquiries]?" (p. 181). They continue, ".. .objectivity is a chimera: a mythological creature that never existed save in the imaginations of those who believe that knowing can be separated from the knower... every way of knowing contains its own moral trajectory" (Lincoln and Guba, 2000, pp. 181-2). Clandinin and Connelly (2000) write that "narrative relies on criteria other than validity, reliability and generalizability" (p. 184). They refer to the living out of our narrative inquiries through "wakefulness", a "kind of inquiry that necessitates ongoing reflection" (Ibid). They also cite the value of "apparency and verisimilitude, criteria that put the emphasis on recognizablity of the field in the research text"10 and "transferability"." An important test, then, is whether the stories I tell in here sound 'authentic' and real. This is taken from Van Maanen 1 1 This is taken from Lincoln and Guba 25 As well, I was drawn to the idea in Greenwood and Levin, writing about a different form of research, action research, that "credibility, reliability and validity... are measured by the willingness of local stakeholders to act on the research. In so doing, these stakeholders are thereby risking their welfare on the 'validity of their ideas' and the degree to which the outcomes meet their expectations... the test is whether the actual solution to a problem arrived at solves the problem" (Greenwood and Levin, 2000, pp. 96-97). I incorporated my own version of the action research test into my method. I did so by focusing the three final focus groups on the preliminary conclusions that I had reached. In that final round of focus group discussion I asked focus group participants to comment on my analysis and the stories I chose. The final test is whether what I have written serves as a basis for your future action. 2.2 My Specific Methodology 2.2.1 The Three Stages I had three stages to my methodology: Stage one: I extracted the above-noted five observation-based stories (see summaries below and see more detailed summaries in appendix #1) from the field notes that I compiled over my fourteen years of observations of groups and teams. I used pseudonyms, the alteration and omission of key details and the inclusion of composite descriptions to preserve the anonymity of the persons who were involved from everyone except the participants themselves. Focus group members in the second stage were asked to read at least two of these stories in order to 'ground' them in the minute by minute and day by day progression of groups that had developed trust and in order to have a common base for group conversation at the beginning of each focus group. Stage two involved convening focus groups and on-line discussion groups with volunteers from one particular program in which I taught, the RRU MALT program. This program began in 1996 with me as one of four initial faculty members. Especially throughout its first five years and even to some extent today the program bore and bears a heavy stamp of my 26 expertise in team dynamics in the design of the program. The program attracted as student learners individuals interested in improving their leadership practices, including their leadership of groups. Personal anonymity was guaranteed to focus group members and on-line discussion group participants. Participants also had the right to review, amend and strike out remarks made in the groups as a part of my stage two methodology. What I was looking for in the groups was a story-telling conversation about trust-building in groups both in the RRU educational program and back in the so-called 'real world'. In the chapters which follow I will sometimes include the on-line groups in umbrella references to focus groups and the focus group process. Despite the fact that the on-line groups did not have the intense face to face group experience I associate with previous work with focus groups, the on-line discussion groups followed very much the same progression of discussion areas, used essentially the same background materials, and 'discussed' most of the same specific topics as the face to face groups. There was obviously more coming and going with the on-line groups and more of an opportunity to reflect on ideas, but the level of conversation was amazingly similar. The specifics of the stage two process were as follows. The face to face groups, ranging in size from six to eight people, met for three to three and a half hours. The sessions were taped and transcribed by a professional court reporting service. Sample pre-readings, agendas and supporting materials are included in appendix #2. The basic format was to open with a welcome and a summary of groundrules (see appendix #2). We then had introductions, going around the group round robin style. An element of circle (Baldwin, 1998) was introduced with research participants having the option to talk about their interest in the topic of group trust and to put a personal object 'in the center'. We talked for over an hour about the five stories in relation to five definitions of trust from the literature and to six possible sources of trust (see the sample background information in appendix #2). Focus group members also referred to their experience generally of trust in groups. Just before a break I told a personal story about trust (an earlier version of the magic group story told in this chapter). After the break, focus group members told their own trust stories in some detail. The telling of these stories took much of the remaining time. At the end of each face to face focus group we had a discussion of 'hot' topics from the first part of the session 27 and of topics such as application to trust in groups of a set of team effectiveness criteria developed by me (again see appendix #2). People were sufficiently involved that one of the toughest tasks was closing the session. Women dominated the research population, with the group in Vancouver and one of the groups in Victoria being all-women's groups. Two men attended the other Victoria session. As noted above, the on-line conversations were structured essentially the same way as the face to face groups, with two weeks of conversation about the stories and other material sent out in advance, two weeks of conversation about participant stories, and a last week of general conversation. There were eight fully participating members in each of the first two focus groups (with one person having to leave early from the second group). The third group started with seven members but with three drop-outs soon lost energy and momentum. There were two men in the first two online conversations and one in the third. The only significant difference in the material put in front of participants in the online process from the face to face process was the substitution of the RRU faculty story (see chapter seven) for the magic story as an example. I also occasionally sent out a on-line memo to secure an interpretation of online silence. The gender split in total was thirty-four women and seven men. Stage three involved two additional face to face focus groups and one more on-line discussion group. One of these was an ongoing group throughout the last seven months of 2004 and the two groups met in the fall of 2004. One of these focus groups was made up of five participants from the stage two face to face focus groups who were interested in further discussion about my preliminary results. Each of the three face to face groups was represented. The second additional face to face focus group was the ongoing group, my UBC EdD cohort. I repeatedly took whatever results I was then working with and 'tested them' with the reality of my cohort colleagues. This was another vital reality check. I had the cohort focus on describing the building of trust in the cohort itself (the story of the cohort is told in chapter seven), on reviewing the earliest version of my model, on examining the early form in which I put the stories and on the overall process I was going 28 through. The third group was an on-line group made up of five instructors I worked with in the intense RRU learning environment who met throughout the last two months of 2004. These were instructors who were available for this process and who I judged to have the greatest interest and ability in the area of group trust, based on their RRU and life experiences. This on-line group discussion was preceded by on-line conversation in the spring of 2004 about the composite RRU faculty group experience described in chapter seven. A sixth instructor took part in that earlier conversation. The stage two participants who involved themselves in stage three were self-selecting. I notified all focus group participants of the date for the later session several months in advance of the session. On the instructor side, four of the six faculty members had been part of three particularly trusting faculty groups I was part of at RRU. The other two MALT graduate volunteers who had been both student learners and faculty learners and with whom I had worked in both capacities. In the case of the stage three groups, again there were more women than men. The returning stage two group had one man and four women, the faculty group had four men and two women (my initial population had two other women in it but one, who had retired from RRU, did not reply and one had to drop out early). The cohort has seven women and five men, including me. Al l groups were given the current version of the six element model, the current definition of the group trust and a sampling of the stories from the stage two focus groups. Discussion flowed around the areas of interest of the group in question. There was a high degree of interest in the model in all cases and great debate about how best to present and analyze the stories. The record-keeping was varied in stage 3. With the on-line group, I once again compiled the e-mails. With the cohort I used various means of recording (notes, tape recording and e-mail exchanges). As for the returning stage two group we used a graphic facilitator to record the conversation—this produced a very interesting and visual record of the meeting (see appendix #8). 29 2.2.2 Mv Decision to Limit Research Participants One part of my methodology that requires further explanation is my decision to limit my research. Other than my cohort at UBC, the other participants were limited to those who had experience as Royal Roads University learners, both students and faculty. Note, however, that while many RRU experiences were a basis for the stories I sent to the first six focus groups-—see below and appendix #1—those composite stories were also based on several groups I have observed in wide-ranging, diverse situations outside RRU. There were six main reasons for limiting the research to people associated with RRU. One reason for choosing RRU was the nature of the RRU Leadership program. The RRU program, being an intense two year group-based program, gave participants more of an opportunity to experience and think about group development, including the building of trust, than any other program with which I have been associated. My notes on what the program was about from my time teaching the program, include references to MALT being: a caring, values-based learning experience that focuses on leadership, learning, organizations, systems and research; an experiential, adult learning approach to applied, competency-based learning in leadership; and fostering learning and practicing with passion and in relationships with others. The official program outcomes, as described in the updated university calendar that came out the year I left off teaching in the program were: self-knowledge, team-building skills, internal and external communications skills, problem-identification skills, problem analysis skills, internal and external 'political skills', change and influence management skills and technological skills.12 The second reason was that the participants in the Royal Roads Program were varied in terms of their background experience, career ambitions and geography. Other intense leadership programs where I was observer primarily involved participants from a single sector (usually business or government) and from the same geographic area. In some instances they largely had the same socioeconomic status. From the Royal Roads University Calendar, 2001-2002. Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 30 A third reason was that the Royal Roads program, being highly experimental and experiential, required a high degree of trust between faculty learners and student learners in order to 'work'. Since I was one of an initial small group of faculty members that worked with seven different cohorts of RRU student learners, I was in the forefront of those learners developing trust in and having other experiences of group dynamics. Moreover, teaching both team-work and systems thinking meant that the material I taught would have potentially impacted their experience of groups in the RRU setting. Another factor was the very positive student learner feedback I received in the end-of-residency evaluations. Based on this feedback, there was a good likelihood, I hypothesized, of these graduates taking on the considerable time commitment (a minimum of eight hours) involved in the process. Moreover, I thought that learner trust might spill over to the focus and conversation groups, with these former RRU student learners trusting me and trusting a process that I put together on the very subject of building trust in groups. The fourth through sixth reasons were all practical considerations. One of these was that Royal Roads has an electronic address base that would make contacting the whole student learning population feasible. I could thus increase the opportunity for diversity in the focus groups and eliminate any selector bias I might have by welcoming all who volunteered for the project. However, I did specifically target in my call for volunteers those who had been in programs in which I had taught, feeling that would lead to a greater willingness to take on the above-noted significant workload of being a focus group member. A second practical reason for focusing on the RRU experience was that my notes of the RRU experience were better notes than those I had taken in other programs in which I have been involved. In performing the observer function in the RRU setting, I was able to sit in on a single group's deliberations for much longer stretches of time than I was able to in any other program with which I have been associated. Thus the observer stories I could tell RRU student learners would be much more 'real' and 'true to the learner experience' than those I could tell about any other program. A third practical consideration related to the on-line conversation groups. RRU Masters-level learners get considerable practice at on-line conversation as part 31 of their degree work and thus would be more likely to be comfortable and open in the on-line discussion environment. Finally, the seventh reason was a purely emotional one. I had invested substantial personal energy in the Royal Roads experience. I felt both a tremendous burden and a tremendous opportunity in being a member of the first RRU faculty group, both on the Master's Program side and in the Executive Program component. I spent by far the largest portion of my professional and personal time during a five year period at the peak of my career at RRU. I felt I left something of myself there. The potential biases and pre-dispositions of my phase two focus groups was also clear from correspondence from two of my final on-line discussion group members. They agreed that: [The] MALT experience is a pseudo reality (almost a laboratory type situation) where there is opportunity for manipulation of variables (knowing the team members assessment results and intake data to form the teams) that may not be present in the "real world". This may just need to be highlighted as a "delimitation". As well, individuals within the MALT program are motivated by other things (i.e. marks, participation, etc) to work at the team piece and to experience it "differently" than in a real-life workspace... Based on these limitations, I feel compelled to issue a disclaimer. The results of this research are clearly influenced by the combination of learners themselves self-selecting for the RRU program, my power position of instructor in the program, my influence on what learners read and understood about group and systems dynamics in the first summer residency, and self-selection for the focus groups themselves. There were only three individuals who volunteered whom I had not taught in the summer residency—however each of those three individuals contributed something significant to the focus group process. Those who chose to be focus group volunteers were more on the 'mature' side. There was also a gender bias favoring females. These were the only obvious distinctions from the RRU MALT population 32 at large in my five years of teaching. That said, I must say the focus group participants were the very sort of people who would be likely to help build trust in a group (see appendix #5 for reflection on trust in the focus groups themselves): open, curious, questioning (note the nineteen questions in appendix #6) and willing to take risks and be vulnerable. 2.2.3 The Pluses and Predispositions Associated with RRU Learners Generally speaking the experience of developing trust in groups was described by focus group participants as an exciting, magical, life-changing or life-confirming, affirming experience. Trusting groups that matched that description included a number of self-directed teams in the RRU program itself as well as dozens of groups out in the so-called real world. This was not surprising. There clearly was an element of self-selection and predisposition towards the importance of teams and other groups among those who enter the program. This could be expected to be even more so among those who self-selected for the focus group process. This predisposition and the associated expectations of the program were well represented by the following question asked and answered by an on-line group participant: Is it possible that learning focused on personal/interpersonal development, such as the MALT program, may require a higher level of trust than other types of programs? I tend to think that if I had participated in a MALT group that worked to task efficiently, with little need to consider process, I would probably have not felt I got the full developmental impact of the learning experience that I had hoped for. And I probably wouldn't have made some of the deeper connections with people - that is so satisfying in learning and in life. 33 However none of this is to suggest that the Royal Roads MALT program or the building of trust in groups is for the faint-hearted. My tentative definitions of trust going in to the focus groups zeroed in on the delicate topic of vulnerability in particular. Later I added the ideas of risk-taking and uncertainty (see chapter three). Al l three of these courage-requiring states were present in the stage one stories which I circulated to the participants before the group conversation. They were also present in the MALT-related stories told by participants in the focus groups. The story that follows is one of many I could have chosen to illustrate the exceptional courage involved for some in being part of the MALT program (see the italicized stories which follow story #1 in appendix #1 for stories told by focus group members about another remarkable MALT group experience). The story that follows, which I will call Peter's Story, is taken almost verbatim from the written account of the on-line focus group participant. Later, in chapter six, I use Peter's Story to illustrate the model that I developed as part of this work. .. .the one group I think of when I'm challenged to remember my best "team" experience ever was my first problem-solving group in the MALT program. Interestingly for me, anyway, is the fact that I would certainly have not said that a day or so into working in that group. The energy and enthusiasm of the group was a wonder to behold, but in our first sessions together, I felt overwhelmed by their apparent willingness to "let it all hang out." I am typically more comfortable letting trust and intimacy grow slowly over time (probably to be "earned," if the truth were known...) and I felt that I couldn't keep up with the group either on the process side or the content side. When we were wrestling with task, my strong tendency towards reflectiveness meant that I was often just ready to add my bit when the group would take a leap forward. As we would flip to process, I struggled with how or even if I should let the group know that I was feeling increasingly overwhelmed and passed over. By about the third day in the program, I felt that I was already at a turning point. 34 Since I've already mentioned that this was my best group experience ever, the question is, how did this transformation happen? For me, I think it started when I shared my deep misgivings and fears with a close friend who was also in that MALT cohort. I told her over dinner that I didn't think that I belonged in the MALT program, that I wasn't carrying my share of the workload, that this felt like the hardest work I had ever done, and that if it wasn't for the fact that I had a lot of money and pride invested in the program, I would have been out of there. To my complete amazement, my very competent and together friend said that she was feeling the very same way. Maybe that just normalized the situation for me a bit, but it helped me to realize that the fact that it was so hard was what made it so important that I do it with my whole heart and energy. I realized that I could have taken the "easy" route by going with a traditional program, but that I had chosen RRU for the very reasons that I was feeling so pressured. It was challenging, it was innovative, it promised a richness of both task and process that I hadn't found anywhere else. What happened next was truly a leap for me: I shared my misgivings and my perceived shortcomings with my "team." I apologized for my lack of engagement and asked for their understanding that my natural tendencies (and my worries over a very serious accident in the family) had meant that I had not contributed what I felt I could. Essentially, I was trusting that they would give me a second chance to meet my own expectations, and they didn't let me down. Interestingly, my own "confession" led to some much deeper exchanges on the part of a number of my team-mates as well, and it was at that point (in my recollection, at least) that we just took off as a team. Our project came together with a joy and synergy that I've never experienced with another group (yet!). Which of the "trust factors" were at play in allowing me to trust deeply enough to take the step I had? Expectations of personal reciprocity were in place by this time; I had seen and heard enough of these people that they would honour my faith and live by the groundrules we had set. Institutional factors were also an important factor for me, particularly as "lived" by our faculty. Their apparent credibility and vulnerability, and the fact that they and the university had so much at stake in those early MALT days, helped me believe that I was in good hands. Personal factors were also at play; although I may take a while in gathering information to begin with, I have always gotten a lot of personal satisfaction out of taking risks, both physical and otherwise. Opening myself up to that group felt a lot like the first time I went parasailing: scary, but potentially such a rush! Finally, for me, I just went with my intuition. As I had gotten to know the members of the group, I just knew that they would do the right thing by me when I confessed all my fears and shortcomings to them. I know that my intuitive trust in Sandy, who was our observer, was also a factor, because I instinctively knew that if our process blew up in our faces, he'd be there to help us get through it intact as persons, even if not as a group. 2.2.4 Focus Groups Readings and Atmosphere I was absolutely enthralled and energized by the conversations in the focus groups. As I noted earlier we started with general introductions and comments about why people were interested in the topic of trust, talked about the displays and sources of trust in the stories I had circulated in advance, told personal stories about trusting groups we had experienced and then finished up with further conversation, including conversation about materials I circulated on what trust could actually look like (see appendix #2). The materials I circulated in advance to inform the reading of the stage one stories included the tentative definitions of trust, three of the five of which referred to vulnerability, and the 36 speculative list of sources of trust. That six items on that list were as follows. The first was personal reciprocity expectations, the idea of a 'deal' or a group contract where you have an expectation of return for the investment you make in trusting the group. The second was institutional factors which included institutional expectations and safeguards—e.g. we are expected to trust others in the RRU learning program or in working for this organization/this employer; as a part of this expectation the educational institution. The third speculative source was risk-taking behaviors, a willingness to be vulnerable and/or to make a trusting leap of faith and see what happens; this can be based on some combination of past positive experiences, a belief in humanity, risk-taking proclivities and a very solid sense of esteem (e.g. even if this group turns out to be untrustworthy I can survive that intact). Fourth, I referred to a possible intuitive reaction, a willingness to trust and be vulnerable based on 'gut feel' about the group or about some members of the group; the group feels 'safe' or a critical mass or even one critical person in the group (e.g. the leader) feels safe. The fifth speculative source was leadership behaviors, a formal or informal leader can influence others to engage in trusting behavior by doing so first. Finally I referred to a possible source being a moral belief: Trust is the right thing to do and what a "good group member" should do (i.e. trust others in a group). These possible sources of trust proved to be a useful source of analysis in story-telling and in reflection on where trust came from (see the conversation about trust in the magic group interwoven into this chapter). In selecting the stories to go to stage two focus group members, I concentrated on certain specific behaviors that, based on my years of observation of groups, I speculated were integral to the development of trust in those particular groups. I identified six of these behaviors or types of behavior. The first was the surfacing and successful resolution of conflict. Second was getting past a preoccupation with task accomplishment in group process. The third behavior was the use of feedback within and to the group to assist it in improving its process. Fourth, I looked at the impact on the behavior of the group of outside influences, including myself. The fifth behavior was the use of specific processes, roles and individual questionnaires to assist in group development. A sixth behavior arose from a group successfully dealing with previous problem behaviors using awareness of the systemic nature of group process (e.g. getting past blaming). I was to learn from the focus group 37 members that these behaviors could contribute to group trust but that there were four 'larger' internalized practices that accounted for the development of trust in groups that they had experienced. I have summarized below the five stories that I made available to members of the stage two focus groups prior to their meetings. As noted earlier, these stories were told to inform research participants and to get the discussion of group trust rolling. They also served to get research participants in the frame of mind to tell their own stories. The stories, in summary form, were as follows. Story #1: This is a story of a group dominated by process-oriented people. Much to their surprise and chagrin, the process-oriented people are confronted by their lone more task-oriented member, who tells them that she feels excluded in the group. The process-oriented people learn to listen to and trust the more task-oriented person and vice versa. Story #2: This starts out as a 'blaming story'. The group in question initially blames the facilitator (i.e. me) for various problems they encounter. The group develops a common purpose and learns to take responsibility for their decisions and actions on their way to developing a high degree of group trust. Story #3: This is a fairly dramatic story about a group that must confront deep internal division and conflict. In so doing group members must take big risks. As the group members learn from the risks taken by their members, they begin to "live like a butterfly and fly", in the language of one group member. The group members came to really, really trust each other. Story #4: This story is actually two stories with a common thread. In both stories, the groups involved lost their way and got focused on task to the exclusion of trust-building type processes. Both groups learned through a 38 debriefing process how they had shut group members out. This contributed to the groups 'catching' and righting themselves. Story #5: This story is about a truly destructive, even psychologically dangerous, person named 'Ann' being removed from a group. Subsequent to Ann's removal, the group reached a high degree of trust. My life experience is reflected in my choice of the five stories. I started the research process thinking that both unresolved conflict and task-preoccupation were recurring issues that groups might have to deal with on their way to achieving trust. This bias is reflected in the first four of the stories I sent out. I also have had negative personal experience with destructive narcissistic behaviors (Brown, 1998). This experience is reflected in the fifth story. Once again, focus group participants expanded my horizons and helped me to look beyond resolving conflict and getting past task preoccupation as ways of building group -trust. I asked participants to readjust two of the stories, knowing full well that some would read all of them. I was conscious that I was drawing on a population of people who had many stories of their own that they would bring to the focus group process, prompted by these readings. The early research results that I sent to participants along with the stories gave participants a smorgasbord-type listing of definitions of trust and of sources of trust (see appendix #2). There were parts of these materials (e.g. most visibly the references to vulnerability) that clearly influenced group conversations. The mechanics of phase two of my methodology are described in appendix #2. Appendix #2 also has copies of all of the relevant correspondence and materials circulated to phase two participants. Forty-one participants took part in the phase two process. Another twenty-one participants involved themselves in the phase three process. The environment I was attempting to establish in the focus groups can be illustrated by quoting a comment I made in one of the groups: "this group to me was the embodiment of 39 what a focus group should be.... it was like having a group of friends get together to build on each other's ideas". In other words, it was like being part of a trusting group (for more on that, see appendix #5). Put another way, I found that the experience of moderating both the face to face focus groups and the on-line conversations met the test specified in a text on focus groups: What makes moderating [a focus group] so interesting is the people. Each focus group is new and unlike the one before... One exciting aspect of focus group discussions is that they bring together a variety of people with differing backgrounds and characteristics (Krueger, 1998, p. 57). I was personally tremendously excited, informed and a little overwhelmed by the focus group process. I generated a tremendous amount of data, only a portion of which I have included in the dissertation. I am immensely gratified to each of the participants. 2.3. Summary and Linkage I have in this chapter written extensively about the reasons that I chose autoethnography and narrative as bases for my methodology. I have written less extensively but, I hope, persuasively about my role as observer in ethnographic settings and my use of focus groups as a means of gathering new stories that are reported on in chapter five. I detail the specific steps that I took to form, inform and moderate eight focus groups as part of this research. I acknowledge, indeed celebrate, in this chapter, my personal interest in the subject matter and my corresponding subjectivity. Significantly, I note some of my biases and predispositions when I started the research about the recurring issues that led to groups developing trust and that focus group participants expanded my horizons on this topic. I also issue a disclaimer about the background of focus group participants while making it clear that I consider those participants to have been outstanding contributors to the research. 40 CHAPTER THREE: LITERATURE REVIEW 3.1 Introduction I wrote this dissertation metaphorically standing on the shoulders of academic giants from many different fields. The initial conceptual genesis for this dissertation was in my extensive readings of literature on leadership, group development, systems thinking and organizational dialogue prior to starting the dissertation. I combined an in-depth review, re-thinking and integration of this prior knowledge with new readings on trust and group cooperation, undertaken specifically for this dissertation, in order to provide the conceptual foundation for what follows. I describe this journey and how I brought together and interpreted these materials in this chapter. 3.2 Key Ideas as I Started Out Twenty-plus years of avid reading of the literature on leadership, group development, systems and dialogue taught me a great deal before I began the research for this dissertation. However, I learned a great deal more in revisiting this literature with the specific focus of this dissertation on group trust in mind. 3.2.1 Leadership 3.2.1.1 The Definition of Leadership In the realm of leadership, my first question, for the last twenty-plus years, has been: what exactly is 'leadership'? I read many definitions and general descriptions of leaders, leadership and leadership theories as part of my research (Senge, 1990, p. 340; Robbins, 1991, p. 354; Yukl, 1994, pp. 2-5; Covey, 2004, pp. 252-264). Early on, in seeking to define leadership, I was reminded that even some texts on leadership note the struggles we have had in explaining the term. Yukl quotes an early text by Bennis as stating that: 41 Always, it seems, the concept of leadership eludes us or turns up in another form to taunt us again with its slipperiness and complexity. So we have invented an endless proliferation of terms to deal with it... and still the concept is not sufficiently defined (Yukl quoting Bennis, 1994, p. 3). Bennis' later definitions were legion, including several definitions focusing on the distinction between managers and leaders: "leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right" and "management is getting people to do what needs to be done... leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done" (Bennis quoted in Covey, 2004, p. 360). I also found convincing Senge's reference to leaders as "designers, teachers and stewards" (Senge, 1990, p. 354). Contemporary circumstances make the search for organizational and societal leadership both more important and more focused. One of the most fundamental challenges to our leadership in organizations today is that the "only constant" is change (Bennis, 1989, p. 101). In other words, in a complex and increasingly inter-connected world of fluctuating global markets and public policies, we constantly have to change. We have to continuously re-define and hone exactly what we are trying to achieve in our organizations, and how we try to achieve it together. We have to make conscious choices to discover where our deep passions lie and what we can be best at (Collins, 2001 pp. 95-96). Leadership through endings and new beginnings will be essential aspects of personal and group processes in our organizations (Bridges, 1991, p. 6). We have to deal head-on with the question "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" (Johnson, 1998, p. 48) Given the focus on so much respected and popular literature on change, it is not surprising that Kotter defines leadership as being "about coping with change" (Kotter, 2001, p. 4). He notes that "only leadership can motivate the actions needed to alter behavior in any significant way" (Kotter, 1996, p. 30). Senge (1990) writes about learning organizations where leadership provides us with a capacity to create together the future we want to create. Two specific change-related challenges to leadership are the ability to recognize and act on 42 what change brings, and taking a pro-active rather than a re-active approach to change (Covey, 1989, p.65). Far too many organizations are overflowing with management and lacking in leadership. "Many an institution is well-managed and poorly led. It may excel in the ability to handle each day all the routine inputs yet may never ask whether the routine should be done at all" (Bennis, 1989, p. 17). "Most US corporations today are overmanaged and underled." (Kotter, 2001, p. 3) "Only leadership can blast through the many sources of corporate inertia" (Kotter, 1996, p. 30). Filling the leadership gap is particularly important as we move further into the Information or Knowledge Society, "the first human society where upward mobility is potentially unlimited" (Drucker, 2002, p.60). The knowledge workers who populate the service sector are a primary source and audience of my research. In light of the above, I define leadership as "the positive influencing of others to reach a sustainable future that you and those others want to create together". I concluded that some of the most important leadership we will experience in our future lives in organizations could and should be provided by groups that trust. I will now describe for you the readings and the thought process that I followed to arrive at the latter conclusions. 3.2.1.2 The Process and Content Aspects of Leadership I spent a great deal of time reflecting on the 'process' and 'content' aspects of leadership. With regard to process, the ability to influence rather than direct, and to secure the genuine involvement of others is critical. We can call the process aspect of leadership "interpersonal influence" and "influential increment over and above mechanical compliance" (Yukl, 1994, pp. 2-3). We can also label it "commitment" rather than mere "compliance" (Senge, 1990, p. 218). Whatever language we use, our ability to engage and involve others in meaningful ways is essential to successful leadership. We need to be able to influence and hear from the highly diverse people who populate our organizations. This involves a level of understanding, engagement and involvement of those people. It also involves tapping into connectors, the natural networkers, and those who "are very good at 43 expressing emotions and feelings", thus being "emotionally contagious" (Gladwell, 2000, p.85). A key aspect of the content part of leadership is the practical matter of what the leadership in an organization does. Inevitably, however, today's content definition has become inextricably intertwined with process. We have come a long way from the days when I first taught leadership in the mid-1980s where the typical definition of what 'leaders' engaged others to do was to reach 'goals' (Yukl, 1994, pp. 2-3). In exploring content, I focused initially on Kotter's four activities as fundamental to leadership. Those activities were "setting the direction" for change (Kotter, 2001, p. 5), taking on the "communications challenge" of aligning people (Kotter, 2001, p. 7) to comprehend a vision so lower level employees can initiate actions, motivating people, and creating a culture of leadership (Kotter, 2001, p. 9). I found Kotter's four categories replicated in some form in many of the current writings on leadership (Bennis and Goldsmith, 1997; Covey, 2004; Goleman, 2000; Heenan and Bennis, 1999; Heifetz and Laurie, 1997). I labeled the four commonly-agreed to components of leadership as: providing direction for the organization's future, empowering people in organizations, inspiring and coaching people in organizations, and hearing from people in organizations (see appendix #7). We should also heed the warning from Colin Powell that an essential aspect of leadership is being prepared for loneliness: "a sense of aloneness is endemic to leadership at any level in any enterprise" (Harari, 2002, p. 244).13 Powell remembers, the night before the invasion of Panama, feeling "full of foreboding... Had I been right? Had my advice been sound?... What would our casualties be?" (Harari, 2002, p. 245). While few people in leadership positions will take a country to war, just about all of us attend meetings and we can all go through the "midnight moment of aloneness—that long moment of self-doubt, second-guessing and deep anxiety" (Harari, 2001, p. 246) that goes with leadership. Isaacs (1999) puts the same issue in an everyday light: "our meetings and our institutions can be very lonely places" (p. 28). 44 3.2.1.3 Distributed Leadership and Leadership bv Groups I found it disturbing to reflect on how much time, attention and energy have been focused narrowly in organizations on defining the top leadership and on finding a small cadre of star 'leaders'. "Most people think of leadership as a position and don't see themselves as leaders" (Covey, 2004, p. 16). "Major transformations are often associated with one highly visible individual" (Kotter, 1996, p. 51). The idea that change can come only from a single "larger than life person" is a "dangerous belief (Kotter, 1996, p. 51). I found it even more disturbing to reflect on how systemic forces meant that many top leaders of organizations were masters of territoriality "and elaboration of our differences" (Oshry, 1995, p. 149). While securing leadership from the formal 'head' of an organization and the 'heads' of all key departments is clearly important, we must get away from an exclusive expectation that one or more individuals will be 'the one or several true leaders' who 'save' and 'protect' us. Leadership can be provided in some form or fashion by most people in an organization. Leadership entails certain behaviors and ways of 'being' that enhance the experience and performance of the people in organizations. Anyone in an organization can be a leader in a leader-full organization, an organization which has multiple leaders. A leader-full organization does not rely exclusively on one formal leader. In other words, "There are many leaders, not just one" (Goleman et al., 2002, p. xiii). The leader-full concept is well-described in literature on distributed leadership (i.e., leadership that is dispersed rather than concentrated", Grorm, 2002, p.655; "distribution of the responsibility for leadership... an idea whose time has well and truly come", Gronn, 2002, p. 654). One way to look at distributed leadership is in "additive terms as the behavior of multiple leaders". However, I see it, as Gronn does, "in a more holistic fashion" (Gronn, 2002, p. 654) and as evident in "concertive action rather than aggregated behaviour" (Gronn, 2002, p. 656). The concept of leader-full organizations is useful for organizations in the Information or Knowledge Age. In this post-modern age: 45 The new capital in many... organizations... at least as defined by influence...and the ability to 'call the shots'... is determined not by ownership of the company or by one's formal position or tenure in the company but rather by one's possession of knowledge and skills relevant to the immediate needs of the organization... information is expandable without any obvious limits; it is also compressible.. .transportable, substitutable...diffusive... and, most important, sharable... our increasing reliance on information changes the very nature of the workplace. (Bergquist, 1993,p.151) Distributed leadership has been observed for some time in research on group environments. One of the foundations of this perspective is the work of Gibb in the 1950s, which is referenced in Gronn: Gibb's starting point was the claim that leadership "is probably best conceived as a group quality, as a set of functions which must be carried out by the group". He then drew attention to the "tendency for leadership to pass from one individual to another as the situation changes". (Gronn, 2002, p. 655) Distributed leadership in group environments is also reflected in the literature on productive and performing groups (Tuckman, 1965; Blanchard et al , 2000): "flexibility and shared leadership... allow the team to respond to new challenges" (Blanchard et al., 2000, p. 51). Practitioners of distributed leadership can, therefore, "lead without power" (DePree, 1999). An extension of the idea of distributed leadership in groups is the idea of leadership being provided through pairings or groups, thus further getting away from the idea of leadership being focused "in one organizational role or at one level" (Gronn, 2002, p. 655). Bennis, Kotter, Drucker, Blanchard and Waghorn and Covey all contribute to this idea of leadership 46 through pairings or groups. Bennis was a co-author of a text on co-leadership, where he and Heenan write about leadership through dyads: Co-leadership... is a tough-minded strategy that will unleash the hidden talent in any enterprise... co-leadership is inclusive, not exclusive... co-leadership should permeate every organization at every level... power and responsibility are dispersed, giving the enterprise a whole constellation of costars—co-leaders with shared values and aspirations, all of whom work together towards common goals... Called on to make more and more complex decisions more and more quickly, even the most da Vincian CEO's acknowledge that they can't do everything themselves... Future-oriented enterprises have to be able to spot the Next Big Thing and respond to it before the competition. (Heenan and Bennis, 1999, pp. 5-7) Heenan and Bennis add that in co-leadership "trust is the coin of the realm" (p. 275) and that "the most exciting work being done today is collaborative, accomplished by teams of people working toward a common goal" (p. 17). Drucker sees inter-organizational partnership as a solution in the present and coming environment, where "we have to make special efforts to be receptive to change and to be able to change" and that we need to balance "rapid change and continuity". Partnership "in change" can be made "the basis of continuing relationships" (Drucker, 2001, p.90). We can thus increasingly organize relationships "as long term partnerships in the process of change" (Drucker, 2001, p. 91). Drucker goes on to link change and partnership to group work and trust: ... enterprises [will] come to rely on people working together without actually working together...it will...become more and more important for these people to get together and actually meet one another and work with one another on an organized, systematic, scheduled basis... [this] makes it more important to have trust in one another. (Drucker, 2001, p. 91) 47 Kotter talks about the mistake we make in assigning important change to a "low credibility-committee" (Kotter, 1996, p. 53), which, unfortunately, is often the description of the executive or senior management committee. Kotter's answer is another form of co-leadership. A team "with the right composition and sufficient trust among members" (Kotter, 1996, p. 55) can be "highly effective" and is a necessity under today's new "business circumstances" in order to affect the changes we have to make to our organizations. Kotter, writing with Cohen, expands on the importance of "sufficient trust" in a team in the Information Age. Kotter and Cohen (2002) note that "with big changes in a fast-moving world", weak trust is "a huge problem" (p. 50). They add the rhetorical question: "How can you create a sensible vision and strategies for the overall group in a team with weak trust?" (p. 50). Earlier, they link trust to "emotional commitment" (p. 4) and note that "people change what they do because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings" (p.l). Emotional commitment affects how people bond together and the bond that they feel with the organization. Blanchard and Waghorn note that "for the first time in the history of business, a company can be outclassing the competition today and out of business tomorrow" (Blanchard and Waghorn, 1997, p. 16). They write about future-oriented design teams needing freedom, time, risk-taking and members who are "unreasonable" people: These people must fulfill George Bernard Shaw's requirements for "unreasonable men" by never being content, searching constantly for new and better ways to do everything. (Blanchard and Waghorn, 1997, p. 144) Covey writes about organizations building on the synergistic work of high trust-relationships as "the foundation for creating teams or organizations of cooperative people" on the path to "the Age of Wisdom, the fifth age of civilization" (Covey, 2004, p. 117). In an appendix titled "the high cost of low trust", he notes the importance of asking evidence questions 48 along with "impact questions which get to the heart" of a matter (Covey, 2004, p. 365). Covey suggests involving more than one person in this kind of questioning, which again suggests that we cannot leave leadership to a single individual. A l l the time that you ask questions, "the other person or extended team is the intelligence force" (Covey, 2004, p. 368). Leadership-providing groups can thus be a cornerstone of the well-led organization of the future. These groups can have different names, a Guiding Coalition (Kotter), a Future Design Team (Blanchard and Waghorn) and a Leadership Council (the name of the group constituted by CEO Fred Raley of SpawGlass of Texas). Their mandate is essentially the same: to look to "creating what isn't" (Blanchard and Waghorn, 1997 p. xxi) and to find that next Big Thing. Thus these groups must be generative and must synergize. Generative dialogue and synergy are made more likely if we have trust in the group in question. The creation of, and work done by, leadership-providing groups increases the likelihood of commitment, which once again links the content of leadership with the process of leadership. 3.2.1.4 Sustainability through Leadership A newer aspect of the definition of leadership and a distinct leadership challenge is combining change processes with sustainability. Sustainability has reached new prominence as a concept through research on the environment, but in my mind it always has been a key aspect of leadership. Sustainability has recently developed its increased profile through such organizational concepts as the triple bottom line (the TBL). The TBL is intended to focus us on the impact on the environment as an aspect of accountability. The triple bottom line thus goes beyond making money and includes having a positive impact on the environment, including the human environment in which we work. This wider consciousness and accountability is set out in the definition which follows: The triple bottom line... focuses corporations not just on the economic value they add, but also on the environmental and social value they add - and 49 destroy... At its broadest, the term is used to capture the whole set of values, issues and processes that companies must address in order to minimize any harm resulting from their activities and to create economic, social and environmental value, (www.sustainabilitv.com/philosophy/triple-bottom/tbl-intro.asp, last viewed November 23, 2004) Sustainability in leadership is nothing new i f we connect it to the long-written-about concepts of statesmanship and stewardship. Organizational "statesmanship" involves making "the transition from administrative management to institutional leadership" and "concern for the evolution of the organization as a whole" (Selznick, 1957, pp. 4-5). To steward is "to hold something in trust for another" (Block, 1996, p. xx). To steward is to build "the capacity of the next generation to govern themselves" (Block, 1996, p. xx). To steward is to govern ourselves so we create "a strong sense of ownership and responsibility for outcomes at the bottom of the organization" (Block, 1996, p. 5). 3.2.1.5 Decid ing which Groups N e e d Group Trust As mentioned above, Kotter describes trust as an essential feature of his Guiding Coalition. Blanchard et al., in describing a group which has reached a productive stage, note that "relationships and communication" are "built on trust" as well as on mutual respect and openness (Blanchard et al., 2000, p.51). Where and why does group trust come into the group leadership equation? In the language of the literature on communities, we have "to develop relationships and sufficient trust to discuss genuinely sticky practice problems" (Wenger et al., 2002, p. 82). Dealing with sticky practice problems, issues, or challenges means dealing with the real issues and not the symptoms (Senge, 1990), the people issues that defy easy solution, and daunting and difficult futures (Drucker, 2002). Sticky issues are a part of our twenty-first century life. They come from "the substantial increase in the proportion of human beings who work in conjunction with other people" (Bergquist, 1993, p. 42). They also come from a change to human capital in service sector and knowledge 50 organizations: "the inventory goes home at night" (Bennis, 1989, p. 86)14. Sticky issues arise also from questions of "moral motivation": the purpose of the organization, historical inequalities perpetuated by the organization and the effects the economic order on the workplace climate.15 We have to develop relationships and sufficient trust because they provide a connection between people that allows us to avoid superficially dealing with the above types of problems. These types of relationships also allow us to get past "smart talk" (Pfeffer and Sutton, 1999), and instead find and implement genuine solutions. Dealing with sticky issues will generate the greatest payoff for sustainable productivity, for the completion of tasks and for the people who are our only organizational assets in our service sector organizations. Trusting groups have the capacity to positively affect leadership in organizations in at least three ways: changing direction, lessening loneliness and role-modeling. Trusting groups that lead can generate the ideas and the energy needed to transform the direction of our organizations. Trusting groups that lead can support those who provide leadership, thus assisting in mitigating the earlier-referenced loneliness of leadership that Powell warns about (Harari, 2002). Trusting groups that lead by role-modeling trust for the rest of the organization can variously be described as contributing to a field of trust (Wheatley, 1994), a tipping point or critical mass of trust (Gladwell, 2000) or a "network pattern going in all directions" (Capra, 1996, p. 82) of trust. These three areas of leadership are detailed in relation to the leadership literature in appendix #7. In thinking about the role-modeling function of groups that lead, we shouldn't expect all groups to build trust or to lead. Thus, it is useful to examine one of the key concepts in Katzenbach and Smith (1993), that of the working group.16 The working group is an alternative to a group seeking to become a much-touted high performing team: 1 4 Bennis attributes this to Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM studios "during Hollywood's golden era". (Bennis, 1989, p. 86) 1 5 I am indebted to Daniel Vokey for these thoughts on "moral motivation" made in response to an earlier draft of this dissertation. 1 6 This choice was re-named "the single-leader discipline" in a subsequent book (Katzenbach and Smith, 2001). This discipline was described as follows: "The leader, often in consultation with the group, determines 51 ... in many situations, particularly at the top of multibusiness companies, the structured working group option can make more sense. Too often, however, the choice between working group and team [i.e. another grouping in the model] is neither recognized nor consciously made (p. 88)... Unlike teams, working groups rely on the sum of "individual bests" for their performance. They pursue no collective work products requiring joint effort (p. 85)... The basic distinction here turns on performance. A working group relies primarily on the individual contributions of its members for group performance, whereas a team strives for a magnified impact that is incremental to what its members could achieve in their individual roles. The choice depends largely on whether the individual achievements can deliver the group's performance aspirations or whether collective work-products, skills and mutual accountability are needed (pp. 88-89)... An effective working group, like a team, benefits from a clear purpose and a common understanding of how performance will be evaluated... But working group members do not take responsibility for results other than their own (p. 89)... if performance aspirations can be met through individuals doing their respective jobs well, the working group approach is most comfortable, less risky and less disruptive than trying for more elusive team performance levels, (p. 90) the performance-based reason and purpose for group work, makes the decisions, establishes the required individual contributions and group patterns of communications, and determines the requirements of success and how and when to evaluate progress" (p. 5). 52 The implications of choice and the 'working group' idea are significant.17 Al l of us who build groups should ask a series of questions before we do much else. These questions could be asked as a part of what is referred to as planning and initiating pre-conditions for trust in chapter six. Those questions include: How tight/effective should the group become, based on its expected function, and why? Will the group simply be asked to share bare bones information and not much else? Or, will the group provide leadership or support or help to create organizational climate? We have to get away from groups engaging in team-building and even trust-building as part of a knee-jerk achievement-driven morality play. In that play we could easily say high performing and trust are good; anything else is bad. We must avoid achievement for the sake of achievement. However, I am also mindful of the thoughtful input of one of the members of my stage three on line discussion group who reviewed all of the major conclusions I had then arrived at, including conclusions about limiting our expectations about the number and type of groups that build trust: What struck me was the concept that often we think of leadership as being held by individuals and here you are saying we need group leadership to do lots of things in organizations — which requires trust - right? And if so, then the idea that it is perhaps Ok to NOT have it when groups are carrying out more day-to-day tasks kind of undermines the premise — wouldn't we get crappy day-to-day decisions if people don't trust each other ?? I don't think you can have larger trust -based leadership tasks happening if not supported by a culture of effectiveness at the more mundane level of operations. ' ' Drucker, like Katzenbach and Smith, writes about the elements of choice involved in the ways that teams work together, likening business organizational teams to sports teams: The first kind of team is the baseball team... players play on the team; they do not play as a team... The second kind of team is the football team... players play as a team... "in parallel"... "in series"... Third there is the tennis doubles team... the sort of team that plays in a jazz combo... the team that is most likely to produce a genuine innovation... players have a primary rather than a fixed position. They are supposed to "cover" their teammates, adjusting to their teammates' strengths and weaknesses and to the changing demands of the "game". (Drucker, 1995, pp. 98-99) 53 Thus, one of the Solomon-like challenges18 for any organization is to consciously separate out those groups which could potentially make a key contribution to a climate of trust in the organization from those where it is sufficient to say 'this is a working group and it is acceptable for these people to work at individual bests side by side together'. 3.2.2 Groups and Group Development 3.2.2.1 Groups and Group Development Patterns Earlier I defined a group as a "two or more people with some reason for gathering collectively". Over the last twenty-five years I have learned a great deal from the literature on groups and from various models for group development. First and foremost I have learned about legitimate reasons for gathering collectively. Katz and Kahn's classic text (1978) described the "need for affiliation" fulfilled by groups (p. 374). More recently, Goleman wrote about "the team advantage: the group mind", noting in particular our needs around information: in today's information, knowledge and wisdom-aspiring workplace it is "a fundamental fact" that each of us "has only part of the information or expertise we need to get our jobs done" (Goleman, 1998, p. 203). Also prominent in the group and team literature are descriptions of the many benefits attributed to high performing groups, a "high morale" group with "optimal productivity and high standards" (Blanchard et al., 2000, p. 51) and a group which "significantly outperforms all other like teams, and outperforms all reasonable expectations given its membership" (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 92). 1 8 This is a reference to the Biblical situation where King Solomon had to decide which of two women had a valid claim on a child. Both women recently gave birth to a son, but one of the boys died. Each woman claims the living child. "Fetch me a sword," the king announces. "Cut the live child in two, and give half to one and half to the other." Faced with this radical gesture, one woman urges him to split the baby in two, while the other pleads, "Give her the live child; only don't k i l l it." The king instantly realizes that the woman who wants to protect the child must be the real mother and rewards her with the baby. (Who Gets To Be "Solomonic"? by Bruce Feiler Posted Monday, Aug. 27, 2001, at 8:30 P M PT on slate.msn.com/id/114288/ last viewed March 15, 2005) 54 Second, I learned that it is vital that we thoughtfully lead, monitor, develop and correct, as necessary, the ways in which we gather collectively and the processes that groups go through. "Lack of coherent teamwork" could nullify "the gains of individual effort or brilliance" (Belbin, 1994, p. 11). Process suggestions in the literature consistently include developing common, meaningful purpose, vision and values (Blanchard et al., 1990, pp. 12, 33; Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 49; Maclver, 2001, p. 104), defining team member roles (Blanchard et al., 1990, p. 33; Maclver, 2001, p. 104), managing relationships with the outside (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 142; Maclver, 2001, p. 104), having ongoing feedback and evaluation (Blanchard et al., 2000, p. 12; Maclver, p. 104; Singer, 2004, p. 84) and ensuring balanced communication (Blanchard et al., 2000, p. 12; Maclver, 2001, p. 104). Developing and following agreed-to group groundrules to accompany values (Maclver, 2001, p. 104) or a 'Code of Honor' where the "code gets to... legislate behavior... be the impartial third party, the policeman" (Singer, 2004, pp. xvii, 68) are among many ways of working towards "procedural justice" (Korsgaard et al., 2003). These are approaches that will assist groups in developing trust and otherwise developing as a group. Third, I learned about the importance of choices. One type of choice was mentioned above but there are many more choices, starting when we first contemplate putting a group or committee together. We make important choices about the composition of a group. We can choose to put together balanced groups with a "diversity of talent and personality" (Belbin, 1994, p. 99)19. Balanced and diverse groups have been demonstrated to perform better than groups solely "comprising clever people" who were "high critical thinkers" (Belbin, 1994, p. 11-13). A group in which people naturally performed a variety of named roles and which had a "wide spread of scores in mental ability" were observed to "pull together better than teams that were intellectually more homogeneous" (Belbin, p. 95-96). The diversity includes people who naturally perform such group roles as energizing groups with "innovation" (Belbin, 1994, p. 41), being "tolerant enough to always listen to others and strong enough to reject their advice" (Belbin, 1994, p. 53), being socially oriented and sensitive (Belbin, 1994, p.78) and "always preferring to think things over" (Belbin, 1994, p. 69). 55 Fourth, I learned about recurring patterns that groups go through. These patterns are portrayed visually in models, two of which are illustrated in the diagrams from Blanchard et al. and Katzenbach and Smith that appear below. The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a "model" as "a usually miniature representation of something; also: a pattern of something to be made" and as "an example for imitation or emulation"20. The first model describing recurring patterns that I remember seeing was Tuckman's (1965). On first using Tuckman's work in an applied setting in 1990,1 found myself completely captivated by the model. Partly it was the way it changed people's perspectives through the open acknowledgement of the importance of resolving group conflict. Partly it was how easy people seemed to find it to understand and remember (i.e. Tuckman's basic concepts, turned into the rhyming forming, storming, norming and performing). Partly it was that Tuckman acknowledged both the task side and the process side. He did so in talking about what he called the task and interpersonal realms. Tuckman noted on the one hand that "any group, regardless of setting, must address itself to the successful completion of a task" (p. 385). On the other hand, Tuckman noted that "at the same time and often through the same behaviors", group members will be "relating to one another interpersonally" (p. 385). Tuckman's breakthrough article was revolutionary for its time and continues to be featured in many of the standard texts on management and organizations (see Robbins, 1991, pp. 276-8). Tuckman's four stage process has been reworked and renamed by Blanchard et al. (2000). Blanchard et al. describe four team development stages: Orientation, Dissatisfaction, Integration and Production. These stages, and their impact on productivity 21 and morale, are illustrated below in Diagram 3-1. Diagram 3-1: Blanchard et al. model (nextpage) "model" in Merriam-Webster Online 2 1 From Blanchard et al. (2000, p. 60) 56 HIQH Team Development Stages LOW Tuckman's first stage of forming had two sides: an interpersonal side and a task side. On the one hand, the first realm of interpersonal group structure was "testing and dependence" (Tuckman, 1965, p. 386). In this stage "the term 'testing' refers to an attempt by group members to determine "what interpersonal behaviors are acceptable to the group". There was also a dependency for "guidance and support" on the "therapist, trainer, some powerful group member or existing norms and structures" (Tuckman, Ibid). On the other hand, the first task stage was "orientation to the task", an attempt by group members "to identify the task in terms of its relative parameters and the manner in which the group experience will be used to accomplish the task" (Tuckman, Ibid). The characteristics of the group during Blanchard et al.'s version of this stage can include: "moderate eagerness; high, often unrealistic expectations; anxiety; tentative, conforming behavior; and some testing of boundaries" (Blanchard et al., 2002, p. 30). The second stage in group development involves an uncomfortable time, which is described as part of the normal dynamic of a group in getting to high performance (Tuckman, 1965; Blanchard et al, 1990; Katzenbach and Smith, 1993; Maclver, 2001). This stage, which Tuckman labeled "intragroup conflict", can be a breakthrough stage. Tuckman noted that group members "became hostile toward one another... as a means of expressing their individuality and resisting the formation of group structure (p. 386). He also used the following words, phrases and concepts to describe this stage "uneven... interaction", "infighting", "lack of unity" and groups which "polarize". For me, on the interpersonal side, all of this 'boiled down' to the idea of there being "conflict over progression into the HIQH pnoouenOH MfEQIMTION DtSSATWACDON ORIENTATION ^ — / - - - -LOW TDS 4 TDS3 TDS 2 TDS 1 57 'unknown' of interpersonal relations". The second task-activity development stage was described as "emotional response to task demands", a stage in which group members react emotionally to the task "as a form of resistance to the demands of task on the individual". In other words, there was a "discrepancy between the individual's personal orientation and that demanded by the task" (p. 386). Blanchard et al. characterize Dissatisfaction as involving, in part: ... a discrepancy between expectations and reality; confusion and frustration around roles and goals; dissatisfaction with dependence on authority; expression of dissatisfaction; formation of coalitions; feelings of incompetence, confusion, low confidence; competition for power authority and attention... [and] some task accomplishment. (Blanchard et al., 2000, 40) Each time over the years that I have read this passage to a group that is struggling at this stage, their reaction can be summed up as follows: "How did they get inside my head and describe exactly what I am experiencing?" The plain and emotive language used by the authors is very helpful to real live people in relating to group development. However, as I learned through observation throughout the 1990s, there is no automatic progression to or through this second stage. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) describe groups that get stuck in the second stage, which they call the Pseudo-Team stage (see diagram 3-222 below). They describe this stage as applying to "a group for which there could be significant incremental performance need or opportunity" but the group "has not focused on collective performance and is not really trying to achieve it" (p. 91). As well, groups that go on to the second stage can regress or cycle back to formation (Tuckman 1965; Maclver, 2001) over time. This can be a temporary state or it can be part of a downward cycle reflecting a group's dysfunctions and inability to deal with a range of thoughts and emotions, be they critical, concerned, praising or joyful. Groups can easily get caught in recurring cycles where they try to fix things quickly and to get things done. Those cycles The diagram is from Katzenbach and Smith (1993, p. 84) 58 then become part of the problem with a group (Senge, 1990; Maclver, 2001). Moreover, I learned that the pivotal event of the second stage does not have to be conflict. Expression of emotion, including joy or regret, could prompt a group to go through this stage (see the description of the Feeling Stage in Maclver, 2001 in appendix #3). Diagram 3-2: Katzenbach and Smith, 1993 THE TEAM PERFORMANCE CURVE High-performing team Pseudo-team 59 Tuckman's (1965) third stage, which has come to be known popularly as 'norming', once again involves two realms. In the realm of task activity Tuckman characterized this as "the open exchange of relevant interpretations" (p. 387). These interpretations could range from "exchanged interpretations" in a laboratory-task context to "discussing oneself and other group members" in therapy and training group contexts. He notes that "in all cases one sees the information being acted on so that alternative interpretations of the information could be arrived at". This notation on Tuckman's part is significant since so many groups do not discuss interpretations of information. When presenting information, many groups tend to talk past one another and to 'batter' each other with their 'facts-of-the-matter'23. In terms of group structure Tuckman (1965) described this stage as one involving development of group cohesion by the group members. This cohesion was gained through the group establishing "new group-generated norms to ensure the group's existence" (p. 386). I see this purpose on the part of the group as important. In my mind there is an important distinction between any norms arrived at earlier and the norms arrived at in this stage. My observation is that the norms the group agrees to could be exactly the same norms arrived at through such processes as agreement on groundrules. However, there is a whole new meaning to norms agreed to or affirmed after intragroup conflict. For example, "bringing up conflict issues as they arise" means something quite different after you have experienced a blow-out over some suppressed conflict than it would before that blow-out. The key characteristic that Tuckman (1965) identifies for both realms is "openness to other group members" (p. 387). An alternative description of the third stage, that of 'Integration'24 , by Blanchard et al. has been helpful to groups I have worked with. The description gives groups both something to aspire to and a way to understand 'in the moment' what is happening to the group. Blanchard et al. (2000, p. 58) describe this stage as being characterized by, among other things: This is an oft-repeated phrase used by Joe Schaefer and taken from my lecture notes (1997-2001). Royal Roads University Executive Program in Leadership, Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 2 4 This stage was called 'Resolution' in an earlier edition of the book (Blanchard et al., 1990). 60 ... increased clarity and commitment on roles, goals, task and structure; increased commitment to norms and values; increased task accomplishment; growing... cohesion, harmony and mutual respect; willingness to share responsibility, leadership and control; understanding and valuing of differences; use of team language—'we' rather than 'me' and the tendency to avoid conflict. My experience, however, is that groups at this stage do have incidents of conflict. However, the conflict tends to be lightening-quick. Also it is not fraught with all of the emotional overtones, blaming and personalization of the conflict that goes on earlier in the life of a group. The fourth stage is the higher state described earlier (i.e. a High-Performing Team in Katzenbach and Smith, 1993 and Production in Blanchard et al., 2000). Tuckman's (1965) fourth stage is "the emergence of solutions". The emergence of solutions involves "constructive attempts at successful task completion" (p. 387). In the group structural realm Tuckman calls this fourth stage "junctional role-relatedness". In this stage, the group, "which was established as an entity during the previous phase, can now become a problem solving instrument" (p. 387). What enables this change? "Members can now adapt and play roles that will enhance the task activities of the group" since "role structure is not an issue but an instrument which can now be directed at the task" (p. 387). In addition to all of the above, there are two other issues that are addressed in the models that merit highlighting: the risk issue and the evolution of trust. Katzenbach and Smith specifically identified risk issues that are involved in groups being more effective in working together. In writing about the "critical choice" a group might make of aspiring to be a potential team, a real team, or a high performing team, their language is strikingly similar to the language that I use in referring to the development of trust in a group. They note that: The team option promises greater performance than the working group. But it also brings more risk. Because of deep-seated values of individualism and 61 a natural reluctance to trust one's fate to the performance of others the team choice demands a leap of faith. (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 90) There is also specific reference to the evolution of trust in each of the four stages in the Blanchard et al. model. Trust is described as follows. In the first stage of Orientation, there is "anxiety about... trust in others" (Blanchard et al., 2000, p. 30). This is one among several areas of anxiety. There is then a dip in trust that occurs in the second stage of Dissatisfaction: there is "low trust" (Blanchard et al., 2000, 40). In the third stage of Integration, a group moves to "growing trust" (Blanchard et al., 2000, 58). Finally, in Production "relationships and communication" are "built on trust", among other things (Blanchard et al., 2000, 51). These relationships are very positive at this stage and the trust, it can be assumed, is high. The idea of trust evolving over time is thus captured here, although the idea of layers of trust is not developed in any way that I could see. 3.2.2.2 The Avoidance of Groupthink Groupthink is a concept that refers to poor decision-making in a group and is vital to considering the role of trusting groups that lead (Janis, 1982). Groups experiencing groupthink typically do not consider a wide list of alternatives and are willing to compromise the integrity of their decisions and their group process in order to achieve a superficial and false unanimity. Members of such groups are typically not critical of each others ideas, don't examine multiple alternatives, fail to seek outside expert opinions, and can be highly selective in gathering information (i.e. they find information which supports their conclusion). Among the most famous examples of groupthink cited in the on-line literature on decision-making in groups were those that led to the two shuttle disasters of the last twenty years: The culture [in NASA] can also be powerful because it is so pervasive, since it is rarely exposed to outside influences. Unlike the space team that conducted Apollo, recruited from a dozen major pools of experienced workers, most workers at NASA today have only worked at NASA since 62 graduation. Some retired military officers are brought in at headquarters — mostly because they are good at "following orders" of the officials who hire them — and specialists are brought in as needed, but they are far from the levers of power within NASA. This encourages an inbred "groupthink" that is not conducive to disagreeing with what management wants..."How is the culture going to change when you are bringing in people that have been trained to accept and have only worked with one cultural style?" an insider e-mailed. 2 5 3.2.2.3 The Chicken and Eqg Proposition and Paradox One of the ideas that I most thoroughly examined through the research literature and my own research is essentially a chicken and egg proposition. A chicken and egg proposition is one that lacks clarity as to which of two things is preeminent or 'first' (i.e. which came first: the chicken or the egg?). The proposition concerns the interrelatedness of group process focus and group task focus. This proposition is connected to earlier references to the content and process of leadership being intertwined and to both task and interpersonal aspects being cited in Tuckman's (1965) model. Later this 'task and process both come first' proposition will take yet another form. I will suggest that early group activities to earn trust could legitimately involve members primarily in task completion (e.g. "doing what they say they will do"). As well, however, group activities could equally legitimately have an initial focus on process (e.g. establishing a reliable process that ensures procedural justice, safety of disclosure) or on interpersonal relationship development and disclosure facilitated by an implicit or explicit process requiring deep listening. Groups must consider investing in both process and task as appropriate for the group in question. This suggestion runs counter to the argument that group process is a means to an end (i.e. human productivity or the completion of tasks). I believe that, in order for groups 2 5 Taken from an article by J. Oberg titled "The Columbia Tragedy: N A S A ' s Culture of Denial"; (see www.msnbc.msu.com/iaV3077543/). See also M . Cahill in an article published on September 9, 2004 at www.knowledgeboard.com. the on-line publication of the European K M community; both last seen November 23, 2004. 63 to develop trust, at some point one or more of their processes must become ends in themselves (e.g. positive and supportive appreciative processes or conflict resolution type processes). This suggestion also runs counter to the argument that we should have a sole focus on process as a panacea ("trust the process"). It suggests that groups that develop trust must have some reason for being. The chicken and egg idea of focusing on both task and process fits with the increasing emphasis in highly varied literature on "both/and thinking" adopting the dualistic philosophy of yin/yang. Early on in western business literature this was described as an "embrace of the 'genius of the and'" and avoiding the "tyranny of the or"26 and as getting away from "either/or thinking". Soon after both/and thinking was described as "adopting paradox", by combining and embracing seeming opposites (Bennis and Townsend, 1995). This "both/and" idea has appeared in recent highly varied research and practice based literature on leadership, personal development, systems and organizational improvement. This literature poses the challenge to embrace a variety of seeming opposites that affect our ability to work in groups. There are many versions of the challenge to embrace seeming opposites. One is my self-challenge to be a practical dreamer. A second is the challenge to practice "patient urgency" (Bennis and Townsend, 1995, p. 24). On the interpersonal side, our capacity to deal constructively with one another would be enhanced by being "lovingly candid" (Bryan et al., 1998, p. 90). This is particularly the case where we must address performance issues, relationship issues and unresolved conflict. Embracing paradox 2 7 can be the stuff of groups which lead, especially if the groups have built into their membership sufficient diversity that z " From Collins, J. and Porras, J. (1994). Built to Last. New York. HarperBusiness. p. 43 2 7 There are more examples in the still-emerging literature on this topic: one of the best-researched business texts of the new millennium suggests that we need "level five leaders" who are a "study in duality: modest and willful, humble and fearless" (Collins, 2001, p. 22). These would be executives who "argue and debate... and unify" (Collins, 2001, p. 60), leaders who "retain faith that you will prevail in the end... and at the same time confront the most brutal facts" (Collins, 2001, p. 86). Leadership by paradox also requires us to understand the importance of the paradoxical coexistence of change and stability (Capra, 1996, p. 169), and the reality that organizations must pay attention to both preservation and change at the same time (Collins, 2001, p. 196). I would add to the list the following paradoxes that inform my work in teaching leadership and teamwork: disciplined creativity, serious fun, calculated/thoughtful risks and cooperative competition. 64 various 'opposites' can be represented naturally and well by one or more members of the group. My 'chicken and egg' position necessitates leadership at all levels of service sector organizations adopting a philosophical stance that promotes human understanding as an end in itself through what we can variously call group conversation, dialogue and discourse. While I will use all three of these terms somewhat interchangeably, I will focus most on the concept of generative dialogue that is more fully developed later in this section. What we are trying to do through any form of dialogue is to reverse the effect of what Senge et al. call the ladder of inference (Senge et al., 1994, p. 242), where we abstract or infer meaning from presenting data rather than talking about the data itself. Paying attention to our counterproductive inferences in groups can also come from truly working at the fifth of Covey's seven habits, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" (Covey, 1989, p. 235). Thus, to quote Gadamer, ...In a conversation, when we have discovered the other person's standpoint and horizon, his ideas become intelligible without our necessarily having to agree with him... The person understanding has... stopped trying to reach an agreement... it makes an end of what is only a means. (Dostal, 2002, p. 303) As suggested at the outset of this section we need to similarly make an end of what many of us have accepted only as a means, or worse still, as a 'necessary evil': thoughtful and situationally appropriate attention to the development of group process. Some of us have had so much of a focus on the end being 'tasks', 'doing things' and the 'getting the job done' that this approach will demand fundamental attitudinal change and openness. This is related to Capra's (1996) point that we need to accomplish "a shift in society from thinking about objects to relationships" (p. 37). More radically, I agree that "the ultimate test of the validity of knowledge" (and, I would suggest, of tasks that we undertake in most groups in service sector organizations) is "whether it enhances the capacity of people to live well" (Castellano, 2000, p. 33). This may be an idea that still has a relatively 'small' following or 65 'start'. However if in future this idea engages enough emotion-transferring types28 who are able to start an epidemic of change (or 'tipping point' or critical mass cf. Gladwell 2001) we could face an epidemic of understanding. My 'chicken and egg' suggestion is that groups give attention equally but differently to both task and process, outcomes and relationships, and people 'doing good things' and 'living well'. This suggestion would appear to be at odds with the statement by Katzenbach and Smith (1993) that "performance is the primary objective, while a team remains the means, not the end" (p. 12). in I would take my suggestion a step further and add that, sometimes, a focus on task gets the way of getting the task done. In my role as observer I have been fascinated to observe that a too-exclusive focus on task can lead a group to experience many process problems, particularly if the task in question is complex and difficult. This problem is illustrated in the "addiction to task" stories told in story #4 in chapter two and in appendix #1. What makes these stories remarkable is that the groups in question got completely wrapped up in task despite being in highly process-oriented environments such as the Royal Roads University MALT environment. Too much of a task focus can provide us with a great incentive to pay attention to process! 3.2.3 Systems thinking Systems thinking can be described in many ways.29 The essence of systems thinking is our endeavor "to regain our full humanity" (Capra, 1996, p. 296). In order to do 2 8 These are what Gladwell calls people who "infect" the other people in the room with their emotions (Gladwell, 2001, p. 86) 29 In various handouts at Royal Roads University I drew on Capra (1996), on Senge (1990) and on student learners in the R R U program in summarizing systems thinking, in part, as:... The discipline of thinking in wholes A way of understanding the webs and patterns of people's relationships, and being able to map those relationships and get away from blaming Knowing that things affect each other (but do not 'cause' each other) and will do so increasingly in a globally interdependent world Knowing that because things are part of a whole we have to look at the whole- the parts- and then the whole again... we have to step back and see the whole, step forward and see the specifics and step back and see the whole again... Knowing that you 66 this "we have to regain our experience of connectedness with the entire web of life" (Capra, 1996, p. 296). A host of systems challenges, disabilities and standard difficulties exist with groups. These must be overcome, counterbalanced and talked about in our groups in order to develop trusting relationships. The vast majority of these are recurring systemic patterns that we can anticipate and deal with through systems thinking. I will first examine some of the most standard blame and victim-related challenges and ways of answering the challenge through slowing down and shared responsibility. Finally, I will turn to reinforcing feedback, the single most important systems thinking concept that influenced the development of the layered aspect of the model that appears in chapter six. 3.2.3.1 Groups and Unseen Fields A field is a force "of unseen connections that influences... behavior" (Wheatley, 1994, p. 13) and an "unseen" structure, "occupying space and becoming known to us through [its] effects" (Wheatley, 1994, p. 49). We know about these fields "not because we experience them directly but because we see their effects" (Senge et al., 1994, p. 65).30 According to modern science, "space is not empty but instead is a "cornucopia of invisible but powerfully effective structure".31 When applied to groups, the concept of field is illustrated by an ancient Sufi saying: "You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and". In a group made up of two or more people the 'field' is the 'and', the glue that connects people in the group. "We now sense that some of the best ways to create continuity of behavior are through the have to care about everyone in an organization (including yourself) and why you have to care All about relationships and partnerships: how people fit together, whether people really converse with each other and understand one another, and how to value emotion and feedback; all of that leads to real, meaningful conversation... Increasing interdependence in a fragmented, specialized world... 3 0 The recent work of Masaru Emoto supports the concept of field. Emoto's study of water provides proof that thoughts and feelings even affect physical reality. By producing different focused intentions through written and spoken words and music and literally presenting it to the same water samples, the water appeared to change its expression. From the website for the movie What the bleep do we know? (www, whatthebleep.com/crystals/ last viewed on January 20, 2005)). Emoto's newest book, The Hidden Messages in Water (Emoto, M. Beyond Words Publishing), further explores his research. 3 1 This is from Wilczek and Devine (as cited in Wheatley, 1994, p. 49) 3 2 Donella Meadows is credited with quoting this statement (as cited in Wheatley, 1994, p.9) 67 use of forces that we can't really see" (Wheatley, 1994, p. 12). A factor that will influence some people to trust other members of the group and to trust the whole group is continuity and consistency of behavior. Members of the group will rely on this behavior as the group goes about its processes and its accomplishing of tasks together. The group or organizational field or aura can be compared to a magnetic field, a "region in the neighbourhood of a magnet, electric current, or changing electric field, in which magnetic forces are observable".33 Trusting groups of all sorts will generate fields, thus providing a form of leadership by example. For example, trusting groups that model empowerment make it more likely that empowerment will 'spread' and even positively 'contaminate' organizations until the organization reaches a trust 'tipping point' (Gladwell, 2000). This, in turn, could contribute to the just-mentioned epidemic of understanding. An example of a field is the situation cited in Senge et al. (1999) where a CEO's request for help and promise to listen resulted in an explosion of energy (p. 194). Senge et al. note that a "speech in itself... was not enough". The CEO had to meet the challenge of walking the talk: he "had to help build capabilities in himself and in everyone" for developing the "new honesty" he was promoting. Similarly, we cannot announce an intent to build trust and do nothing more. 3.2.3.2 Groups, Connectedness and Shared Responsibility One way of living the above descriptions of systems thinking is through securing and building connectedness through building trust in groups. One of the most obvious challenges in so doing is the variety of interests and perspectives we bring to groups, including the various inferences referred to earlier. Within any group we can have competing, fractured sub-groups (Maclver, 2003), differing "truth claims" (Vokey, 2001, p. 28) and a refusal by one or more people in the group to take responsibility for the resolution of disputes and differences (Oshry, 1995, 60-61, 80). A "problem... is only a problem to individuals or groups in relation to their interests, aims and objectives" (Vokey, 2001, p. 80). Coming "to an understanding may require that I give some ground with my objectives" 3 3 "Magnetic field" is defined in Britannica Online; last viewed on March 15, 2005. 68 (Dostal, 2002, p. 128). A threat to our interests, aims and objectives can threaten our personal identity. "I am my position" (i.e. I identify so strongly with my job and position that it becomes my identity) and "the enemy is out there" (i.e. if something goes wrong it must be someone else 'out there' and not me who is to blame for it going wrong) are human and organizational learning disabilities that profoundly affect group process (Senge, 1990, pp. 17-26). Solutions to these systemic challenges or problems, not surprisingly, can come from systems thinking. There is great power in the 11 th of Senge's systems laws, "there is no blame" (Senge, 1990, p. 67), or, put somewhat differently, the idea that we "Abandon blame" (Stone et al., 1999, p. 58). We can also learn a great deal from reversing the 6 t h of Senge's systems laws. Senge states the law as "faster is slower" (Senge, 1990, p. 62). However I have found people to relate more readily to this law restated as: "slower is faster"34. Slowing down in order to address problems and in order to develop a basis for trust can in the end result in faster, better decisions. Another useful component of systems thinking that assists groups is the idea of contribution systems. The fundamental concept is that we all contribute to enduring problems in systems of which we are an ongoing part: The first question [when there is a breakdown in relationships and we slip into blaming] is "How did we each contribute to bringing about the current situation?" Or to put it another way: "What did we each do or not do to get ourselves into this mess?" (Stone et al., 1999, p. 60) Another systemic challenge is assuming enough but not too many responsibilities in our groups and organizations. Many of us struggle with finding and remembering the 'just right' Goldilocks level of responsibility (see chapter two for more on Goldilocks) in group and organizational settings. We can wear ourselves out either by taking on too much This suggestion came from a learner named Kay Johnson during an in-class conversation at Royal Roads University in 1997 69 responsibility in some area of our lives and by becoming 'victims' (e.g. blaming only others) in other areas of our lives. The process of becoming victims is summarized by Oshry as a situation where: ... all your energy is focused on "Them"...your anger at Them, your disappointment with Them, your resentment of Them. It's crystal clear to you that whatever is wrong is their fault.. .[you] fall into oppression... [saying]... "Look at all these problems They are not taking care of...They sure are either malicious, insensitive or incompetent" (Oshry, 1995, p. 60-64).35 Oshry notes that groups made up exclusively of members of a single 'level' of an organization are prone to differing systemic patterns that are each equally dysfunctional. This pattern is described as a "Dance of Blind Reflex" (Oshry, 1995, p. 53). These are dances that we "fall into" without being aware that we have done so. Thus, as noted earlier, groups made up of exclusively of top-level executives can "fall into... differentiation" or territoriality "in order to cope with... responsibility and complexity" (Oshry, 1995, p. 138). Middle level managers in the same group "fall into" diffusion, a "space that draws us away from one another" and into "competition and alienation" (Oshry, 1995, pp. 150-1). In our groups at the 'bottom' or front line of an organization it is "easy to hide in the 'We'". In doing so one is prone to "stand back and not put oneself at risk" (Oshry, 1995, p. 178). Oshry pushes us to explore the potential for shared responsibility and partnership, thus becoming "partners in creation" (Oshry, 1995, p. 67). 'Partners in creation' is another way of arriving at generative dialogue, which is described below. Katzenbach and Smith (2001) echoed Oshry in stating that "The team discipline... demands shared leadership and mutual accountability" (p. 7). Gallagher and Ventura describe the victim phenomenon in similar terms: "For many years...I've heard about 'they'... And I've often wondered...Just who are they, anyway?...You know who I'm talking about: They could have prevented this situation. They never tell us what's really going on. They oughta DO something about this! It's their fault" (Gallagher and Ventura, 2004, p. 3) 70 3.2.3.3 Groups and Reinforcing Feedback The single systems thinking-related idea that most profoundly affected how I have developed models of groups development is the idea of reinforcing feedback. Senge subtitles reinforcing feedback as "discovering how small changes can grow... into large consequences" (Senge, 1990, p. 80). The basic idea is that, in a reinforcing process, a small change "builds on itself. Whatever movement occurs is "amplified, producing more movement in the same direction" (Senge, 1990, p. 81). Senge illustrates this with a reinforcing circle diagram of a reinforcing sales process caused by customers talking to each other about your product: If the product is a good product, more sales means more satisfied customers, which means more positive word of mouth. That will lead to still more sales, which means even more widespread word of mouth... and so on. (Senge, 1990, p 82) 36 Senge, 1990, p. 82 71 Senge identifies two types of reinforcing loops, both of which are relevant to group betterment. Where things start off badly and grow worse, it is referred to as a "vicious cycle". These are the cycles of where groups struggle, those struggles lead to still more problems with the group, and pretty soon things are going downwards because the negativity feeds on itself and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. These negative cycles become a positive force when they cause sufficient problems in the group that it is resolved that something has to be done. For example, in composite story #5, as reported in chapter two, things got worse and worse as a destructive individual manipulated the group until I intervened and removed that individual from the group. Senge notes that there are also "virtuous cycles"—processes that reinforce in desired directions. This phenomenon explains the deepening of trust (see chapter four) and repeated leaps of faith (see chapter six) in some groups. Having success at taking one risk leads to a greater belief in the possibility of subsequently taking on new risks. I can relate this to conflict and repeated instances of conflict that I have observed in groups after so called storming or dissatisfaction is resolved the first time. Having once seen conflict dealt with in a constructive way, groups are more likely to take it on without fanfare or fuss another time. Senge relates these reinforcing loops to such language as the "snowball effect" (see the snowball in the center of Diagram 3-3 above) and "the bandwagon effect" and to such business concepts as "momentum is everything" in building confidence in a new product or within a fledgling organization (Senge, 1990, p. 83). Senge also notes that these cycles can only go so far because "eventually, limits are encountered". These limits are one form of balancing feedback where "there is a self-correction to maintain some goal or target" (Senge, 1990, p. 84). Senge et al. note a particular form of balancing factor in The Dance of Change. Applied to trust-building, this balancing factor suggests that we must consciously set aside the right amount of time, get the right coaching and support help, make sure that people see groups as relevant to what they are trying to accomplish, and role model at the executive level 'walking the talk' of investment in groups. He also notes that we can sustain groups past the normal balancing and negative effects that might interfere with sustaining change by directly 72 addressing fear and anxiety, ensuring that we assess and measure where possible the progress we make and secure "infectious commitment" (Senge et al., 1999, p. 344), which is another form of virtuous cycle and compelling force for the good of the organization. The concept of reinforcing positive loops could be overlaid on the Katzenbach and Smith (1993) model (see diagram 3-2 above). A group could improve its performance and its group bond over time by making a whole series of decisions and accomplishing certain tasks. It could also do so through some other development (e.g. the affirmation of an increasing sense of accomplishment through more openness in group meetings). The improvement could take the form of a series of virtuous loops as a team evolves from being a potential team to a real team to a performing team. 3.2.4 Dialogue and Discourse 3.2.4.1 Key Concepts and Definitions I learned from the literature on dialogue and discourse that we can have different kinds of conversations in organizations. These can be the kind of conversations where we examine the biases and prejudices that may be preventing us from growing and from inventing the new things that we need to invent for the future. A primary part of promoting dialogue and discourse is dealing with the impact of dialogue and discourse on the self. We can converse in a dialogic process about how threatening to self and to personal vulnerability are the changes in identity that occur as we continue our membership in a trusting group. The results of reflective and generative dialogue are worth achieving. In their most elegant form, we can call these results the emergence of common consciousness (Bohm, 2000, p.33) and the fusion of new horizons (Gadamer, 2002). Defining dialogue is not easy. I see dialogue as "a transformational collective conversation in which people think and create new meaning together in relationship and communion with one another". Some of this definition is drawn from Gadamer's description of dialogue: 73 ... in a successful conversation... both [partners in the conversation] come under the influence of the truth of the object and are thus bound to one another in a new community. To reach an understanding in a dialogue is not merely a matter of putting oneself forward and successfully asserting one's own point of view, but being transformed into a communion in which we do not remain what we were. (Gadamer, 2002, p. 379) Other elements are drawn from the definitions of dialogue provided by Bohm and Isaacs. Bohm states that dialogue is "... changing the way the thought process occurs collectively". He adds: "we haven't really paid much attention to thought as a process" (Bohm, 1996, p. 9). He talks about the necessity to "share meaning" because "society is incoherent and doesn't [share meaning] very well" (Bohm, 1996, p. 19). Isaacs refers to dialogue "creating something new" through "a conversation in which people think together in relationship" (Isaacs, 1999, pp. 18-19). Two higher levels of dialogue are reflective and generative dialogue. Reflective dialogue is dialogue where we are willing to think about what Isaacs calls "the rules underlying" what we do—"the reasons for our thoughts and actions" (Isaacs, 1999, p. 38). Reflective dialogue has value but where we must get to is "generative dialogue, in which we begin to create entirely new possibilities and create new levels of interaction" (Isaacs, 1999, p. 38). Gadamer's suggestion that we converse together through dialogue to fuse new horizons may be the ultimate expression of generative dialogue, a group creating together something that is totally new and uniquely suited to the situation (Gadamer, 2002). To get there we must "communicate freely in a creative movement in which no-one permanently holds to or otherwise defends his own ideas" (Bohm, 2000, p. 4). 3.2.4.2 The Challenge to Achieve Meaning and Understanding In groups, "where adherents of rival traditions divide into hostile camps, each believing they have nothing to learn from the other" (Vokey, 2001, p. 78) we face a situation where the 74 camps vigorously defend their ideas and act as bastions seeking the support of others in the group. These camps or "unsupported ends" (Oshry, 1995, p.80) within a group can be so wrapped up in their own position that they 'fall into' a pattern of "shifting responsibility for resolving issues and conflicts" from themselves to others. The camps or 'ends' typically fail to take responsibility for working with others in the group to resolve the differences or to rise to the higher level of fusion, common consciousness or flow. Thus, in a group we can miss out on the "infinity of the unsaid" (Dostal, 2002, p. 121). In the groups that lead, counteract loneliness and create organizational climate in our lives, we must learn how to counter a tendency which Bohm lamented in the following terms, "in all human relations nowadays people... talk around things, avoiding the difficulties" (Bohm, 2000). We have a "crisis of fragmentation" (Isaacs, 1999, p.276) where we see divisions among and within people wherever we look. "We fragment the world and in the process the parts lose their connection to the whole" (Isaacs, 1999, p. 53). The result of all of these divisions, and the failure to develop trust in groups is that we live in a "... society [that] is incoherent and doesn't' share meaning very well" (Bohm, 2000, p. 19). We end up with "an inflationary glut of words... more words, less and less meaning" (Isaacs, 1999, p. 46-47). Problems we encounter with meaning and feeling affect the way we act in groups. These problems also lead back to the periodic cycling through polite expression that I observed to be a prominent feature of many groups working under task and time pressure (Maclver, 2003). Instead of addressing the differences, the friction, and the fragmentation that are natural outcomes of the kind of diversity that Bohm urged us to build into groups engaging in dialogue, we lapse into a combination of 'niceness' and dominance by a leader or authority figure. This cyclical 'niceness' and dominance is understandable in a new group (Tuckman, 1965) but is unsupportable in an ongoing, long-standing group that is being depended on to provide leadership in an organization. In effect it becomes a frustrated version of one of Katzenbach and Smith's working groups. As Katzenbach and Smith (1993) note with regard to executive groups, it is not appropriate that they be driven "to the working group approach without any consciousness that a choice is being made" (p. 221). 75 Understanding is a challenge in these circumstances. Gadamer noted that"... all understanding is always interpretation. Understanding is carried out within the limits of language" (Gadamer in Palmer, 2001, p. 37). Achieving understanding then is a way in which one's "range of vision" can be "gradually expanded" (Dostal, 2002, p. 302). The whole point of understanding is that it enables us to engage in conversation where we get to know the other person— i.e. "to discover where he is coming from and his horizon" (Dostal, 2002, p. 303). Gadamer refers to three features of understanding: that it is bilateral, that it is dependent on the parties and that it involves revising goals. The difficulty with much of what passes for group togetherness is that people merely stash their goals away in the background for a while. We need to aspire to real understanding connected to knowledge: Understanding precedes and succeeds knowledge. Preliminary understanding, which is at the basis of all knowledge, and true understanding, which transcends it, have this in common: They make knowledge meaningful... If... the scholar wants to transcend his own knowledge—and there is no other way to make knowledge meaningful except by transcending it—he must become very humble again and listen closely to the popular language... in order to re-establish contact between knowledge and understanding. (Arendt, 1993, p. 311) 3.2.4.3 The Search for Truth Dialogue and discourse can also be part of our search for truth, which may be one of our defining characteristics as humans. Learning to "imaginatively adopt the perspective of another tradition requires a rare gift of empathy as well as intellectual insight... dedication to truth must outweigh their attachment to their own beliefs " (Vokey, 2001, p. 60). "We have to get meanings coherent if we are going to perceive truth, or to take part in truth" (Bohm, 2000, p. 35). 76 3.2.4.4 Examining and Suspending Assumptions One of the most central and most risky tenets of dialogue is the idea of examining and suspending assumptions. Fundamental to achieving trust in groups is consciousness of how we are not consciously aware of many assumptions. These assumptions are "embedded in ways of life, such as the root metaphors that are so basic and pervasive as to be generally below the threshold of conscious awareness" (Vokey, 2001, p. 86). We defend assumptions "as i f we are defending ourselves" (Bohm, 2000, p. 34). When others don't listen to our "basic assumptions" we "feel it as an act of violence" (Bohm, 2000, p. 46). The flip side is that we ourselves can be caught up in our own assumptions to the point where others "experience the violence of the prejudices that rule unchecked" (Palmer, 2001, p. 44). Assumptions can also be referred to as mental models, a way of seeing and interpreting the world (Senge, 1990). These assumptions and mental models lead to self-sustaining selective listening and seeing demonstrated in an earlier-mentioned linguistic model known as the Ladder of Abstraction. In proceeding up this ladder we go from the actual data (i.e. what happened) at the bottom of the ladder up a rung to selective perception to personal meaning. From personal meaning we go up more rungs to assumptions to interpretation and attribution of motive and purpose (Senge et al., 1994, pp. 242-6).37 The ladder of abstraction exposes many limits on the way we relate to others, including the very thought processes that guide us. Bohm refers to thought as a "screen" through which we see the world (Bohm, 2000, p. 40), a form of self-deception (Bohm, 2000, p. 56), something which is neither free nor honest (Bohm, 2000, p. 67), and a "system of reflexes" (Bohm, 2000, p. 82). In extreme cases where we construct unconscious mental models, climb ladders of inference and engage in screening we may move to a state of 'autistic hostility' where we would not agree with the other person, no matter what they might say. We can find ourselves in an escalation process that "not only intensifies conflict over the original issues; it proliferates to other issues" (Katz and Kahn, 1978, p.635). In Bohm's 3 7 1 particularly like the following description of the impact of the preconceptions that we develop as we move up the ladder and that then loop back to affect our interpretation of subsequent data. The description is: "If you don't like someone, the way he holds his spoon will make you furious; i f you do like him, he can turn his plate over in your lap and you won't mind" (wvvw.question.com/quotes/authors/irving becker.html; last viewed on November 22, 2004) 77 language, we have to realize that "we are looking at the world through our assumptions... the assumptions could be said to be an observer in a sense.. .this is a common problem in introspection... you say 'I'm going to look at myself inwardly' but the assumptions are not looked at—the assumptions are looking" (Bohm, 2000, pp. 69-70). There is another way. In groups and in other relationships, we can develop trust as a vehicle for bursting the 'bubble' of group assumptions. These group assumptions are effectively closed systems assumptions that lead to poor decisions and not being able to recognize the fallacies in those decisions. "You make me want to be a better man", the Melvin character says to the ever-honest and caring Carol character in the movie As good as it gets (Brooks et al. 1998). "Let's re-examine our decisions", a NASA official could have said in response to the earlier-referenced groupthink that allegedly led to the space shuttle disasters. 3.2.5 Personal and Interpersonal Factors 3.2.5.1 Be ing Heard . Acknowledging Natality and Bui lding on Strengths There are many reasons why it matters how we treat one another and what we produce through working in groups. Most basic for me is that abuse of people in groups is wrong and destructive. Moreover, neglect and the failure to understand people can be hurtful and alienating and can underscore the lack of power that some people suffer from in groups. For example: Some of the men I spoke to—and just about every woman—told me of the experience of saying something at a meeting and having it ignored, then hearing the same comment taken up when it is repeated by someone else (nearly always a man). (Tannen, 1994, p. 277) Tannen (1994) goes on to note that: 78 ... the difficulty of getting heard can be experienced by any individuals who are not as tenacious as others about standing their ground, do not speak forcefully at meetings, or do not begin with a high level of credibility.... Whoever is more committed to compromise and achieving consensus, and less comfortable with contention, is more likely to give way. (p. 291) One of the most fundamental moral reasons why it matters how we treat one another in groups is Arendt's concept of natality. This concept is fundamental to dealing with the power and privilege problem I learned about in my time in the doctoral program. Arendt contends that each one of us represents something new: "In the birth of each [child] this initial beginning is reaffirmed because in each instance something new comes into an already existing world which will continue to exist after each individual's death" (Arendt, 1968, p. 167). As reported in Brukhorst (2000): "natality signifies the new beginning inherent in human life and human action as well as the contingency [of time and place] in which life and action unfold... we must make our own decisions and lead our own lives" (p. 188). Group process that emphasizes meaning and understanding respects natality. Beyond natality, valuing human beings as human beings has a whole other dimension to it that matters for practical, productive, happiness and esteem-related reasons. Statistically it has been suggested that "most organizations operate at 20 percent capacity" because "only 20 percent of employees working in the large organizations we surveyed feel that their strengths are in play every day" (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001, p. 6). The failure to use strengths and talents in groups is a serious loss. This represents a loss to society as a whole, to the groups and to individuals. 3.2.5.2 The Fear Factor Fear was referred to earlier as one of the challenges we must meet in dealing with change. Fear also affects our capacity to take on risk, be vulnerable and cope with uncertainty and, ultimately, our capacity to engage in dialogue. To quote Bohm: 79 If people could stay with power, violence, hate, or whatever it is all the way to the end, then it would sort of collapse—because ultimately they would see that we are all the same. And consequently they would have participation and fellowship. People who have gone through that can become good friends. The whole thing goes differently. They become more open and trusting to each other. They have already gone through the thing that they are afraid of, so the intelligence can then work. (Bohm, 2000, p. 33) Thus we can get past the "fear and pleasure sensations that block the ability to listen freely" (Bohm, 2000, p.6). I referred earlier to a poignant question I often prompt groups to discuss about future change: "What would I do if I weren't afraid?" (Johnson, 1998, p. 53). A related concept that underlines the potential of what we can do for ourselves in groups that trust is: "When you move beyond your fear, you feel free" (Johnson, 1998, p. 56). In work I have done with groups all over North America who have viewed the video of the same name that goes with the book, these quotes regarding fear are mentioned most often as the most important quotes from the book referenced in the video. One of the most potentially disabling fears that I came across in the literature was "the fear of reflection" (Isaacs, 1999, p. 260). Isaacs notes that "people will raise privately what they feared to raise publicly" (Isaacs, Ibid). He describes a group of people trying to map the differences they faced as behaving in the following dysfunctional way: I felt as if I were pulling teeth! They were reluctant to say directly that they did not trust the other division to look out for their interests. They felt they could trust no one, but to say such a thing would be heretical (Isaacs, Ibid). This fear of reflection contributes to the challenges of successful getting groups to engage in honest and open debriefing in order to build a trust space, something that I will refer to later. 80 3.2.5.3 The Esteem Factor is Still another basic issue in group process and helping people to decide to be vulnerable personal esteem. Esteem is related to the capacity to attach ourselves to others in groups, which will be referred to in section two of this chapter. We live in a society where problems with ego, self-esteem and self worth are endemic: The biggest addiction in the world today is not to drugs or alcohol. It is to the human ego... There are two types of ego-centered-ness, self doubt and false pride. Both are enemies of magnificence. People with self-doubt are consumed by their own short-comings... People with false pride... see themselves as the center of the universe... It's easy to understand that self-doubt comes from lack of self-esteem, because people afflicted with it... act as if they are worth less than others... [With] people suffering from false pride [who] behave as if they are the only ones who count, underneath they're trying to make up for their own lack of self-esteem. (Blanchard and Waghorn, 1997, pp. 171-2) Those of us with esteem problems struggle to secure "the regained sense of being truly alive" (Miller, 1981, 113). Esteem can be defined in many ways. Most recently Branden has defined it as "the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness" (Branden, 1998, p. ix). Earlier he had defined esteem more broadly as "confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life and confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants, achieve our values and enjoy the fruits of our efforts" (Branden, 1994, p. 4). The impacts of esteem are significant to group process. Covey (1989) expressed the idea that before we can become truly interdependent (as in a group environment) we must first achieve personal independence: "Dependent people need others to get what they want" (p. 81 49). Esteem and a positive and healthy self-concept are essential in order to "really take in the other" (Gadamer, 2002). Steinem notes that: .. .families and cultures that do not foster core (or global) self-esteem... produce kids who feel there must be something 'wrong' with their own interests and abilities. They therefore begin to create... a 'false self in order to earn inclusion and approval, to avoid punishment and ridicule" (Steinem, 1992, pp. 66-67). As well, those of us who lack esteem are often living with a feeling of "oppressive guilt", which is "a feeling [which is] stronger than intellectual insight" (Miller, 1981, p. 85). The above-noted lack of esteem means that there is a limit to how much people can contribute of themselves to groups and no limit to how much they can 'blame' others for what goes wrong. Esteem also links back to productivity and our willingness to continue to work at difficult tasks: "high self-esteem subjects will persist at a task significantly longer than low self-esteem subjects" (Branden, 1994, p. 5). This, in turn, affects our capacity for risk. Healthy self-esteem "correlates with rationality, realism, intuitiveness, creativity, independence, flexibility, ability to manage change, willingness to admit (and correct) mistakes, benevolence and cooperativeness" (Branden, 1994, p. 5). Lack of esteem leads to "blaming, alibiing and scapegoating." (Branden, 1998, p. 28) Blaming, alibiing and scapegoating in groups are both a source of struggle and a result of struggle. They also eat away at trust. 3.2.5.4 The Motivation Factor Motivation is "the willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort's ability to satisfy some individual need" (Robbins, 1991, p. 192). While we may agree with Covey (1989) that "Trust is the highest form of human motivation" (p. 178), high levels of effort are still required to build trust in most groups. We can motivate ourselves in groups and in organizations to make the effort to build trusting groups if we can better understand and apply theory about human growth processes (i.e. 82 human connection and association, individual growth and affirmation and contribution to organizational success) as well as needs theory. Senge et al. characterize the growth processes respectively as "networking and diffusion" ("because my colleagues take it seriously"), "personal results" ("because it matters") and "business results" ("because it works") (Senge et al., 1999, pp. 46-54). Needs theories also help us to understand why people would want to join groups and then to make the effort to build trust in those groups. These needs theories include the Maslow and ERG theories, each of which I describe briefly below. Maslow suggested that there were five human needs. He put those needs in a hierarchy, going from lowest to highest: Physiological, Safety, Esteem, Love, and Self-actualization (Robbins, 1991, p. 193). The ERG theory identifies three human needs: Existence, Relatedness, and Growth (Robbins, 1991, p. 199). Growth processes and needs theories help to explain why we would see value in building trust and how we can get past limiting cycles that detract from our ability, for example to do the 'dance of change'. If we motivate others through understanding what matters to them, we can set "the 'growth processes of profound change' into motion" (Senge et al., 1999, p. 54). 3.2.5.5 Ci rc le Circle will be mentioned in the coming chapters as one of the processes which I have experienced which has the greatest potential to help groups live trust. Circle is a way of achieving dialogue and reclaiming "a partnership way" 3 8 (Baldwin, 1998, p. 128). Circle is "a council of ordinary people who convene to create a sacred space and from that space accomplish a specific task, supporting each other in the process" (Baldwin, 1998, p. 14). Participants in circle, "work towards a more humane and interpersonal culture". Basic agreements support the practice of circle. These can include "confidentiality around personal stories, listening without interrupting... and calling for time out if people need to regroup and think through an issue" (Baldwin, 1998, p. 32). Circle also uses such methods as "check-in to present" oneself "in an anecdotal way", starting with dyads to "build interconnection" and a "focused center" to help "orchestrate the rise of collective alignment" 3 8 Here Baldwin (1998) is quoting Riane Eisler who "takes on five thousand years of patriarchy" and who challenges people to reclaim the partnership way. For more on this see: Eisler, R. (1998) The Chalice and the Blade. San Francisco. Harper. Eisler, R. and Love, D. (1990) The Partnership Way. San Francisco. Harper. 83 (Baldwin, 1998, pp. 127-9). However, like other ways of building trust "This is not easy" (Baldwin, 1998, p. 181). 3.2.5.6 Problem Behaviors that Threaten Trust The final thing that I will examine in this part of the literature review is whether there are circumstances where the development of trust is impossible in a group. Baldwin (1998) notes that: ... we become a dangerous influence in our circles [if] we refuse life's invitation toward consciousness and continue to deny [our shadow or the] unexplored, feared and unwanted aspects of our personality" (pp. 160-1). O'Hara (2004) asks the question "Is trusting ever wrong?" (p. 16) and then notes: Some people are just too evil for words... We should place our trust intelligently and with an eye to moral rectitude. There are many examples where excessive trusting has lead to downfall, (pp. 16-17) Regretfully, for someone who believes so strongly in people, I have concluded there are very limited instances where investing in trusting processes can actually be counter-productive and personally threatening if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. These limited circumstances I have found where trusting is 'wrong' revolve around the involvement in a group of someone exhibiting "malignant narcissism" (Hare, 1993, p. 185; Peck, 1983, p. 77) or "destructive" narcissism (Brown, 1998, p. 1). Those individuals who display these destructive narcissist behaviors can be described while so doing as self-centered, lacking empathy, feeling entitled, exploiting others, arrogant and as showing an inability to form and maintain satisfying relationships (Brown, 1998, pp. 2-3). This type of 'extreme' narcissistic behavior involves characteristics "usually associated with the pathological narcissist" but there are fewer of the characteristics (Brown, 1998, p. 1). Those people who exhibit this behavior cannot contribute when exhibiting this behavior in a positive way to the development of trust and a collaborative and dialogic group process. 84 3.3. Focusing Specifically on Trust 3.3.1 Trust and Faith One much-referenced dictionary defines trust as "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something; one in whom confidence is placed" (Webster, 1971, p. 952). The eminent writer on esteem, Nathanial Branden, implies some degree of certainty in saying that trust is created by "congruence between words and actions" (Branden, 1998, p. 46) and "requires consistency and predictability" (Branden, 1998, p. 48). O'Hara notes that there can be a link between "trust and predictability" since "trust enables us to see the future" when we "live in a constant state of uncertainty" (O'Hara, 2004, p. 11). Assurance and risk assessment, for some, are a key element of trust-building: "we need to be arguing for more appropriate trust and for better means of assessing risk" (O'Hara, 2004, p. ix). While I am all for thoughtful risk (see below), I found trust and group trust to be much more 'iffy' and uncertain than these definitions suggest. Faith emerged as central to my research work on trust. The single most instructive references I found to faith were in Guido Mollering's work. Mollering quotes key passages from the work of sociologist Georg Simmel. He then contends that "the link between trust bases and a trustful state of expectations is much weaker than is commonly assumed" (Mollering, 2001, p. 403). Mollering supports Simmel's recognition that "a 'further element', a kind of faith... is required to explain trust and its unique nature" (Mollering, 2001, p. 403). Other key faith-related references in Mollering that I was drawn to included trust being described as "a functional alternative to rational prediction" (Lewis and Wiegert; in Mollering, 2001, p. 410). Mollering also described trust as performing "a crucial function in modern societies whilst the bases for trust are actually rather weak. The 'leap' [to trust] is 85 far from rational... for Simmel, trust combines good reasons with faith..." (Mollering, 2001, p. 411) When it came to definitions, the single most important definitional statements I found were in Mollering: trust is a "state of favorable expectations regarding other people's actions and intentions" (Mollering, 2001, p. 404). Trust "is seen as the basis for individual risk-taking behaviour, co-operation ... order, (and) social capital" (Mollering, 2001, p. 404). He adds that fairly broad consent could be found for Rousseau et al.'s definition of trust as "a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behavior of another" (Mollering, 2003, p.l). I also found value in Korsgaard et al.'s risk-based definition of trust in the work group: "an individual's intention to accept vulnerability to the group based on the expectation but not the guarantee that the group will act in a considerate and benevolent manner towards the individual" (Korsgaard et al , 2003, p.l 16). Social capital, which is referenced above, is a key concept in group trust. Fisher and Nelson describe social capital as being "made up of social obligations or connections" (Bourdieu in Fisher and Nelson, 2005, p. 9). The "central element in the creation of social capital is trust" (Fisher and Nelson, 2005, p. 10). Social capital builds on the ideas that "social networks... [our] dense networks of reciprocal social relations... [make] our lives... more productive" (Putnam, 2000, p. 19) There is a distinction between activities which bridge social capital and those which bond social capital. The bridging is a kind of grease or "sociological WD-40" and the bonding "constitutes a kind of sociological superglue" (Putnam, 2000, p. 23). Research on social capital notes the way that "people have drifted apart" in the workplace (Putnam, 2000, p. 89). "Successful investment in social capital takes time and concerted effort" (Putnam, 2000, p. 90). However the results are there: "social connections with co-workers are a strong predictor of job satisfaction" (Putnam, 2000, p. 90). This research has direct application to building trust in groups: it is hard work, but it pays off. An essential concept here is that trust involves vulnerability, risk and uncertainty. This concept can be linked to the unpredictability that goes with the openness of discourse and 86 dialogue. We must be willing in our groups to "risk and test our own prejudices, understand others, better understand ourselves" through moving towards discourse (Vokey, 2001). This represents a deeply threatening idea to many people: "really taking in the other will involve an identity shift in us" (Dostal, 2002, p. 141). Moreover, "real understanding always has an identity cost" (Dostal, Ibid.). Gadamer adds to the 'threat level' by promising, if we truly allow ourselves to be challenged, "we will see our peculiarity for the first time" (Dostal, 2002, p. 132). Only the most secure people would be likely to be comfortable with being in a group setting when we first see our "peculiarity". To circle back to the definition of trust, risk can also lie in openness to the process and in the suggestion I make repeatedly that we be vulnerable to others: "The more authentic the conversation is, the less the conduct lies within the will of either partner" (Dostal, 2002, p. 106). We "arrive where we began",39 looking at the notions of risk, uncertainly and vulnerability as inherent in group trust. "Complete knowledge or ignorance would eliminate the need for, or possibility of trust" (Mollering, 2001, p. 406). When in life, in responding to complex leadership type issues, will we ever have 'complete knowledge'? Mollering's quote is an essential one that I will come back to repeatedly. In light of all of the above, I have defined group trust as: A state where all individuals in a group accept vulnerability to the group based on favorable expectations but no certainty of their acceptance in the group, mutual opportunities in the group to achieve desired outcomes, positive intent and considerate and benevolent behavior of individual group members, and social capital which can be derived from the group. Group trust, as defined above, includes trust that arises from both elements of the "chicken and egg proposition", the timely and reliable completion of work and the necessary attention to process and interpersonal issues. Expectations, outcomes and behaviors can span both the 3 9 This is a short portion of a famous line from T.S. Eliot in Four Quartets: "And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." (see: quotations.about.com/od/stillmorefamouspeople/a/TSEliotl.htm last viewed January 20, 2005) 87 task and the process sides of the equation. Thus, it is equally valid, using the "chicken and egg proposition", to commit to group trust because you believe it is the right thing to do as it is to have instrumental expectations of group trust (e.g., what you expect group trust to contribute to productivity). 3.3.2 Risk, Uncertainty and Vulnerability Trust can be generated by engaging in the right kinds of conversations in groups, conversations in which we ensure that "the other person is with us" (Gadamer, 2002, p. 367) "we can be at one with each other" (Gadamer, 2002, p. 385) and we be prepared that "the other may be right" (Dostal, 2002, p. 32). Being prepared for the other being right leads us back to the issue of vulnerability. I referred earlier to the dictionary and Mollering definitions of trust. Other definitions that I found useful had one common denominator, as noted below; they all referred to vulnerability in some fashion and got away from the earlier-referenced idea of assuredness. Mishra suggested that trust "revolves around one party's willingness to be vulnerable to another party, based on the belief that the latter party is (a) competent, (b) open, (c) concerned and (d) reliable" (Mishra, 1996, p.265). The article which provided me with key elements of my modeling work (see the section on this later in this chapter) also had a useful definition: trust is "an individual's intention to accept vulnerability to the group based on the expectation but not the guarantee that the group will act in a considerate and benevolent manner towards the individual" (Korsgaard et al, 2003). Finally, another cautionary perspective, this time on the vulnerability issue, is provided by Kramer et al.: when individuals engage in trusting behavior they create for themselves "both opportunity and vulnerability... the opportunity surrounds the perceived gains... if and when their acts of trust are reciprocated by others... The vulnerabilities derive from the potential costs of misplaced trust..." (Kramer et al., 1996, p 360) These repeated references to vulnerability 88 and what Kramer at al. call "exposure" (Kramer et al., ibid) support Mollering's idea that must make faith an essential part of suggesting how to build trust in groups. It is worth taking a moment to look at definition of vulnerability. The word vulnerable, Merriam-Webster on-line notes, is derived from the "Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oulE wound". To be vulnerable is to be "capable of being physically wounded" and to be "open to attack or damage".40 Risk, too, bears examination. Viscott (1979) has written a very thoughtful book on risking that is as relevant today as when it was first published in 1977. Viscott notes that it should be clear that in taking risks "you can get hurt" (p. 22). There are two sources of hurt: "the loss implied in every risk and the possible failure of the risk itself (Viscott, 1979, pp. 22-23). Risk-taking can be connected to growth: "Everything you really want in life involves taking a risk... You cannot grow without taking a risk, a chance" (Viscott, 1979, p. 17). Viscott (1979), however, cautions us to prepare for a leap of faith-type moment and for evaluating the risk. First, Viscott notes that: The moment of taking the risk is the most troublesome, when you actually let go and jump free of the bonds of the past.. .That is the time of greatest fear... the moment of greatest uncertainty, of taking off and landing. It's the time when people panic and ruin everything. It's the time of maximum commitment when our best effort must be made with complete abandon (p. 23).41 Viscott (1979, p. 72) notes that the "hardest task is to evaluate your own needs and life and make a decision to risk or not that is in your best interests". He provides a chapter filled "vulnerable" in Merriam-Webster Online; last viewed March 16, 2005 Viscott later uses the metaphor of passing in an automobile as an illustration of the dangers involved in risk. It is in the moment of passing that "most fatalities occur". "The driver most likely to be killed is the one who hesitates..." (p. 56). 89 with questions, including the following questions "to ask before putting your reputation on the line": Will I ever be completely prepared? Have I made my best effort to this point? How can I rehearse what could happen? Am I in the right role for me? How does it feel? Who is watching? What is that important to me? What do they see? What do I hope they will see? (p. 85). Viscott (1979) concludes by noting that "if you take risks without asking questions, you are only inviting trouble" (p. 87). 3.3.3 Psychological Safety Consistent with the idea of vulnerability and the associated leap of faith, one other part of the risk equation is having some degree of psychological safety in taking a risk. Psychological safety relates to the earlier-referenced paradox of thoughtful, calculated, or managed risk and to Viscott's many questions. Psychological safety describes "individuals' perceptions about the consequences of interpersonal risks in their work environment" (Edmondson, 2003, p. 258). In psychologically safe environments: ... people believe that if they make a mistake others will not penalize them or think less of them for it. They also believe that others will not resent or penalize them for asking for help, information or feedback. (Edmondson, 2003, p. 257) This relates to "how members of organizational work teams can overcome the interpersonal risks they face every day at work, to help themselves, their teams and their organizations to learn" (Edmondson, 2003, p. 253). Most people "feel a need to manage" risks relating to "being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative or disruptive" in order to minimize harm to their "image" (Edmondson, 2003, p. 256). There are potential gender and power issues 90 involved here as well: "There is evidence that men are less likely to ask questions in a public situation, where asking will reveal their lack of knowledge" (Tannen, 1994, p. 26). While Edmondson (2003) notes that the nature of the vulnerability involved in psychological safety "is more narrowly defined... tha