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Right-Left Columns

Important course concepts

Initiating a conversation

  • One must be aware of the implicit assumptions that govern the conversation and thus contribute to blocking our goals and objectives in the real-life. It is also necessary to initiate a new way of talking effectively about the tacit assumptions.
  • Use of reflection and enquiry skills- through the postponing of the tasks and then looking at them as the artifacts which helps to examine one's own thinking.
  • Importance of the left hand column- it is used in group discussions to help people keep off anger or frustrations.

Leading a healthy conversation

When conversing doesn't put your arguments in a way which you suggestively want to put your point right. You should raise the assumptions and mutual misunderstandings whose resolutions will most contribute to more fruitful future conversations. 

  • Use recipes to promote learning-the fundamental learning requires talking about the issues which are difficult to face without being very defensive
  • Limitation of a facilitator- if the facilitator shares the assumptions and the blind the spots which limits the case presenter's effectiveness. If the facilitator joins in commiserating with the case presenter thereby establishing a sense of good feeling which make the presenter lose the attention on the tacit assumptions. If the facilitator doesn't know how to raise the subject of the case presenter's shortcomings in a way which promotes the element of enquiry.
  • The discussion of the cases in an intact team helps to create the opportunities for the greater impacts but it has its own downfalls which include; unwillingness to share the left hand column, lack of means to let the unexpressed thoughts and the feelings to others.

Skilled facilitators

Skilled facilitators enquire into each parts reasoning. They help all the concerned parties to reveal their left hand columns thereby creating the enormous opportunities for learning because each participant has the willingness and the skills to promote the inquiry. It has been noted that thinking together promotes mental presence and puts every party in a position to listen to each other. (Stone, patton & Heen, 2000)


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Experience from a passed conversation

Manager; the manager of a tours and operations firm enquires if the secretary forwarded the booking reservations to the firm's customer care personnel to keep into contact with the clients who were on an expedition.

Secretary; the secretary had done as instructed but she understands that the customer care personnel on the shift has a lot of laxity in her operations, instead of putting openly she requests for the extension of time to inquire because the personnel  had claimed that there was a network failure she then confirms and gets back to the manager.

My observation

Use of reflection to deflect the attention helps to easy the tension in a demanding situation, it is important to be aware of the tacit assumptions in our conversation and blocking our tension in the real-life situations by developing a way of talking about the tacit assumptions more effectively.

Improving the experience in a conversation

From the above experience, I would employee the concepts learnt from the week lesson above to improve the future conversations by playing the role of a skilled facilitator in order to get the opinions of the other party. I every conversation I will require to identify the opening lines that will help to focus the minds of other party. It's also necessary to lead a healthy conversation by employing the use of the left column and the reflections to keep of the tacit assumptions by coming up with the alternatives to react to the situation, this can also be done through use of postponing techniques to give more time for an alternate means.



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