Leading breakthrough conversations: Securing changes through generative dialogue

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This programme will help you develop the skills to break through stuck conversations, finding new solutions to challenging issues in today’s complex health and care environment.

It is particularly suitable for managers and clinicians who have to lead collaboratively, working with colleagues they may have been competing with previously, across professional and organisational boundaries. 

This programme will introduce core dialogue and structural dynamics concepts and theories, as well as creating space to develop the skills and practices you will be able to apply in the workplace.  

You will benefit from the programme if you are feeling frustrated by the pace required for collaborative leadership and find progressing collective decision-making slow. If you are keen to find new ways to participate in conversations across and between organisations and systems, you will learn how to change the way you approach stuck conversational patterns and increase your capacity to reach effective agreements. 

If you can begin to slow down enough to work with others who are also keen to learn, this programme will suit you.

Who is it for?

All professions who are currently involved in complex service and system changes will find this programme useful. You must, however, have the motivation and curiosity to examine your own practice and be prepared to extend your skills.

Managers, directors and clinicians from across health and care, including those with national roles will benefit from this programme. Those with regional leadership roles in sustainability and transformation partnerships, integrated care systems and primary care networks, who act as a bridge between systems and services and are part of the process of finding new ways forward, will also benefit. 

How will you learn?

Within this practical programme, there are some underpinning concepts to grasp, but learning how to work using dialogue and structural dynamics needs to be done through practice, extending ways of talking and listening. You will get the change to practice this in real time as part of the programme and then continue between the sessions, in the real world. 

As these conversations can’t be had on your own, the richest learning will come from both participating in conversation and observing yourself in the room. This gets easier with practice and in time you will be adept at ‘reading the room’1 and helping yourself and others to reach joint conclusions. Practiced well, you will create a generative space for new solutions, where this may have eluded you in the past. 

The optional coaching sessions will offer additional space for individuals who want to explore their individual leadership challenges in more depth. These can be arranged to suit, before, between modules and after, depending on need.  

To benefit from the programme you will need to:

  • have live issues to practice your skills on between sessions 
  • be keen to uncover your own conversational habits 
  • be interested in understanding how conversations are structured 
  • have the will to extend your conversational repertoire, move beyond your current style and increase your capacity for generative dialogue
  • be dissatisfied with the results of some of your current attempts to create agreement in aspects of your work.

You should want to sharpen your ability to notice how to contribute to conversations, the structural pattern you and others favour and how to break through the stalemate these patterns create. The aim is to learn how to have more generative conversations where it matters the most.

  • 1. Kantor, David (2012) Reading the room, Jossey-Bass

What are dialogue and structural dynamics?

Dialogue and structural dynamics are the underlying principles of the programme. This is a way of understanding the hidden structure below the content of any conversation. It is about learning how to notice how you usually contribute to the structure of a conversation, both helpfully and unhelpfully, so that you can more consciously increase your capacity to help yourself and others to reach productive outcomes. The framework is based on the empirical research of David Kantor and is a way of thinking with an accompanying behavioural skill set, that can be developed.

How will you and your organisation benefit?

If you are involved in important conversations which are discussed regularly and yet never seem to go anywhere new, then this course will offer insights and skill development to assist you to break through and move beyond stuck patterns to generate new solutions. You will increase your self-awareness, confidence, and skill set, leading to better decisions and outcomes for those relying on the expected changes, improvements and innovations. You will be able to obtain buy-in sooner and deal with objections constructively and creatively. 

This will benefit your organisations through progress in your critical system and service changes and improvements. The more people there are in an organisation or system with these skills, the more likely they will be successful in delivering service changes and improvements. Organisations that send people on this programme will benefit from employees who have increased capabilities to work with hidden conflicts and cultural dynamics, surfacing and working with them to create solutions. 

What will you do on this programme?

There are two modules for this programme.

Module one (three days)
This will cover core dialogue concepts, give individual and group feedback from the Kantor Institute’s Baseline Instrument report, consider organisational innovation and improvement and how it happens, create space for practical experience of dialogic conversation and reflect on self within these conversations.

Module two (two days)
This will continue the practice opportunities with a focus on high stakes situations and the influence of the past on the present. Leadership archetypes and their shadows will also be introduced for further self-awareness. There will also be input on processes for encouraging large scale dialogue. 

Optional coaching
Each participant can also choose to benefit from coaching sessions, before the programme, between the modules, after the programme has finished or any combination of these, tailored to the individual’s needs. 
 

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