I was standing in front of a white board, staring out at eight individuals. The question from one of them was still hanging above the room as a sense of anticipation gathered.
“Can you give us a simple model based on principles that we could use as a guide in working through every day conflict?”
Although I had never expressed it before, I knew that I could present this group of organizational leaders with that model. I had constructed it in my mind and explored the possibilities.
“Each and every one of you must commit to the Three Cs,” I said.
As I wrote the words on the board, I momentarily panicked. The concept seemed too simple. How could these ordinary words transform these people and this organization? But it was too late. My thoughts, long protected and nurtured, were out there for review and scrutiny.
“To end fruitless conflict, to be inclusive of new and diverse ideas, to move forward, and to unlock the potential of each person in your organization, you must commit to Communication, Conversation, and Community,” I continued.
For the next fifteen minutes, I detailed how each of these elements combine to build solid support, better understanding, and strong relationships within an organization. I completed my work with that group later in the week and headed home. And I wondered if they would succeed.
A few years later, I was surprised to be greeted by two of those individuals at a conference I was staffing. I knew that their organization had grown. But I didn’t know the details — if they had grown through collaboration or brute-force, top-down management.
The story they told was quite amazing. Basing first their leadership and then their entire operation on the model of the Three Cs, they rebuilt their organization on principles that empowered and rewarded the best traits of their people. In the next few articles, we’ll take a closer look at each of the three elements.
A commitment to the Three Cs is the first step in embracing the Better Understanding Project.