The “We” Story

Evelyn Rodriguez writes about Rosamund Stone and Ben Zander’s The Art of Possibility. The Zanders write about the idea of WE:

It points to relationship rather than to individuals to communication patterns, gestures, and the in-between. Like the particle-and-wave nature of light, the WE is both a living entity and a long line of development unfolding…

Usually what we mean by the pronoun “we” is “you-plus-I,” so the questions “What shall we do?” or “What will work for us?” generally refer to a compromise between what you want and what I want…

The practice of the WE offers an approach to conflict based on a different premise. It assumes there are no fixed wants nor static desires, while everything each of us thinks and feels has a place in the dialogue…

Traditional methods of resolving conflict, all the I/You approaches, tend to increase the level of discord because they attempt to satisfy the positions people take, rather than providing the means for people to broaden their desires. I/You methods deprive people of the opportunity to wish inclusively

I like this and it touches on some of the principles that make Improv work exciting. Some of the most exciting moments in Improv are when the players create something between them that is more than just a mathematical addition of what each is doing. That moment is often accompanied by laughter – not necessarily because it is comic, but because it is exhilarating to step out of our conventional excessively individualistic thinking into this space.

In another good post – Marginal Zones and Third Places, Evelyn talks about the hub, the place where people meet:

in two-way communication, the hub is an third entity – an in-between place – a marginal zone – that didn’t exist prior to the communication. Neither I nor you, but a we place

and goes on with a perceptive quote by Jon Udell

Ecologists know that life is most interesting, and also most dangerous, at habitat boundaries — where the ocean meets the shore, where the forest meets the meadow. And in the virtual world, where the private meets the public. A healthy ecosystem requires that we colonize that marginal zone. When people get hurt trying to do that — in the right ways, for the right reasons — we should offer them not only our condolences, but also our thanks.

I think it’s in these exciting boundary zones that organisations are defined – not in the comfort of strategic planning committees, not in elaborate corporate identity manuals, but in the little bits of frisson between stakeholders. That’s why smart companies get excited about “service recovery” stories; they know that it’s how they respond when things go wrong that their brand is really created…


1 thought on “The “We” Story

  1. Jonathan Greene

    I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Ben Zander speak a few times and would highly recommend it if you have the chance.


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