Friday, January 29, 2010

The Echo Chamber - Overcoming Dysfunctions of a Team

So I’m following the whole Echo Chamber thing with great interest. More posts ( & & comments)…

Again, we’re talking to ourselves, but more importantly, we’re talking among ourselves. That allows us to refine what it is we mean and want to say… which is a good thing. As Ned Potter (the wikiman) and Andy Woodworth (and probably other folks I've forgotten to mention) pointed out, maybe the echo chamber is useful in refining the ideas until what finally gets beyond this circle of librarian bloggers is a better idea.

It reminds me of my surprise to read that one of the “five dysfunctions of a team" was an unwillingness to disagree ("fear of conflict") - see

Well, the first dysfunction is a lack of trust. Once you establish trust among team members, they all have to feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns -- to engage in debate. Without that debate, some very poor decisions can be made. It’s the old “the emperor has no clothes” syndrome. There are a plenty of folks who loathe confrontation and seemingly too many who thrive on it. But neither way brings us where we need to be. We have to trust one another and support one another enough to have constructive engagement. As people on the team, one of our roles is to speak up, another is to support and respect all other members of the team, regardless of whether or not they argue against our position.

I’ll commit. Among the community of librarians – let me say, I trust you. I might be right, I might be wrong, but I’ll say what I think and I’ll trust you – not only to support me when (from your perspective) I hit the nail on the head, but to take me on, to comment, blog, tweet, whatever, when you thing I’ve got it all wrong. Just let’s remember tone, so we don’t scare any confrontation-averse folks (myself included!) from the discussion. There are so many brilliant people out there in libraryland, even if they don’t speak up online – let’s harness that energy! This debate isn’t about tearing one another apart, it’s about building something better -- together (oh yeah, and keeping the library relevant in the 21st-century +).

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