Every year in September and October, I binge the show Ghost Adventures on an almost nightly basis. As silly as the show can sometimes seem—and it is laughable at times—there is one thing about it that is undeniable, even more than guaranteed utterances of “Bro!” and “Dude!” These adventurers are passionate. They approach diehard witnesses and skeptics with respect for their positions and a true sincerity to discover something unexpected – every time!
So, what does Ghost Adventures have in common with your most recent workplace meeting? More than you might think.
Every episode of the show begins with a single hypothesis: There is something here to discover. Think about the last time you attended a meeting or seminar. How often have you arrived already checked out, caught yourself making judgments about others in attendance, or crossed your fingers you didn’t get a task upon exit? These preconceived notions prevent us from curiosity and learning. When we prime our mindset to approach these sessions with an openness to grow and engage with others, guards will fall and present the opportunity for honest dialogue.
Ghost hunting requires the hosts to leave biases at the door and be open to whatever might happen. We all have our own sets of values, biases, and beliefs, which can create a personal firewall of resistance. When it comes time for groups to work together a degree of vulnerability is required; however, at the core of this resistance is often fear. Of the unknown. Of the unspoken. Of how others will view us. By eliminating these personal roadblocks, we realize that as different as we are, our core concerns are relatively similar.
Today, groups working together have a variety of tools right at their fingertips to test assumptions and reveal something deeper. Team building activities, brainstorming sessions, and small group discussions push individuals to work together to research, to think, and to fact find. Video conferencing and other technological tools allow groups to congregate across time zones and locations, eliminating the proximity barrier at the expense of human connectedness. Going tech-free, using good old pen and paper with questions designed to knock the boundaries down and get groups talking, reviewing their processes, and comparing experiences, are more relevant than ever. This provides a comprehensive understanding between generations, geographical locations, and industries.
Finally, their evidence collecting sessions are replayed, analyzed, and sometimes debunked. Reflect on what came out of the discussions, what unknowns were revealed or highlighted, and decide how to incorporate those findings into current practice. What misconceptions need debunked in your organization? Which need reviewed and dissected to generate forward progress? What new knowledge supports your original hypothesis and what doesn’t? Taking time to process each outcome can give you the clues you need to evolve while sustaining what works for your organization.
A cumulation of life experiences, culture, and our positions in our organizations can sometimes put on the blinders when it comes to collaboration. These hinder change and curiosity. Pushing past our discomforts doesn’t have to be scary. Dive in with passion, openness, and the desire to learn, and you just might find something unexpected! And it all starts with getting over yourself.
Want to launch a conversation with your team? Contact us for more information about how a Marco Program can eliminate the fear of the unknown, open the door for discussion, and collapse communication gaps.