Just like when you buy a new car (not that I have done so for many years) you suddenly notice everyone else with a similar model, so I seem this week to be picking up all sorts of interesting ideas on small groups.
The responses to my Monday post were interesting. I got some great ideas and links. There was a concern that I was suggesting Government might intervene to make groups work so I am happy to say that is not my view (I worked in Government and its small groups are probably as bad as anyone’s).
‘Paul’ suggested I look into group psychotherapy, which I briefly did. Most community groups don’t have the capacity (or permission from participants) to achieve the depth of interaction which is necessary for a therapeutic process, but I do think groups would benefit from sharing some basic insight into the psychological dynamics of group working.
There was also a great point from Gerard Darby on groups focusing on shared practical aims not just complaints, and from Simon Strong about leadership styles and the danger of groups being pushed too soon into setting goals (although Simon, if you’re reading, I couldn’t open your second link).
Then today I had a fascinating conversation with an FRSA who runs a highly successful design practice. He is soon to publish a book on the magical properties – in relation to certain tasks - of group with a size of ten to twelve. I hadn’t realised until he told me that the choice of twelve for a jury was based on some complex mathematics which showed that - in relation to the kinds of judgements juries make - twelve people are as good as 100 or more (and of course much easier to organise into a single conversation). Interesting implications here for how we develop Fellows’ networks?
And then….I realised that tomorrow I am introducing an RSA Thursday featuring Henry Hemming who has just published a book called, wait for it…’Together: How small groups achieve big things’. I am going to try to speed read it tonight. If any readers are around please join us at 1.00 for the event.
With all the problem-solving and glad-handing involved in being a CEO, I haven’t had time to process any of this into any new thoughts of my own, but I do hope people keep commenting. Maybe we can even build up an on-line small group to think about if and how the RSA could bring something to opening up and shaping the small group debate.
As we begin to imagine the post-pandemic world, we need to challenge our use of old metaphors to allow for new narratives and better futures to emerge.
With the post-Christmas resolutions looming, when we try to address the worst of our seasonal over-indulgences, the question remains: how can we give up bad habits for good?