Avoiding jam at Newmarket Races
14/11/2007 - "Avoiding jam at Newmarket Races" by Donal Carroll

Here are 3 transformative techniques, or as ldl calls them, learning prompts They are meant to help avoid jam, unstick 'stuckness' and smooth out noise. Confusing? Read on. Try them if this occurs in your organisation. Working life is an endless 'Jam' (just another meeting). Meetings follow a predictable pattern, operate in a dehydrated atmosphere, where 'normal' is to arrive in closed mental mode and stay there regardless of any new opportunities, or the need for better thinking. These techniques are designed to avoid jams, noise and getting stuck. They can help change the initial meeting climate, get participants more relaxed, encourage more divergent thinking, better ideas, and help people imagine a state not existing to which they can aspire. The also value play

1. Silence If things get 'stuck' try this: Get the group to sit quietly for five minutes. Or, if possible, get the group to go for a short walk -max 5 mins. (no conversing in either)

2. Metaphor The future is out of reach because my imagination is... How people are oriented toward problems influences greatly how -or if, they can solve them. Commonly new situations are viewed in a certain ways, along automatic tramlines, which limits new possibilities. Using metaphors offers an opportunity to get beyond habits or the purely 'rational', to use the freeing power of emotion and imagination to concoct new states, feelings, relationships or organisations. The technique here is to devise a metaphor and then extend and develop it. Once the metaphor is up and going, (has legs) this encourages an imaginative dimension to mingle more fruitfully with the rational one, rather than being stifled by it. At a recent conference held at Newmarket Racecourse Conference centre, the room I was allocated to facilitate smaller group work was called the 'Cool More Stud Room'. How could such an imaginative invitation be passed over? On the spur of the moment I asked each delegate as they entered the room, to 'Invent a horse'. They responded so well we extended the 'game' through the meeting, as follows:

Invent a jockey How would we know if they were?
Invent a meeting and prize Why are they not fixed?
Invent a race horse owner What would a public sector race meeting look like?
Who won the race? Can we invent races where there are no 'losers'?
Was the winner known in advance? How do the public hear about races?
Are races equal? How do the public hear about horses?
Is there a patsy? Are jockeys managers?
How important is the race course? What's an alternative race?
What's an alternative to racing?  

3 Stealing At a recent play in London 'Things of dry hours' about Black Communists in Alabama in the 1930s, this authentic document of the time, was on each seat as the audience came in. The author, Naomi Wallace, a white woman, said she was motivated to write the play by 'angry optimism'. This technique is simple: Ask managers what they are angry and optimistic about. Then ask them to apply this to an enduring problem they face. Try these and let us know how they work On final question: which of these techniques do you think is the most radical?


Visitors' Comments on this Post

no comments have been posted

Make a Comment

name *
email *
comment *
security code *
  CAPTCHA Image Reload Image


24 Dec 2019 - Caught in the fact?: How to recognise Trump cardsFact attack, truth-decay and critical thinking Click here to read Donal Carroll 's latest blog post: Caught in the afacta™?: How to recognise Trump cards

23 May 2016 - Disrupting Business PlanningAnticipating and responding to 'failure' from the very startClick here to read Donal Carroll's latest blog post: Disrupting Business Planning



Critical Difference on Twitter  Critical Difference on Facebook    Critical Difference on YouTube Critical Difference podcasts on Podomatic

Critical Difference © Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Website designed by Webeo Pro Ltd.