Last week I facilitated a 'Fish Bowl' for a culturally diverse group of IT people to start their Dialogue. An honest exchange about forming their own teams within a department of about 50 people.
The people were pleasantly surprised. It was never done before. The manager took a brave call to start the forming process from the inside out. His wish was to start the Dialogue with the people who work in the teams and to all be part in visioning the forming process. In a earlier session we set the stage. We focused on building emotional safety in the group and sharing first ideas. The second session was more outcome focused. The group was split in four subgroups who all prepared a short presentation of their idea.
"Fishes do not see anything when they are in a fishbowl, you know", was a one-liner I picked up from a short discussion during the break, triggered by my introduction on the exercise that was about to start. What a wonderful metaphor!
I chose to split the exercise in three rounds and it was powerful to see how the Dialogue kicked off and grew. The group was sharing and gathering ideas. It was absolutely wonderful to see how it was building a 360-degrees outlook on the challenge. The conclusion: we do not have to compete on what the best idea is, we can blend and build a plan on a combination of the different ideas.
After the exercise the session was supposed to be rounded off. But the group was not finished. The fish bowl had sparked energy, creativity and a sense of freedom to express. The system opened up and deeper questions were explored and it was challenging to stop the process...
We walked away with a great sense of togetherness and satisfaction. I noticed a sense of relieve; the 'cards' were on the table. I knew though, the delicate part was yet to come. To maintain the trust build and to keep the Dialogue open. It is a special path to walk.
Want to learn more about the Fish Bowl?
Visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbowl_(conversation). Or join the training from Joop Boukes 'Dialogue Facilitator' from Man in Dialogue.