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Working with management teams

A group of managers from the same organization got together to work on their interface. I asked each of them to choose one card which symbolizes himself and others in the room.

Not surprisingly, each participant chose a card with a single horse. I reflected the choice to the group. The members said that the decision is not surprising, "indeed, each and every one of us feels very alone". Noticing the surprise on my face, they reassured me that others will appear on their upcoming selections. I reinforced the group for their honesty and courage. Then, I asked the participants to briefly describe their experience; How "alone" feels like. The group declined the invitation to describe their emotions. "You know what", I said "let's talk about the horses! Each of you will try to describe how the horse in his card feels like". Some of the participants were able to talk about how their horse prefers to be alone and to be absent on cards of other participants, because there were no restrictions; no one has to feel the obligation of considering other people’s feelings. I tried to find out if other "horses" feel differently. Even though the group consisted of some senior managers, it was noticeable that there was a full participation when we started talking through the horses. And yet, when I invited them to share their opinions about the conversation, an argument began to break. The participants were occupied with which of the horses have better chance at surviving; the horses that appear alone on the cards or the ones that share the cards with other horses. At one point, the group became silent and only one brave member had the courage to say: "ok guys, it's pretty obvious we are talking about ourselves, right?" Then we decided to take a break! After the break, I asked each one to choose a card that best describes how they would want to see themselves inside the group.

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