It’s the time of year when parents and kids are negotiating the start of a new school year, which always takes me back to the day my son took me by the hand nearly 20 years ago to show me his brand new classroom. I didn’t expect to learn something about engagement, governance and collaborative decision making…..
Angus was five years old, in week one of ‘big school’, when he took me to see his classroom. I noticed that the desks were arranged in clusters and that each cluster had a label.
His teacher, Mrs C. explained that each group of students had been asked to decide on a name for their cluster. I saw the ‘Bulldogs’ and the ‘Cool dudes’ amongst others and asked Angus “what’s your group called?”
“We’re the Flowers”
“Oh!” I was a bit surprised that any group with Angus in it had such a poetic name and Mrs C. explained.
“There are two boys and three girls in Angus’s group. Everyone was asked to vote for the name they wanted but the girls got together and voted as a bloc, while Angus and Ethan voted individually. The girls had the numbers and that’s why their group is the Flowers.”
At this point Angus beckoned to me and whispered in my ear… “Ethan and I aren’t Flowers. I’m the Bears and Ethan is the Cross Eyes!
It seems that the lovely Mrs C. ran an engagement process but not a collaborative process designed to generate ownership of outcomes. Apparently, when you feel like a Cross Eyes, you don’t want to be a Flower.
So this year I’m continuing to take inspiration from Angus and Ethan to help clients not just engage their stakeholders but to collaborate authentically to be wise together. If that sounds good to you, why not check out how we can help you ?