What is Conversational Capacity? And Why Does It Matter?
In our world of mounting complexity and rapid-fire change building teams that work well under pressure is more important than ever. But while it’s easy to put together a team that works when facing simple problems, building a team that performs when things get tough remains an elusive and frustrating task. The reason is that traditional team building overlooks the most important piece of the puzzle.
That missing piece is conversational capacity—a team’s ability to have open, balanced, non-defensive dialogue about difficult subjects. A team with high conversational capacity can perform well, remaining on track even when dealing with their most troublesome issues. A team lacking that capacity, by contrast, can see their performance derail over a minor disagreement. Because it directly determines how well a team works together under pressure, conversational capacity isn’t just another aspect of effective teamwork—it defines it. A team that cannot talk about its most pressing issues isn’t really a team at all. It’s just a group of people that can’t work together effectively when it counts.
It’s Not As Simple As It Sounds
Sounds simple, right? All a team has to do is boost its conversational capacity and all will be well. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. In the quest to build their capacity teams face a formidable obstacle: human nature. It turns out that reliably effective teams are hard to build because primal aspects of our nature, rooted in the powerful fight-flight response, actually work against teamwork.
You Can Build It
Fortunately, there’s hope. There’s a proven discipline —a veritable conversational martial art —that allows people and teams to remain open, balanced, and non-defensive as they tackle their most troublesome issues. Even better, we can show you how to use your daily work as an ideal place to acquire this discipline so your team can respond to tough challenges with greater agility and skill, and perform brilliantly in circumstances that incapacitate less disciplined teams.
Drawing on respected research in leadership studies, business management, psychology, and neuroscience, our unique work shows participants how to build healthier, more adaptive teams and working relationships. Eminently practical, the ideas have been tested and refined in a host of tough organizational settings. They work.
As the world changes with more speed and complexity, teams of every kind need to boost their ability to tackle tough challenges. Our work helps people dramatically improve not just how they communicate, but how they influence, collaborate, manage, and lead.