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Minnesota Career Development Association

Navigating Transitions by Turning to One Another

A Summary of April’s RoundTable
By Elizabeth Stangeland

The MCDA Roundtable on April 11, 2018 examined concepts from Margaret Wheatley’s book, “Turning to One Another.” The evening, facilitated by Elizabeth Stangeland and Vic Massaglia, included an overview of the book, breakout sessions to practice initiating meaningful conversations, and discussing what that process was like.“Turning to One Another” provides a framework to have effective conversations that lead to making change. The present day is complex, fast-paced and so busy that most people find themselves distrusting the simple things.

They often don’t slow down to reflect and listen to others. Human conversation is as simple as it gets but it isn’t as simple anymore with all of the distractions.

Wheatley wrote this book as a tool to use when engaging in conversations with others. She provides guideline principles to keep in mind before doing so. For example, “We acknowledge one another as equals,” and “We slow down to have time to think and reflect.” Facilitators Stangeland and Massaglia introduced these guidelines to the attendees and provided them with some of the questions Wheatley suggests beginning with.

When the group discussed how the conversations went, a few of the questions discussed were “What is my unique contribution to the whole?” and “When have I experienced good listening?” These questions are meant to initiate critical thinking and deep conversations.

A few of the attendees thought about meetings at work when they asked themselves, “When have I experienced good listening?” They mentioned that in meetings, everyone tries to get their word in and nobody truly reflects before answering or injecting their opinion. Attendees also thought of this question in context to their personal relationships and sometimes all they need is for the other person to truly listen.

The discussion that followed the question, “What is my unique contribution to the whole?” were answers in regards to self-purpose and the “why” behind who they are and why they are here.

The evening concluded with a question of “Now what?” The group discussed that after practicing initiating meaningful conversations with strangers, they’ll be more comfortable and competent on how to do so effectively in their lives at work, in their relationships, or with strangers.

This roundtable utilized Wheatley’s concepts and frameworks on how to turn to one another and have meaningful conversations to make change, and the attendees started the journey of how to do so.

Check the calendar of upcoming MCDA RoundTables for additional topics.

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