“Together we achieve more.” Hard to argue with that and it’s as good a whakatauki as they get when it comes to moving things forward.
What does it mean in practice? That’s what I’ve been reflecting on. How does it pan out in a meeting where inevitably there are different perspectives, different backgrounds, not to mention different styles.
Just because we’re working together doesn’t mean it will be a piece of cake (sadly!) How often have you been at a hui whether the tension’s rising high, at least two sets of people are having a side conversation which you’re pretty sure includes a fair bit of backbiting and you end up going home with a sigh of relief and worried that sometimes together we . achieve less…
What can we each do to try to ensure that hui run more smoothly and collaboratively?
In my experience three things are vital:
- Let’s set aside our differences for the greater good. We’ll always have those differences but let’s try to leave as many as we can at the door.
- Call a spade a spade – by that I mean communicate as clearly, concisely and directly as possible.
- It might make us feel temporarily more important and better about ourselves to criticise someone else but hey. . . as my grandmother used to say “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone then don’t say anything”. Do at least one deliberate act of kindness – never mind the random!
Yes, I know, it’s not exactly rocket science but it doesn’t hurt to refocus from time to time. Underlying it all is RESPECT (RIP Aretha). Respect for each person, respect for the group’s aims and respect for the process we need to go through to achieve those aims. Ka kite ano.