It was a crisp cold winter’s day as I arrived at Windsor Castle for what turned out to be one of the most inspiring business events I have ever been involved in. As I parked my car in the castle grounds, and was taken through the imposing Henry VIII gate, I could not conceal the joy and wonderment of the occasion. This was to to be a cultural and social experience that would not be forgotten for a long long time.
The event I am referring to was a St George’s House Consultation. An event which included an overnight stay in the grounds of the castle, and an invitation to attend Evensong in St Georges Chapel, as well as a be accompanied by a guide for an exclusive late night guided tour of the chapel. The highlight however was to be the consultation itself, and the willingness of the participants to both listen and participate. The event was facilitated by the more than capable Doug Shaw, who was able to help the discussion flow freely. The ‘What’s Your Thing’ session he facilitated was enlightening.
You can read about the background to the 2 day event here which details the loose brief for the 2 day event . Here is an excerpt from the website which covers the aims of the organisation:
When St George’s House was founded in 1966, the original vision was based on a justly perceived need for considered discussion of topics of moment by people in a position to make a difference.Almost half a century later the need to nurture wisdom through dialogue remains relevant to a society whose brightest hopes for a new millennium, despite all humankind’s progress, have lost some of their sheen when faced with the recurring problems of crime, conflict, poverty and all the other distressing ingredients of social dysfunction which it is our duty as citizens of the world to grapple with imaginatively, practically and persistently
So you might ask what part do workplace practitioners play to make a difference in people’s lives? I have been arguing for a while that the role played by anyone involved in workplace design, provision or management is vital to enhancing and enriching lives. You are managing spaces and working practices which really can make a difference in peoples lives. Get it right, and you will have a healthy, content and fulfilled group. Get it wrong and … well, you can decide that.
The level of social capital is a key part of making a difference in people’s working lives. You can read the output form the event here – happy reading.
PS. Robert Propst wrote about this issue in 1968 : Social psychology studies show that many of the fears, antagonisms and forms of negative behaviour in organizations stem from not knowing what others are doing. Moreover, we all have a fear of being lost from view, forgotten, by-passed and left out. On the other hand, when we have a chance to know what is happening, to be an assured part of things, to see goals and objectives, we become hopeful and positive. Every office has a climate of social expression that can either be destructive or constructive and, to a large degree, this is effected by the physical expression we give it. One of the great assets of a more frankly interactive and open office expression is the improved social structure it offers. At the very minimum, it has the opportunity for more accurate and subtle expression of an organization’s nature. From this base, it can proceed with usable tools to become an organic community of individuals working with a tangible sense of belonging and useful contribution.