5Scaling Up Great Conversations

A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.

– Lao Tzu

When you think about people having productive and worthwhile conversations, how many individuals do you assume are in the conversation? You probably know intuitively what the research tells us: If there are more than eight to twelve people, you can’t really have a meaningful conversation. We know that conversations worth having energize and motivate people. We also know they are productive and meaningful. Imagine the potential for organizations and communities if we could have those kinds of conversations with the whole system!

The people and their conversations are the organization. ...

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