A rarity: an organisation discussing undiscussables

Undiscussables Opinio Piece

I am off today to work with an organisation at their leadership conference. 500 people. Lots of different spaces, conversations and activities for them to engage in.

And one of those is going to be on the theme of ‘What makes things undiscussable around here?’ That is a rarity in my experience. Not just an organisation that recognizes that understanding people feel they can’t always speak their truth – however big or small – but is willing to provide a space for inquiry into what conditions might be in place that create that. They don’t even know how big a problem it is, indeed whether there are any undiscussables in their system.

But the simple willingness and courage to give permission for this inquiry is striking and unusual.

January 28 2016
Author stevehearsum
Category Opinion
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Margaret Heffernan on the ‘bystander effect’ – would you do any different?

The Bystander Effect we have discussed here previously. Margaret Heffernan is one of the key authors in this field, and this talk is  useful and powerful. Read more →

October 30 2014
Author stevehearsum
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“Supporting whistleblowing” is less about policies and more about leadership… and you

Undiscussables Opinio Piece

The rhetoric around how to support whistleblowers in the public sector is evidence of how to answer a question without placing responsibility where it truly lies.

According to a Guardian report today:

Whistleblowers who risk their careers to uncover wrongdoing within public services are being victimised by managers who nearly always escape sanction, a public accounts committee report will say on Friday.

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August 01 2014

The hidden dimensions of change

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The hidden and covert processes at play around organisational change are many. Julian Burton of Delta7 created this great drawing based on Robert J. Marshak’s work (click on image to enlarge).

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July 22 2014
Author stevehearsum
Category Tools, Undiscussables
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Ethics, misconduct and the need to walk out the door


At the OD Network Europe Conference 2014, I ran a session on ‘undiscussables’. The slides contain some useful stats… Read more →

May 15 2014
Author stevehearsum
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The normalisation of not speaking out

When the BBC run yet another story about the abuse of people in care, it begs the question: how come we are so habituated to not speaking out? Read more →

May 06 2014
Author stevehearsum
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What links love, sex, & intimacy to Edward Snowden & whistleblowing?

Undiscussables Opinio Piece

Is there a relationship between our individual capacities for speaking the truth, and the patterns we see in organisations and human systems in general? If we can’t discuss the undiscussable with our loved ones, what does that mean for our workplaces? Read more →

February 11 2014
Author stevehearsum
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Bystander effect: would you behave differently?…

The Bystander Effect is something that we have discussed before, and this is a particularly good example. Read more →

September 19 2013
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