Most times, we see group interactions (GI) as convenient communication tools. Typically, they appear as meetings, training sessions and other events. Except for possible networking opportunities, we often don’t see them as opportunities for molding relationships and culture, but we can.
At the root of molding culture is relationships. Just as there are two aspects to every individual interaction there are for GI’s. The overt, rational aspect is its stated purpose. The subtle, emotional aspect is the collective impressions it creates. Every interaction, whether intentional or not, will instill emotions contributing or retarding relationships. Unfortunately, since emotional aspects are so intangible and fuzzy, they’re easy to discount. Discounting the company grapevine is an example.
GI’s then serve two primary, interrelated functions:
- Positioning future individual interactions
- Reinforcing previous individual interactions
The first is more common, laying groundwork for follow up. Announcing a project and then visiting with each member to review his specific assignment is an example. The second often uses meetings to summarize findings from individual meetings. Conducting individual assessments and then reporting findings to the group is an example.
From a relational perspective, we sometimes use our standard relationship building techniques in GI’s; however, we can also tap two broad categories of techniques specific to them:
- Acknowledging contributions (i.e. questions, information)
- Thanking for that contribution
To position, we use GI’s to acknowledge publicly a critical role someone will play: “Samantha, your input will be critical to this project’s success.” To reinforce, GI’s acknowledge roles played: “Bruce, this point specifically relates to your input to me last month.” With both, we can integrate techniques leveraging relationships and strategic complimenting giving us many ways to personalize.
GI’s offer a wealth of opportunities for molding relationships and culture. It means though seeing them more than simple communication tools.
- Group Interactions, Molding Relationships and Culture
- Group Interactions, the Two Types and Their Ratio
- Attacking Relational Challenges in Group Interactions
- Initiating Questions and Comments in Group Interactions
- Encouraging More Questions in Group Interactions
- Forming and Tapping Relationships in a Group Interaction
- Leveraging Group Interactions Afterwards
- Advance Work for Positioning Group Interactions
- Leveraging Group Interactions The Complete Strategy