Many years ago, myself and a few colleagues were playing with alternatives to the statement, “The business of business is business.” We were challenging the product and profit narrative. We were wanting to emphasize other aspects of being in groups and communities. “The business of business is community.” Or, “The business of business is learning.” It didn’t take long to get a good and attractive list of riffs that changed each of the placeholders in the original statement. “The _____ of _____ is _____.” It was fun, and helpful, to explore and get to important purpose statements.
I’ve learned that all these kinds of statements are true. I’ve learned that some are emphasized more at certain times than at others. I’ve also learned that the periodic deliberate exploration of such a basic is helpful. Exploration itself is necessary and fruitful, just for the memory of feeling and exploring.
I know that there are lots of ways to learn. Individually and with groups. There are lots of learning modalities. In my work, I love to bring a mix of things small group, whole group, and individual. I love to bring a mix of words, images, silence, movement. Sometimes it is for content. Sometimes it is for process. Sometimes it is for building connection.
Recently a colleague mirrored back to me what is so often a preferred learning mode for me and how I work with groups. I was flattered to hear it. The mirroring from my colleague was about working with her group. It had a lot to do with a core approach for me about creating connection and learning.
1) You come alongside us. Rather than standing aloof or falsely disconnected.
2) You listen. Rather than just telling from presupposed sets of instructions. I heard it as enter in to the unknown of it all together, rather than disassociated distance.
3) You grow with us. Rather than treating as separate. There is deep principle in this one — making ourselves available to learning together and strengthening the act of learning.
I’m doing a fair bit of coaching these days with people that are in the programs I’m offering. I love the calls. It’s so good to check-in with people met at either online or in-person intensives. So often what I’m saying to them as overarching framing of our coaching calls is about “keeping learning alive.” I keep reinforcing the principle with them and myself that if you give it attention, stuff tends to show up to deepen or nuance the learning.
So, here’s to many forms of learning. Many styles. And here’s also to the reclaimed narratives that my colleagues and I were challenging years ago, that are about how to move together as groups and systems in ways that I hope add more than just profit and product narrative, but also kindness, consciousness, and flow narratives.