The Quality of Your Exchanges Matter

A group of people are more successful at their mission when they use and exchange words, ideas and strategic concepts to evoke collective ingenuity.

Simply, the quality of our conversation influences the the quality of our action.

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Critical mission-related outcomes are accomplished when people ingeniously utilizes their resources to overcome challenge and seize opportunity. Tribes of all types must learn to tease out ingenuity through creative idea and information exchange.  Creative exchanges ignite curiosity (we wonder togther) and fuel ingenious action (we experiment together).  Creative exchanges are essential because of what happens between people during the exchange. The inventive conversation evokes insight and energy for more creative solutions and execution. Here are two actions you can take to increase ingenious action through your conversations.


1) Elevate the conversations that occur in your mission-environment


Your mission-environment includes the spaces, people, circumstances, and resources all associated with your tribe’s work. The stress of executing a mission together, and the familiarity tribe members have with each other, can cause them to “normalize” –or worse–diminish their mission-environment (take it for granted). It all just becomes, “the same ole, same ole.” Today was a copy of yesterday; and tomorrow will be a copy today.  This mindset is the beginning of the end of ingenuity. A rut opens and “normalcy” swallows up creativity.

One way to combat, “the same ole same ole mentality,” is to to elevate the conversations that occur in your mission-environment.


Question: What elevates conversation?

Answer: The quality of the conversation.


When the conversations matter, everything else matters. But if the exchanges between tribe members are mundane or merely “transactional,” mindsets and actions also devlove. In order to increase conversations that lead to ingenuity, keep insight the goal of strategic conversations. When you converse for insight you naturally elevate the environment because you’re looking for ways to see and behave differently. Here’s an article –from my blog–on how to position your tribe for more insights.



2) Listen for clues of alignment or misalignment


Effective exchanges require that we listen as much, or more, then we talk. We know that a conversation is a two-way event. We also know that when we are in a hurry, we are prone to interactions that perpetuate “the same ole same ole mindset.” We must go beyond simple listening and ask this question: What are we listening for? Beyond understanding and potential insights, there is something specific to listen for if you want to increase ingenuity. That “something” is alignment.


When we listen for alignment or misalignment, we are listening to discern where there may be divisions and distractions that could splinter people from their common mission. We listen in order to notice where others may be complying rather than connecting emotionally and strategically to important outcomes and initiatives. Take this to the bank: As alignment around priorities decreases, so does insight and ingenuity.


When we discern misalignment we can reflect and probe with thoughtful questions in order to understand multiple viewpoints. It is this kind of perspective taking that often leads away from cursory compliance and back to genuine ownership of the mission. And that leads back to the type insights described in strategy one. Listen for alignment and/or misalignment and quickly realign so that insight and ingenuity again dominate your environment.




  • Which of the two practices are strengths and/or challenges for you and your tribe? Be specific as to why.
  • What is one action you can take to enhance your effective use of each action?