I was thinking about small talk the other day.
Specifically around how some people love it and some people hate it, and that it is across the globe, somewhat ubiquitous. The weird thing I guess was as I had that thought, I was also in the middle of another thought about team formation. As those thoughts formed together, I started to hypothesize and formed a bit of a pathology. Follow me if you will.
One of the things we know about team formation is that it works best when you consider not only the skills on the teams, but also the people on the teams. Traditionally, we think about this in a very macros sense… bobby and sammy won’t work together, they don’t get on, move joe to this team, put Lisa in this group. As we’ve advanced in business, we’ve realized that in reality, it’s about a lot more than that. If you want to abstract it all the way out, just go to Deming, but for now think about it in the literal. Joe is creative, outspoken and analytics. Jessica is logical, creative and analytics, Hanna is social logical. Some percentage of XYZ in XYZ area of the brain causes us to be.. whatever. When we talk about advanced team formation, we consider not only the skills, the experiences, or the perigee.. we also consider the intrinsic. Great teams are made up of great individual, but first they have to be the right great individuals. We know this because of the many theories around team formation, form, storm, norm, and all of the characteristics of high performing teams.
An interesting thing about ubiquitous human traits is that they appear to be there for a reason. The emotional side especially. Grief, hope, despair, happiness, guilt, forgiveness etc all keep humanity in check. Because we experience all these things, and experience them all together, over millions of years, we didn't go off the rails. Occasionally one of us pops, and we do something wrong, but generally the collection of all of these emotions, the unspoken between us, love.. keep us moving everything forward safely. I believe people who go around and evangelize for love are often considered crazy. However, if you rationalize love in a logical means, love is what we all ubiquitously experience in our lives. It is a major component of what keeps humanity from going off the rails. I do with all my heart believe that to be true, I must, it was installed into me by my parents. Further, by that logic, if you evangelize love must be the sane one.
So what does all that crazy psycho babble have to do with small talk anyway? I was thinking about the education system and how broken it is. That I wasn't given the opportunity to learn until I met my first love, and learned more than any education system could have ever have taught me. For I, and many others like me… learn by doing. The education system I grew up within, the Scottish Education system was absolutely abysmal at supporting people like myself, who learned by doing. We had to sit in classrooms and put words on paper and all I could do was look out the window and think to my — self why the fuck does that tractor have black stuff coming out of it? Until I could ask, never could I know. That is likely why I can't spell or do basic mathematics. I’m very thankful in my life that time and time and time and time again I have even given the opportunity to learn by doing, some of my learnings resulted in total and utter failure and embarrassment. However of all, I've been given the chance to learn. I suppose had Rudolf Steiner had his way, we all would have learned as such.
So I guess it’s become clear to many that we have to change the education system, the current one simply isn’t allowing people like me to meet people like you and be inspired to remember love and move things forward. I think that’s what Peter was talking about in his book, I think many more are starting to think this way. How can we dream if we're not taught to dream? How can we love if we're not taught to love?
Given that small talk is so ubiquitous, because we use it to find each other, and put each other in the right places with each other, how do we start to use these ubiquitous traits to do more of that?