When you need to find common ground, a conversation shines the light.
Talking with Group A:
“Oh, they’ll [the “others” in Group B] never go for that.”
“Have you asked them yet?”
“Well, no. We tried to get a meeting and they declined.”
“What about just quickly posting your questions?”
Later, talking to Group B:
“What do you think about the proposal?”
“Well, we had some alternate ideas but they [the “others” in Group A] would never want that.”
“Oh? What did they say when you brought it up?”
“We haven’t talked to them about it yet.”
Facepalm moment for me as the facilitator. It turned out the two groups hadn’t ever connected on this topic. Once a conversation shined a light on it, we saw the shared goal in plain sight. Assumptions dissolved.
Alignment is knowing versus thinking we know.
To put this visually, here are my quick-and-simple sketches for how I’ve come to think about alignment by “shining the light.”
What starts with a plan…
Becomes a moment of alignment:
Group A is shining a light; Group B is shining their light back. It can be blinding.
After the needed conversation to clear assumptions and align, the lights are shining on the same thing. Working together, even networking.