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Friday Refill - Divergent and Convergent Meetings

Published 3/5/2021

We seek agreement by default. It feels good. But is it what we really want? What we really need?

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Happy Friday everybody. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to another Friday every fill of Developer Tea In today's episode I Want to give you some advice That could pay you back in every single meeting that you ever have again I want you to recall a meeting that felt tense recently and Not tense because there were two people who just didn't like each other in the meeting. I mean tense because of whatever the Discussion was during the meeting itself And I went to recall exactly What that meeting was about if you can bring back to mind all of the different players and their different roles and Try to understand for a moment where that conflict started I want you to kind of pause the tape there for a moment because I want to zoom out and talk about kind of the point of most meetings most meetings start with some kind of implicit goal very few meetings Despite all of the pleading that I've done on this podcast very few meetings start out with some kind of functional output as the goal and This is somewhat natural it makes sense for our meetings to kind of come about naturally and To have some kind of implicit goal that we don't necessarily Talk about beforehand. We just have a subject. I mean we have a subject of the meeting It's very similar to a subject of the email. We talk about something not necessarily towards something But because we are social social creatures We always have a goal. We always have a goal when we interact with other people even if we don't think we do even if it feels Bad to say it out loud. We always have a goal Now here's how we can make that feel less bad Sometimes that goal is to become closer to gel better to Express appreciation and doesn't necessarily mean that we're selfish to say that we have a goal in mind in every interaction that we have If we didn't have a goal in that interaction then it's likely that our brains would recognize that we're wasting our time and our goal quickly becomes To close out the interaction as quickly as possible without damaging our relationships So we always have some kind of drive in our social interactions and meetings are fundamentally a social interaction So what does this mean? Well, it means that every meeting has a goal whether it's implicit or explicit and And that most meetings have implicit goals and Here is the important thing to understand everyone coming to that meeting probably has a different implicit goal at hand Sometimes those social interactions are the only thing driving those goals those social Needs are the only thing driving those implicit goals, but then there are extra Goals that we might bring to the table. There are other motivations outside of whatever that social interaction is Then we might have in our minds and we might have on our plates So those goals are designed beforehand or at least we have some idea of what those goals are And when we come to a social setting These goals are expressed Fundamentally into different ways When I say two different ways I mean kind of at an abstract level to different kind of approaches One approach is the divergent approach This is when you have an idea that Deports from the group maybe you have a question that is antagonizing to the group in some way and sometimes the goal of a meeting can be expressly To encourage divergent thinking for example, we might have brainstorming on different options and that's necessarily divergent and then the other kind of opposite of divergent is Convergent this is our most natural kind of social Default to converge and agree This is a peacemaking default when we converge we kind of feel a sense of resolution and So here is where the conflict usually happens if you think back to that meeting I imagine that you can probably figure out that there was somebody who was pushing for convergence and Another person who weighs Somehow pushing for divergence maybe it wasn't idea that they had or maybe they were against the idea of Convergence to begin with they didn't think that the solution presented was worth converging on And so the struggle begins the awkwardness may begin the conflict may begin when you have this Pulling against each other one person trying to introduce a new set of thoughts some divergent thinking and another person trying to Resolve the thinking to converge it together So it's important for you knowing when you go into a meeting What is the goal of the meeting and it may be helpful to out front? explain or ask for other people to give their input on what they think this meeting Should be about should we have perhaps two phases of the meeting one part where divergent thinking is Encouraged and invited and a second phase where convergent thinking is necessary Or maybe the whole meeting is one or the other or maybe we don't know yet, but we're willing to decide in a little while This is going to help your meetings Drastically because instead of struggling against each other implicitly we can bring it out and bring it out into the open and Decide together explicitly how we're going to behave in a given meeting. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer TeaThis was another Friday refill of Developer Teaif you enjoyed this episode you'll probably enjoy Developer Tearegular episodes which are released on Mondays and Wednesdays We will be back with another one of those this coming Monday. Thanks so much for listening and until then enjoy your tea