Each time I work with a team I learn more about the tools I use with them. My own understanding deepens as I hear their perspectives on how each one is useful to them, in this moment, with this particular challenge.
Recently I was leading a workshop on navigating conflict and I introduced Conflict Circles - a tool that helps discern between what happened (one circle) and the story we tell ourselves about what happened (a second circle). Over the many years I’ve used this framework, I’ve started to consider that the overlap between them might be meaningful – perhaps a representation of where the truth of the matter lies.
In this workshop, one of the attendees shared how their group had started to explore what the amount of overlap might mean. For example, if what happened and the story that is being told about what happened has very little overlap, there might be a lot of exaggeration and extreme positioning around a particular issue. But if there is a lot of overlap between the two, there might be more truth in what is being shared.
While this may be a difficult thing to prove, I love the option for deeper conversation and exploration that this perspective offers. How might exploring not only the distinction between what happened and the stories we tell ourselves about what happened lead us through to a place of measured and productive conversation, but how might exploring the perceived overlap between the two illuminate and reveal a deeper understanding of the impact of what happened and how things are being shared or talked about.
I don’t have the answer, but I love being challenged to think about a tool I’ve been using for a number of years in a new way.