To flourish, even to participate in a meaningful way, in our world today requires the cultivation of a new kind of pluralism. This pluralism is a mindset that goes far beyond tolerating diversity, to actively engaging with others to articulate shared goals and commit to working together to achieve these. This new kind of pluralism requires a new skill set, a skill set that we call The Orchestration of Commitments in Pluralistic Networks.
I participated in Fernando Flores's WEST program over the summer of 2011. Through prior study, I had already become familiar with the distinctions taught regarding conversations for action, and had learned all of the theory and philosophy behind them. However I assessed I had yet to embody this learning in a way that had me show up as an effective participant and leader of small teams.
As an inpatient doctor, I work in multidisciplinary teams to care for patients, and I work within that complex network of outpatient care providers, hospitals, private and public payers, regulatory agencies, and more, that comprise our American health care system. The ability to collaborate effectively within teams and across departmental and institutional boundaries is fundamental to my work; my participation in this course has significantly advanced my ability to do this well. I recommend this course to any doctor - or to anyone that has to work in teams.
This workshop focused on what limits the ability of our small groups and on how we can go past those limitations. Ironically it used a computer game based on fantasy to ground team interactions in reality. The real parts were the interactions of the team members: ineffective behavior was exposed, constructive and even inspired interactions were highlighted, captured, and discussed. The workshop brought about a transformation in the way my classmates and I approached small teams. You should give it a try — seriously (and playfully).