A Commonplace

What is a commonplace?



So yesterday we were talking about Patsy Rodenburg's concept of second circle. Symmetrical discussion where information is exchanged both ways. Discussion that is present and in the moment.

And we talked about how most communication around software development is third circle, forceful communication. Declaiming, posturing.

We also talked about using the ceremonies in a framework like Scrum as a way of creating a series of opportunities for second circle communication.

Why exactly are we so scared of second circle communication?

Because in second circle we can be changed. And something I know from improvisation classes is that people don't want to be changed.

In second circle we can be attacked. Second circle makes us vulnerable to attack - in a way that first and third circle (both of which are a form of "la, la, la not listening") don't.

Second circle threatens our self-image. In software development discussions this often comes across as threats to our self image of our competence to do the job. We want to think of ourselves as hard-working, adaptable, reliable, flexible, we also probably want top be easy to get a long with.

So, if we're agreed that the way to get software developed more quickly is to have more high-value second-circle conversations where information is actually exchanged, how can we achieve that?

It seems to me that there are two things that need to happen.

1) Learn how to stay in second circle communication, even when being attacked (third circle) or ignored (first circle).

2) Avoid attacking others and avoid ignoring others.

Here's where I'm going to really direct and second circle (let's see if this works). When I look at recent interactions, in a work-setting, in a personal setting, it isn't a pretty picture.

There are a lot of people that I don't listen to, there are a lot of people that I lecture at, that I tell off. Every now and again, maybe a couple of times a year, I actually shout at people. And I feel so bad about it afterwards.