I am starting Dialogue Lab because I believe we — the progressive movement — have what it takes to become an unstoppable force for social change.
So often progressive spaces are defined by a sense that no one is saying what really needs to be said. Or if you are saying it, no one seems capable of hearing it. Or if you are hearing it, it’s as if every bridge is being burned.
And so often, that’s what stops us in our tracks.
But I believe we can do this. In so many corners of the movement, we are ALREADY doing it. We are finding ways to be together, and work together, that are true, fearless, make room for love, but leave no room for bullshit.
And Dialogue Lab is all about amplifying THAT. Because that capacity to be both fierce and loving with each other is what’s going to make us unstoppable.
Here are 4 ways we make this happen:
1) Strong relationships build resilient movements.
Social justice work ain’t easy. And if you are doing that work — whether you are out in front or behind the scenes -- you need a soft place to land. You need those people to come back to, to say the things you need to say, and trust that those around you can hear you, believe you, and respect you.
Those relationships of trust and respect generate strong emotional centers that give our work a sense of meaning and heart. And most importantly, they lay the foundation for us to be resilient through set-backs, crisis, and conflict.
2) Honest feedback builds confident leadership
If no one is saying what they're really thinking, we're just wandering around in the dark. But if you work your muscles for giving and receiving honest feedback, you get wiser as your capacity to learn from others grows. You start to trust that the people around you are there to help you see your blind spots. And eventually, you learn you are capable of hearing anything. That is the heart of confident leadership.
3) We learn to make our diversity work for us
The progressive movement is inherently more diverse than the conservative movement. And our personal, cultural, and privilege differences play out as we make decisions about strategy, finances, staffing, messaging, and on and on and on.
Over and over, when differences are not handled with skill, our work comes to a screeching halt. So it’s easy to lose sight of what a gift diversity is.
But social change work is incredibly complex, and it’s impossible to take truly grounded action if we are only incorporating a single point of view. By building a culture of dialogue, we can turn that natural diversity into a strength.
4) Cultures of dialogue power change
If you see dialogue as something that happens at a single meeting, the task of hearing every perspective is going to feel daunting, and near impossible to incorporate.
But dialogue is not just a kind of meeting. It’s a way of leading that is about always moving fluidly between observing, learning, and taking action. And leaders who embody dialogue build cultures where everyone is encouraged to speak up, listen, admit mistakes, and support each other through learning. And that’s the kind of culture that helps an organization adapt quickly to new challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and keep the mission moving towards progress.
If you are struggling with a tough dynamic at work and are interested in seeing if I can help, click here to book a free consult.
And if you want the free guide I wrote to having tough but liberating conversations, click here.