The Wall

A wall is a door. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most powerful experience-based initiatives in my toolbox is the Group Wall. Its a good initiative to do with groups when they have reached a plateau of either thinking “we’re good,” when egos are still at play or the group is still not collaborating well. Done well, it demonstrates the need for humility, understanding, communication, critical thinking, patience and ultimately, the need for one another.

“If you hit a wall, climb over it, crawl under it, or dance on top of it.” – Unknown

The challenge is to get everyone over the wall safely before the tsunami arrives! Spotting is paramount! You have to give support to get support. A key to success is begin with the end in mind. In other words, there will be one person left who needs to come over the wall and the way the group approaches getting the final person over will have to be different than the first person over!

What gets you to the dance doesn’t keep you at the dance. – Unknown

Usually the debrief is powerful. We discuss the assumptions approaching the wall, including the negative thinking as in “there is no way we are going to open this door!” We discuss the experience – what was working and what was not working. We talk about what was learned and how what was learned could be applied back in the work setting. I like to ask three questions; How is the wall a door? How is the wall an opportunity? Explain how this wall you just faced could be your door to a better future?

I’d appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this initiative with POTUS and Congress. I believe we could move the conversation to getting everyone on board with a compromise that works and gets government back to work. Perhaps it would change the conversation from wall building to bridge building?!

We build too many walls and not enough bridges. – Sir Issac Newton