The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

It’s not scientifically proven

As you dive into a conversation you’ll sometimes encounter conversation stoppers. They lead to a transformation of a dialogue where ideas are exchanged into a discussion of positions.

It happens for example when an idea which is shared is put in question with a destructive argument. Instead of discussing the idea as presented, it is taken out of the context of the conversation and put into a new one.

In a recent example of such a situation, we had been talking about team effectiveness. The idea was to connect characteristics taken from a personality type model with elements contributing to team effectiveness. The logical conclusion was to establish a link between people and how they contributed to effectiveness.

At the same time, the idea brought forward was based on a model and thus depended on our ability to distinguish between using a concept to understand reality and the complexity of reality as such.

The conversation stopper came in with the sentence “it’s not scientifically proven”

It meant to switch from discussing ideas about team effectiveness to discussing if the approach was valid or not.

There is no question that both are worth discussing. What makes this switch a conversation stopper is that it changed the theme of the conversation and made it a yes or no question. By pulling the attention away from the existing theme to another it ended the first conversation. It leaves the participants with a sense of emptiness.


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