Group Tracking: Anchors, Flow and Itzahk Perlman

This is a follow up post from yesterday where I started a short thread about using WordPress in a new way.  I mentioned yesterday that we can and should get better at understanding group dynamics. We may not want to be the “life of the party”, but we do want to have fun at great parties.

BTW, in the old days (when I worked in Philadelphia) I didn’t think of this much. I didn’t have to because my education and job had created a social network for me. I took advantage of the group connections that I had from those structures and didn’t think about going beyond them. But these days, I work at building groups. And I realize what I was missing.

One thing that was missing was the confidence to translate ideas into group activities. When it came to “new ideas”, I was more a follower than a leader. I allowed myself to be a connoisseur of other people’s ideas rather than aspire to becoming a Michelangelo of generating and implementing ideas.

Where does the confidence come from? It comes from watching how you do stuff. Being “mindful” of how you use ideas when you relate to people. Where do the ideas come from? They come from what you individually want from life. We talked before about identifying who you need to help bring those things into the real world.

But how to create the “group dynamic”? Dave Logan points out that this is a lot harder than it appears on the surface. The world is loaded with failing and failed groups.  In my view, there are two metrics to follow that predict how dynamic a group will be. They are anchors and flows.

The anchor is the thing people want to focus on. They have to be able to see it. So, for example, it is hard to build a group around “learning to negotiate”. Not because people reject negotiation skills, but the process seems a bit abstract. It is far easier, for example, to persuade someone of the value of writing a better letter. That is more easy to see.

The flow is the learning that happens when people try to move forward. They find out stuff. Interesting stuff. And in our normal day to day lives, most of this is lost. Capturing the learning from flow was the initial fun in blogging. Facebook and Twitter, in my view, capture less and so are less fun. But the key idea is that groups thrive more when their learning flow is captured over time. That is true of a book club, a recipe sharing forum, and it is true of groups inside Apple or IBM.

Right – so back to WordPress. It creates a shared platform (users only) where you can build anchors (as menu items) and flow (blog posts) around a project idea.

Does it work? Well, it does work for me. Why does it work? The above sketches out a group learning process. It is meant to be a slow learning process – where we retain what we learn. BTW, I am fooling around with a plug in (not on this blog) called “events manager“. The link is to the tutorial. It looks like fun!

And thanks Marju for sharing a link to Itzahk Perlman’s video where he talks about the value of slow practice. What you learn quickly, you forget quickly! What you learn slowly, you remember longer. Wise words, indeed! So if learning is slow, tracking flow is very important. And that is why using WordPress in this way works for me. It anchors better and captures more flow.



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