News•Business• 08.12.2017 • British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg
Attendees of the British Chamber of Commerce’s HR forum on 6 December 2017
Photo: British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg
The People & Leadership Group of the British Chamber of Commerce held its 4th and final breakfast forum on the “Art & Science of Communication” on Wednesday 6 December.
Throughout the year a steady number of people from all sectors have been attending these sessions and many say that they keep coming back due to the interactivity and positive atmosphere that is generated.
This session, “All about Tribes”, was about communication within large groups of people. More specifically, what it was that binds homo sapiens together to enable them to become the most successful species on the planet.
As part of his introduction, Andrew Notter of Badenoch & Clark asked the audience to discuss the questions of what binds or what divides us. Shared values, a common goal, inspiring stories and positive communication were thought to be the most important aspects that create the connection amongst a group of people. Whereas poor communication, cultural differences and competition were raised as possible barriers to a cohesive group.
Jill Saville, chair of the BCC P&L Group, then spoke about ideas from the book “Sapiens” and how our sophisticated language and collaborative skills evolved to enable us to work towards a common goal with thousands people in every part of the globe. One thing that sets us apart is our ability to think of and to share abstract concepts and visions of the future rather than just describe physical things such as ‘the lion is by the river’. Jill went on to mention Dunbar’s number, which is said to be the average of the number of social connections we can maintain at any one time.
The session then moved on to organisational culture, from the model created by Edgar Schein to how we can influence culture through language and storytelling. Attendees were asked to discuss storytelling in their own organisations, positive or negative and then think about the effects that they had. People shared their thoughts and experiences and an important point was made that organisational stories are effective in communicating values and behavioural expectations as long as they were authentic. Also, with changing times, the stories we tell might also change.
To offer some insights into the psychological aspects of communication within organisations, Dr. Susanne Arend gave a short overview on David Rock’s SCARF (Status, Certainty, Ambiguity, Relatedness, Fairness) Model and linked this model to organisational communication. Knowing how our brains react in certain situations helps organisations to communicate in a way to maximise reward and minimise threats. Jill followed on to give a simple idea for cultural change from a Tedx talk all about reducing negative stories within an organisation to create a healthier environment--removing ‘backbiting’.
Andrew concluded by asking everyone to say what was one thing that they had heard that they were going to go away and use.
The 2018 schedule will follow soon on the new blog for the BCC P&L group.
This article was contributed by the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg.