It has to be said.  Italy does offer a spectacular range of places in which to hold development retreats conducive to creating a positive team building experience.

We had been enjoying the sun, sand and sea at Sabaudia.  With a division we had worked with previously.

They threw themselves into the challenges we constructed. And in doing so, they evolved as a group.   As is inevitable in such a relaxed and fun environment, people began to let their barriers down and open up.  Our debriefs centred on the ways in which they could transfer the learning and feel of the 3 day retreat, back into the workplace.  Everyone was keen to continue the great sense of belonging and connection.  They recognised it would be a challenge to continue the good vibe. For the workplace was essentially highly political, hierarchical, multicultural and complex.

One question transformed the dialogue.

In this case, it was the question,   “what has been left unsaid?”.

In asking such a question, we gave legitimacy to talking about the unmentionables. Or at least invited such matters to be placed on the table. It wasn’t therefore about looking for resolution in the moment. But a commitment to explore the ‘dark issues’ together.  By asking the question we invited the opportunity to unpick what was going on. And delve into the issues layer by layer. The power was first in acknowledging that unmentionables exist. In letting them be noticed, we gave them air to breath. Conversation then flowed.

As C.G. Jung said “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”.

What has been left unsaid?

You may want to ask the same question to the ones you work with.  And the ones you love.

Photo by Edu Lauton

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