The Table

I’m convinced that to grow the size and maturity of our organisations we need more tables.

When I use the word table it represents several things, as this series will identify, but in particular:

· Firstly, the table as an object we sit around to eat and drink. The place where friends are made, relationship is formed, community is strengthened and culture is extended. Where authentic relationships grow.

· Secondly, as a metaphor for any place and space we can create where this can happen. Not everyone has a table!

What we look at and see is formational. In other words, we tend to reproduce what’s in front of us. This principle is the reason why the relentless prominence of platforms placed in front of business and organisations is impacting personal and corporate growth. It leaves us feeling the need to build platforms not people. Platforms may seem an efficient way to communicate but organisations don’t scale on platforms they scale on people. Ironically, so much of what’s said from so many platforms could be summed up as “it’s not about platforms it’s about people!”

I’m not suggesting platforms are wrong, but the real world awaits those who know how to embrace community and invest in meaningful relationship - a successful meeting or conference is one thing, success in life is something else altogether.

I’m convinced that individuals and organisations are most effectively equipped over the table not the tannoy. Needing less monologue and more dialogue.

After many years of meetings and conferences I believe we learn more from sitting around the table than we do from sitting in front of the platform because we learn more from dialogue than monologue, more from stories than sound bites, more from being listened to than talked at.

Whilst this series strongly advocates for the table I’m not suggesting we burn the platform– there’s a danger of us table folk using the table as a battering ram to knock leaders off the platform so we can dismantle it. There is a danger of seeing this conversation as an “either or”, it’s definitely “both and” (surprise surprise!)

However, it is important that we explore how we make room for the table alongside the platform.

Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant