Among the most pernicious and hidden barriers to collaborative endeavor are the expectations we bring to the table. These expectations take many forms. We perhaps expect a particular result, for example, how successful or unsuccessful the meeting might be. With either attitude, it is clear that these expectations stand in the way of what might actually happen. Even with a positive attitude, this expectation can effectively subvert the possibility of something new or innovative emerging.

In particular, expectations get in the way of truly knowing what's needed. Perhaps we bring a deep experience in a specific topic or area of expertise. It is easier then to imagine what is needed because we've seen it all before. But of course we haven’t. Particularly in the most difficult of circumstances, we need to let expectations go. We need to hear directly from those who are troubled or who have in some way been traumatized, understanding that theirs is an experience we could not possibly understand no matter how empathetic we might be.

Randall HoytComment