We got a brief. It was to develop purpose & potential amongst the employees and create connection across silos. Added to this, the whole thing had to be in Dutch, a language I don’t yet speak very well at all. How were we going to create beyond what we think we are capable of and make connection across the silos?

“This is an interesting challenge” I thought a little jokingly to myself, as I sharpened my crayons in preparation to draw out the conversation.

My co-facilitator had the Dutch language well in hand, and so it began as the participants gathered around the pre-meeting coffee.

I was looking forward to this new challenge and wondering how we were going to “connect across the silos”.

The connection across silos actually started right there and then as someone came up and introduced himself in Dutch to me. He had been passionate about the meeting being held in Dutch and guess what, the first person he spoke to was me!

So I plunged in (in English) shaking his hand, explaining my thing about learning new languages and how fumbling I felt getting my tongue around all those guttural sounds…. and, a strange thing started to happen. He was taken by complete surprise, perhaps by my fumbling, apologetic, humorous approach. It was like he was trying to work out something that was new, something that didn’t fit into what he was expecting to experience in this work meeting.

He went and sat down in what looked and felt like WONDER. Any resistance he may have had to not speaking Dutch was suddenly not an issue at all. In fact for the rest of the meeting he stayed open and offered this wonder to the group.

From the kick off, we didn’t talk about breaking down silos, we did it! We created connection across silos.  And not only did we practice and experience it, we were open to each other and experiencing something quite different from business as usual. What we experienced, I think, was people being more than they thought they could be.

It felt so good to be part of that collective creation where a new ‘business as usual experience’ a new way of being together, started to take shape.

The brief was big, and the people in the group were bigger!

And then the feedback fed into the whole story – “What a great result! Who would have thought this on Thursday morning! I’m proud we have made this together.”

The thing is, we actually all have the CAPACITY to connect across silos and create something way beyond what we THINK can be created. Once we create a ‘space’ to be in, what we produce is astounding.

I know this because I’m lucky enough to get to listen to and work with people in this created space. Then I (literally) draw out what comes out of them from that space! And it’s brilliant! So brilliant it even surprises the participants themselves. “Did I say that?” they say, astounded by their own words.

I’m not sure where to finish this article, forgive me. It seems like this conversation is just beginning.

Vanessa Jane Smith – creator of Crafting Connection – Visual Innovator & Facilitator co-creating from your Human Potential. We provide a creative approach to change in short and long-terms human potential development projects, workshops and trainings in organisations.

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