Thanks, Julie, for your thoughtful -provoking response to my query about
"good meetings" Your thoughts, and those of several others in our virtual
community (thanks so much Willard Jule, Tobin Quereau, Mariann Jelinek,
and John Warfield) have helped me not only objectify some of the
characteristics of this experience, but also helped me understand more
clearly what it was that I am trying to describe.
It turns out I'm not necessarilly talking GOOD here. I might be talking
What I'm looking for is something analogous to the peak experience (like
the FLOW of Csikszentmihalyi's rock climbers), only as a SHARED
experience. As something that happens from time to time, in a team, group,
couple, when people actually experience themselves sharing in what you
describe as: "- a sense of community - which listens and supports,
explains and empathises, is bigger than any one present, with shared
values and vision."
I know I've experienced it in games and sports and the performing arts.
And, what makes me especially hopeful, I've also experienced it in
The central experience in my book, The Well-Played Game, is a game of ping
pong between my friend Bill and myself. Bill was so much better of a
player than I that there was no point in playing a "real" game. So, we
decided to just see how long we could keep a volley going. It was a
perfect challenge for each of us. For Bill, just getting the ball to hit
my paddle was an exercise worthy of his years of pongish mastery. After a
couple of hours, we managed to sustain a volley for almost a half-hour.
During that time, we both experienced a transcendance that was just about
as Flowful as you could get. We were larger than life. Enlarged by
eachother's largesse. We were beyond time.
And what I came to believe as a result of this experience was that that
was what games were all about, that experience of playing well together.
And that belief is what has led me to my radical, and, admittedly naive
approach to play and work.
So, my revised point of inquiry is not the Good Meeting, but rather the
EXCEPTIONAL Meeting, not just Good, but transcendant: what is it like? how
does it feel? can it be observed? can it be replicated? .
And I'm not just talking about meetings, it seems. But rather those
exceptional experiences of working together when we're really working and
-- Bernie DeKoven Meetings@california.com http://bbs.california.com/meetings/home.htm