I attended a Tavistock Group Relations Conference last Dec. It is a very unique experience to me. It is a weird one as well. There was a lot of ‘stuck-ness’, ambiguity and sometimes emotion in the conference. It is ‘empty’ (in a neutral sense) where each participant can make different senses out of the experience. I have been asking myself how I would summarise the conference. In reflecting with another participant, here is what comes to my mind:
The conference is about surfacing the assumptions I have on how people interact in group by putting me in groups without an explicit task.
So, what assumptions have been surfaced so far? For me,
– I assume that a group should always have a common purpose. Otherwise, it is not a group. I become irritated when people gather without a common purpose or any effort to pursue one.
– I have natural tendency is to be of service to the others (or the common purpose above). Even when I consciously tried to suppress such tendency, I fell back into the default role from time to time.
– I assume that ‘there is THE right answer to things’. This leads to my another strong assumption that ‘I need to pursue to the right answers’ Whilst intellectually I understand that sometimes there is NO right answer, I find myself acting and thinking on the assumption that there is one.
I have a sense that more ‘learning’ will come after the conference as I contrast this unusual group experience with daily one…
‘If I could choose again, would I go to the conference despite its weirdness?’ Yes, I would. In relation to my summary statement above, I think the conference gives me very unique opportunity to see myself in groups.