A little hippy, kumbayah, woo-woo or soft skills are all terms used by some and applied to the behaviours we all use to achieve what we do every day. In using this language they’re in danger, of course, of forgetting the impact effective communication and collaboration can have on the outcome of any activity and in achieving our goals.

I attended a workshop yesterday run by the CLD Standards Council for Scotland entitled ‘whatever the problem, community is the answer’ with guest speaker Margaret Wheatley. I can hear the accusation of kumbayah as I type the words. However if we accept the premise, and act as if, community is the answer it leads us to a question asked by Drew Pryde of the Scottish Institute of Business Leaders “who is your community?”

Could you honestly say you see your colleagues as your community? Do you use them to support and provide feedback to you? When did you last present a business strategy for review and CPD purposes. For that matter when did you last invite them to a post project review to get insights from those less involved or to enable them to learn from your mistakes?

One example used at the session yesterday was the community of a choir. A choir singing collectively the songs they love, that fully utilise their strengths and being heard – rather than being that lone quiet voice singing alone in the corner. Recent exemplars of this are Gareth Malone and the Military wives and Gary Barlow and the commonwealth choir for the jubilee celebrations.

SING was fantastic on Monday but this example of Kumbayah by the Sowesto Gospel Choir is also a great example of a community coming together. 

What song is your team singing and, more importantly, would it have people queuing to join your community and would people be crying in dislike or delight at your outputs?

Alison Smith

The Purchasing Coach

Sowing the seeds for harmony in your purchasing communities

[email protected]  07770 538159