• Javier Perez Fernandez

A tribe forming story: The awkward silence

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


Coaching Lands work


Have you ever been in a situation where it seems that no one dares to speak up?


Recently I supported the kick off of a new 40-person tribe, organised in 6 squads.


When the first tribe retrospective took place, many people remained silent and there were no conflicts emerging. Out of all the possibilities, I believed they didn't do it because of a lack of trust.


I thought that they had never invested time in acknowledging the work of others before. They were simply not aware of others’ perspectives and therefore did not trust each other. I asked my sponsors what they thought regarding this. They believed that it was a plausible hypothesis.


So we decided to validate this hypothesis by facilitating a workshop using the Lands Work tool from Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) (Lands Works is a tool for individuals to stretch into a new awareness about how other people perceive reality). The outcome was that some people were more accepting of running into constructive conflict once they had appreciated others’ perspectives, although not all. An obstacle was cleared away that let them discover other opportunities to improve.


My reflection: The tool worked very well. However, I could have revealed to the group what I was observing in the first session already, asking them what was going on and maybe then we would not have to wait for a second session.


How do you deal with the awkward silences of your people? What other possibilities would you have checked? How do you deal with trust issues in your company?