King Arthur’s Round table – a symbol for High Performing Teams?
As something of an idealist and occasional romantic I have long felt a strong connection with King Arthur, Camelot and in particular, the notion of the round table. In my idealistic imagining I see a group of leaders striving to behave as equals, notwithstanding the differences that exist in reality, and set upon a clear and noble purpose to improve the quality of life for all.
Whilst I may be idealistic, I’m not naive and I’m also pretty sure that the relationships and discussions around the table would not always have been the most constructive or progressive. And yet underpinning the actions and evolution of these relationships around this ‘imaginary round table’ is a code. A code which is underpinned by a purpose and a vision for a better world.
The code has a moral and ethical core, meaning that each member of the group rises above the minor transgressions or differences arising from style or personality in service of fundamental values that unite them. The code has the most significant, progressive and trust building behaviours set out. Behaviours such as honesty, openness, collaboration, transparency, reliability, accountability and being present. They are behaviours which facilitate group working at the highest level alongside individual responsibility and accountability.
In my imagination, this round table is about finding unity in diversity. It’s about the different perspectives, talents and contributions of each group member being respected, valued and explored. It’s about knights, priests, wizards, social workers, farmers, politicians and kings sitting as equals debating (and resolving) the real issues of the world, bringing all they have to bear to solving seemingly intractable problems.
The round table is also about radical conversations – explorations that get to the heart of issues in an innovative, creative and purposeful way. Problem solving and solution generation that are intentionally disrespectful of the notion of ‘can’t’ and look, with love, passion, drive and humility for the possibilities and ‘what ifs’.
I believe this way of working and being is possible within all groups and teams today if we choose it. This is the type of group I want to be part of. How about you?