The Power of the Group


Yes, everyone has to stop for lunch, come to the meeting room or auditorium.

We're going to need to teach them all, everyone in the company to change things around. LGBTQ, women, and other minorities should not have to worry about looking for a new job, leaving a safe workplace for one that is a risk. If we could reach everyone, make a better workshop that is universally adopted, tweaked per venue, that wouldn't happen. There really is power in numbers, so group workshops, any size, enable goal compliance, conformity, acquiescence to a new normal. That new normal is a no-sexual-harassment policy that heightens productivity. The bystander effect that once enabled a culture of abuse is about to crumble with not only policy enforcement, but better training, an understanding of workplace expectations.

There are reasons that so little sexual harassment is reported, but if the group is supportive, that can change.

Groups can be more powerful, sometimes, than working with one person at a time, after the fact, after an infraction has occurred. That's if a target of harassment has come forward, knows the channels. Colleague pressure is the same as peer pressure. If everyone leaves a workshop and talks about what they felt, what they learned, then it is easier to repeat that, to call it out when the behavior in the room, or at the retreat, anywhere, is inappropriate. When the group exerts its power for the welfare of colleagues, then the domination and coercion we're hearing about loses power.

What works?

We're finding, not surprisingly, that what we learned in professional school, the gems from our professions, social work, law, medicine and psychology, get to the root of what is really going on, and that we know how to effect change. Proprietary knowledge, our work outside of corporate, can inform corporate, etch in new cultural norms. "Me, Too" stories are teaching stories, but they don't have to come from the group, shouldn't. Everyone in the room has to feel emotionally safe, above all.