As mentioned previously our Directors and teams adopt a “Critical Friend” approach which can be defined as:
“a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques on a person’s work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The critical friend is an advocate for the success of that work/project.”
This is a powerful idea as it contains an inherent but positive tension. Friends bring a high degree of unconditional positive regards and critics are, at first sight at least, conditional, negative and intolerant of failure. This approach we feel is a successful marriage of unconditional support and unconditional critique, which ensures that all parties are striving for the same goal and get the best out of each other through open and unrestricted dialogue and continuous challenge.
This we find is of great benefit to the scheme as it develops a positive approach to the common goals of all those parties involved in the scheme and this has worked very successfully in the past. It involves all team members working together to bring the project to a positive conclusion and recognising that it is inevitable that at some time during the life of any project, particularly those that are complex, everybody involved will need somebody else’s help to solve a problem, rise to a challenge and occasionally get them out of a deep hole. If a confrontational relationship is allowed to develop between any individuals or organisations then this will undermine the enthusiasm of the team and eventually be detrimental to the scheme which must not be allowed to happen. The adoption of a “Critical Friend” approach we have found avoids this conflict.