By Olaf Krop, Western Region
I have enjoyed the ritual exercise of “being complete.”
Kurt Thorne was a man in the Western Region who died unexpectedly a few years ago. He was a great leader, and he is missed. But, during his memorial, it was noticed that very few men had unfinished business with him or had felt like they had missed an opportunity to “be complete” with him. One of the extraordinary things about Kurt was his ability to ensure that he was complete in every conversation he had.
“Being Complete” means that you leave the conversation or encounter knowing you have expressed yourself fully, and that you had not held anything back or have anything else to say. I believe this is a very masculine way of being. It is something that should be encouraged on every men’s team, as a way of preventing “lists” (grudges) from being developed.
Most teams have a ritual around closing a meeting: Circling up, a team cheer, a reading, something to signify the closing of the container. Just prior to the ritual closing of the meeting, a simple step to ensure that men are indeed always complete with each other is to create that space in the meeting. The first few times this is done, the men may find it confusing or unnecessary, but in time, they will see that no one is guaranteed a “next conversation.”
The process is simple: As you begin the close of your meeting, declare the space with a statement like: “No one is guaranteed a long life. Our responsibility is not to live long, but to live fully. If you were to die tomorrow, what do you need to say, right now, to your men, in order to be complete?”
Leave time for the answers. It might take the men a minute to process and begin to speak, but make the space for the men to complete. Know that when you close the circle, your men are really “complete!”