By engaging in open dialogue about how they are the same as or different from each other, members of a group can gain insights into their relationships and interactions. This activity helps to identify patterns of similarities and differences. It can help to identify unnamed containers in the midst of larger group, and name differences that matter, even though they may not be recognized.
In this activity, individuals use a “T” chart to list the ways they are alike down one side and ways they are different down the other side. In the process, many differences and similarities that are not really important will be identified. What will happen, however, is that at some point, someone will make a statement that “hits a nerve” and the group’s energy will shift. A loud, raucous group will suddenly get very quiet; or a quiet, low energy group will suddenly escalate. This is generally a clue that a truth has been named in a way everyone can recognize.
Working to identify their similarities and differences opens options for action as it identifies potential points of leverage to amplify desirable patterns and/or damp patterns that are less productive.