esterday I received a note from one of my clients. In it she said: “Thank you for helping to remind me that the people I work with are human beings.”She went on to say how our work together helped her engage with one of her co-workers more fully. Because of this, they were able to resolve an ongoing conflict. Once she saw that her colleague was a whole human being and not just a limited version of a “worker” who didn’t want to comply, she found new ways to speak with him and understand his point of view, and — almost magically — from that moment new pathways for collaboration appeared. What’s more, they began to work together really productively and develop an appreciation for their differences.Read More
In October I had the opportunity to give a talk at conference organized by the COS Collective on the subject of Wise Action and Uncertainty. During a stormy week in October we explored how people from different sectors of society both personally and professionally can address the question "What do you do when you doing know what to do?"
The question triggered me to think deeply about this question, not only what do I do, but what is it that has helped me to find the deeper wisdom hidden in those moments where it seems that there is no clarity on what to do, or even on what may be happening.
What I have realized is that in these moments the best support, the best action to take is to let go of wanting to "know what to do" and focus and rely on the CONDUCT that the method I use prescribe, to live fully the behavior, values, protocols and structures that form the foundation upon which "knowing" can be built.
I'm very grateful to have taken part in the conference and all the deeper insight the experience gave me: Set aside the illusion that you can ever "know" anything on an analytical level when you are engulfed in a moment uncertainty and radical change and let the knowing come out of what you do and the way you do it.
Years ago I moved to the Netherlands to work in a Dutch professional University. I was surprised that many students had real difficulty with even the basics of writing academic papers. In talking to my colleagues, I found out that were very frustrated about this. Their explanation for it was that it the students weren’t intellectually curious.
Being new, I asked what sorts of support they had for learning academic writing at the school. Did teachers offer guidelines to help students understand what they wanted? Did they give them any kinds of explicit help? It turned out that the answer to these questions was consistently no.Read More
Have you ever noticed that when when you’re not feeling well nothing goes right? Maybe it’s physical, a flu or dealing with the flair up of a chronic condition. Maybe it’s emotional, you had a disagreement with a friend and it is wearing on you. In these moments almost everything is just one thing too much? Even needing to make an extra phone call or taking an extra trip to the store can be complicated.
When you feel healthy and happy these same ‘problems’ can even be fun challenges, not to mention how much better able you are to deal with the big stuff that comes your way. Let’s face it, when you are healthy, in body, mind, spirit and emotions, life is easier and you’re better able to deal with whatever life brings you. Given this knowledge it only makes sense that we invest our time and energy in our own health.
So what would happen if we applied this same idea to organisations?Read More
In 2009 I was at a Summer Leadership Intensive from the Genuine Contact™ Program. The facilitator, Birgitt Williams, invited the group to reflect on this question: “How much structure do you (personally) need in order to feel free?” I have carried this question with me ever since. It informs my work facilitating emergent, participative and co-creative organisational development.
At that time, we were staying at conference centre near a lake deep in the German countryside. Along with the human participants, many animals seemed to also be “participating” in the learning. This particular day, Birgitt had seen a slug on the path. She mentioned that when se saw it — totally unprotected, it’s soft flesh fully exposed — making its way across to the grass she wondered if that sort of open structure would be comfortable enough for her to go out and explore the world. Would she feel free or would it paralyse her.Read More
All around there is a powerful message that we need to change — change our consumer habits, change the way we work, change how we eat, how we organize, CHANGE. Combined with this CHANGE is that we need to do so NOW. There is a powerful credo that change and innovation is key to our organisations, our lives, our planet.
As a consultant and facilitator working with social innovation and dedicating my life to transformation, I can’t say that I disagree with this desire to see organizations, people, and our earth be healthy and balanced. I also long for a more peaceful, sustainable world operating in harmony both among people and with the rest of nature. It’s not only the way I earn my living, it’s something that arises from a deep sense of passion within me.
And yet….bombarded with all of these messages every day, I notice that something disturbs me. Increasingly I feel the shrill tone that whispers of desperation and judgement, that we are somehow ourselves insufficient, that we are not enough.Read More