Kategoriarkiv: Inspiration

The art of convening

The Art of Convening by Craig and Partricia Neal is a book on how to enable authentic engagement in meetings, gatherings, and conversations. Authentic engagement is defined as a genuine expression of what is true for us, and an attentive listening to what is true for others. When we are authentically engaged, we feel connected and energized, which leads to better outcomes, the possibility for something new to emerge, and true commitment from those who participate.

Convening is to move beyond facilitation. The authors make the following distinction between facilitation and convening:

  • Facilitation is the process of making something easy or easier.
  • Convening is the art of gathering and ”holding” people, in a safe and generative space, for the sake of authentic engagement each time we invite people together.

The book takes you through the following convening aspects, exploring each in detail:

  • At the Heart of the Matter. Who I am in relationship with others?
  • Clarifying Intent. What is the intention and purpose of our engagement?
  • The Invitation. Is the offering to engage sincere?
  • Setting Context. Is the form, function, and purpose of our engagement and intent communicated?
  • Creating the Container. Is there a physical and energetic field within which we can meet?
  • Hearing All the Voices. Is each person heard, present and accounted for?
  • Essential Conversation. Is there a meaningful exchange in an atmosphere of trust?
  • Creation. Is it possible for the new to emerge from our engagements of shared purpose and trust?
  • Commitment to Action. Is there an agreement to be responsible and accountable for the way forward?

The art of convening isn’t rigid or static any more than are our relationships. Rather than being limited to a sequential progression of steps, it is a journey where we can correct our course at any time along the path.

It’s a graceful book.

Leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela

Steve Tappin contemplates and celebrates Nelson Mandela’s legend by listing seven profound leadership lessons that we can learn from him:

  1. Master your meaning and your emotions
  2. Treat the losers with dignity and turn them into partners
  3. Shift perspectives through symbolism and shared experiences
  4. Embody the spirit of Ubuntu
  5. Everybody feels bigger in your presence
  6. Build a sustainable fellowship around your cause
  7. Bottle the dream for future generations

Principles for our journey from self to Self, from we to We

As human beings, we are on an open-ended life journey full of breakdowns and breakthroughs. It’s a journey that is about becoming who we really are. This journey requires us to move although we cannot fully see. It takes courage to leap into the unknown.

Here is a summary of twelve principles and practices that can help help us in our individual journey ”from self to Self, from me to We”. They are from the book Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, pp. 169—172:

  1. Practice, don’t preach. Start by listening. Listen to others, to yourself, and to the whole. Listen to what life calls you to do.
  2. Observe, observe, observe. Let the ”data” talk to you—through your open mind, heart, and will. The impact of this deep observation is profound.
  3. Connect to your intention as an instrument. The more you can connect to what is essential for you, and clarify what you want to be in service of, the better you can act to bring the future into being.
  4. When the crack opens up, stay with it—connect and act from the now. When opportunity presents itself, act from what wants to emerge. Say yes, then do it, before asking whether it’s possible.
  5. Follow your heart—do what you love, love what you do. It’s the only reliable way to connect to your way, your emerging future path. Otherwise you are in danger of living someone else’s life.
  6. Always be in dialogue with the universe. The larger context that surrounds you always provides useful feedback. Listen and evolve your idea based on the feedback.
  7. Create a holding space of deep listening that supports your journey. The most important leadership tool is your Self. Filter out all the noise and focus on what’s essential for you. Do it every day.
  8. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Practice and adapt what’s emerging. Explore the new by doing.
  9. Notice the crack to the field of the future. All change takes place in a context. Explore the edges of the system and the self at these edges. Sense the emerging future.
  10. Use different language with different stakeholders. Be multilingual. Single-focus approaches are almost certain to fail. Involve all who are needed.
  11. If you want to change others, you need to be open to changing yourself first. Build and strengthen your relationship with others. Be open to change yourself first.
  12. Never give up. Never give up. You are not alone. Always learn from failure. Getting discouraged by failed efforts is a waste of energy. Don’t get trapped in judgment, cynicism, and fear.  Courage connects you with who you really are. Go to the edge and leap into the unknown. You are not alone.

Book Review: Mind and Heart

411RwcAL1fL._SL110_OU02_SS80_Mind and Heart – Mapping Your Personal Journey Towards Leadership For Sustainability by Petra Kuenkel is a book which shows how we can use our life and leadership experiences to make more meaningful contributions to the world. Petra invites us to review our own leadership journeys in the light of other people’s experiences. She offers stories, thoughts and insights of fellow travelers which are truly inspiring. A central concept is what Petra calls our “initial deeper intention”. This deeper intention is often ignored by ourselves and the world. Reconnecting with our deeper intention will not only free us to become more authentic, it will also open the way to more responsible and responsive leadership. The personal leadership journey is about discovering these deeper themes in our lives and respond to what needs doing in the world.

Here is a short summary of the book:

  • Chapter 1: Unfoldment
    Reconnecting with our initial deeper intention is not about acquiring skills. It is about integrating our deepest values into our own leadership journey.
  • Chapter 2: Participation
    Leading is a dance with life. At the core of life-enhancing leadership lies a respect for our fellow human beings. An essential part in redefining our leadership is finding and expressing our real voice.
  • Chapter 3: Coherence
    Life is about change. Resonance happens when we reconnect with our core. Inquiry and reflection helps us integrate experiences into our shifting identity. How we integrate feelings of failure and powerlessness is particularly important.
  • Chapter 4: Awareness
    Awareness helps us match our actions with our deeper intentions. Our self becomes less important as we become more whole. It is particularly helpful to acknowledge our fears.
  • Chapter 5: Contribution
    We participate in the unfolding of evolution regardless of whether we choose to contribute or not. Our contribution requires resilience and grows when we support each other. We will always find encouragement if we listen carefully. Over time our ability to act appropriately will grow.
  • Chapter 6: Sustainability
    Sustainability requires the ability to do what needs doing and the flexibility to take on leadership as required. Only together can we find the most suitable path. The voice of our heart is important. The future emerges in the encounter between people.

Petra asks a number of reflective questions throughout the book. Her advice is not to immediately answer the questions, but to live them. Gradually we will become able to listen to the underlying tune which is constantly playing in our lives and yet which is so difficult to hear. The core of our leadership is to lead from our heart and our deeper intention.

This book will be a companion in my own leadership journey. I will return to it again and again.

Related post:
Book Review: The Art of Leading Collectively

Democracy & Freedom in Organizations

In Nicholas Beechcroft’s exploration of the Future of Western Civilization he interviews Traci Fenton on organizational democracy and freedom. Traci explains the ten key principles of organizational democracy, and how a democratic workplace leads to improved engagement, meaning, creativity, productivity, health, and profit. She describes where it works and where it doesn’t, and gives some examples of how to turn democratic principles into concrete practices from companies and organizations in US, UK and India.

Tillfredsställande arbetsplatser

Wise Group (Ingenjörskarriär 2013-02-13) har låtit cirka 5000 personer svara på frågor om vad som krävs för att en arbetsplats ska upplevas som attraktiv och tillfredställande. Undersökningen pekar på följande punkter, i prioritetsordning:

  1. Att kunna utvecklas i jobbet.
  2. Att vara stolt över sitt företag/sin organisation.
  3. Att vara nöjd med sin egen arbetsinsats.
  4. Att ha ett meningsfullt jobb.
  5. Att ha kul på jobbet.

Wise Group konstaterar att storleken på lönen är nästintill oviktig så länge som den upplevs rättvis.

Wholehearted living

Brené Brown has defined 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living. These guidesposts are to cultivate:

  1. Authenticity: Letting go of what people think
  2. Self-Compassion: Letting go of perfectionism
  3. A Resilient Spirit: Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Gratitude and Joy: Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Creativity: Letting go of comparison
  7. Play and Rest: Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Calm and Stillness: Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Meaningful Work: Letting go of self-doubt and ”supposed to”
  10. Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting go of being cool and ”always in control”

Interesting blogs

Here’s a list of some of my favorite blogs:

To be continued…