Viv has been blogging up a storm this week, in anticipation of the workshop we’re running at the end of August.
Staying alive: Too much time in meetings gets spent in trances, cycling through the safe and familiar. If you are supposed to offering some kind of leadership, you have to be alive to the possibility of doing something new, and brave. We can all recite the mantra about risk-taking, but how can we get better at doing it? At their very best, groups of people are able to share the risks together, so that we go into the unknown with some companionship. Being alive in this way is probably the greatest act of creativity – the willingness to leap, not the elegance of the landing. I explore this more in this post about Otto Rank.
Bolder conversations: It’s pretty clear that the most effective groups are able to have more challenging conversations. We think that isn’t particularly supported by agreeing ground rules (we’re not like a lot of facilitators on this point). It comes – again – from participants taking risks and making themselves vulnerable, rather than telling others to. I wrote more about this here.
Connecting more deeply: When groups get out of trances and adventure together, they can feel a very different sense of connection. Something much more visceral and satisfying than conventional wisdom about alignment. They find that they are willing to go on together without needing everyone to agree politely – something more exciting and alive than the dull conformity so many organisations settle for.
Engaging the resistance: So often we treat discomfort and frustration as a problem to be resolved, something negative to be removed or destroyed. If we slow down enough, we start to find that there is a lot of energy in what we too easily label “resistance”. Part of the art of facilitation is not getting into unnecessary fights but also knowing when to slow down and really engage with those who don’t readily go along with the superficial consensus.
We’ll be playing with ideas like this at our residential workshop at the end of August. It’s going to be a rich mix of activities, reflections and sharing together. With an amazing venue too. It’s August 31 to September 2nd in Cambridge.