Nested tensions

Penny Walker describes the challenge of holding space for collaboration. I like her description of the “nested tensions” where hierarchy meets volunteerism:

There is pressure – from managers who don’t quite get it – to have clear timetables and plans, for action to be delivered. But while you can call on hierarchy and processes to get the job done within your own organisation, you can’t tell collaborators what to do. And collaboration relies on genuinely compelling outcomes which are shared by more than one party. You can’t magic those out of the air.

In our work lately, Viv and I have been paying a lot of attention to the practice of persisting with work when there is impatience and the urge to try prods and pokes to ‘make’ stuff happen. There’s a challenge to hold creative tension.

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