A Cafe on Continuous Improvement

I’m grateful to have learned World Cafe many years ago from Juanita Brown, David Isaacs, Meg Wheatley, Toke Moeller, and Bob Stilger. These were people who were practicing simplicity of guided connection in form. I’m grateful to have continued to learn and practice with many others over the years. Again, connection with some shape — flow within some river banks.

Last week I co-hosted a simple cafe that was centered on continuous improvement. With a group of people that work in a rather complex operational context. We offered this focus and format with intent to cultivate improvement energy and commitment.

Something like this.

  • A little setup about this format for Cafe, moving tables, learning with the people in front of you, contributing and listening for insights, etc.
  • Round 1: When have you experienced contributing to or participating in an improvement? What do you think you need to stay in that mind and heart? (Yes, this is a lot to ask for a 20 minute round, but our point was to lift up the energy of improvement — not complete fixes.)
  • Popcorn harvest to hear a few snippets (not from everyone).
  • A little set up about the courage to “disrupt” and to “start”.
  • Rounds 2 and 3: Is there a “disrupt” and a “start” that you need to improve your leadership, in the name of continuous improvement?
  • Post-it Note harvest from each to the wall. Some slight groupings. Reflecting out loud as a group on what they see in the post-it’s shared.

Grateful for such simple format to bring such important learning forward — and of course, behind it all, to restore and reclaim formats for learning with heart and belly together.

One Reply to “A Cafe on Continuous Improvement”

  1. sooo … two things

    I love, love, love the way the tables are arranged a little bit slant. I assumed it was intentional. It feels like it. I love the “irregular.”

    I also find this notion of “improvement” to shimmer a bit for me. I’ve struggled with the idea of setting goals for accomplishing a thing. Might be a physical aspect of my being, or a decision to meditate. It’s so tricky for me because I very quickly get into “diet mode.” Do this, don’t do that. And the idea that I have to dedicate myself to getting better, doing better, just doesn’t work for me in the long run. I end up not caring well for myself in the process. Because I am pursuing an end goal for the purpose of “looking good,” or “being good.” In the eyes of the other.

    And … I’ve discovered there is also a tendency in me to push off the “getting started” part of something. “Sure, I WILL do that … (a little later, after I do this thing [that I like better or I think will distract me or comfort me].)”

    I guess at some level I have to fundamentally accept who I am in this moment, whether or not I improve. Whether or not I get started. Whether or not I choose to disrupt what is comfortable with what will most assuredly not be [comfortable]. Accept who I am with a loving embrace. Thoroughly be-loved by me.

    And, while coming into a group or team with the idea of continuous improvement and/or disrupting and starting is exactly right, I need to come into the group or team having done my work of be-loving myself as best I can.

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