The Basics: What I Do
It’s meeting design and facilitation. It’s strategic visioning. It’s participative leadership. It’s workshops to multi-day retreats. It’s coaching individuals and teams. Helping us be smarter together. More on The Basics.
The Subtle: Underneath The Basics
The subtle here is a reference to what is underneath. It is true to me that there are some basics. Maps. Methodologies. Models. These are very important. And, if I did not speak about the subtle, I would not be being totally honest. I often use the language of hosting. Or convening. Underneath that, what I believe we are really hosting and cultivating when working with groups is consciousness, wellness, wholeness, and resonance. More on The Subtle.
“Make sure that whatever processes you choose to use or create comes from a deliberate underlaying theory of change.” This was the advice offered to me from two important early mentors, Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner Rogers. It was a commentary on some of what we were seeing group facilitators do that sometimes felt confusing to participants. Since then, it has always felt important to me to connect facilitation to theory. Not so much extensive detail. But as root, or bedrock, to clarify criteria for choosing what to do and what not to do. Theory is the story that helps make sense of the past, and, discern what is useful now and into the future. I often speak of the three theory bases that inspire my work. 1) Living Systems — that organizations are living systems. 2) Self-Organization — that groups of people experience “order for free” when centered in clear values. 3) Emergence — that insight and change happens from what arises when a system encounters itself. More on Theory.
I have so enjoyed working with such a range of groups and systems over the last 25 years. From faith community councils to university-wide senior leadership. From labor unions to corporate leadership teams. From health care practitioners to school teachers. In contexts ranging from coaching explorations to meetings to retreats to large conference redesign. Client List.
I have made it policy to most often work in partnership. The work is so much more than mechanical check lists from the front of the room. I’ve worked with really fantastic people all of my life. People I trust. In the last few years, these include Quanita Roberson, with whom I co-created a 16-month cohort program, Fire & Water Leadership & Rite of Passage, QT Retreats, Circle Workshops, and a bunch of virtual and in-person client / community work. Amanda Fenton, with whom I continue to host retreats, intensives, online classes, and advanced practicums for The Circle Way. Chris Corrigan and Caitlin Frost, with whom I continue to host a university-wide participative leadership program. Roq Gareau, who remains one of the most thoughtful and insightful people that I know. Additional Colleagues List.
I’m grateful for kind words offered, appreciations from things very personal to institutional. A few of them are here.