Articles & Newsletters

Articles & Newsletters

A Few Things About Asking Questions in Circle (September 2023): It’s a way that I’ve been teaching about Circle Questions for a while. Decided to write up a little set of reminders. Also published in The Circle Way, February 2024.

In Troubled Times of the Heart (March 2023,, p 4): The theme of this Sage-ing Issue was “gratitude.” I combined some lessons learned about heart metabolized learning (the tough stuff) with appreciation.

Prosed to Artful Expression (June 2022,, p 36): The invitation to was to write about practice. In the most simple way that I could, I did. I did the practice. Grateful for the Sage-ing people to invite such expression.

Forward — Dr. Rita Sinorita Fierro’s book, Digging Up The Seeds of White Supremacy (June 2022 — I admire Rita’s ability to share data, pattern, questions, stories, and heart. This book is comprehensive. I wrote forward at Dr. Rita’s invitation to offer learning and context. I’m glad for her work in the world.

No Time Like the Now (March 2022,, p 26): A reflection on the compelling attraction of the now, this moment. And a couple of poems to share some of that feeling.

Aging With Awareness (December 2021,, p 30): A collection of four poems that I wrote to bring some attention to joy, being seen, integrating, and being curious about the path home.

Reset: Gaining Clarity in a Time of Conflict (November 2021, In working with groups in conflict, there is some skill needed in the questions we ask of each other, and the process we use to reset a healthy path together.

Five Key Clarifications for Circle (October 2020, Another piece shared through It’s a concise version of the What, How, Where, Why, and When of Circle.

An Orientation to Circle Check-In (October 2020, I loved sharing experience with this simple step of Check-In. I often think of Check-In as low hanging fruit of participative leadership. Easy to reach and impactful. In this article I point to how Check-In reaquaints an ecosystem with itself. And to the medicine available in Check-In. And to the crucial skill of being able to pivot from Check-In to what is next.

The Art of Hosting and Harvesting: Conversations That Matter (October 2020, The Collaborative Change Library). I wrote this quite a while ago with Chris Corrigan. It shares a few things about The Art of Hosting, it’s origin, and a few key principles and approaches. Also available here as PDF.

Beyond The Spreadsheet Brain: How To Invoke Participants Brains, Hearts, and Bellies (June 2020, an excerpt from a 2019 podcast of the same name). I find Myriam Hadnes to be a wonderfully creative person. The full collection compiled by Myriam is available here for purchase — it’s a rather good cheat sheet to a collection of several podcasts.

Five Tips for Creating Powerful Presence in Circle (May 2020): Because what many of us are learning the nuanced art of invitation.

Five Tips for Rehumanizing Meeting Structure and Process (April 2020): To “re-humanize” is a significant shift in paradigm. I offer a few tips — orientations and invitations —that I’ve found helpful to cultivate this re-humaning.

S.C.O.P.E. (2020, with Quanita Roberson). This grew from some preparation with a design team. It was fun, and helpful, to create an alternative to SWOT.

Why Men Need Ceremony (2019, with Megan Sheldon on Megan invited me to think about ceremony. One aspect of that that has been important is ceremony for men’s mental health and well being. I was glad for her turning our conversation to a page of some words / insights.

Is The Circle Way For Men — A Call for an Emerging Masculine (2019, The Circle Way Newsletter). This is an update from a similar piece I wrote in 2016. To me, the call is for another kind of wisdom, for all of us, but I’m reaching to the men in particular on this one.

Courage To Be Communal  (2018 — Originally posted May 2017 in Human to Human). I continue to learn and be reminded that even though community is an instinct, in contemporary times, it takes courage to commit to it.

12 Principles for Healthy Community Change  (2018, with Kathleen Masters, adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal). These are principles that I often use to help strengthen capacity in teams. I love them for the clarity of purpose that they help to create.

Breadcrumbs to Stone Altars (2018, Afterword in the book, Soulful Fellowship, by Roq Gareau and Dave Waugh). I loved being a part of this book, and supporting this aspect of thoughtful men in meaning and purpose. Get the book. Read it all.

Five Tips I Remember When Hosting and Participating in Online Circles (2017, The Circle Way). People ask me all of the time about how to experience depth in online circles. Here’s a few things that I remember.

Be An Expert — At Inviting Expertise (2017). I’d been thinking a bunch about the difference between offering stuff (filling others) and the expertise of convening (inviting expertise from the group). Plus it’s got a bit of one of my favorite teachings from The Art of Hosting in it.

The Pastor is the Church’s Principal Convener (2017, by Rev. Cameron Barr). I like Cameron’s description of the work we did together over three in-person gatherings. I was invited to a strategic planning process, which we evolved deliberately to participate format that I’m glad to hear continues.

What Are The Most Important Planning Questions For My Team? — Chaordic Stepping Stones (2017, With Kathleen Masters and Adapted from Chris Corrigan). This is an updated of this planning tool that invites “enough order to be coherent, yet enough chaos to deserve the name of life.” It is a tool that I use all of the time.

Men in Circle (2017). The article features some of my experience at Soultime, a semi annual men’s retreat that I value immensely. It also feature’s a few wise words from my 11 year-old son. It’s another kind of call for men to be wise together.

From Weird to Wyrd: Shifting Meeting and Societal Culture Through The Circle Way (2016). I wrote this for the blog that Amanda Fenton and I write in support of our trainings of The Circle Way. It is a commentary on having the courage to remember good formats for listening and meeting together.

The Magical Wilderness Between People Together (2016, written by Kinde Nebeker) This is a nice weaving from Kinde of her rites of passage work, her graphic design work, and the evolutionary leadership work that she and I are continuing to build and invite others to.

A Commitment to Emergence: The Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership (2016, with Kinde Nebeker) Emergence is at the heart of a paradigm level perceptual shift to be able to see human systems. It takes commitment to un-see the parts and re-see the whole.

Emergence and The Circle Way (2016) I enjoyed writing this to clarify some of what is underneath the choice to use The Circle Way as a means of listening together. Emergence is a bit part of that — discovering what can only be discovered together.

Is The Circle Way for Men — A Call For An Emerging Masculine (2016) I just want to welcome more men to the practice of Circle. I wrote this to deliberately encourage men to participate with some bridges that connect feminine to masculine. “The Circle Way is a methodology and way of being that is bedrock to the kind of leadership so often needed in these times and in today’s organizations.”

Listening Matters: Circle Helps on Four Levels (2016) Circle is what I turn to most often. If not directly as formal methodology, as needed awareness embedded in all forms of engagement. “I will continue to assert that there is always more unseen than is seen. There is more unheard than is heard. In offices. In organizations. In communities. In families. It’s not a criticism of those forms. It just a reality that sets the imperative for us to be perpetually curious.”

Participatory Leadership Journal — Church and Community Ministries, United Methodist Church: (2015, with Kathleen Masters). This was a significant effort with Kathleen and many others that are salt of the earth people from four groups: Church and Community Ministries, Global Ministries, Projects, and Conference Partners. It is one part methods and models of participative leadership, particularly applied through a faith community lens. It is another part story, three years worth of stewarding and culture making. It is another part tips and guidelines to improve practice. Contact tenneson@tennesonwoolf for PDF or printed copies.

Leadership at 50: Three Questions for Recovering Tenacious Leaders: (2015, with Glen Lauder). Glen is a good friend and colleague in New Zealand. Our ongoing dialogue continues to inspire me in many ways.

People Everywhere, In These Times: (2015, The Berkana Institute). I enjoyed writing this to accompany Berkana’s new initiative, “Gathering Friends.”

The Power of a Good Question: Organizations Are Shaped by the Questions They Ask:  (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)

Presence as Core Competency: Participative Leadership as Spiritual Practice (2015, Open Door, p. 14-15) One thing that I loved about writing this with Rev. Charles LaFond, Canon at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO, is the ongoing exploration we are having about participative leadership as spiritual practice.

Cynefin: A Framework for Understanding Complexity and its Neighbors (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)

The World Cafe: Meetings That Are More Like Kitchen Conversations (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)

The Art of Hosting — Four Layers of Purpose (2015). I’m the kind of person that needs clarity of purpose to hold complexity of offering. This is one version of this for The Art of Hosting.

On Trauma and Collective Healing (2014, This topic continues to intrigue and puzzle me. I’m grateful to friends Judy Wallace, Ria Baeck, Beth Tener, and Katie Boone for convening dialogues about it.

Commentary — Transition Movements and The Art of Hosting (2014, Reflections, The Society for Organizational Learning Journal, Volume 14, Number 1) I loved writing this with Jeff Aitken, sharing our experience with Art of Hosting trainings for Transition leaders.

Adult Passage — Three Practices for Any of Us Finding Our Way (2013,
I wrote this on return from a Dad-Daughter trip, thinking much about my daughter growing into an adult, thinking about passages.

Collaborative Leadership (2012, Rural Connections)
An article posted by the Rural Ontario Institute in preparation for the 2012 Leadership Summit that I helped to design and host.

Reflective Learning on Participative Leadership: Principles, Practices, and Questions from a Place-Based Community of Practice (2011, Blog Post) Some learnings from starting and convening a local community of practitioners in Utah, 18 months into what would become a 3 year focus. Some history on how we got started that others have asked me about.

Art of Hosting Story — Following the Life Energy (2010, With Cathy Remus, Chris Corrigan; For Peggy Holman’s Book, Engaging Emergence) Some of the story of working with CUPE and how that work emerged from our focus together.

Guidelines for Calling an Art of Hosting (2010 A few simple steps and rough timelines for people considering calling an Art of Hosting event.

What is the Art of Hosting (2010, with Chris Corrigan, Toke Moeller, Teresa Posakony, and Peggy Holman
Created for Peggy Holman’s book, Engaging Emergence.

Knowns of Working in the Art of Hosting Pattern (2009, Blog Post)
As Art of Hosting trainings were beginning to be offered by more people, this was an important naming of what was happening across events.

Art of Hosting — A Glimpse of the Whole (2009, Blog Post)
Four phases of design that I’ve used in many Art of Hosting trainings.

Ten Principles for Practicing Conversational Leadership (2009, Blog Post)
This was from my first trip to New Zealand and an Art of Hosting event for just over 100 people. It turned into this list.

Tag, We’re It: Observations and Outcomes of Working as Community (2009, with Teresa Posakony; — Teresa and I wrote this after working with the International Disciples Women’s Ministries Bi-annual Cabinet Meeting. It includes a list of five principles for working with communities.


Quarterly One-Page Newsletters (With links to Learn / Attend, Read, Listen / Watch)