Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beyond debate and dialogue there is ...

“I know where we are called to go, but I am afraid to go.” I recently facilitated a board retreat where a board member acknowledged that the best path forward for the organization was clear, but that he was afraid of the financial and personal risks that would be involved. As he said this with vulnerability, the group was able to sink down to another level of conversation and interaction, where we weren’t just exchanging opinions but noticing what was moving through the group, and allowing that movement to slowly melt away obstacles.

The approach to leadership and change that I find most useful in my work is called Presencing or Theory U, a framework developed by Otto Scharmer. In the language of Presencing, the board of directors I described moved down the levels of conversation in the chart to the right, so the group's highest potential could move through them. Presencing is set of principles and practices for collectively creating the future that wants to emerge. I’m eager to connect with people who resonate with this approach, in my consulting work and in my learning. Below are two events related to Presencing that I’m involved with that I invite you to participate in.

Global Presencing Forum - Minnesota: Practices for Transforming Institutions, Society and Self
A group of us in Minnesota are organizing a one day conference on October 24th in Minneapolis/St. Paul. We'll have live streaming video of plenary sessions from the Global Presencing Forum, and have our own breakout activities, conversations, and panel. Our goal is to strengthen the Minnesota hub of people practicing awareness-based methods for pioneering a more sustainable and inclusive society. If you'd like to join us, please pencil the date in your calendar and sign up below to receive details as they develop.

Leading from the Future That Is Emerging, June 14
On June 14, David Fey and I are presenting a break-out session on Presencing at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit's Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. We will provide an interactive introduction to Presencing and its connections to nonprofit leadership.

Presencing is one of many approaches to opening up to deep listening and innovation.What is most helpful for you in connecting to what is seeking to emerge in your life and work? I invite your input, challenges, and questions.