The normalizing of my work away from moments of awakening as the root of success has meant that I have had to change my relationship to my work, I have had to change myself. This was really obvious to me recently when I ran a two day training for a long standing client.
About eight years ago this client had said to me “does it always have to be this emotional?”. It stuck with me. Seven years on I got to work with their core team again. It was fascinating. The almost evangelical way I had brought the work at the outset had meant that people had begun to build a dogma of right and wrong about how to do it. Change leadership, a practice that is built around adaptability to a constantly changing reality had become rigid and inflexible! It was quite simply, too sacred, too precious.
Coming up tomorrow. All this talk of how to get it done out there in the world is great but let's cut to the chase ... how is my own leadership (and who I am) changing as the work normalizes?
The three day trainings are an essential gateway into the work, they break new ground inside people and within the contexts we are working. I am about to do one next week with senior leaders across a major education system. It will set the tone for what I hope will be a long term intervention into building a more participatory culture of management and delivery of education for a huge number of young people, parents and educators.
But what happens when you have done a couple of trainings with key people, decision makers are onside and there are still thousands of people left in the organisation or system who need to get trained? Not necessarily trained to host conversations but educated in the world view and practices so they participate fully and feel ownership of the direction. Endless three day trainings cost too much money and take too much time.
About 5 years ago I was helping lead an Art of Hosting training and after doing a teaching, one of the participants came up to me and said something along the lines of:
“You know learning this with you is like I am down the pub talking with a mate.”
Unwittingly this participant had named the next stage of my work. I am seeking the ways in which the methods, models and mindset of participation can fully integrate into mainstream thinking and practice … just become normal. If you want to read more about this journey check out my blog on "let go of the shore and enter the mainstream".
I am finding the mainstreaming of my work requires a normalization of everything that I do. It is like the whole field of my work has relaxed, become less dramatic and infinitely more approachable and applicable. This is to do with a re-working of language, a re-design of how I deliver the work, and most fundamentally, a shift in my inner relationship to what I do for a living. Some of the recurring questions that I am encountering in my change leadership are:
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