Making it as easy as possible to lead change
That is no small ask! I want to remove all obstructions and distractions from that core activity. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to enter that realm of my work because it is so critical. That has meant I have had to let go of some of the things I held most sacred and develop new ways of working that fit better the context I am in. I do not want to give people an excuse to dismiss it - it just feels too important to me. I cannot be precious about it.
What can I let go of to allow for greater connection among people? What are the props I am attached to that no longer serve the work? What language alienates rather than invites people into conversation and action together?
Drop the props
I very rarely introduce the methods now unless we are in a training context. For world cafe I just say we are working in small groups because that is better for conversation, everyone gets heard over a 20 minute round. Then I intro the process and questions with some simply articulated principles. I find myself stripping away all the trappings right down to the bare essentials. Using a talking piece, for example, can be more of a distraction for people than a contribution. I simply speak three or four principles for how to be together and we move around the circle or table to hear everyone's perspective before the meeting starts and to close the meeting. The magic still happens, the depth is still there ... in fact it is easier to get to because there is less in the way.
The ambiguous language barrier
I have spent a lot of time putting together a model and a way of talking about my work that reflected how I wanted to talk about things and hopefully it is more accessible. The feedback has been good. I rarely talk about myself as an Art of Hosting practitioner these days but ground myself in my own brand and language. I always acknowledge the lineage of my work but feel what I am offering these days is distinct in its articulation and delivery. There is such a broad range of practitioners locally and globally that I need to be able to present myself clearly or I end up in the wash with people and practices that run contrary to my brand and the work I am currently involved in. More on the branding next time ...
Whatever it takes to be connected and present
What are you letting go of to do good work? What are the things that are non-negotiable for you? How can we make access to the essence of participatory change as easy as possible?