The large multipurpose room in the community college was full – chairs clustered around tables, and it buzzed with the hum of about 100 people saying hello to each other. And, there was an electricity in the room that felt exciting, unpredictable, and somewhat volatile. I was midway through a series of open dialogue meetings
Insights From the Field
by Ten Directions
Today, I’d like to share some feedback on an interesting dilemma that’s come across my desk. As you read this, see if you can find in your own experience a moment when this might have been true for you. You might also engage in thinking about your immediate response and whether you’re “listening to fix
I needed a breakthrough. Two important group facilitation events loomed in my near future. While I felt excited about them, I also felt terrified. As a lifelong writer who is more comfortable in the writing cave and in one-to-one mentoring situations, the very thought of guiding a group of writers gave me a chill. This
For me, as a consultant on diversity and inclusion (D&I), “Diversity Work” is a radical call to embrace difference. It is a means of challenging our conditioned patterns, biased views, and unjust practices. Fundamentally, it is about liberating ourselves from old patterns in order to care more deeply for each other, and creating fairness in
Thanks to Google’s recent analysis of high performing teams, the popular press on leadership and innovation is abuzz with an interest in “psychological safety.” According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, psychological safety (her term) is present when members of a team or group believe that they will not be punished or humiliated for
Increase transparency. Share power. Create self-managing teams. Become a learning organization. If you’re an evolutionarily-minded leader and you want to embrace the future of work along these lines, how do you do it? Are all self-managing systems of governance more or less the same, or are some better suited for your existing culture? Is your
In my experience, any time we engage in a conversation about our differences with an intention to prove the other side wrong, we’re heading for a dead end. When we take a right-wrong stance to any conversation about difference — whether it’s about race or gender, politics or religion — it reveals that we’re more
If there were a word for our chapter in history, it might be “interconnected.” Organizations, teams, movements, individuals, economies, ecosystems. Is there any part of our lives untouched by accelerating connectivity? Our curiosity and imagination—aka, advance into novelty—is weaving us together. And as we get closer, we can’t avoid experiencing the uncomfortable and exciting paradox
As culture and society continue to evolve, our approach to collaboration must also evolve.
As a collaboration facilitator, the vast majority of the work I do is with software development teams, which are notoriously male dominated. In the last few years, the tech industry has become hungry for more women and is throwing a lot of money at “the problem.” Intel announced that it is investing $300M to attract
In my work as an Agile ”Scrum Master” and Team Coach, I’m often confronted with the problem of how to spice up routine technical meetings and create genuine engagement among team members. Although there are very good reasons why the Agile/Scrum framework encourages routine meetings, the “shadow” aspect of everyday meetings is an all-too-familiar experience
Every facilitator knows that conflict in groups can actually be a good thing. It’s often a healthy sign that a group has established enough basic trust to raise tensions. Skillfully navigated, conflict can build trust, strengthen relationships, and enhance the effectiveness of team functioning. Poorly navigated, conflict can be a real setback for group effectiveness.
I’ve always thought of myself as a no-drama type of guy, but when it comes to group facilitation, I think it’s actually the drama that lures me in. A while ago I saw a TED talk by Andrew Stanton (screenwriter best known for “Finding Nemo” and other Pixar hits), where he quoted playwright Richard Archer