Insights From the Field

by Ten Directions

Insights, essays, perspectives, and lessons learned while working in the field of facilitative leadership. Authors include our staff, as well as guest contributors.

Featured Articles

blog
Rebecca Colwell

Facilitator’s Dilemma: Owning our mistakes

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

blog
Alana Felt

Innovation, Freefall and Not-Knowing

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is, there’s no ground.” ~Chögyam Trungpa A friend shared his definition of innovation with me the other day. Innovation, he said, means we are going somewhere new and when we innovate, we never know how we

All Articles

agility
Amy Pasquale

Leveraging Our Past

  “Let’s have a working lunch so we can make sure to get through all the content.”   When a client says something like that to me, I experience contraction and agitation. Why? Because this frame places a premium on the “content” (or the “it”). I am now simply a “content” dispenser and the groups I’m

authentic leadership
Lauren Tenney

Want to Change? Go Further Upstream

Recently I was hired to work with an intact team whose presenting issue was poor communication, with associated breakdowns in collaboration and decision-making. They knew they “needed to communicate better,” and by all accounts, they were absolutely right.

Courage
Nina Jensen

Feedback Fuels Our Growth

Twenty years ago, I made my debut as an organizational psychologist.  Perhaps influenced by academics and my former life as an accountant, my envisioned ideal was a neutral, even stoic, helping professional.   But I failed spectacularly; I have always had preferences and get very passionate around values, ethics and methods in organizations and leadership. I’m

adaptive leadership
Lauren Tenney

Next Stage for Self-Management: Skilled Facilitator Training

A big ah-ha from the field: Successful self-management depends on this. Many teams and organizations, especially in the last few years since the rise of Holacracy and the popularity of Reinventing Organizations, are transitioning to self-management—or at least sniffing around the possibility.

agility
Edith Friesen

Free To Go Off Script

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

culture
Gabriel Wilson

Liberation and Fairness are in the Here and Now

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

culture
Gabriel Wilson & Lauren Tenney

Your challenge isn’t high performance, it’s culture design

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

Complexity
Lauren Tenney

We’ve Flattened the Hierarchy—Now What?

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

availability
Gabriel Wilson

Letting Our Differences Have Their Way With Us

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

culture
Lauren Tenney

How to Leverage Creative Tension for Good

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

Fuel inner growth. Drive outer impact.

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