Love & leadership

LOVE& leadership

 Shutting up, really listening and staying curious are, to me, the hardest work-out for wisdom I have ever known. And quite possibly one that requires more than a lifetime to fully master

Unfortunately,I did not attend the first start-up meeting in Slovenia. Therefore, I have to share with you that this is not how I normally work, so here, in hindsight, I should have met you before, in order to have an experienced understanding of where you are in the EU the RECET project.

Every once in a while it happens that I have to take chances and run a huge risk, and that’s what happened at Samsø, more precisely the Energy Academy at at the 6.3 to 7.3.Denmark

Thank you for all of you having the courage to work with change not for the Energy Academy but for you and your local areas.

It is not easy, but quite difficult

I was also more than a little embarrassed. I had been a master at solution-finding and advice-giving. I took pride in what I knew and was eager to contribute that knowledge any time someone asked for it. And more than a few times when they didn’t.

My biggest gain from years of coach training, exams and certifications and tons of uncomfortable feedback has been unlearning my addiction to giving advice. Over time, and with lots of trial and error, I’ve started to pay closer attention to the mysterious process by which people struggle with a challenge, problem or dilemma and noticed that not all paths to a resolution are made equal. Some paths are more conducive to growth than others.And sometimes, in our desire to help, we end up taking away others’ power, robbing them of a precious learning experience and, paradoxically, robbing ourselves of the gift of learning something new – as nothing new is ever learnt when we simply playback to others what we already know.
So how exactly does offering advice steal someone’s learning? And how does it hinder their vertical development?

Vertical development describes a very specific aspect of human growth. It is not WHAT you know, but HOW you know. It occurs when your current worldviews, beliefs, assumptions, and ways of being in the world do not make sense any more.
When the context changes, when life doesn’t go our way, when massive change comes about that forces us to change in turn – that is when people are confronted with disorienting dilemmas. There is a gap between who they are and who they need to be. Or a big shift in identity. Or a crossroad of some sort where they are facing what seems like an impossible decision.
We seek advice as a way to alleviate our edge emotions, to get ourselves back on safe ground again, to a place where the world makes sense once more. But the funny thing is, in seeking to be rid of these emotions, we start to step away from the edge of growth itself.




“Why grief has always been communal and has always been connected to the sacred. . . . ritual is the means whereby we can work the ground of grief, allowing it to move, shift, and, ultimately, take a new shape in the soul.” ~ Francis Weller

The circle commitment to relationship building before discussion of the core issue is a very important part of the circle process.
Circles deliberately delay the dialog about the contentious issues until the group has done some work on relationship building. An introduction round with a question inviting people to share something about themselves, the creation of circle values and guidelines, and a storytelling round on a topic tangentially related to the key issue precede the discussion of the difficult issues that are the focus of the circle.

These parts of the circle generate a deeper awareness within the circle of how their human journeys have generated similar experiences, expectations, fears, dreams and hopes. These opening parts of the circle also present participants to one another in unexpected ways, gently challenging assumptions they may have made about one another. Creating guidelines together provides an opportunity for the group to experience finding common ground in spite of serious differences.
A circle intentionally does not “get right to the issues.” Taking time to create a sense of shared space and connection in the group increases the level of emotional safety which allows deeper truth telling.
It also promotes awareness of the humanity of all participants.



When we want to harness the power of a group – especially a diverse one with many interests and skills – to meet a present challenge,

Open Space Technology is the method I choose.
Whenever we need the contribution and innovative genius of everyone – because a competitor has just entered the market, or we need to drastically overhaul our operations, or there is a crisis at the manufacturing plant, or we want to break down the silos within the business, or our community needs to create a strategic plan for its future.
Convened around a core calling question, the group is made aware of any givens – budget, leadership, etc. – and then the space is opened for anyone to pose a session topic. Over the course of the meeting, people are free to choose which session(s) they most want to attend, bringing maximum enthusiasm and commitment for conversation and action. Personal buy-in and committed action can be achieved in a remarkably short time.
With the preamble out of the way, it is time to get on with the event. What follows is a walk though of the format we have used. But please do not treat it as an unchangeable script.

The needs of your group and your own style will ultimately determine the best way.

If this is a “first time” for you as a leader, we strongly suggest that you take a practice run through. Start by becoming completely familiar with the walk though material provided below.

Imagine that you are actually leading a group, and read through the script.

Do this until you don’t need the script, and then go one step further.

Forget the script’s words and use your own. At that point, you are probably ready for a real group, but don’t make your first effort “the critical one.” Find some friends and colleagues who are willing guinea pigs.

They should have fun, and so should you. As a matter of fact, having fun is the key indicator that you are ready to take on a group for real. If it isn’t fun, don’t do it. Maybe you should never do it, or maybe you just need more practice. But HAVE FUN.

As there are individuals who should not lead in Open Space, there are also situations in which Open Space Technology is not appropriate, and in fact may be counter-productive. Open Space Technology is effective when real learning, innovation, and departure from the norm are required. When you aren’t quite sure

where you are, and less than clear about where you are headed, and require the best thinking and support from all those who wish to be involved, Open Space Technology will provide the means.

On the other hand, if the present state, and future position are crystal clear, along with all the intervening steps, Open Space Technology is not only a waste of time, it will be very frustrating. Using a very mundane example, if the task at hand is the implementation of a known technology, such as a word processing program, or an established office procedure, inviting people to be creative and inventive is quite beside the point. They simply have to learn the skills and methods required.

There is no mystery. Just do it. Assume that your group is now assembled in a circle, with a large blank wall behind them. You walk into the center and begin:

“Our theme for this gathering is _________. In the next __days, we are going to develop our best thoughts around the issues and opportunities associated with our theme.

As we start, I want you to notice the blank wall. That is our agenda. Just out of curiosity, how many times have you ever been to a meeting where the agenda was a completely blank wall?

If you are wondering how you ever got into all this, or even more, how you will ever get out, you should know that while Open Space Technology is a new approach, it is not untried. Groups all over the world, some as large as 400, regularly create their own agendas for multi-day meetings in less than one hour.

They then proceed to self-manage the whole affair. While this is not a contest, there is no reason for you to do less well than those who have gone before you.”

It is worthwhile to pause a moment here. Let them look at the blank wall and really understand that there is no agenda except as they make it. Some people will beginning to feel rather nervous, and others will be demonstrably so, but nervousness (anxiety) at this point is a plus, for it represents available energy or spirit just waiting to happen. The art is to wait long enough for it to build, but not so long that people will question what they are doing, or worse yet begin a discussion about the whole process. If that sort of discussion begins, you will have lost the moment. So pause for a moment, and then move on.

“To get `from here to there’ we will use two very simple mechanisms — the Community Bulletin Board, and the Village Market Place.

In a few moments, I will ask you to identify any issue or opportunity you see around our theme, give it a short title and write that down on the paper provided.

Then stand up in front of the group, say what your issue is, and post the paper on the wall. Make sure that you have some real passion for this issue, and that it is not just a good idea for somebody else to do.

For you will be expected to take personal responsibility for the discussion. That means saying where and when the group will meet, convening the group, and entering the results of your discussion into our computer system (if you are using a system).

You may offer as many issues as you like, and if at the end of the day, you do not see your issue on the wall, there is exactly one person to complain to.Yourself


That Discomfort You’re Feeling
Is MAYBE Collectively Grief

When we have to change together, there is usually denial, projections and distancing as a completely natural part of discomfort. In many ways, it is like losing or losing oneself in order to find a common security together. When I work with groups, I have had to learn about losing or what grief is in its many layers and depths. I am very inspired by David Kessler, who is a leader in what death can give of life

Kessler shared his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it.

The conversation is lightly edited for clarity.

Kessler: Yes, and we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different.
The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving.

Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.
You said we’re feeling more than one kind of grief?
Yes, we’re also feeling anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain.

Usually it centers on death.

We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new.

We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.

Facilitator Malene Lundén, have 20 years’ experience, guiding participants from A-B
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