A reposne I made today on the Art of Hosting list about the workshop we are leading this week:
We’re in the middle of a leadership residential for 25 leaders in the community social services sector here in British Columbia and we are blending a strong Theory U flavour with AoH practice. This is the second and final residential, capping a 9 month learning journey which has involved two Art of Hosting gatherings and bi-weekly webinars.
In this context, Theory U is helping give some shape and rigour to the art of learning about the systems we are in and providing a container for a learning journey about what the future of the community sector looks like in this province and what forms of leadership serve the emerging forms. We are operating from the premise that the emerging leaders we are working with be facing a career of work in a sector that will do work in ways that haven’t been invented yet and that they will have a fundamental role in co-creating these new ways of caring for society. That premise and invitation leads us into hosting practice, as a key leadership capacity for emerging and complex context is Block’s idea of “leadership as convening.” And as we all know, the Art of Hosting is the essence of that practice, from the four fold way to living systems views of complexity to deploying methodologies for co-creation and co-evolution.
I’m enjoying our work this week. On Sunday we worked with poetry to check in and help frame a challenge. We reviewed the Cynefin framework to help frame complex challenges and invite people to focus their attention on these. Today we had a deeper Thoery U teaching and then played some improv theatre games to train in improv principles and to practice sensing. We went into an afternoon of inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie which helps us to deal with the voices of cynicism, judgement and fear and to identify the stuck parts of “the system” that are actually within us. This evening we had a fabulous, spontaneous and unplanned learning journey to a local winery, Serendipity, the story of which was a perfect way to cap our day.
Tomorrow we will enter the deep dive with an afternoon devoted to a solo framed withtgroup pattern language cards, a teaching on the four fold practice and some recent thinking from Paula Carr, Tuesday Ryan-Hary and Kelly McGowan on hosting intercultural spaces and co-revealation. Tomorrow we listen to the whispers of the future sector and Wednesday we will begin some prototyping work using Proaction Cafe and chaordic stepping stones. Thursday we finish with a short open space to invite the community of practice to organize itself for sustainability and co-evolution after our project has completed.
I’m especially enjoying the way Theory U has given us a good frame to talk concretely about the deep edges of leadership practice in this sector and to invite the inversion of leadership that will take people into the co-creative space of an emerging field of practice. I think it is useful in the defining of a practice ground for hosting practice. There are lots of ways to frame work together. Theory U doesn’t always serve, but in this case – focusing on leadership in a sector that is rapidly emerging – it is a very useful framework indeed.