I think that doing strategic work with organizations and communities is really about learning. If a group is trying to confront newness and changes in its environment and needs to come up with new strategies to address those changes, then it needs to learn.
I love the term “desire lines.” Most of my initial work with organizations tries to get at the desire lines in the organization; the patterns embedded in the culture that help or hinder change and resilience. Naming and making visible these entrained desire lines (including the ones that that group takes into the darkness of conflict and unresourcefulness) is a helpful exercise in beginning to first reflect and then disrupt and develop capacity. When a group can see their patterns, and see which are helpful and which are not, they can make the choice to develop new ones or strengthen the stuff that works.
When problems are complex, then the people in the group need to focus on learning strategies in order to discover and try new things, rather than adopt a best practice from elsewhere. It is, as Steve Wheeler says in this video, the difference between designed environments and personal choice:
“Students will always find their own unique pathways for learning. They will always choose their own personal tools and technologies. Our job is not to try and create pathways for them, but to help them create the pathways for themselves and the scaffold and support them as they go through those pathways.”
Hosting groups is always about learning – in fact one core question of the Art of Hosting community is “what if learning was the form of leadership required now?” To support learning, help groups find the desire lines for learning and good strategic work to address change that is owned by the group will follow. That is how learning builds capacity and capacity builds sustainability.