Lovely day here in Marin County hanging out with friends and charting some interesting paths forward on a few projects. One highlight of the day was spending time with Amy Lenzo, who I have known for a while but met only one time previously when we were on an diverse and eclectic team of facilitators holding space at the Pegasus systems thinking conference a couple of years ago. Amy is, among other things, the web goddess for The World Cafe community and we spent a lovely lunch at the excellent Buckeye Roadhouse talking over the nature of our work, the ways in which we look at the art of hosting within rich social spaces and what is at the core of our approach to things. We were reflecting on what the World Cafe, Open Space, Berkana and Art of Hosting communities (among many others) have in common and it comes down to these four things – archetypal patterns if you will:
- The source pattern for our understanding of group process is the circle
- The source pattern for leadership within that process is “hosting” or facilitative (or “holding space“)
- The source pattern for design of process is diverge – emerge – converge
- The source pattern of our worldview is living systems
These four patterns form a set of foundations about our practice. They stand in contrast to foundations of group work for which:
- The source pattern for understanding group process is the traditional school room.
- The source pattern for leadership is the teacher or command and control
- The source pattern for design is linear: moving from point A to point B
- The source pattern for worldviews is mechanistic.
These distinctions are useful because the source patterns serve as an invitation. If you find yourself in alignment with the first set of patterns, you’ll probably find kin in the Cafe, Open Space, Berkana and Art of Hosting communities. If you relate more to the second set you ‘ll probably find yourself engaged with people from more traditional training backgrounds. There is certainly a time and place for both, and the skillful application of one or the other sets of foundations is what is brought by artful process practitioners.