Category Archives: On Transforming Things

Our own learning journey

Our Rusty Brown partnership is thriving and the 3 of us have never been more engaged in our work. We have been doing a range work together and, at time, individually. The work that really excites us are the multi-stakeholder journeys that go beyond the usual, one-off workshop. These groups contain a diverse mix of people and groups who have ‘skin-in-the-game’, in relation to some complex, intractable challenge(s) that they face together. These groups (representing a slice of a system or field) are often stuck and know that a collective effort is needed to make progress. Along these learning journeys, part of the task is to build stronger relationships and develop the courage to be creative, take risks, let-go of safety and be willing to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”.

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Over the past 18 months we have been on a giant learning curve. We find ourselves reading and applying stuff from a wide range of disciplines including Systems Theory, Complexity, Improvisation, Facilitation, Mindfulness, Brain Science, Psychology and human systems based on ecological models.

As we draw on and bring together knowledge, new thinking and practices, we look forward to sharing the methods and approaches that we are co-evolving. I’ll write about some of here, and together we will post some of it over at the Rusty Brown blog.

Thanks to the following people and networks for the inspiration …

The Beyond the Basics team at Art of Hosting – for their globe trotting events and willingness to share everything!

The dynamic Creative Facilitation duo of Johnnie & Viv – for their capacity to see through the bullshit and find the ‘essence’ through publications like Nothing is Written.

Reos Partners – for their training and the collaboration & guidance from Steve Atkinson.

Circus Oz – for their amazingly creative group spaces, people and partnership with us.

Healthy Together Victoria – a client and partner that have provided opportunities to learn, experiment and put everything into ‘real-world’ practice!

Cognitive Edge – 4 days training recently with Dave Snowden and Michael Cheveldave helped us to crack open some new thinking and approaches to our group work.

Global Learning – Steve Coleman and Mark Spain for their friendship and collaboration

Clear Horizon – We keep dipping into their Evaluation bag-of-tricks and cross paths on work from time to time

As Viv would say … “onwards!

 

On being part of the problem …

Co-conspirator of mine, Chris Corrigan, has shared a post he titled – Dealing with your slaves and seeing the world. This piece is a timely reminder about how we perceive the world around us. For me, it’s a little challenge to my own perspective … and to the stories I make in my mind about any problem that I am tackling.

I’ll try not to just repeat what Chris says, however this quote from Adam Kahane is at the core of his post …

“Bill Torbert of Boston College once said to me that the 1960s slogan “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” actually misses the most important point about effecting change. The slogan should be, “If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.” If we cannot see how what we are doing or not doing is contributing to things being the way that they are, then logically we have no basis at all, zero leverage, for change the way things are — except from the outside, by persuasion or force.”

When I hear people (and myself) talking about any problem – communication at the local school, device/screen addiction in their kids, the Alcoa Coal mine – the image in my mind looks like this …

on being part of the problem

 

Imagine if we could really see our own part in every complex problem we perceived – local or global. I think this self perception would fundamentally change a lot of conversations. A deeper understanding about our part (and the parts other’s play) in the problem helps to build up a better picture of the whole. You can apply this to different scales – individual, team and organisational, national.

Chris concludes his post with a few questions:

“So, what is your experience in affecting change from inside the problem?  How do you work towards justice while recognizing your complicity in the very problems you are addressing?”

The practice-challenge to myself is a question about how I reframe things in my own mind. Here is one personal example I’ll apply it to:

What is my part (and how am I complicit) in the device-addiction that has crept back into our family life since returning from our 5 month trip last year? And then … how can I affect change from within the problem?

Geoff Brown