First Wednesday Conversation 2018
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
Everything is connected. Everything changes. Pay attention.
My intention is to practice shifting from certain conversations that, while satisfying and true, have no power and no accountability – to stop telling the old stories. Instead, we will practice a pattern of conversation that is restorative and creates accountability wherever we engage. Within this context, we’ll study methods and tools and practices that can liberate us from the old stories and help create the future.
Overall Purpose (since 2007)
The First Wednesday Conversation will continue to develop our capacity for systems intelligence by focusing on a collection of tools and methods that can give us valuable insights into complex issues.
And here’s a reminder about what I mean by systems intelligence. I define it as the capacity and ability to apply systems thinking to complex challenges. Such challenges are different from technical problems. Learning is needed, both to adequately understand the problem and to address the emergent challenge. Systems intelligence enriches and enhances any change methodology. When an organization or community or leader can do three things – develop their systems intelligence, nurture mutual learning, and discern complex adaptive challenges – wise action is possible.That’s what we’re about at the First Wednesday Conversation.
Time & Place
The 2018 First Wednesday Conversation will continue to take place in the lobby of the Olympia Senior Center from 5:00 until 6:30pm. It’s fine to bring coffee, tea or a snack from home or the Bread Peddler on Capital Way, just across the street. I am grateful to Senior Services of South Sound for the use of their Olympia lobby. Thank you, Eileen!
“Change the conversation one room at a time.” This is necessary in order to tell new stories, to create the future. Our discussion will start with an excerpt from Peter Block’s “Civic Engagement & the Restoration of Community” (pp. 16-17)
Certain conversations are satisfying and true yet have no power and no accountability. The conversations we want to avoid or postpone are:
Telling the history of how we got here
Giving explanations and opinions
Blaming and complaining
Making reports and descriptions
Carefully defining terms and conditions
Retelling your story again and again
Seeking quick action
Talking about people not in the room
Here are the conversational shifts we seek, which are restorative and accountability-creating:
Invitation replaces mandate, policy and alignment
Possibility replaces problem-solving
Ownership and Cause replace explanation, blame, and denial
Dissent and Refusal replace resignation and lip service
Commitment replaces hedge and barter
Gifts replace deficiencies
In subsequent months, we will relate the current topic to one or more of these conversations.
The Quality of our Inquiry: Questions With Little Power & Questions With Great Power (See Peter Block’s “Community – the structure of belonging,” pp. 104-106). Handout will be provided!
The Art of Harvesting (handout from Chris Corrigan) Artofharvesting3.1
Appreciative Inquiry (handout from Chris Corrigan) appreciative_inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry, continued by popular demand! Please see this article by AI creator David Copperrider: http://www.davidcooperrider.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/concentration-effect-Org.pdf
The Authentic Leadership Container Principle (handout) Container Principle
The July 2018 conversation is about poetry – poetry that is meaningful to us, helpful in our work, powerful in transformational possibilities, inspirational for our leadership practice. Bring a poem to share, preferably several copies so others can follow along as you read your poem.
Sense-making with the Cynefin Framework Snowden and Boone Leader’s Framework for Decision Making
Practices of a Recovering Knower: the Knower-Learner Survey and the Left Hand Column (handouts will be provided)
Engaging with Conflict: the Ladder of Inference and Genuine Inquiry (handouts will be provided)
Eight Behaviors for More Effective Teams & the Mutual Learning Model Eight-Behaviors-for-Smarter-Teams
CHANGE: In December, we’ll continue the November conversation, so please review the eight behaviors described in the paper provided for November. The conversation about the Habits of a Systems Thinker will take place in January!