Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Bare listening

Posts Tagged ‘Ladder of inference’

Bare listening

Posted on:

I’ve been thinking (yet again) about listening, catalysed by two experiences:

resisting the four levels of listening of Otto Scharmer’s Theory U; and

● being drawn towards the premise of listening to connect, proposed in Judith Glaser’s Conversational Intelligence.

As I pondered the roots of my aversion to one idea, and my attraction to the other, I changed my mind about both. (more…)

Dressing down

Posted on:

A recent swathe of adverse comments reminded me of an incident from my first job, in a merchant bank. After some initial training, I was placed in the treasury function. I speculate that this decision was based on my maths degree rather than personal aptitude! The dealing room was an alien world. Thankfully, some kindly-disposed ‘old hands’ helped me learn the ropes. (more…)

The grittiness of dialogue

Posted on:

I recently found a new way to describe the experience of dialogue, seeking to convey a felt-sense of this kind of conversation. It came about because I was asked to contribute to a series of 90-minute leadership development sessions. I don’t often accept such invitations, preferring to host practice-based learning over time. However, sometimes it’s helpful to test my assumptions – my ‘ladder of inference’ – about the lasting impact of short inputs, and to stretch my prejudices about the value of one-off interventions.

In designing the session, I was keen to avoid two potholes:

• too much ‘presenting’ (advocacy) in a context of dialogue (balancing advocacy and inquiry); and
• giving an impression that dialogue is a form of sublime, zen-like conversation. (more…)

Stories we tell ourselves

Posted on: 5 Comments

What is your story in this moment? How is it influencing what you believe to be possible?

On her CD ‘Simple Gifts’, my friend and mentor Judy Ringer talks about ‘good reality’ and ‘bad reality’, describing how the same circumstances can look very different after a break and/or some rest. In an era in which we understand ‘spin’ and the unreality of ‘reality TV’, it’s often pertinent to examine things we regard to be ‘fact’ and ask: what is really happening here? (more…)