Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Transforming conversations

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership conversations’

Transforming conversations

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In seeking to better explain the relevance of my dialogue-related work, I’ve been stimulated by a ‘Capability Accelerator’ programme offered by the International Futures Forum. The programme outlines practice-based frameworks for Transformative Innovation (Graham Leicester) and offers action-learning support to participants, who engage in a project over nine months. (more…)

Conversation operating systems

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Recently, I’ve been exploring how to better explain the relevance of my dialogue-related work, in which I draw attention to the relationship between the shape and quality of conversations and what happens next. Crucially, different ‘forms’ of conversation are more useful for some purposes than others. Therefore, it pays to understand how best to create the conditions for bringing about a particular outcome. (more…)

Beyond words

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Back in the day, I was a Director of Finance in the NHS. Long before I encountered dialogue practices, my deputy and I were preparing for an important meeting that she’d called. We had to gain support from a local peer group for a crucial development. We were expecting opposition. My colleague was very clear and animated about how to push our agenda through. (more…)

Consider this…

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Pause for Breath is five years old today! On Monday 4 July 2011, somewhat reluctantly, I held a launch party for this written manifestation of my dialogue-related work. I still find it hard to be visible in this way – to actively celebrate something I’ve produced. Yet I believe in the power of the practices in the book. I also believe that they, alongside similar approaches, are more necessary than ever before. (more…)

Holding conversations

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The more dialogue-related work I do, the greater my appreciation for the connection between the outcome of a conversation and the climate within which it’s held. By ‘outcome’ I mean not just the immediate ‘upshot’, but the impact of the conversation on relationships and the bigger system. (more…)

Handing over

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I was inspired by the British relay teams in the European Championships last month. Their performance was fabulous, of course, but even more stirring was their camaraderie, cohesion, and sense of supporting each other in a shared endeavour. Their success sharply contrasts to the woes of a few years ago, when British teams seemed unable to get the baton to the finish line.

Back then, I was immersed in a ‘learning review’ of a project in serious difficulties. (more…)

Staying in conversations

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When did you last exit a conversation without raising something important, something you’d planned to say? What happened that left you unable to express yourself in the way you’d intended?

As an executive coach, I use Leadership Embodiment practices to look at this kind of scenario with my clients. The approach encourages us to study ourselves in our interactions with others and the world, and to identify how we react in pressured or stressful situations. It also offers an ‘antidote’, a centring practice through which we can recover our poise and effectiveness. (more…)

Coming through…

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In this summer of ‘Glasgow 2014’ commonwealth games, I was watching athletics on television one recent Sunday afternoon. Between events, the commentators were celebrating great achievements from the past, including Jonathan Edwards’ world record triple jump in 1995. Edwards, who was anchoring the programme, was asked about his experience by one of his colleagues. In his response I noticed the words ‘coming through me’.

My ears pricked up: we use this phrase in Leadership Embodiment to describe centre, a state of ease and ‘flow’, also referred to as ‘being in the zone’. (more…)

Passing places

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The single track roads of the north of Scotland offer a fine ‘simulator’ for paying attention to, and reflecting on, our patterns of thinking and behaviour when we come face-to-face with someone with a conflicting plan. If I’m driving from Broadford to Elgol and meet someone travelling in the opposite direction, how do we navigate a space that’s only wide enough for one of us? (more…)

In another light

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As I begin to write this article, I’m in the Orkney Islands, which Andrew Greig, in his novel ‘In Another Light’, describes evocatively as ‘land like an old green tarpaulin dragged out of the North Sea, glinting pools of water in its folds’. My first impressions are of another place, qualitatively different in energy to any other part of the British Isles.

With other island communities, Orkney is keen to shape their own future. They’re in a conversation with the Scottish Government similar to that between Holyrood and Westminster about Scotland. More widely there are conversations about the UK’s relationship with the EU, and the options for an independent Scotland in Europe. I have a sense of asymmetry in these conversations (more…)