Posted in Your Experiences

February 4, 2010

SOTU U

Seal

|Photo by nathanborror|http://www.flickr.com/photos/sketch22/3054286601/

With the dust now fairly settled from President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, I feel like it’s safe to offer a few comments here without being labeled an aspiring pundit.  IISC friend and fellow network-phile Bill Traynor of Lawrence CommunityWorks captured some of my own feelings initially – impressed by the speech, on board . . . for now.  Coming into that evening I was concerned about what I had been picking up as a big push of the “Obama brand”, leading me to ask along with Naomi Klein whether the man in the Oval Office is more about symbolic gesture than substantive change.  Suffice to say that I don’t have the behind-the-scenes knowledge to confidently declare how much is actually getting done.  But to the extent that anything in front of the curtain matters, and we know at least some of it does, I came away with some real adaptive leadership lessons from the SOTU Address.

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December 18, 2009

Lessons from a Facilitation Evangelist

I attended a powerful, short workshop led by Adrienne Maree Brown (abbreviated from longer trainings she offers) and Invincible on how to facilitate high tension and/or high conflict conversations at the Making Money Make Change conference. Weeks later, ideas and exercises from that workshop are still sticking with me.

Adrienne calls herself a “facilitation evangelist,” because she believes that the world would be transformed if we all practiced facilitation intentionally and were prepared with the tools to do so. I agree with her. And this reminded me of something so basic – facilitation isn’t just for meetings! I hadn’t thought about practicing facilitation in tense conversations with family members, for example, but Adrienne pointed out that facilitation in these and other everyday situations, whether the role is explicit or practiced silently within oneself, can have a profound impact on peoples’ experiences – turning what could be explosive into something more productive.

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