Not Having All the Answers

I’m reading The Good Life by Hugh Mackay1. I was struck by the following passage, which seems particularly relevant to current times. Fundamentalism (whether religious, political, economic or cultural) thrives at times of social upheaval and insecurity. When we are at our most perplexed or bewildered, gripped by moral panic and baffled by ambiguity, that’s when we are also most vulnerable to pro…  
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Liberating Structures: What’s That? →

Nadia von Holzen:

Liberating Structures is a funny term. At least that is the reaction I get when I am telling about my Liberating Structures workshops. It seems that the term is not easily accessible outside of the Liberating Structures community. I often fail with my explanation that Liberating Structures is a set of methods (you could also call them structures, activities, interactions) to structure conversation and solution finding; and that these structures can be easily applied by everyone. Somehow that sounds quirky and abstract.

I had a similar experience when I explored Liberating Structures with other facilitators last year. I came to the same conclusion, but Nadia does a much better job of explaining it than me …

Liberating Structures is a do-it-yourself concept for teams, groups, networks to work better together.


Personality Tests Don’t Work →

Dr. Kim Perkins:

Personality tests, we think, help us understand ourselves better. But in reality, they are often a self-gratifying exercise that gets us no closer to understanding ourselves or others.

I’ve recently been subjected to this utter nonsense and can’t believe that these tests are still used so widely. There is no hard evidence to prove they help us become more self-aware.

This is a reasoned, thoughtful argument that also provides some useful alternatives.


Be a Better Listener →

Adam Bryant, writing for the New York Times:

The best kind of listening is about being comfortable not knowing what you’re going to say next, or what question you might ask. Trust that you’ll think of something in the moment based on what the other person just said. That will send a powerful signal to the other person that you’re truly listening to them.

There’s some great tips here. I’m happy to see the link made to using improv as a way of improving listening skills.


Generalists Inside Your Organisation →

Jorge Barba writes:

Simple and complicated situations are the domain of specialists, while Generalists are best suited to tackle complex and chaotic situations. Another way to view this is: specialists will bring immediate answers, generalists will ask new questions. For complex challenges, questions trump answers.

I found myself nodding in voilent agreement reading through this post. I’m now reflecting on, and observing my own confirmation bias.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about the problem of categorising and labelling. Putting people in a box only encourages them to behave according to the label we assign them. It also reinforces the stories we tell ourselves. I’m struck with how it encourages us to take sides, to belong to one group or the other, rather than to see other possibilities.

Labels ignore context. In reality our behaviours are dynamic, not static. The only true answer as to whether someone is a specialist or a generalist is: It depends.


What Are the Stories You Have to Tell? →


When you think about it, stories are not just nice thing we use to keep ourselves amused (around the campfire). Stories are what we use to understand the universe, and our place within it. And without them, we simply couldn’t do it.



What Do We Need to Do to Increase Engagement? →

Eric Barker, writing on his Barking Up The Wrong Tree blog:

Use your strengths as much as you can. Doing what you’re good at makes you six times as likely to be engaged and more than three times as likely to be happy with your life.

There’s lots of nuggets about engagement at work in this post. These two in particular caught my eye.

When we build on our strengths and daily successes — instead of focusing on failures — we simply learn more.

… if your manager is primarily focusing on your strengths, the chance of your being actively disengaged is just 1%, or 1 in 100.

If you’re leading someone, it pays to notice what they do right!


Letting Go →

Jake Niall, writing for The Age:

In a sense, it had been Nathan Buckley’s intense craving for success that was almost his undoing. He wanted the grail too badly and couldn’t contain his zeal. This year, Buckley finally let go - and let the Magpies take flight.

While it won’t appeal to everyone, I found this a fascinating read. I’ve recently been re-reading Otto Scharmer’s book ‘Theory U’ and thinking a lot about the notion of letting go and letting come. This is a good example.


The Quest for Real →

Simon Terry:

We need less crushing it and empty noise. We need to focus our efforts on our purpose, our relationships and realising our human potential. It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Ironically, Simon ‘crushes it’ with this blog post.

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