Co-creating Participatory Workplaces

How much more successful would your organisation be if everyone was;

  • More passionate about their collective purpose
  • Using their skills and expertise to their full potential
  • More  trusting of their colleagues
  • Able to step out from behind their professional mask and be their true self

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Why do conversations matter?

The word ‘conversation’ derives from the Latin con versare – to turn or to dance together. Are you kept on your toes when you feel deeply that the core of your activity is participating in ‘the dance’?

Conversation is the single greatest learning tool in your organization—more important than computers or sophisticated research. As a society, we know the art of small talk, we can talk about the weather or our holidays. But when we face complex or contentions issues, when there are feelings and different opinions, our defence mechanisms surface and this can impede communications.   Besieged by data, seduced by knowledge from books and the internet, many people seem to have forgotten the value of the wisdom gained by ordinary conversations. Continue reading

Participatory Leadership and the Nature of our Conversations

We are in a world that is connected, but not communicating
Tariq Ramadan

The world is changing faster than ever before, and organisations today are facing complex challenges never experienced before.  Yet we are not creating conversations that matter and are not harnessing the collective wisdom of our sociality. Continue reading

Meaningful conversations for wiser action

At the heart of what we do is facilitation of Participatory Leadership within organisations to drive enhanced performance. Within your organisation your people have the solutions to the problems you’re facing. We harness the collective knowledge and wisdom of everyone in an organisation to generate innovative solutions to move the organisation forward. Continue reading

Participatory Leadership and Decision Making

Participatory Leadership and Decision Making: Not All About Consensus

By Kathy Jourdain

Collaborative or participatory leadership surfaces interdependence, within a team and among teams. It invites people to bring their strengths, talents, passion and voice and to step in where they have something to offer and step back when they don’t. Continue reading

Ideas to Action

How can we use our collective imagination to move from ideas to action?

An invitation was sent to a diverse group of individuals to a participatory taster event in Edinburgh using two methodologies from several that can be used to solve complexity. When these events are held for a whole day or over several days, or become the operating system of an organisation, the outcomes become deeper and more meaningful. These methodologies are used in policy development in the EU Commission and Austrian local government, Ontario’s rural and agricultural organisations, Minnesota university student mental health and international pharmaceutical companies. They have also been used in redesigning the free health care system in Columbus Ohio Continue reading

Theory U

What you need to know about Presencing/Theory U

The Presencing approach of Otto Scharmer of MIT is a model that is used in across all types organisation for social change by creating the capacity for community wisdom. I frequently underpin the design collaborative change processes and workshops using the model. It has inspired me to invite my clients to look behind the scenes and explore the necessary depth needed to achieve the goals. Continue reading

Systems Thinking

I was one of six authors of Systems Thinking, published by the Management Innovation Exchange. You can find the full publication here

Summary

Deming and others showed that when you look at the performance of an organisation, about 85% to 95% is due to the system. That leaves roughly only about 10% that is due wholly or in the total control of the person doing the work. How often have you heard people say in their 1:1 appraisal ‘that goal was out of my total control to deliver’. Continue reading

Unlock an Organisation’s Capacity to Solve Complex Problems

New solutions are needed. Increasing complexity compels us to find new solutions. Participatory Leadership enables collaboritive change is crucial to unlock your organisation’s capacity to solve complex problems and create success in the twenty-first century. ‘Just do your job’ may have been a default response to dissatisfied workers in times gone by, but not now. Continue reading

Co-design Health and Social Care Services

Citizens’ power and participation are essential to co-design the integration across Health and Social Care Services in Scotland.  The forthcoming Community Empowerment Bill lays out that “public service providers should give communities a say in how services are delivered. Examples of public service providers are hospitals, schools, police, and local councils.” Continue reading

Collaboration v Conventional Groups

Collaboration Groups

Conventional  Groups

Everyone participates, not just the vocal few The faster thinkers and the most articulate speakers get more time
People give each other room to think and get their thoughts all the way out People interrupt each other on a regular basis
Opposite views are allowed to co-exist in the room Differences of opinions are treated as conflict that must either be stifled or solved
People draw each other out with supportive questions – ‘Is that what you mean?’ Questions are often perceived as challenges, as if the person being questioned has done something wrong
Each member makes the effort to pay attention to the person speaking. Unless the speaker captivates their attention, people space out,  doodle or check the clock
People are able to listen to each other’s ideas because they know their own ideas will also be heard. People have difficulty listening to each other’s ideas because they’re busy rehearsing what they want to say
Each member speaks up on matters of controversy. Everyone where they stand Some members remain quiet on controversial matter. No one really knows where everyone stands.
Members can accurately respect each other’s point of view – even when they don’t agree with them. People rarely give accurate representation of the opinions and reasons of those  whose opinions are at odds with their own.
People refrain from talking behind each other’s backs Because they don’t feel permission to be direct during meetings, people talk behind each other’s backs outside the meeting.
Even in face of opposing from the person in charge, people are encourages to stand up for their beliefs. People with discordant, minority perspectives are commonly discouraged from speaking out.
A problem is not considered solved until everyone who will be affected by the solution understands the reasoning. A problem is considered solved as soon as the fastest thinkers have reached an answer. Everyone else is then expected to ‘get on board’ regardless of whether they understand the logic of the decision.
When people make an agreement, it is assumed that the decision still reflects a wide range of perspectives. When people make an agreement, it is assumed that they are all thinking the exact same thing
Complexity requires participation

When to use Participatory Leadership

People often ask ‘when do we use participatory leadership?’ Firstly, it helps to understand the nature of the problem faced i.e. is it a complicated or a complex problem?

Some examples
What’s the difference between sending a rocket to the moon and getting children to succeed in school? What’s the difference between a surgeon extracting a brain tumour and judge and jury deciding guilty or innocent for a person accused of murder? Continue reading

Event report: Participatory Leadership, 24-26 June 2014, Scotland

 AoH Nov 2013The course was attended by forward-thinking leaders and facilitators of meetings with employees, customers, boards, public engagement, neighbourhoods, groups seeking more effective ways to inspire, engage and activate innovation and business value within their teams and stakeholders. This is about leaders and future leaders who deal with complexities in groups. Continue reading

Event report: The Art of Hosting, November 2013 in Dalkeith

Guest post by Alan Moore

Welcome to the Participatory Leadership also know as  the Art of Hosting Scotland 2013. This site harvests the outcomes of the three-day gathering that took place November 27-29 at Newbattle Abbey, Dalkeith. To find out more about the November 2013 training click here

On the 27th of November 50 strangers, more or less, came together to begin a journey of, the heart, the hand and the mind. Framed around the concept and methodology of Participatory Leadership this event was hosted and held by an organization called The Art of Hosting.

It is special in how it brings people together and demonstrates a way in which people in organisations can affect real systems change. It is counter intuitive in that it is simple – designed around what makes us human and harnesses the better aspects of our humanity; goodness, trust, a desire to be better, harnessing our collective intelligence and, is inclusive of all that participate. But it is not how we traditionally would engage in thinking about systems of change. Normal management systems are command and control in their design where people are often treated no better than components that are fitted into a machine, and where machine efficiency overrules all other aspects of the design of the system. Participatory Leadership is about engaging us all at a human level.

Hear what participants of the Art of Hosting have to say about the course: