AoPL Croatia 2017 harvesting Day 1

Wonderful group of people has gathered in Croatia, Opatija 05 - 07 July 2017 to learn, practice and explore what is new and special in Participatory Leadership (PL) and how can it help us to be the leaders we want to be. All together 29 people from 20 different organizations and 7 countries created magic together. Even if we know magic always happens when people come together with clear purpose of learning and engaging in meaningful conversation around questions that matter, it was great to experience it in this learning journey. It was special to sense that right after welcoming and framing and good checking in and sharing individual motivation, suddenly we saw what collectively brought us here and sense of belonging, trust, inspiration and curiosity around what we can create together emerged between us... If it happens so easy and fast and strong and beautifully with the group of people that didn't know each other before and came there with different reasons and different backgrounds (HR specialists, sales directors, managers, consultants, regional and executive directors, software engineers, quality managers, marketing specialists, entrepreneurs, coaches, etc.), and have brought very diverse organizational cultures and work context (corporate, private sector, public administration, NGO), how can it be that we struggle with talking and listening to each other and finding meaningful solutions in our "regular" work where we are day by day present with our colleagues and partners and clients and other stakeholders? How can it be that we are looking for the ways to bring back sense of belonging, trust, respect and inspiration to engage around what makes sense and is important to us? Is it time to see our organizations as living systems and take responsibility to support / facilitate / host the change and transformation which is normal and happens constantly in every living system ...? Participatory leadership and hosting and harvesting meaningful conversation can help us to move from old understanding and rules that does not work any longer. It can helps us to create safe space for learning, transformation, development and doing our work in more natural and more meaningful way... so let's practice together!!!

This harvesting site is structured around training headlines per days with intention to reconstruct the flow and process of our learning. It contains photos of people and flipcharts/papers created by hosting team and participants. Hope it will remind you on tangible and intangible outcomes and it will become useful resource for your practice and further learning.


Day 1

Why PL in business and organizational context?

Welcome and framing

Opening words and what was our invitation and purpose that brought us all here (Jasmina), participatory work and art of hosting background (Jan), leadership input - lead from where you are (Cate).

Checking in

Introduction to Circle practice (Blanka): listen with attention, speak with intention, take care of the whole! Adrijana hosted for us wonderful check in with Points of You cards: remind you of your motivation when saying yes to this training, pick up the card and think about what is your motivation of being here? And speak in the circle when you are ready...

Leadership culture and Four fold practice

Cate offered perspective of different leadership cultures: dependant, independant and interdependant and in what kind of organisations they fit and why. Leaders who are keen to see their organisations work along Teal practices, need to role model the behaviours associated with: self-management, wholeness and purpose. Participatory leadership methods support these practices and can accelerate the progress forward. It was hard to stop conversation in the circle around what works in our organisations and what kind of purpose they have and why some leadership culture work and why not. It was so obvious people are "hungry" for conversation about leadership, what works and why and what is our "leadership dream".

First mental model which we offered in this training was "For fold practice" (Jasmina). In order to become learners and move toward community of learners and community that learns, we have to develop consciousness about different roles in implementation of participatory leadership practices. Roles which are more folds or perspectives of the same approach where all of them have to blend together and when being engaged in the process, they have to come in front of our organizational positions or business functions. Being truly present (hosting yourself), engaging skilfully in conversations (participating), being a good host of conversations (hosting others) and engaging with others in co-creation (co-hosting) are all practices or skills that are easily understood, but it takes continuous practice to sharpen and enhance these skills. This is the essence of the "art of hosting" and basic practice underneath all methodologies and tools which we use in PL approach. Four fold practice input was used also to invite participants to step into the hosting practice during the training - hosting matrix was offered as a place to sign in!

Living systems

As framing for the world café conversation, Jan offered input about living systems which he started with the what if question: What if, we when we are in our organisations, are a living system? Some elements that constitute living system, can be used as sense of knowledge to understand “what is mine to do and what are the dynamics in an organization that we might need to pay attention to”. These elements are: living systems are in constant change, living system exists with its neighbours, living system pays attention only to what is meaningful here and now, living system only accept its own solutions, living system cannot be controlled—it can only be teased and nudged to see things differently, living system is capable of self-organizing. We know our world has become extremely complex and we cannot control what will happen or predict outputs for complex challenges. So what if we stop looking at our organisations as the machines, organized in silos of our expertise, and start to see our organizations as living systems?

World Café

And now it was time to finally practice meaningful conversation and to experience how it works when all people, being part of a larger group, can talk in a way that all participate and contribute to what is important and meaningful, in a safe space and encouraging environment. World Café was perfect for inviting everybody into the conversation about leadership. The World Café is a method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter in real life situations. It is a provocative metaphor. As we create our lives, our organisations, and our communities, we are, in effect, moving among ‘table conversations’. Connecting it to Jan's input, Miljenka reminded as of different leadership cultures and that something already works in our organisations, so if we want to develop leadership capacity, being a living system, we have to start finding deeper questions. We had 5 rounds of wonderful conversation guided by following questions:

  1. What type of leadership works in your experience?
  2. What do you dream leadership could be? What is missing?
  3. What are your burning questions?
World Cafe flipcharts and papers
Change is not strange...!!

Closing day 1 + Preparation for hosting on day 2

After closing of world cafe, day hosts (Jan and Jasmina) shared some evening news (Choco crash invitation, preparation for hosting tomorrow) and closed our day 1. All people who signed up for hosting gathered around landscape to understand the purpose of next day and how their parts fit into the training design.

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