First, some navigation tips for this site:
- A designated site and ordering information for my newly published book (March 2020), A Cadence of Despair: Poems and Reflections on Heartbreak, Loss and Renewal, is here. This book is a harvest of very personal sense making, yet very universal awareness of the topic of despair. Prose has become a very important form of expression for me.
- I blog (Human to Human) Monday through Thursday on current learnings (taking sporadic weeks off to write longer pieces or to rest). H2H are 300-500 word posts intended to be read in five minutes and inspire reflection on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.
- The search function at the top left of the green side panel is fairly robust so that you can snoop by keywords. Thanks WordPress!
- About includes bios, a client list, and a few testimonies. It also includes description of essential theory that underlays the work, the basics that are the more obvious ways of working together, and the subtle for those wanting to go a bit further.
- Workshops & Retreats names the kind of workshops that I commonly offer or create with others.
- Calendar is a sneak peek into upcoming events and client systems.
- Resources is a compilation of many things that I find useful. I include my writings and poetry in this section, articles and books by others, key colleagues that I enjoy working with and that have massive skills, other websites to snoop, and links to photos so that you can see some of the people and shapes of the work.
- Contact gives you a few coordinates for reaching me to explore options.
- I use Twitter and Facebook to share occasional insights and invitations — you can follow me by clicking the social media links in the header of this page.
- Sign on to my mailing list in the green side panel for periodic newsletters.
And now some story:
A few years back, an elder friend, Anne Stadler, whom I know from the Open Space community of practitioners, invited me and my then partner Teresa for lunch. I remember it as a drizzly, misty Seattle day. Anne’s cottage kitchen table was cozy and inviting. The soup was delicious. The bread warm. The cheese sharp. Anne is one of the most appreciative and clear people I know. She is playful. Wise. That day she asked Teresa and I a question as she was ladling the soup into bowls:
“What navigation systems are you using to
make sense of things these days?”
I loved her question. I loved how she asked it. Playfully, yet purposefully. She was genuinely curious and wanted to learn. We could have chatted the afternoon away about the drizzling rain. Although we did some of that, Anne’s question cut right through to something much more intriguing.
I’ve long been the kind of person that is irrepressibly drawn to the meaning of things. I can’t seem to not look for what is beneath the surface. For the invisible, the unseen. Yes, I like the mystery of it. But more so, I can’t help but feel that we humans have often — with great assumptions about speed, control, predictability, and efficiency — squeezed an essential vibrancy from our lives and institutions by not being very aware of our navigation systems.
Professionally, over the last 25 years I’ve been translating navigation systems into improving the ways that human beings work and live together.
What are the most simple and real ways
that we human beings can be together
to accomplish what we care about?
At work? In community? In teams? In networks? Ways that are productive? That don’t fear unknowns and unpredictables, personally or collectively? The simple and real ways that help us get more curious, expansive, and imaginative? That help us turn to each other rather than away. That challenge us to evolve who we are and how we are together?
I am the kind of human that asks these kinds of questions. I can’t not.
Most people agree that we live in complex times. I acknowledge this. It is honest to me. Major systems (education, government, healthcare, social services, energy, environment, finance) are in strain. Some in collapse. Many feel precarious in their ability to continue as is.
It is my experience that most people care about the work they do. Or want to care. Want to do good work together. Be creative. Innovative. Helpful.
My job, my life, is about bringing people together in ways to make all of this better. I’m a facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. I work globally. I design and lead meetings in participative formats. To help people be smart together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. The navigation systems I find helpful come from living systems theory, self-organizating systems theory, and emergence.
My educational background includes degrees in Psychology and Organizational Behavior. My lineages of training and practice include The Berkana Institute, The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter, and The Circle Way.
Better meetings are only part of the story.
Good. They are important and needed. However, I’ve learned that most human beings yearn for a deeper shift. That yearning becomes more apparent when we have the courage to ask ourselves what we are really doing together. I’ve been asking this kind of question for years. What are we really hoping for with each other? The best that I can name as patterns of response that I see is that people are hoping for wholeness, wellness, consciousness, and resonance.
Please feel free to reach me about the ideas you find here that are important to you. For a lunch or a conversation.