2 weeks ago I attended a very interesting 4 day seminar near Hamburg. The topic was about Participatory Leadership based on the Art of Hosting. I do enjoy going to events and un-conferences that are not in the center of what I’m busy with at the moment since a couple of years now. However, these events always were somehow related to my current activities. For this event I wasn’t 100% sure in advance if it’s close enough to my current fields of activities… and sometimes I already felt that I’m in enough communities already.
My doubts where completely without a reason. I started to plot my current fields of thinking and acting in the following coordinate system. This way I realized that the topic of this seminar and the community I joined fits perfectly to the journey I’m in since a couple of years. Even more, it was a missing link.
So far I tried to facilitate and organize open-spaces, world cafes and fishbowls being a self-educator. I saw the methods and techniques at agile and developer conferences I’ve attended, read some web and book material and applied what I learned that way as good as I could. That was an appropriate way to do it, but digging deeper about the why and how of facilitation techniques was an important experience.
And as I should see during this weekend, it was just the surface.
While knowing the methods and techniques is important it was impressive to see how much the little things when doing check-in/check-out, when having conversations etc. can make a big difference. It may take a long time of practice to come to this level. With every day I stepped deeper into the Art of Hosting I realized that this is a huge field to play in! Too much for a small SW dev guy! But my newly created coordinate system helped me to find clarity: It’s not my duty to be 100% in all of these playing fields, I need to find my personal blend out of these. And what became clear to me when speaking to a senior participant was that having multiple playing fields gives you the freedom to vary this blend over time – gives me an idea what could happen during my next decades…
I’m thankful for having the chance to meet with a group of passionate crazy-ones who all want to change their little world – being it a Swiss party, the education system in the Netherlands, the university of Hamburg or a media company. I came out stronger after these days. Stronger because I’ve learned something on the crafting level and stronger because I feel in good company with these people. We may not meet again, but I now feel connected to them.
After the seminar I was playing in the other fields again – I attended a Design Thinking talk, I joined an open-space of the SW craftsmenship community and listened to a talk of the .NET user group. Since a couple of days I’m in the planning phase for a department event together with a colleague, hoping to be able to apply some aspects of what I’ve learned from Art of Hosting. And I have some crazy ideas how to start in the field of organizational development – may need some more training but I’m looking forward to extend my playing field and find my very own blend.