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Surfing the 3 Waves of Story (Part 1)

This is my rewrite of a series of blogposts from 2017, formulated into a chapter for a new book being published in 2019.  It comes in three parts, covering six perspectives I’m working with on the power of stories and what colleagues David Hutchens, David Drake and I call “The Three Waves” of story. Given the current backdrop of politics, conflict and polarised opinion, it feels to me that the waves are ringing truer than when we first spoke of them years ago. A warning for readers — these will be meaty posts, but well worth the effort!  Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Story is the New Black

These days we call everyone a storyteller – our authors, songwriters, business leaders, activists, celebrities, social media stars – even our politicians.  Over the past decade especially, storytelling has gained ground not only as a marketing and communications tool, but also as a leadership imperative. Leaders are flocking to learn how...

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The Art of Hosting Yourself

It was an unexpected and heartfelt invitation from my friend and colleague Holger Scholz last year:  "Let's do something together!".  And somewhat later on:  "I've really been feeling that we need to focus on what is underneath all the tools and methods.  I think our retreat should be called THE ART OF HOSTING YOURSELF."  And that opened a deep and fluid inquiry between us into the heart of what it means to be a practitioner, a leader and a host.  And over the time we spent together, we became a circle of 12 holding this focus between us in a four day retreat earlier this month.

Holger and I have known each other for more than 10 years now.  We have taken our facilitation practices in different directions, but somehow the core of what we are most interested in has created an ongoing conversation between us.  What does it mean to be a practitioner?  What is at the core of deeply masterful, humanly focused leadership -- whether that is in...

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45 authors, 3 editors, 1 host -- the journey of co-creating a global book

The pieces:  3 co-editors based in three different timezones, 45 co-authors located all over the globe, more than 600 pages of written material, 3 days, the dream of creating a book that will impact and uplift a field of practice, 1 host.

The result:  A vibrant, connected, innovative and inspired body of material ready to become a best seller called The Visual Facilitation Field Guide and a group of participants fired up about what they learned and where they could take it.

How it worked:  This was the second time I hosted a booksprint.  I fell into the first one, invited by a group of people who wanted to put their talents to work in a different way than simply writing a report to close their two years of researching together.  What I experienced there led me to believe that there is both a strength and little bit of magic to hothousing a collaborative project together. 

When I met Jeroen Blijsie at the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP...

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Find the WHY behind your story

I haven't seen The Greatest Showman yet, but I'm predisposed to like movie musicals -- I got it from my mother. I'm also the person who loves stories -- the behind-the-scenes-what-really-happened-and-how-it-was -- kind of stories. That's why I love this one.

Seems it has taken Hugh Jackman eight years to get this movie made. His vision and commitment led the way for the project's greenlighting and was the inspiration for the entire cast. He also has the reputation for being a very good human and all-around nice guy, as well as being extremely multi-talented. He himself talks about loving to try things and play. All of these qualities make this an excellent example of purposeful and intentional leadership that creates a learning, creative environment. This clip shows what happened when he couldn't help himself but take up the charge. And everyone else responds! And if you listen to the words of the song, they are about a leader finding his deeper purpose -- the WHY behind his story.

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