Theory is clean, practice is messy

Eric Zimmerman has a great post based on his experience of teaching design. A lot of this resonates with my own practice doing training/facilitation. He puts a big emphasis on practice and craft. Actually making things rather than just talking about making things. Models and frames are useful but not the truth: The “truth” of […]

Difficult conversations. The clue is in the title.

Chris Rodgers writes: Life in organisations is unavoidably messier and more uncertain than the formal strategies structures systems and processes imply. And yet most discussions of organisational management and leadership practice remain firmly rooted in mainstream presumptions of certainty, predictability and control. And this is all too apparent when you look at many approaches to […]

When not to give people the answer

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea – St Exupery Do you remember those early days of the internet when people claimed, “content is king”? A lot […]

Trusting learning will emerge

Re-reading The Inner Game of Work I really resonate with what Gallwey has to say about trusting that learning will emerge. He explains how his approach to tennis coaching evolved away from being an expert making diagnoses and offering criticisms, towards a more experimental and playful approach: Perhaps the most difficult thing about this new […]

Sharing the learning

I like coaching and facilitating more than teaching. I’ve written before about the perils of teacher trance. So I like this quote from Claude Bernard: It’s what we know already that prevents us from learning. I think the sense of shared discovery and surprise is one the best of human experiences. It might be what […]

Talk is Action

I’ve blogged before my concerns about the idea that action is superior to talk. I can understand people getting frustrated when conversations seem to loop in circles that don’t lead anywhere. And I get more impatient than most with pedantic over-academic discussions that seem to keep us stuck lobbing conversational grenades at each other. But […]

Turning anxiety into action

Antony Mayfield writes about the psychological benefits of running. It is hard to run. To get yourself out the door is hard. To run the first mile in cold in rain, in the dark is hard. To keep going after mile four and take the road that heads away from home instead of closer to […]

The problem with advice

Edith Zimmerman has some wise things to say about advice: After editing an advice column for two years I’ve decided that there is no such thing as advice. There are only problems and the ways people handle them. Advice, on the other hand, is when you hear a description of someone else’s problem and then […]

Small gestures…

Years ago I was at a fascinating workshop exploring the drama triangle. That’s an idea from transactional analysis that sees people playing one of three postions when in conflict: persecutor victim or rescuer. The trainer asked us to play out little scenes in which we tried out the various roles. She offered this sidecoach: see […]

Illusions of strategy

Mark Earls makes a point worth repeating: The thing thing and the people thing. One of the most unhelpful assumptions I come across most when I’m talking about how things spread is this: our assumption that the thing is the thing… In other words, that in order to spread, a thing (or idea or word) […]