A Squidoo lens focused on how to lead through conversation

This new Squidoo lens provides a look at my work and interest in a variety of areas where conversation is the foundation. I welcome conversations on any of these topics and welcome ideas where we might be able to collaborate together to change the world.

Conversational leadership: This is where most of my current work as a Leadership Development Manager is focused. I have a deep seated belief that conversation is at the core of relationships and performance improvement.

Sustainability: Social and ecological responsibility are a passion of mine. I will explore and provide a lens into some of the better work in this critical area of focus.

Conversation: I believe that conversation can change the world. I again will explore and provide a lens into some of the better work in this critical area of focus.

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Possibilities: I see greatness in you

Can you imagine the healing in our world if only everyone in leadership saw possibilities in their team members rather than deficiencies? Can you imagine if we all said to our team members, “I see possibilities in you. I see greatness in you. I want to reach out and help you develop the greatness I see in you.” Instead all to often we say to our team members, “You are not good enough. All I see in you are your inadequacies.” I can hear a collective human cry, “Please someone see what possibilities I have and reach out to help me develop my greatness. I do have greatness in me, I am just not sure what it is or how to access it. Please reach out and help me.” And quite honestly, this is the role of a conversational leader. How can you lead if you can not see greatness in others? I just do not see how that can be.

At the end of a three day leadership development course I teach within my organization, we play a video, “Leadership: an Art of Possibility” produced by Groh Productions. This is one of the most powerful videos that I have ever seen. We speak to possibilities throughout the workshop and this video drives home the message that if we were only to see possibilities in our team members, we could help transform their lives. If we can do that, we can help create healthy team member who will create healthy families and healthy homes for our children to grow up in. The possibilities are extraordinary.

I don’t know about you, but I long for someone, anyone to tell me that they see greatness in me and possibilities that I do not yet see. Sometimes I feel that just because people see that I have my “act together” that I don’t need a helping hand. Each of us can use a helping hand. A mentor to help us navigate the complex waters of the communities within which we work, play, and contribute. I can only imagine what it would feel like to have someone come to me and say, “I see possibilities in you. I see greatness in you. I would like to help you achieve that greatness.”

So my plea to you is to reach out and start this conversation with those who count on you for support. Your friends, your family, you significant other, your children, your employees, your students, and your peers. I believe that you can change the world through the act of engaging in these simple conversations.

I wish you the best and keep up the conversations.

John

Coaching and Conversation

There is much being written about coaching as a management framework. There are steps and models, and what to do and what not to do’s out there. My feeling is that it all boils down to conversation. To coach one needs to be in conversation with another person. Not telling, not demanding, not scolding, not demeaning, but simply respectful and courteous conversation. Let’s not make this to complicated. Management is difficult enough as it is particularly if employee development is viewed as important as it should be.

I have read that 85% of managers are unwilling to discipline as they are uncomfortable with conflict. If they would default to having a conversation with someone, getting to know that persons life, issues, fears, concerns, and struggles, it would be so much easier to reach out a helping hand to assist rather than punish which seems to be the prevailing paradigm.

Learn the simple art of conversation and management will be more effective. People will be treated with respect and courtesy, and the enterprise will be far more effective and efficient in delivering the value to the customers.

Coach on and stay in conversation and have far more fun being a manager and leader.

John

Welcome to Learning Conversations

Welcome to learning conversations. My passion is creating learning in communities. All communities, from small to large. I do this through conversation. Conversation is not discussion, debate, or even dialogue, even though it is closest to dialogue. I use the word conversation deliberately. So I would like to set the stage for this blog and hopefully not return to the dry etymology of the word conversation.

Etymology (where did these words come from or what is the source of their meaning):

discussion – c.1340, from O.Fr. discussion, from L.L. discussionem “examination, discussion,” in classical L., “a shaking,” from discussus, pp. of discutere “strike asunder, break up,” from dis- “apart” + quatere “to shake.” Meaning of “talk over, debate” first recorded 1448. Sense evolution appears to have been from “smash apart” to “scatter, disperse,” then in post-classical times via the mental process involved to “investigate, examine,” then to “debate.”

debate – 14c., from Fr. debattre, orig. “to fight,” from de- “down, completely” + batre “to beat.”
dialogue – 12c., from O.Fr. dialoge, from L. dialogus, from Gk. dialogos, related to dialogesthai “converse,” from dia- “across” + legein “speak.” Mistaken belief that it can only mean “conversation between two persons” is from confusion of dia- and di-.

conversation – 1340, from O.Fr. conversation, from L. conversationem (nom. conversatio) “act of living with,” prp. of conversari “to live with, keep company with,” lit. “turn about with,” from L. com- intens. prefix + vertare, freq. of vertere (see convert). Specific sense of “talk” is 1580. Used as a synonym for “sexual intercourse” from at least 1511, hence criminal conversation, legal term for adultery from late 18c.

converse (adj.) – 1570, from L. conversus “turn around,” pp. of convertere “to turn about” (see convert). Originally mathematical.

Con versare: To Dance Together is a paper that I wrote that captures the foundation of my work in conversation. The one quote that captures this more than anything else is:

Conversation is the natural way we humans think together –Wheatley

Conversation is in essence an experiential feeling based exchange. It is not dry or matter of fact, it is as though you are in an intimate exchange with a friend. When you lose your self while talking with someone else you are in conversation. You are in a dance together. Tools I use include World Cafe, circles, and a myriad of other collaborative and cooperative tools and strategies. All of then drive conversation when they are at their best.

Learing is the outcome of conversation and that is why this blog is a learning conversation blog. I welcome a conversation about this important topic and maybe we all will learn a bit more about how we learn together.

If you would like to explore other links to sites that are learning organization, living systems, organic systems, complex adaptive systems, social systems, and self-organization based, you are welcome to visit my web links and explore. And of course pass on others that I can add to my collection.

So on with the conversation. Welcome to learning conversations.

John