I was impressed to see how powerfully the approach of this project - which I see in part, as a synthesis of management techniques, mindfulness techniques and environmental consciousness - worked in the real world. What a diverse group of people and what interesting results. It was revealing to be able to see the various topics and exercises from the different viewpoints of an IT manager, a Bohm dialogue facilitator, a business psychologist and so on – and who can forget the special bond that developed between the activist and the construction managers!
From my Zen-influenced viewpoint it was heartening to see broad concepts such as “everything is connected/oneness“ and “change begins with the individual not systems” given real substance in practical situations. It was wonderful to see how the participants from the “corporate” world (I used to be there myself…) were entirely receptive to the new narratives for leadership - indeed they were often leading the group in introducing more playful responses to the exercises.
I am one of those with some initial doubts about a project framed around the word “leadership.” But the lightly handled theoretical part of the program completely justified its claim to rescue the concept of leadership from its old associations of elitism, division and control and reframe it in terms of change-making that is connected, responsible – and effective. The mixture of brief theoretical outlines and immersion in discussion, mindfulness and connection with nature was powerful and convincing.
The surroundings - the Welsh hills and old slate quarries (in the snow!), and the architecture, history and outlook of the Center for Alternative Technology - were an important part of the process for me. To be continually in contact with the natural world, away from everyday schedules and in an atmosphere of enquiry and relaxed playfulness was a great help to being in a receptive state of mind, and entirely in tune with the aims of the project.
The most productive parts of the module for me were the creative exercises (personalizing the workspace in particular) and the nature walks – and the discussions that followed them. I also enjoyed the theoretical talks, and they need to be there, but I would love to see more room for “letting go” and playfulness. On the other hand, after seeing things “in action” I found I then wanted to refer to the “Developing (Discovering!) New Leadership document.
19th March 2018