I was introduced to the work of Joanna Macy during a memorable exercise facilitated by Chris Seeley at one of the Narrative Leadership gatherings I attended in Stroud.
I bought the book, full title ‘Coming Back to Life – The updated guide to the work that reconnects’ and discovered an amazing parallel world of explaining complex systems, emergence, attractors but without any of the ‘difficult language’. It also includes dozens of practical exercise for workshops that can be used separately or as a longer sequence.
Given my recent interest and connections with Robin Lincoln Wood who has written an entire book called ‘Synergise’ (more on that in a later post) I was most interested in her definition of ‘synergy’ very early on in the book.
Synergy – The first property of living systems. As parts self organise into a larger whole, capacities emerge that could never have been predicted and that the individual parts did not possess. The weaving of new connections brings new responses and new possibilities into play. In the process, we can feel sustained – and are sustained – by currents of power arising from our solidarity.
In her 12 guidelines, on page 60, for a ‘good’ workshop I particularly empathise with the following four, and will reference these in later posts as I describe a few of my workshops.
1. Attune to common intention
2. Welcome diversity
7. Believe no-one who claims to have the final answer
11. You do not need to see the results of your work
My last quote from this amazing book is directly about a ‘good workshop’.
A good workshop is a highly participative venture. One of the greatest gifts that a guide (facilitator) can offer to participants is the opportunity to listen to themselves and others.
Always take the pulse of the group to find out what is happening. This act of checking in helps people feel more engaged and responsible.