Our world moves so fast we all want it done now, or yesterday – whatever “it” is. The paradox is, we don’t have time to go fast anymore. But it’s not just about slowing down. It’s slowing down, adding in intentionality, purposefulness and patterns of movement – often non-linear and iterative – to take us to places we’ve never been before but that we’ve dreamed and know have to be possible. We want to get to this new place but we keep repeating the patterns that have never gotten us there before – Einstein’s definition of insanity.
Add into the mix, the complexity of today’s challenges generally means it is not a straight path from A to B and even if it is, your destination is probably somewhere else.
What does slowing down mean? One is taking the time to acquire new lenses with which to view the challenges and complexity we face. Another is learning how to use conversational methodologies well – tuned into purpose and intention as a guiding principle for how to design, enter and engage the questions of most relevance to what’s needed now – in growing learning, tackling innovation or bridging organizational divides. It is not simply a learning and development opportunity. It can be a formidable strategy to grow an organization, engage a challenge, conceive of innovative processes and/or products that serve the mission or mandate of your organization – as you already know.
These things are all possible using the principles and practices alive in Art of Hostingpractices and frameworks. Art of Hosting is not just a training. Seasoned practitioners use it in consulting work all over the world – in every sector, for small and large initiatives, to launch new organizations and teams and to shift whole systems. It is not just theory. It is today’s complex challenges made real. And it takes time.
For the training work we do, we often get asked about three days. When money is no issue the larger question that looms is, “Is it worth three days of my time?” Well, that depends. On how aware you are of the value of slowing down to go fast – slowing down to allow insight to percolate, new perspectives to digest into new approaches and new strategies to emerge in animated and reflective conversation with other bright lights called to gather together in three days. Because there are an amazing number of bright lights who show up for any training – of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives.
The beauty of being in 3 days or more with the same group of people is it invites the pattern of divergence-groan zone/emergence-convergence to show up. There are many times when I’ve been asked at the end of day 2 of a three day training how is it going? If I write that story, it is a very different story of what emerges because even subtle things shift and change in one more overnight or one more conversation evoked through a powerful question. There is something in a three day pattern that lets us sense more fully into what our questions are, explore them in the company of others also asking powerful questions, seeing not just synergy but emergence – where we all gain something that no one person brought into the room, and we begin to imagine, often with extensive detail, how we will use what we’ve learned when we go back to work.
Not everything needs to slow down of course. Not everything needs three days. Some need less. Many need more. But we refuse to take the time – we believe we don’t have the time, other things are more pressing, we will get too far behind – lots of limiting beliefs we carry individually and collectively. But what about the things that do need three days and maybe longer? Percolation does. New perspectives often do. Imagining – really imagining the new – does. Shifting paradigms does.
When we give ourselves permission to slow down we also invite ourselves to be surprised by what emerges and how fast things move with new clarity. It is a wise investment of time and necessary for those of us imagining how to shift the shape of the worlds we touch.
(Originally published at ShapeShift: http://shapeshiftstrategies.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/slowing-down-t...)