The Art of Hosting

Self-management & public administration -> AoH practitioners as artists

A thread on the AoH emaillist that is worth keeping - many great topics were raised!!!!
July 2017: Tatiana Glad a href="" target="_blank">> wrote:
perhaps some of you working with the European Commission and/or those of you following already saw this - but thought useful testimony to put through on this list especially for those working with public administrations 
credit to Samantha Slade @Sam5


Chris Corrigan a href="" target="_blank">> wrote:

One thing I have never understood about Laloux's work is the insistence on transformation being top down. Culture and evolution don't work like that. Can someone tell me about the basis for his theory? Evolutionary purpose is emergent yet is seems constructed in these examples. Also notable is how many organizations change away from Teal if the CEO or the owners change. If teal is actually a new way if being than surely it's root in organizational culture would transcend any leadership changes at the top. This article is interesting:
Also I'd like to point out that the developmental timeline used by Laloux and Wilber is PAINFULLY Eurocentric. Human cultures have developed and evolved in a myriad of different ways around the world. Is anyone in India, Thailand, Mali or Tuvalu or elsewhere finding this work relevant and applicable?
Asking with genuine curiosity. 
Helen Titchen Beeth a href="" target="_blank">>:
Hi Chris,
I love your question - I also challenged this insistence that there has to be ‘teal thinking’ at the top of an organisation in order for these practices to stick. And yet… Embedded as I am in a hierarchical bureaucracy, I see all around me the deep conditioning which allows people to tolerate being subject to a paternalistic culture. And so, yes, I am still seeing many, many people who need permission before they can start to be free. Like battery hens let out of their cages, to begin with they flop all over the place and just want to go back inside where it’s safe. It takes months, even years, to build up the muscles of independence and purpose-led self-organising co-action. 
I guess that as human beings, succumbing to conditioning into the dominant collective we are born into is part of of how we survive. I think this is true of all cultures. People respond to their conditioning in different ways - and some cultures are more lenient with rebels than others - but getting to a place where we can start to deconstruct that conditioning is quite a journey. Based on the developmental research of Robert Kegan and Co rather than Clare Graves and Co (Spiral Dynamics), this deconstructing behaviour belongs to ‘stage 5’ on the spectrum of adult development. A place that (if I recall correctly) fewer than 5% of the population gets to. This means deconstructing one’s social conditioning and one’s own developed value system - regardless of the content and culture that conditioning comes from.
I think that European civilisation (including modern North American countries in that) have undergone more transformations (complexifications due to evolving life conditions) than most other cultures in the world. The danger lies in classifying these more complex cultures as superior. We’re certainly cooking ourselves up a lovely cauldron full of challenges!
Sending you my love, Chris - keep on critiquing!
Ágota Éva Ruzsa a href="" target="_blank">>:
Dear Helen and Chris, 
What a great start for a major and very relevant theme. 
Both the question on wondering about the Western European development as a "model" for societal evolution and the reflection on change in organizations and society is exciting.
Long time ago I always wondered why it seemed so important for some to adapt any new methodology and thinking exported from the "West" to our Hungarian setting and had a judgemental approach that it is the typical Hungarian attitude to believe that we ARE different and just cannot be like the others. Yet the truth is that none of the so called foreign approaches seem to have taken roots in an organic way in our social and organizational practices. They might have been taken on board without much change and were a bit of a sensation and fad and trend for a while, yet have not really swept through the collective consciousness of the people in the country. Then later I thought that it is due to the lack of dialogic, emergent processes that do impact the collective intelligence of the people, so i did commit myself to them. by now I am hesitant and a lot more aware and have slowed down in assuming that all fits everywhere. 
it seems that the long emphasized value of diversity has its role in social contexts of our emergent global society  and many assumed values need be held at bay when it comes to other societies with a different history and social and cultural psyche. 
Thus now I have turned my attention towards deep dialogues to enhance understanding of where we are at, what we hold precious and learn to appreciate them ALL without any desire to wanting to change and influence.... be it hierarchical, teal, or authocratic, etc.... 
Generating dialogue spaces without any, I mean any underlying assumptions and hopes - just to hold  AN AWARE and appreciative SPACE  seems to be the possible next step, where the word change becomes a self generative process without any particular goal and desire. 
--------------------- Rainer v. Leoprechting wrote: > Dear all, > > I love that thread! We have the theme on the agenda of our Art of Hosting gathering/training in Obenaus this 11-13 August. > One of the elements to consider is how the four-fold practice can be seen as a developmental practice, spiraling up our individual and collective hosting consciousnesses. > > > > Warmly from Obenaus, Austria, > > Rainer ------------------------ Ria Baeck <>: Hello Rainer, wondering if you - or anyone else - has been writing about 'the four-fold practice as developmental practice' - because I am not sure what you mean by it. I have always seen it as an iterative process, but that might not be what you have in mind. Whenever you write about it, let us know! with love, Ria ------------------------ Rainer v. Leoprechting <> wrote: Hi Ria, It is an hypothesis to be explored this AoH inquiry/training in Obenaus. My hunch is that the four-fold practice can be read in the light of spiral development and then produce insights in levels of consciousness of the practitioner, their requisite alignment with the tasks at hand. And in general make AoH more compatible with next stage organizing. I'm sure there will be a little article coming out of this :-) Warmly, Rainer ---------------------- Chris Corrigan <> wrote: I understand your inquiry. For me I’ve been looking at the development of AoH practitioners as artists. There has been a great deal of work done over the last 50-60 years on artisanal learning, and I have compiled a little set of links of research on this topic which I have found interesting. I’m musing on this a little bit as we are trying to work with AoH learners to help them see that their job is to develop an artisanal mindset and approach to work rather than seeing facilitation as a technical practice. At any rate, here are some links. Between them perhaps you will see some basic principles of artisanal learning that also show up in our AoH community: development of skills in practice, mentorship and the concept of the guild and mastery. Chris ------------------------ Linda <> wrote: > YES YES YES to the ART, it is an art …..not painting by numbers but creating beauty and form > > Fabulous thanks for sharing Chris xx ------------------------ Chris and I did a video blog together talking about the artistry of Hosting work (not a technical skill you can get a certificate for!) ... you can see it here : Tim ------------------------ Thomas Perret <> Hi Chris, For me the top down "requirement" is clear. It's a stick in the ground to provide the space for another kind of "being inside a being". It's due to the ownership structure, because the CEO represents the legal ownership and consequential hierarchy. Were it a cooperative, the morphogenetic field would be different from the start. If the thing is owned by someone also than the staff equally, this power needs to be in support of equality, which needs a stand. Without this blessing to consciously clear way for another morphogenetic field, it gets "sucked back in". A metamorphosis needs a cocooning. Thomas ------------------------ From Rainer: Hi Chris, It is because the Artisans of Hostings are indeed that: artisans, their development cannot be dissociated from their very personal development of Self. It is in that area that developmental psychology has brought in useful advances in knowledge. We now know how humans evolve as individuals. The form of this can be described as a spiral movement between Me and We, like in the model of Robert Kegan. Now the understanding where an artisan of hosting is in their practice is at the same time an understanding of where that person is in their life journey. That makes our work so juicy, we're in it for ourselves as much as for our clients and social challenges we engage with. So how is the four-fold practice manyfold in its various levels? How do we measure the requisite level of practice towards a task at hand? How do we measure the level of practice needed, in the first place? As "TEAL" is a level of consciousness (in principle an individual-focused statement), it's hard to say an organization is at a consciousness level (a collective-focused statement). What one can aspire towards is to explore how a system of human interactions (an organization) looks and feels like if lead and influenced from a "Teal" level of consciousness. In other words, what is an organization likely to receive from an artisan with a young adult level of consciousness compared to a Chris Corrigan level? And what does the organization in question require for the current task, and what does it require for the more complex task in the shadow of the current task and so on. Notice I just take Teal as a shorthand for a somewhat more developed level of consciousness. I just notice this thread has gone far beyond the issue of public sector, yet its deep link with the prevalent organizational system of bureaucracy makes it still relevant. Some say there are ways to organize where the control and boss functions are replaced by self-management and alignment processes. That's the for us artisans. What are the processes many people have already done some design on. At what level of practice to do them? has been a more hidden question so far as I can see. Good vibes from over the Atlantic, Rainer ------------------ from Chris Corrigan: Cultures change (or don’t) because the interactions between actors in a system change, and that is down the physical context in which people operate. Human brains are very good at pattern entrainment. Ever notice how a conversation is different in a board room than it is in a park? One reason we work with things like circles for conflict resolution is that the very shape itself helps disrupt the cognitive patterns that people get in when they are seated around a board room table. Never try to resolve a conflict in the very place in which it happens. A leader can create a new physical container for people or change the rule structure of constraints and so on. But culture is emergent and it will emerge in a non-directed and unpredictable way. To change culture, make small changes, learn what works and support that. And be sure to stop doing things that aren’t serving you. Which means you have to look for things that are working and things that are not. My issue is not that people at the top don;t have power, it’s that they don't have power to decide that the culture of an organization will be one thing or another. You cannot decide that the culture will be “teal” (or any other pre0determined ideology) and then pull a few levers and make it so. Spiral dynamics is an interesting theory of cultural evolution (interesting, but not accurate, in my mind) but it makes the fatal mistake of predicting future events from patterns of the past. Tier two consciousness simply cannot be predicted from the sum total of tier one layers, regardless of whether they are actually true depictions of stages and levels. Chris ----------------------- From David Cooper Thanks Chris for referring to developmental psychology and spiral imagery. Long ago, I read the book by Robert Kegan, the Evolving Self, and was intrigued by the spiral imagery of development used in his book. I recommend the book and the imagery therein. Lever-pulling thinking and planning may work for some things; however, in human development linear, production orientation simply does not yield what might be expected. Best, Dave ---------------------- John Mortimer <> wrote: To Helen, Chris, and others… I wanted to reply to the top down discussion about culture and change and permission to change. I find it really fascinating... From my view, the way I see organisations work today, is that employees need to have a common direction and guide to work towards. Imagine an organisation where people could do as they see fit. That might work in teal organisations, but they have to be created to work. In more traditional organisations the employee quickly learns what and how they have to behave. The senior managers seem to impart their direction and expectations on everyone else - whether they like it or not. I once helped a chief executive of a housing repairs organisation fthat provided social housing in the UK. She was a quaker, and passionately believed that her ideals of openness, honestly, talking, and letting people work as they see fit was the way to go. The organisation was a mess, with little direction of guidance. The cutlure was created by managers who recognised their chance to influence, and became bullies. They also reacted with hostility at the lack of guidance. The result was that she had to leave her post. I have never seen an organisation whose culture and way of working was not in some major way defined by the top. When I help leaders create teal structures and ways of operating, the result is local empowerment and devolved decision-making. But I cannot see how this can happen without the active work and leadership of the top. The senior leaders have a very important part to play to remove barriers to this way of working. The front line staff also need a framework to help them understand their boundaries, and how to react that is in sync with the rest of the public sector. Too often, I have designed this at the front end of the organisation, and it works well. After a year I go back and it has fizzled out because of opposing pressures from the top management imposing another way of working. As an example a project I have recently completed was where a part of the council that focus on enforcement - fining people who fly-tip, or drop litter, or have a messy front garden, or who create too much niose. They now operate very differently - they first talk to the person and look at the cause of why they are behaving that way they then help them with whatever is the root cause of the problem. The money received in fines has dropped drastically, but the resolution and the help people who are in need get, is very well received. However this can only happen because the leaders want it to, and they change their managing style and measures to ensure it happens. They also hacve to remove lots of barriers. There are a few middle managers who do not like this way of working - it gives front line people the freedom to decide on the course of action. If those managers do not change, then the leaders have to replace them. It would be interesting to hear other points on leaders and the culture they impose, John Mortimer ------------------------- My own sense of why it is that people need direction from top down is that we are still all so strongly conditioned from birth into the paternalistic thought habits of the paradigm of patriarchy that has ruled for so many thousands of years. This is very slowly starting to change, but it will take a few more generations, I think, before it finally gives way to something else. In the mean time we do what we can, and what will work… hence the need for liberated thinking at the top, a lot of patience and some really good practices. I see teal organisations as practice-based - you can practice a practice without having ‘teal-level consciousness’. Andpart of the work to be done in any organisation, I think, is an intentional conversation around the assumptions that the culture is grounded in. When an assumption is revealed and tested for adequacy and revealed to be an inaccurate representation of reality, another assumption can be introduced in its place - to be tested for veracity itself… Since practices are based on assumptions, it is good to practice making the implicit explicit wherever possible. :-) helen --------------------------- marco valente <> Dear mates, thank you all Listening with deep curiosity to this conversation RE: AoH and Teal practices; top down vs bottom up and what roles do they have in creating this emergent pattern of culture. A few threads to harvest, and a few ideas to chip in: Cultures cannot be mandated because indeed there is no such thing as a certainty of a pre-determined outcome in a complex adaptive system. It can be nudged but never really instructed -I very much agree with Chris on this point. But then the question comes: what's the role of hierarchy, power, advocacy in all this? Teal, Spiral Dynamics, and... are they useful, accurate frameworks to map out our reality? If I understood the inquiry from Rainer (please correct me) it seems like his inquiry sounds like: is the 4-fold practice path inherently developmental? That is: if and when AoH is practiced for long enough and held as a conversational DNA, does it lead to vertical development? (or, given all that has been said before about no certainty of outcomes, better say: is it 'conducive to vert dev'?) I find this question really fascinating because myself I do not use anymore neither Spiral Dynamics nor Integral Theory to inform my ideas of development (long story short: I don't find them theoretically and methodologically sound, theory and its staunchest followers have built logical tricks make it seem unfalsifiable, etc.) But I do believe that Kegan's approach to vertical development is more academically robust. Essentially Kegan argues that vertical development happens along a line of increasing capacity to hold complexity and "make sense" of things; along with it goes a deeper capacity to be aware of one's assumptions and hold them as objects of observation. What I really like about Kegan, and especially some of his scholars like Jennifer Berger (her book Changing on the Job is great by the way) is that she talks about developmental practices which can help a person develop because they are inherently pushing a person towards questioning assumptions, taking increasing responsibility for their own thoughts and emotions, etc. Kegan calls it moving things from subject (we are own by our filters of reality, assumptions, etc) to object (we can see them in front of us and choose what to do with them. I am simplifying a lot) Practices such as deep listening, the iterative and reflective loops of harvesting, maybe can be (are?) inherently developmental in that they are geared towards moving things from subject to object, which may be in line with what Helen pointed to "making the implicit explicit whenever possible". This is in fact one thing I do not understand yet about Teal organizations: if we build a community of practice that is well-versed into conversations that matter, and hold practices that are inherently developmental (or: have the potential to be) then it is more about what we consistently do (e.g. practice listening and being aware of our assumptions and judgements during every meeting) than organizational structures, specific forms of hierarchy. PS: Which to me comes as the question: are we doing this already in the AoH community? PPS: I believe there is nothing wrong with vertical development (on the contrary it can be great) as long as is never mandated on anyone as a form of cultural colonialism (e.g.: who gets to decide which people need to change? and in which direction? and have these people that need to 'be changed' been asked their opinion on this matter?) A bow, m.

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