Le leadership conscient pour une efficacité accrue

Auteure : Stéphanie Bossé, CRHA

 

Chacun a la possibilité d’être un leader. Souvent, les plus inspirants des porteurs de projet ne sont pas ceux dont c’est la fonction officielle. Un des facteurs qui font d’une organisation un lieu où il fait bon travailler est la qualité du leadership. Lorsque le leadership fait ressortir le meilleur des gens, ceux-ci sont en retour plus courageux, plus créatifs et plus aptes à rendre de meilleurs services.

J’ai accompagné une multitude de leaders durant ma carrière en développement organisationnel. En tant que responsable du développement des compétences, j’ai pu observer l’évolution des attentes envers le leadership en fonction des contextes économiques et sociaux et des cultures organisationnelles. Peu importe leur style ou leur culture, l’attente des organisations demeure l’efficacité.

Ma collègue Sylvie Mercier a été un modèle et une inspiration pour moi. Elle a terminé une carrière dans le réseau de la santé comme directrice adjointe à la réadaptation et à la qualité de la pratique professionnelle. Elle exerce un leadership conscient par une pratique en continu. Si nous avons des données concrètes sur l’efficacité que génère ce type de leadership, l’expérience de Sylvie et ses observations rendent le succès de cette pratique encore plus évident.

L’entraînement au leadership conscient cultive la concentration, la présence attentive, la clarté, la compassion et la bienveillance, favorisant ainsi le bien-être.

Cela se traduit par :

  • la capacité à prendre du recul dans les moments de tempête;
  • une manière d’agir plus posée et agile;
  • la justesse dans la prise de décision;
  • l’amélioration de la qualité des communications interpersonnelles.

Ces compétences permettent de mieux s’adapter à un environnement complexe et de garder le cap malgré les divers changements et incertitudes tout en étant capable de mobiliser les équipes vers la réussite.

Le leadership

Si la plupart des individus sont doués d’une certaine aptitude au leadership, ils doivent néanmoins développer des qualités spécifiques pour exprimer ce leadership à son plein potentiel. C’est par la pratique et l’expérience que s’acquièrent les qualités de leader tout comme la pleine conscience.

Débutons en proposant une définition simple de ce qu’est le leadership : c’est l’art d’amener des personnes à accomplir une tâche volontairement.

Pour un leader, la pleine conscience est génératrice, entre autres, d’efficacité. En  développant notre efficacité et notre capacité à lire l’environnement, nous nous ouvrons à une plus grande lucidité et à une plus grande cohérence entre nos valeurs et nos actions, favorisant ainsi un plus grand bien-être. Ces compétences sont bénéfiques dans toutes les sphères de notre vie et ont des répercussions sur les gens qui nous entourent.

L’efficacité

L’efficacité est une valeur importante en gestion et constitue une préoccupation majeure pour les personnes et les organisations. Comment vivre avec cette pression qui descend du haut vers le bas et avec les nombreuses redditions de comptes? L’efficacité est la capacité d’une personne, d’une chose ou d’une approche à produire les résultats attendus. Sur le plan individuel, l’efficacité consiste à bien utiliser le temps, l’énergie et les talents dont on dispose afin de laisser, ultimement, une empreinte positive sur le monde.

Les leaders qui possèdent un fort sentiment d’efficacité démontrent plus d’aisance dans le recours à leurs compétences clés de leadership. Ils s’y ressourcent plus souvent et avec plus de bénéfices que ceux qui ont un faible sentiment d’efficacité (Anderson et al., 2008). Ils sont capables de plus d’introspection. Ils sont ainsi conscients des possibilités et sensibles aux points de vigilance. Ils possèdent suffisamment d’assurance pour vivre selon leurs valeurs, exprimer leurs convictions et ainsi développer leur propre style de leadership.

Un leadership en pleine conscience

La pratique de la pleine conscience est un parcours que le leader doit aborder avec l’esprit du débutant, soit observer le monde et ses expériences avec un regard neuf, détaché des croyances forgées par le passé. Il s’agit de faire preuve de curiosité, sans attendre un quelconque résultat. Pour ce faire, le leader doit s’offrir des moments de recul au cours desquels il apprivoise la tranquillité et le silence afin de pouvoir faire le vide et prendre une saine distance face à son environnement.

Le leader conscient se démarque par sa capacité à développer sa présence et son attention au quotidien. Il est présent dans ce qu’il accomplit. Il est à l’écoute de lui-même, d’autrui et de son environnement. Plutôt que de s’ancrer dans des mécanismes de défense malsains face à l’adversité, il recherche la clarté en se donnant de l’espace pour porter un regard introspectif et bienveillant sur lui-même et sa performance.

La pleine conscience, c’est :

  • Prendre conscience de ce qui est là : nos multitudes de pensées, nos émotions, notre ressenti et nos actions;
  • Identifier nos habitudes et nos automatismes qui guident et même dictent notre quotidien au travail et dans notre vie personnelle;
  • Observer nos pensées actuelles et se demander si elles sont ancrées dans le passé, dans le présent ou dans le futur;
  • Comprendre ce qui se passe maintenant en adoptant une attitude d’ouverture et de bienveillance;
  • Être présent ici et maintenant sans juger, sans rejeter ce qui se passe, sans se laisser entraîner par l’agitation.

Il faut passer du « mode par défaut » au mode conscient. Par nature, notre esprit ressasse sans cesse. On pense, on fantasme, on planifie, on se raconte des histoires, on questionne le passé, on a peur du futur, on imagine des choses. La pleine conscience nous permet d’ajuster ce « mode par défaut ».

Le leadership conscient exige une connaissance de sa propre personne, de son identité et de ses aspirations. On ne peut séparer la pratique personnelle de la pratique professionnelle : c’est une posture à développer. C’est un parcours où l’on s’entraîne à être ouvert à la découverte, à apprendre, à grandir et à être curieux. On apprend à développer une communication libérée du jugement et empreinte de bienveillance, à véritablement écouter l’autre afin de créer des relations authentiques.

Malgré la turbulence, un praticien de la pleine conscience en situation de gestion difficile invite les personnes à se connecter à ce qui est en présence, offre un espace sécuritaire permettant de prendre du recul et de bien analyser la situation. Cet espace permet de porter un regard plus appréciatif et propice au développement. Il permet également de mieux voir les forces chez l’autre et mobilise ainsi le potentiel vers le but du projet et l’atteinte des objectifs vers lesquels on travaille.

Voici quelques effets bénéfiques de la pleine conscience sur l’efficacité :

  • Augmentation des capacités d’attention (présence attentive) et de mémoire nécessaires au contexte du travail;
  • Diminution du stress par le fait de prendre conscience : cela permet de passer entre autres d’une réaction automatique à une réponse mieux adaptée à la situation stressante;
  • Diminution de l’intensité et de la fréquence des ruminations, des réactions de défense engendrant les émotions négatives;
  • Augmentation de la lucidité dans la prise de décision face aux impacts potentiels.

Les petits pas à intégrer pour un leader conscient

Le cheminement vers le leadership conscient se fait pas à pas en intégrant des moments de pratique dans le quotidien au travail. L’entraînement régulier sur une période de temps suffisante permet de sortir de l’agitation chronique, de l’immédiateté et de la réactivité et de revenir à l’instant présent. Les méthodes informelles offrent des moyens accessibles d’intégrer l’entraînement à la pleine conscience sans trop ajouter à la liste de choses à faire.

Sylvie mentionne que dans le quotidien du travail, les transitions entre les tâches sont une belle opportunité d’intégrer des moments de pratiques informelles de pleine conscience, plus spécifiquement de respiration consciente. Elle nous propose d’oser intégrer un moment d’arrêt bénéfique dans notre quotidien.

Voici quelques exemples de pratiques informelles de pleine conscience :

  • Respirez à fond avant d’ouvrir un autre document ou un autre onglet;
  • Portez votre attention sur vos sensations lorsque vous sortez d’une rencontre;
  • Lorsque vous vous déplacez pour aller à une rencontre, concentrez-vous sur les bruits ambiants et sur le balancement de votre corps au lieu de ressasser les discussions passées ou de planifier votre prochaine rencontre;
  • Prenez l’escalier plutôt que l’ascenseur et montez en pleine conscience en harmonisant vos pas à votre respiration;
  • Utilisez les feux rouges comme des cloches de pleine conscience. Ralentissez, arrêtez de penser et profitez-en pour respirer;
  • Évitez de vous précipiter avant de répondre au téléphone. Respirez deux fois avant de répondre et vous serez ainsi présent pour la personne qui appelle;
  • Avant d’arriver à une rencontre, visualisez une personne calme et sereine. Prenez refuge dans cette personne pour rester calme;
  • Téléchargez une cloche de pleine conscience dans votre ordinateur et réglez-la de façon à ce qu’elle sonne tous les quarts d’heure. Étirez-vous et détendez-vous à chaque fois qu’elle sonnera.

Un leader plus conscient sera non seulement plus efficace, mais il aura aussi un effet bénéfique sur son bien-être et celui de son équipe. À méditer!

 

Venez découvrir les témoignages recueillis suite à l’activité du 22 octobre 2019 sur le leadership conscient et efficace avec l’approche de l’enquête appréciative, une expérience vitalisante.

 

Références pour approfondir le sujet :

  • Audebrand, Luc K. (2018). Le management responsable. Une approche axiologique. Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 200 pages.
  • Choi, Ellen, et Michael J. Rouse (2014). Leadership en pleine conscience. Cultiver la sagacité et la sagesse au travail. Ivey Business School.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (2014). L’art de communiquer en pleine conscience. Montréal, Le Jour, 176 pages.
  • Kabat-Zinn, Jon (2012). Au cœur de la tourmente, la pleine conscience. Le manuel complet de MBSR, ou réduction du stress basée sur la mindfulness. Paris, J’ai lu, 794 pages.
  • Marturano, Janice (2016). Leadership conscient. Guide pratique pour diriger en pleine conscience. Bruxelles, De Boeck Supérieur, 220 pages.
  • Peillod-Book, Lise, et Rébecca Shankland (2016). Manager en pleine conscience. Devenez un leader éthique et inspirant. Malakoff (France), Dunod, 262 pages.
  • Diana Whitney, et al. (2019). Pratique de l’Appreciative Inquiry dans les établissements de santé. Paris, InterÉditions, 220 pages.
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FlowGames at the Climate March

Autor : Leah Vineberg

In late August 2019, Percolab, a horizontal-practicing change consultancy co-op in Montreal, was approached by a couple of higher education institutions in the U.S., and in Québec, to design a platform for community conversations around climate change for schools and universities. The design team was comprised of change consultants Louise Kold-Taylor, Samantha Slade, and myself. Our initial inquiry began with a simple, but charged question: “What is needed?” To which a first, simple answer arose: hosting. The conversations need to be held, with care, with supportive guidance. And so, we began to ask, “How do we host a safe and brave space to help deepen the questions folks are holding around climate change- in a way that supports collective solutions to arise, naturally?” Our design began to stretch its applicability beyond only serving the university communities and out toward any group, business, community, city, province, country.

Climate change is what we call a wicked problem; it is complex. It is also a systems issue. The pedagogy around systems-change is that the system knows the solutions to the problems it is facing and needs only a wholesome and supportive context- and some hosting– for the path forward, the solutions- to emerge. With the climate crisis we are facing now, and knowing that insights into the way forward can come from anywhere within the system, we must consult the stakeholders- and, in this case, we are all stakeholders. What contexts can we create wherein folks can be held where they are, in relation to climate instability, and also be gently invited into engaging with the crisis constructively? What is needed for us to begin innovating with one another, such that solutions from the collective can be accessed, harnessed, and directed into action?

Leah Vineberg writer

This article recounts one particular action carried out with these questions in mind. A number of FlowGames were hosted at the endpoint of the Climate March with Greta Thunberg, in Montreal, on September 27, 2019. We, the designers and facilitators of this action, thought it could be valuable for folks to hear about our process. Via this article, I am capturing some of the thinking of our team, some of the known impact, and most of all, the questions we now carry forward into the next conversations and overall narrative around climate change. Whether folks are doing so consciously or not- we are all facing this crisis together, and we thought it vital to plant these seeds in the field of our continued collective inquiry on the matter. How may we relate to climate change, and to each other, in this charged and pivotal moment in human history?

Why FlowGame?

FlowGame is a hosted, interactive, dialogic game that allows individual participants or groups to work directly and intuitively with questions that matter to them, raising their consciousness around what actions may be possible right now. Each participant takes a turn, working with their own questions, and alternately, serving the queries of their fellow participants, as “wisdom council” for them. The game itself is also a player, offering its own enticing, sometimes confronting questions. The collective ground of inquiry deepens, with each roll of the dice. Typically, a FlowGame can take a number of hours, an iterative honing into the issues most dear to us, over several rounds of the game.

The idea of hosting FlowGames at the March arose out of a conversation between Samantha Slade, Mary Alice Arthur (a FlowGame Steward and highly experienced facilitator from the Art of Hosting community), and myself- over a delicious lunch at a Korean restaurant in Montreal. Both Samantha and Mary Alice are seasoned FlowGame hosts, and I had just experienced FlowGame for the first time, at a workshop hosted by Mary Alice the weekend before. I found FlowGame to be a remarkably powerful tool to help participants see their challenges in new and unanticipated ways, and also a spectacular opportunity for folks to rise up in service to each other’s greater understanding. The purpose of our meeting that day was to get Mary Alice’s eyes on our design for community conversations around climate change. However, as our own conversation evolved, Samantha had a moment of inspiration (as is known to happen), and the idea of hosting FlowGames at the upcoming Climate March, was born. We had 2.5 weeks to determine what was possible, and to plan. Samantha would be out of town for that time period. At the Percolab meeting later that afternoon, an ad-hoc design team was formed, and we would see what kind of support-action we could offer at the Climate March, that might include- or be inspired by FlowGame. Mary Alice returned to Ohio, but before she left, she accepted my wholehearted request to be trained by her in FlowGame, and we did the training intensively over a few days, on Zoom, 5 days before the March.

Team preparation

The Design Process

The design team (Hélène Brown, Antoine Daudelin, and myself- with key contributions by Clémence Ollier, Lori Palano and Louise Kold-Taylor), and the hosting team (Lori Palano, Jonathan Jubinville, Lucie Marcoux, Hélène, and myself) were teams that were working together for the first time. As such, we learned to collaborate with one another while designing, and while hosting. This is pertinent because, as we rise up to face climate change together, we will likely be called upon to work with people we do not know- and may not even like. What can override the tensions of differences is that we are all focused on something greater than ourselves- in this case, climate action. The fact that we all view things from a variety of perspectives is a crucial asset. Needless to say, the designing was rocky, in moments! But it was always meaningful, because we built with each other, and upon each other’s ideas, in trust and respect. We were also all very surrendered to the process- even it meant that we came to discover that an action was not possible- or that the conditions of such a huge protest would be too wild to harness… there were many elements we did not know; but overall, it was very inspiring. Some facilitators contributed to the design, but couldn’t stay, some contributed- but didn’t host, and some hosted, but were not part of the design.

We came to decide that we would prototype a drop-in version of the FlowGame, at the endpoint of the March, as a place of landing, deepening questions, and connecting with others. We chose to do a simple action, small- with however many hosts were available, and to see what would happen.

As the Climate March in the Spring of 2019 in Montreal had exceeded 150 000 people marching, Montrealers anticipated approximately double that number, especially once we learned that Greta would lead the March. For security purposes, the actual route people would follow was kept confidential until the day of the March. We had to work with a number of emergent forces.

The Day of The March

Once we knew the location, the hosts decided to meet up at a metro station nearby. I biked down to our meeting point, and, on the way, passed through the crowds gathering on the mountain- the starting point of the March. The growing energy of the climate defenders was palpable. The drums were going. It was exhilarating. Once we had all arrived at the meeting point, we took a full hour to determine where exactly we would place ourselves at the endpoint of the March. We found a slightly elevated spot on a rounded hill, right beside an enclosed playground. It was part of a large, grassy median-type area that spanned the length of the two wide roads on either side of it- all leading to the stage where Greta Thunberg would speak. The area was perfect, really; protected, enclosed by a fence to one side, near the playground, which would surely draw the younger families. It was near the crowds but not in them. The crowds of concerned citizens would later flow by us, for at least an hour straight, on both sides of this median area, in a way that seemed unending.

We were in touch with some people up on the mountain, and we estimated it would likely take them approximately 2 or 2.5 hours to get down to us from the time they left the starting point. That day, the weather was unseasonably warm, sun shining, and clear blue skies, while the days both before and after the March were cold and rainy. Our intention was to offer a place to anyone marching who wished to land, and process their questions. For safety purposes, we decided on the code”That’s a wrap!” if ever we found ourselves in a situation where the games had to be shut down. One of the hosts brought her 11-year old son along with her; he hung out reading a book, and agreed to guard all of our backpacks and jackets. We set up the games on the ground, and waited. A wonderful member of our community, Tatiane Reis, showed up on the day, with her boyfriend, who took most of the amazing photos, documenting the action. Tatiane held up our sign that said, in French and in English, “Come Join A Game! What questions are you carrying in your heart right now?” Time stood quietly still while we waited. Then, suddenly, an entire squad of police encircled us, throwing open the backpacks, and getting in our faces about what we were doing there. It was quite a stressful moment, as they were all carrying guns, and were a bit rough with the young boy, whose Mom rushed in to protect him. The police stayed in formation around us for a few tense minutes, and then moved on. We put the backpacks back together and recomposed ourselves, telling ourselves that the cops were there for Greta’s security and the security of everyone. But as we looked back at each other’s faces, and at the beautiful games laid out on the green grass, the cops’ intervention felt unnecessarily violent and stood in stark contrast to the protest and to our purpose in being there.

The Games

After a while, the crowds appeared, like two rivers, flowing to either side of us. Some folks ventured into the quieter median area, and some began to join the games. As ours were drop-in games, we crafted some prompting questions for people to work with easily, alternately inviting them to create a question of their own, if they wanted to. As Montreal is an officially bilingual city, the games were hosted in French and English and the questions written on the Q-cards were in both languages as well. The questions were: What has shifted for me today? What is possible now? What is the new story we want to tell? We hosted approximately 30 games total. We had 3 games going, two hosts per game, to help to hold the container. Some community members posted live on social media while the games were happening.

It feels important to mention that folks stopped for a game on their way to a further destination, that being: getting close to the stage to hear Greta speak. That said, by the time people got to us, they had been walking for close to 3 hours, and taking a moment to sit down, pause, and to deepen their questions in relative-quiet, turned out to be just the thing some people were looking for. The climate defenders arrived in various states-of-being, from angry to resigned to heartbroken to hopeful. One woman sat down with Hélène and I, put her hand on her heart, and just cried. One group of young room-mates arrived pretty jaded, but, by the time they took off again, they were re-engaged, coming up with new things they could do, as a household, to reduce their environmental impact. Many participants shared what seemed like already-well-formed answers, ideas and possible solutions to the climate crisis, in other words, what they already knew that they knew. The “opening of mind”- or the deepening of reflection- that typically comes in a FlowGame, with repeated rounds on a potent question, was rare in these drop-in games. However, what occurred to me nevertheless, was that the question of climate is being pondered by a huge number of diverse minds. Some very original insights were being shared, and, under different circumstances, these could be harvested, built upon in structured conversations with others, and directed into pathways forward. So many ideas, but here, all were passing like sand through fingers.

Hélène and I attempted to harvest key reflections participants had in our games. Here are some things people said:

  • Can we stop this cycle of emancipation and inevitable self-destruction?
  • This is a time for reflection before action.
  • Will people truly act upon what we know?
  • To create growth in our communities, we each need to set an example.
  • Be part of something positive.
  • We are waking up.
  • Put pressure on politicians.
  • Invest in the battle.
  • Help sensitize others.
  • What can we ourselves do, right now?
  • Patience.
  • Hope.
  • There is still much beauty to appreciate.
  • We can influence content by infusing it with deeper values.

Lori shared with me that she had a couple of high school students churn out what they may have thought to be “right answers” during the game, just as they would have done in school. There had been a mother and son who sat down for a game with her, who played the game within those habituated roles, with the mother explaining the cards to her son, and so on. Lori intervened a couple of times to support the young man in his own reflections, as a participant separate from, but equal to his Mom. To access the unprecedented knowledge we need- in the service of finding solutions for climate stability, we will need contexts that support each of us to step out of assigned roles, and into who we do not even know we can be.

Reflections

The FlowGames at the Climate March gave us, as change-makers, a temperature-read around how folks are holding the issue. Engaging with the game allowed concerned citizens an opportunity to engage with the issue of climate change, in the company and support of others. One question at a time, people were able to hold, in stable attention, a topic that can otherwise be so overwhelming it causes folks to just shut down, and, instead- begin to imagine new solutions. The game echoed the powerful and undeniable interdependence felt in the March, and nourished it even further. We are all living this moment in our human history, but how much are we living it together?

Childrens-future

The Monday following the March, people were still really high from the experience of protesting with half a million others. It was one of the biggest marches in the world, for the climate. It was really beautiful. Percolab had their weekly meeting that afternoon, and, along with members of the team who attended remotely and in-person, there were two guests. The hosts debriefed the prototype, and then we all reconnected with each other and ourselves, around the larger impact of the March. Some questioned whether there was an impact at all. Yet, there seemed to be something significant we could all feel. These games were just the beginning of the larger community conversations we will hopefully start having around climate change. They served as a temperature-read, and will guide us in our designs for future conversations. What is possible when we bring our voices together, collectively dreaming and beginning to create a life-affirming future for everyone? The passion to protect the planet is a flame in the wind. Like Greta, we must each charge ourselves with the responsibility of not falling back to sleep, and, together, keeping the torch lit.

ClimatActionTeam

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Going Horizontal, Read for You

Author: Denis Cristol
Translation: Oscar Chica
Originally published in MagRH, No 5 (March 2019)

 

Samantha Slade is a Quebec specialist in learning and self-management. She puts her talent at the service of the great causes of human development, about which she is passionate. Her book Going Horizontal is a compendium of collective intelligence practices taken from the management of Percolab, the company she created and developed in several countries.

Samantha starts from a simple observation. While we know how to lead our private lives, we are completely disempowered in our professional environments. The intention behind Going Horizontal is to initiate a movement towards greater engagement regardless of one’s place in the organization, starting with small steps, one after another. It is less about waiting for a hierarchy to solve all the problems than about thinking and acting horizontally while relying on one’s own talent and the talents of others.

For Samantha Slade, the horizontal is different from the flat, which erases all asperities. In a horizontal company, everyone finds their place. The practices that are proposed in this book help us to progress in a world where the hierarchical way of doing things is more and more obsolete.

 

Samantha Slade. Going Horizontal: Creating a Non-Hierarchical Organization, One Practice at a Time. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018.

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3 Strategies to Change your Workplace Culture by Changing Your Meetings

Author: Samantha Slade
Originally published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers

 

Meetings are an organization’s cultural backbone. How you run your meetings says more than you might think about how your organization functions. The bottom line is that meetings are an effective barometer for gauging how well your organization is doing in terms of productivity, innovation, and teamwork. If you dream of an engaged organization where people show up with their full creativity and potential and really share responsibility, meetings are an easy, low-risk place to grow this dream.

Most people find meetings stressful or boring and drag themselves to them. Hence, there is ample evidence to suggest people are ready for something new. When organizations are able to correct bad habits that stymie creativity, meetings become an ideal leverage point for transforming entrenched habits and beliefs in your culture.

Here are three simple meeting steps that invite everyone at the meeting to show up differently and collaboratively. With them, we tap into our collective agency and creativity. It’s a practice, which means you won’t get there by talking about it; you need to do it, reflect on how it went, and do it again. That’s how we change habits. We cannot expect it to be perfect on the first attempt.

 

1. Identify purpose and time

Ensure that your group agrees on the purpose and time of the meeting, because people have different assumptions, and this can create confusion and frustration. For example, a 60-minute meeting that focuses on clarifying the next steps of a project will be different from a 90-minute meeting that aims to find ways to improve relationships with the project partners. If you find yourself in a meeting where purpose and time are unclear, you can let the organizers know what your assumption is.

 

2. Co-create the agenda wisely on the spot

No single person can really know all that should be addressed at a meeting, nor should one person have to hold that on their own. Redistributing the responsibility of setting agenda items can be done by emphasizing the importance of initiative. The principle goes: “If there is something you see that is important to address, then write it on the agenda yourself and facilitate your agenda point.”

Identify to the group how much of the collective time and attention you want for your agenda item. Using the four agenda categories below shapes what will happen at each point and can boost intentional consciousness among the group:

  • Announcements (when you just want people to listen to you);
  • Feedback (when you want to listen to others);
  • Co-creation (when you want to work with your colleagues on something);
  • Proposals + decisions (when you want a collective decision on something).

Here’s an example of what a co-created agenda might look like (Bonus tip: Using a web-based collaborative tool, such as Google Docs or Asana, can make editable, live agendas a breeze to co-create):

 

Purpose of the meeting: the next steps for our project (60 min total)

Category Person Topic
Information/announcements Hana

Ed

Schedule update

Partner relations

Feedback/consult Paul

Marina

Results from interviews

Presenting our new service

Co-create / work together Hafid Ideas for next consultation activity
Proposal / decision making Maria Hire students?

 

Remember there is no rule that everyone needs to be in conversation all the time. You can be creative in how you run your agenda point. You can invite people to think silently for a minute before a go around or to position themselves in the room to express where they stand on a question. It’s up to you.

 

3. Run the meeting with roles

As an organization, make it a priority to designate meeting roles. Agree on who will be the meeting host, the time holder, and the note taker. It’s also critical to rotate these roles regularly if you want to develop participatory leadership. Setting an expectation around this flexibility can help streamline how roles are assigned. For example, there can be the expectation that everyone has a go at a role before anyone does it a second time or that roles rotate alphabetically by last name.

The meeting host uses the natural connections between points and the group energy to establish the order of the points. The time host supports the facilitator of each point to keep to the time they attributed to themselves, with kindness and care. The notetaker documents the essential items: points of clarity, proposals that take form, decisions made, etc.

 

Building a horizontal culture

These three strategies, used together, are geared toward a collaborative and conscious way of working. Running meetings consciously builds a horizontal workplace culture because team members feel empowered, heard, and valued for their specific contributions and reach larger, collective goals.

A group takes on shared responsibility for what is addressed, how it is addressed, and the time management. Meetings become enlivening, democratic, co-creative spaces. This is the opposite of conventional meeting culture, which revolves around one or two people.

It is not a free for all. It’s the opposite, in fact. Clear structuring elements allow self-organization to take place efficiently.

 

Building team trust

Really, though, this is all about learning to trust again. Trust your colleagues to care about things and put them on the agenda, trust people to be able to share the time, and trust that the right things for today are addressed. It’s truly liberating.

Once you get the hang of this in meetings, you’ll find it spilling over into other areas of work. You’ll be stepping forward for what you care about while trusting others to step forward with what they see and care about. You’ll be more apt to give space to your colleagues to self-organize. You’ll be able to tap into the diversity that surrounds you better. All of this brings life back into the workplace and puts flexibility and flow into the cultural backbone. In fact, reconnecting with our capacity to trust each other is part of our collective journey to reconnect with our humanity. Organizations desperately need this now, and so does the world.

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I don’t work, I practice

The more I work and live my life, the more I have the strong feeling that everything I’m doing with others – clients, friends or family – is a way to practice my humanity and deepen my relationship with all of these people and the world.

What do I mean by practice? Practice for me it refers to what Plato said about the term – it is about acting concretely both in a technical and ethical dimension. In this sense, I see practice as acting to develop myself as a human being at every moment of my life. It means not treating work or an activity as something fundamentally external. It is internal. And so, not a burden but a blessing, an opportunity to grow.

Practicing humanity and deepening my relationships requires good conversations. And a good conversation is a space where I can truly be myself; where I can express who I am, how I feel (good or not). It’s a space where I may speak my mind, without judgment; a space where creativity is valued; where decisions are taken together; where we are all responsible for the well being of the group and a good production.

Practice in (and out of) action

I remember a meeting with some people in my city, two years ago. We were there, volunteers to organize a large citizen consultation about democracy. I really tried to catch up with the way the conversation was held. A young guy, very excited by the purpose, was leading us at such a rhythm, it was almost impossible to understand everything. I called for something slower, allowing everybody to be able to express their view and take common decisions. I proposed a talking piece. Nobody complained. After maybe 10 minutes (no more) the young guy decided that it wasn’t efficient for the group. I never came back and the consultation was never launched.

A very opposite experience, in 2011, I was with a group of 10 people (coming from Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France…) for a workshop with Iida Shigemi, a Buto dancer and old Japanese body techniques practitioner. We all were waiting for Iida’s leadership, instruction and learning. Every day, he lead us to the river bank, and that’s all! He was there, lying on the sand, letting us do whatever we wanted to. We spent these 6 days, together, slowly, “doing nothing”, mostly silently. Eventually, still silently, we co-created a sculpture with wood and stones found there; or rather a sculpture emerged. The energy emerging with the creation woke up Iida, and he joined us. We spent 6 days weaving bonds, allowing us to do something together. The art of living together doesn’t always need to end with a co-creation, but time is key. Rather, the aim is to be able to make progress having not so easy conversations; to go on anyway, with an open heart, trusting in our collective capacity to find suitable solutions. To grow up together, to be wiser together. A practice, indeed!

This is mainly what I try to transmit in my work. Almost by definition, working places are intentional meeting spaces where, unfortunately too often, people try to build small private territories to protect themselves from others. They hope to find a comfort they don’t have with their colleagues.

Many people are in this extreme paradox: the need to cohabit in offices without any desire to do so, eight hours a day! Do they find happiness trying to isolate themselves? I don’t think so. But they don’t know how to get out of this trap. They ask or are asked to join the other team, the other office, hoping for something better and reproducing, again and again, the same pattern…
Employees in companies are in the same situation. The purpose of their daily work disappears because they don’t have a global vision that has been built together. They work in a department sometimes without even knowing what their colleagues are doing.

I have been an employee, in various structures, from a large company to a small NGO… I remember how difficult it was to maintain the purpose of my daily work. How rarely I was involved to build a shared vision, to understand why I was there. How I tried to escape, as much as possible, what a burden it was…Impossible for me to imagine creating my own company!
Then, I was an independent for almost 15 years with the burden of loneliness…

Discovering new practices

So, how did I came to create Percolab in France? First, I explored collaboration with Samantha Slade (co-founder of Percolab in Québec), then I discovered the Commons Movement which gave me a larger purpose than my own sustainability; then the Art of Hosting community helped me to deeply believe in collective intelligence. I dove into this Art like a fish discovering all of a sudden that there is an ocean – not only a bowl – to swim my life in. Last but not least, I enjoyed the happiness and responsibility of self-organization within the Percolab team.
Today, the combination of these 3 sets of practices (Commoning, Art of Hosting and self-organisation) functions like 3 pillars on which I rely to work and live. And this is what I give to my clients.

I’m called in to “change the management for more innovation”, to “get out of silos and work more transversely”, “to build a common vision” or “an action plan”, to “help take collective decisions”, to “transform our organizational model”.
In other words, to renew the art to be, work and live together.
Interestingly, it’s often named “a new way of working”. Is it new, really? Our humanity is built on collaboration, we just forgot!
I notice that it’s more and more frequently called ‘to work better together’ and ‘(re)discover the power of co-creation’.

What would be possible if work was a place of daily practice? During a writing retreat I attended last summer, a question was raised: “What trace do you want to leave in the world?” My answer could be this: give to others the inner feeling and strength to transform the way they work as a practice for life.

Curious? Interested by this approach?
Why not join us to experiment during our next Going Horizontal training in France in October? Contact me! nadine (at) percolab dot com

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Le kata appréciatif : qu’est-ce que c’est?

Dans votre organisation, les difficultés sont-elles perçues comme des problèmes ou comme des opportunités? Les gens sentent-ils qu’ils ont droit à l’erreur ou vivent-ils dans la peur d’essayer de nouvelles choses? Bref, dans votre culture organisationnelle, cherchez-vous avant tout à assurer le fonctionnement d’un système ou à permettre aux gens d’être créatifs et de donner le meilleur d’eux-mêmes?

Souvent, quand quelque chose va mal dans une organisation, nous sommes portés à poser des questions telles que :

  • Quels problèmes avons-nous?
  • Qu’est-ce qui ne fonctionne pas?
  • Quelles pertes avons-nous subies?
  • Quelles données possédons-nous concernant le problème?
  • Qui est à la source du goulot d’étranglement?

Les questions de ce genre mettent l’emphase sur le négatif et dénotent une tendance à chercher des problèmes, voire même à chercher des coupables. Or, quand on cherche des problèmes ou des coupables, on finit toujours par en trouver! Cette approche tend à créer une culture du blâme, est peu génératrice d’énergie et est ultimement démobilisatrice.

Si on abordait les difficultés non pas comme des problèmes, mais plutôt comme des opportunités d’apprendre et de valoriser les forces qui existent au sein de notre organisation? Heureusement, il existe des approches plus positives que celle que nous venons de décrire?

L’approche du Toyota kata  

Le Toyota kata, tel que formulé par Mike Rother, est une approche d’amélioration continue qui est axée sur la résolution de problème et qui favorise l’émergence d’une culture d’apprentissage. Avec cette approche, Mike Rother propose de poser des questions différentes de celles présentées plus haut, telles que :

  • Quelle est la condition cible?
  • Quelle est la condition actuelle?
  • Quels sont les obstacles?
  • Quelle est la prochaine étape?
  • Quand pouvons-nous voir les résultats?

De ces questions découlent quatre routines d’amélioration :

  1. Comprendre le défi;
  2. Saisir la condition actuelle;
  3. Établir la prochaine condition cible;
  4. Expérimenter dans la direction de la condition cible.

L’approche du Toyota Kata met l’emphase sur la recherche de solutions plutôt que sur la recherche de problèmes et permet aux gens de travailler en faisant des essais et des erreurs. Ce droit à l’erreur fait en sorte qu’on évite de créer une culture du blâme.

Cependant, il peut arriver qu’une emphase trop grande sur la recherche de solutions nous fasse perdre de vue le vécu humain. Nous avons observé que dans les organisations où existe une forte exigence de performance et de rendement, l’approche du Toyota Kata tend à exacerber cette exigence et à générer des pressions supplémentaires sur les gens, surtout s’il n’existe pas une solide culture appréciative.

L’approche enquête appréciative

L’approche enquête appréciative, telle que formulée par David Cooperrider, est issue de la psychologie positive. Elle est axée sur les forces des gens et favorise l’émergence d’une culture appréciative au sein de l’organisation.

Les 6 prémisses de cette approche sont :

  1. Dans chaque organisation, quelque chose fonctionne bien;
  2. Ce sur quoi nous portons notre attention devient notre réalité;
  3. On affronte l’avenir avec plus de confiance si on apporte avec nous un fragment de notre passé;
  4. Ce qu’on apporte dans l’avenir doit correspondre à ce qu’il y a de meilleur chez chacun;
  5. Il importe de valoriser les différences;
  6. Le langage crée la réalité.

Cette approche nous mène donc à aborder les difficultés par le biais de questions appréciatives telles que :

  • Qu’est-ce qu’on veut atteindre?
  • À quel moment performons-nous le mieux?
  • Qu’est-ce qui nous permettrait de progresser?
  • Qui nous inspire?
  • Que peut-on apprendre de l’autre?

Les questions de ce genre permettent aux gens de trouver leur direction et de découvrir les forces et ressources qui les aideront à surmonter les obstacles et à atteindre leurs objectifs. Ceci permet d’aborder les difficultés non pas comme des problèmes, mais plutôt comme des opportunités de mieux comprendre et d’être plus créatif et innovateur.

Et si on jumelait les deux approches?

C’est ici qu’intervient le kata appréciatif, qui est une fusion du Toyota Kata et de l’approche enquête appréciative. En unissant ces deux approches, on peut générer de la vitalité et une plus grande efficacité au sein de l’organisation.

Le kata appréciatif consiste à superposer des questions appréciatives sur les quatre routines d’amélioration du Toyota Kata.

  1. La routine « comprendre le défi » se pose maintenant comme la définition de notre futur désiré. Exemples de questions appréciatives : Quels sont nos meilleurs espoirs? Quelle serait la situation idéale?
  2. La routine « saisir la condition actuelle » se pose maintenant comme une phase de découverte qui permet de mieux analyser d’où on part. Exemples de questions appréciatives : Quels ont été nos bons coups? Quelles sont nos forces? Qui sont nos alliés?
  3. La routine « établir la prochaine condition cible » sert maintenant à définir le plus petit pas possible (PPPP) et correspond à la phase déploiement, c’est-à-dire l’action la plus immédiatement accessible qui nous mettra en mouvement le plus rapidement possible tout en générant immédiatement du succès. Exemples de questions appréciatives : Quelle est la chose la plus facile à faire? Qu’est-ce qui serait le premier signe de succès?
  4. La routine « expérimenter dans la direction de la condition cible » se pose maintenant comme le design ou terrain de jeu à l’intérieur duquel nous pourrons expérimenter, saisir de nouvelles opportunités, nous développer et acquérir de nouvelles compétences. Exemples de questions appréciatives : Quelles sont nos opportunités d’amélioration? Sur quoi voulons-nous expérimenter?

L’approche traditionnelle, avec sa vision plutôt technique, voire pessimiste, met l’emphase sur les problèmes, les obstacles et les outils qui doivent servir à les surmonter. Elle peut favoriser l’émergence d’une culture du blâme qui est démobilisatrice. Par contraste, le kata appréciatif, avec sa vision plus humaine et optimiste, met plutôt l’emphase sur les forces des gens, leur enthousiasme et la richesse de leurs relations. Il favorise l’émergence d’une culture appréciative qui permet aux gens de créer du sens, de développer leur autonomie et de donner librement le meilleur d’eux-mêmes.

Pour en savoir plus sur les quatre routines du kata appréciatif : « Le kata appréciatif pour progresser »

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