What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
“How are the children?"
I believe that there are no leaders without communities,
and there are no communities without children. Therefore, my underlying
question concerns the children, connections and what we create together.
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
Last summer I published “children
and leaders”. This photo essay book captures messages of collective
wisdom about the nature of the relationship between these leaders and
children and the great potential this connection holds for healing on
the planet. As the book was being birthed, I sensed it is both a culmination
of my years of working with the wisdom naturally present in groups and
a commencement of new work awaiting attention.
My most recent experience with collective wisdom in groups
is supporting Mitch
Saunders in developing a wonderfully reliable process to invite
collective wisdom to emerge. Under a grant from the Fetzer Institute
Mitch studied the process of how social innovations emerge and distribute.
This led to a process named Wisdom Labs – now called Action Learning
Labs. It is one of the most efficient methods to invite collective wisdom
to emerge by sensing emerging possibilities in the field. What is exciting
about Mitch’s work is that he has developed a form which can be
used in a wide variety of business settings and is accepted by most
Since I was 18 years old. I have had the opportunity
to first learn about group dynamics and then ‘unlearn’ them.
This ‘unlearning’ has allowed me to directly experience
how and when collective wisdom emerges in groups. My first experience
was in sensitivity groups, followed by Tavistock Training, then T-groups
and Training Groups pioneered by my long term friend and colleague Ron
Short. All of this would lead to many years of collaboration with
to create large scale change at AT&T. Our goal was to create learning
organizations. We used systems thinking and mental models to invite
collective wisdom to emerge. I codeveloped the first year long training
programs for teaching people to facilitate dialogue with Bill
Isaacs and Mitch Saunders.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
An ancient master was asked by a student. “What
is the source of your wisdom?” The ancient master replied:
“You cannot find wisdom, it finds you. The search
for knowledge is not a search for answers or information. It is a
search for questions. There is nothing more precious than a good question.
A good question can be your companion for a lifetime. You will never
feel lonely. Good questions are very tricky. There is hidden underneath
the question another dozen questions that sneak up on you when you
are least expecting it. Before you realize it you are deeply immersed
in curiosity. This of course is the key -?curiosity. Curiosity sets
you on a path that wisdom frequents.“ There are vital questions
calling for the consideration of the collective (How are the children?
What are we choosing to create? What are we in the process of becoming?
What do we need to heal?”
I am devoted to the search of good questions.
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
When I was 19 years old I realized that I had the gift
of channeling spirit – which is another expression of collective
wisdom. It would typically take the form of deep listening and hearing
a voice or by automatic writing. I studied with a master for years to
learn the difference between my inner voices and actually hearing spirit
clearly. In my late 20’s after a period of coaching people via
my channeling, I became attached to the “rightness” of what
I would hear and after emotionally hurting a dear friend I stopped public
work for over 25 years.
The next phase of my life would take me deep into the
corporate world working initially in management development and then
large scale change. I began with Rockwell Int. followed by Exxon, Bell
Laboratories and finally headed up a consulting group of 15 people in
AT&T. I worked directly with the chairman and executive committee.
For the past ten years I have been in private practice working with
Fortune 100 companies. I mention this to offer the contrast.
Several years ago I had a waking dream which I ignored
telling me to begin channeling again and to record Seventeen Messages
on Growth and Healing for individuals and the planet. I ignored this
but it kept knocking and knocking. At this time the first ten messages
have emerged and the information is in the form of a series called “Small
Books with Big Ideas”. I have applied some of this material
to leadership and have published “children
and leaders” (see above, question 2). As well there is a draft
of a new book called in-Spire: Inviting, Focusing and Sustaining Energy
in Communities. It introduces spirit into the workplace in very practical
and mainstream ways. For more information on this see Qualities
of Shared Leadeship.
How would you like to be available to others in
I would suggest several ways. The core of my work is
available to support anyone’s work and is best used that way.
For example, one of the small books in the series is available on a
sliding cost basis and is called “Leaders and Listening.”
It suggests that listening to individuals, teams and communities is
the beginning of an invitation for collective wisdom.
I am also interested in coaching and mentoring people,
involved in large scale change, who are part of this network. This is
available by phone for free. For more background please go to my website
and see my
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