Benefits of the Art of Hosting

April 14, 2008

A few words from colleague and friend Tatiana Glad when asked, what are the benefits of the Art of Hosting.

discovery of and alignment between one's own personal facilitation style in a way that brings a process alive (i.e. not running a process out of a text book but finding creative alternatives to enable the best to come out of a group)

experience of and debriefing our learning (and diverse perspectives) on a variety of social technologies (Open Space, World cafe, Circle, etc) and what is best used under what circumstances - in both one-off events and more systemic larger scale processes

the art of harvesting - how do we effectively and efficiently capture the essence from a conversation/process to serve the next steps? modes and modalities of capturing learning and harvesting results

experience of and knowledge on the deeper patterns that underlie social technologies in bringing people together, and an understanding of how to design a best-fit process drawing on a variety of technologies and processes

becoming part of an ongoing community of practice, which can serve as a sounding board and a resource network for specific design and hosting challenges/opportunities you may have - as well as a a place to contribute your own experience into the ongoing collective learning and
practice of hosts in different contexts around the world

inspiration and motivation to try new things, and see conversations as leverage points for enabling new thinking and action to emerge

co-creating a next level leadership in the world that is needed for complex problem-solving, and building capacity in terms of finding "mates" in this growing work - this may lead to strategic relationships that serve your given area of interest/intervention

enabling more effective multi-stakeholder engagement and collaborative, cohesive action
an investment in your own personal and professional leadership development - finding your own balance between chaos and order, and how to hold yourself authentically in difficult situations

and a few quotes from participants I pulled off the AOH list:

"I also hold a network that practices action learning (a great way of cultivating the art of good questions and deepening the awareness of a group from a habitual practical focus to a more emotional/spiritual one) that gives an excuse to people from all over the organisation (about 15 000 people spread over the city of Brussels) to come together regularly in a more authentic space. It's still very small scale, but it's recognised by the organisation and hasn't been hit by the immune system." - Helen, in the European Commission

"Thank all of you. The new paradigm organization. And I notice our talk returns each time to our personal presence in this organization. We do not or cannot describe how the organization might look, only our presence in it, and the space we try to hold. This feels right. Maybe the new paradigm organization emerges when some critical mass of middle space holders is achieved. This notion gives me comfort. It helps me hold the search and futility at the same time. The passion and powerlessness. The humor. Thank you again." - Wayne, local government, USA

"In my experience that is the great gift of the art of hosting--attention to where the host is coming from (quality of attention and intention), which then, by example, becomes an invitation to others to come from a similar place. The tools and practices are then empowered, as an expression of the field that is created... If this element is articulated as the core practice and value of the art of hosting, and one measures the outcome of what is hosted, then doesn't one implicitly also validate the importance of the "interior condition of the intervenor"? Perhaps it's a matter of drawing attention to this "core competence" which differentiates the art of hosting from the casual use of various methodologies." - Susan, The Shambhala Institute

"Instead of having my colleagues listen to many presentations, I suggested using World CafĂ©, Open Space and circular conversations. These methods allow people to connect and bring their experience and views. The knowledge we need is in our people and collective insight evolves from honouring unique contributions, so from diversity! Supported by my managers who allowed me to take this risk, we built the conference around the purpose of creating a connected and inspired global risk community. I can’t describe in words the amount of positive energy that was unleashed. One of the compliments we got is the following: “Usually the most interesting parts of a conference are the side conversations. You guys managed to create one big side conversation!” " - Anita, risk manager in a multinational bank

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