We are all in this together: Corona virus, Climate crisis, Collaboration and Consciousness change

Thank you to so many of you who responded so warmly to my last Blog, on why we need to move beyond the concept of ‘High Performing Teams’ and thank you to those who questioned my thinking. Without both forms of response there would be no forward movement.
My new Blog moves on to a much larger way we humans need to change our way of thinking and how Corona virus can help us. #climateemergency #coronarivus #consciousnesschange #coaching #teamcoaching.

We are all in this together: Corona virus, Climate crisis, Collaboration and Consciousness change.


Privilege and Pride

When I was young and ambitious I thought I could earn privilege and that it would buy me freedom; as I have now grown much older I have slowly come to realise that privilege does not buy you freedom, but responsibility.

Privilege is, by definition, un-earnt – something bequeathed to you by the happenstance of your birth, genes, gender, colour, place, and class.

I did not earn being born in a country beginning to recover from two world wars and at a time when I would be saved from having to do military service.

I did not earn my native country being one of relative great affluence and with a climate that avoided major droughts, floods, or plagues of locusts. A country which had recently launched a National Health Service and where there was a welfare net.

I did not earn having state paid education for 20 years – yes 20 years! at a time when, in other countries, many had no years of classroom education, only what life and their family could teach them.

I did not earn the privileges that came with being white, male, and a part of a country still living off the dividends of slavery and colonization – a wealth extracted from the sweat and oppressed labour of others.

I was taught to take pride in ‘my’ family, ‘my’ town, ‘my’ nation; also ‘my’ clothes, ‘my’ house, and ‘my’ garden. But I did not make or build them, just acquired them or better still to say I became the temporary steward.

Like my Father before me, I took pride in ‘my’ children’s (and later grandchildren’s) successes, at school, in sport, in work and in their offspring.  As patriarchal men we saw this as ‘our legacy’.

——–

When Edward Colston was iconoclastically dragged by a noose from his pedestal in central Bristol, history was not so much re-written, as false history was unwritten. The statue had been erected (sic) to make Edward Colston a role-model of white male success and philanthropy; to show how Bristol took pride in Edward Colston and he took pride in Bristol; to show how he shared ‘his wealth’ with the people of this privileged city. But the plaques on the pedestal that declared One of Bristol’s ‘most virtuous and wise sons’, failed to mention whose wealth it was. The riches had come from the Royal  African  Company and the rich triangular trade that took slaves at gun point, and then chains, to America, and then brought back sugar, tobacco, cotton and cocoa which was manufactured in Bristol and Britain and sold back to Africa and elsewhere. This company played an active role in the enslavement of over 84,000 Africans (including 12,000 children) of whom over 19,000 died en route to the Caribbean and America. I was particularly moved by this event as my family were Bristolians, going back several generations, I had relatives who gone to Colston school and I had gone to concerts at Colston Hall. As such my family had benefited from Colston’s legacy to the city.

But beware symbolic one-off moments of iconoclastic fervour, for they alone do not change a culture. We can fall into false relief that we have toppled the ‘evil one’. But it was not Edward Colston alone who invested in this Royal Company or benefited from British slave trade and gun barrel colonization, or reaped privilege flowing from the sweat of slaves. It was all of us, born in so called ‘Great Britain’ or Western Europe, who have lived off the financial and cultural dividends of slavery and colonial oppression, and still do.

We all need to be pulled down from our plinths of privilege and our pedestals of pride.

But how, for we have to also do the pulling? Well it all starts with me, with each of us, as all social change does. These are just a few of the first small steps I have discovered with the help of many.

–        From pride to giving thanks for each and every blessing.

–        To realise that success is never mine alone, it is always co-created with others, and with the wider ecology and is supported by the happenstance of my privilege.

–        To awakening to the realisation that racial and sexual liberation are what white men need to engage in, as we are the perpetrators and beneficiaries of Euro-patriarchal oppressive systems.

–        To rewriting history with others that engages all voices and perspectives, not just those of the victors, the violators, and oppressors.

–        Apologizing for what was done by our ancestors, our race, our gender, and ourselves and finding ways to make reparation.

Small things do make a difference but are never by themselves enough.

Professor Peter Hawkins will be teaching with his colleague Nick Smith for the fifth time their very popular and successful  three day advanced course in “Transformational Coaching” on December 9th -11th 2020 in Bath, UK, which will address how to work with difference and privilege in coaching. Details are to found on https://www.renewalassociates.co.uk/events-training/transformational-coaching/



European Leadership University July 29 11.00 CET

Looking forward to sharing this webinar with the European Leadership University. Everyone is welcome to join. I will explore how do we resource ourselves individually and collectively to fully face the many challenges of our times, and how do we work from source rather than effort.

I will be leading further training in this area later in the year details available on the Renewal Associates website: www.renewalassociates.co.uk



We are all in this together: Corona virus, Climate crisis, Collaboration and Consciousness change

Thank you to so many of you who responded so warmly to my last Blog, on why we need to move beyond the concept of ‘High Performing Teams’ and thank you to those who questioned my thinking. Without both forms of response there would be no forward movement. My new Blog moves on to a much larger way we humans need to change our way of thinking and how Corona virus can help us. #climateemergency #coronarivus #consciousnesschange #coaching #teamcoaching.

We are all in this together: Corona virus, Climate crisis, Collaboration and Consciousness change.


We need to move beyond ‘High Performing Teams’

I need to start by apologizing. For many years I have written about the importance of high performing teams, created models of them and written and taught about how to lead, coach, and develop them (Hawkins 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018). Over the last two years I have woken up to how, like nearly all writers about teams and team coaching, I was caught in what is an out-dated paradigm. I now believe that the term is not only beyond its sell by date but is problematic and leading team development and team coaching in the wrong direction.

There are four ways that I see that the term causes problems.

A mechanistic rather than a living organism metaphor

High performing teams is a concept that grew out of 20th century mechanistic linear thinking. High performance was a term used for manufacturing machinery, or cars that could accelerate fast from stand still to 60mph. It was about achieving greater productivity and efficiency out of a fixed system, so that it creates more, faster, and cheaper. High performance is unconcerned about whether what is produced is of beneficial value. It is focussed on efficiency rather than creating benefit for all stakeholders.

Sub-optimisation

Some teams I have worked with over the years have been motivated to be the ‘best team on the block’, the standout region in their company. When they have succeeded they have often done this at the cost of other parts of the organisation and not through creating benefit for the whole organisation and all its stakeholders Their achievement has been built on by being the most successful at gleaning joint resources, such as marketing, HR, sales support; and the least willing to share knowledge and to second staff when other teams and regions were struggling. The team member’s loyalty has been to their local team. not the rest of the organisation.                                                                                         

A Place of arrival and a tick-box exercise.

For some teams, becoming a high performing team is the next thing on their development agenda. Last year it was becoming a ‘Lean organisation’, the year before decentralization and empowerment. They ask me: “What are the top things we need to do to be a high performing team?” They want help with creating a check list, that they can tick off, step by step. Often team leaders request a clear timetabled plan and ‘Gant chart’ including a date and place of arrival. But team development is not a pre-planned journey you can buy off the shelf. Being a successful team is never a place of arrival. As Bill Gates wrote: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” A team that thinks it is now ‘A High Performing team’ often slips into complacency and arrogance. Successful teams and organizations are often the last to notice the world is changing around them.

Claiming the success as your own

Let me tell you an imaginary story, that could come true in the very near future.

It is a future gathering of the top team at ZoomThey have just received the annual performance figures for the organization and are celebrating a record year. Revenue, profits, and reputation have all risen sharply. In the midst of the champagne toasts, and congratulations echoing around the room, one team member says, “I think we should pause and thank the team member who made the biggest contribution to our record success. A team member who only joined us this year.” She is greeted by blank and questioning faces. The CEO eventually says: “Who are you talking about? The reply comes: “Corona Virus.” There is a stunned and awkward silence

All evolution is co-evolution all development is co-development and all success is co-created.

The success is co-created between a team and its wider organization, between the organization and its business eco-system, between a species and ecological niche. All evolution is co-evolution – a species and the niche co-adapt and respond to each other – so does a team and its context.

 High Value creating teams

To move from an outdated mechanistic concept of teams, we need to find concepts and models rooted in systemic and organismic ways of seeing the world; approaches built on collaboration and co-adaptability, rather than competition and sub-optimisation of parts of the larger system. We need team development that is part of creating a wider ‘team of teams’ as Genera McCrystal discovered while leading the Allied forces to try and create sustainable peace in post war Iraq and finding they were constantly out manoeuvred (McCrystal et al 2015).

We need to support and coach teams that can ‘continuously co-create beneficial value with and for all their stakeholders’, both human, and the ‘more-than-human’ stakeholders of the wider ecological environment, which is always the largest contributor to all human success.

What is beneficial value? That which improves quality of life, diversity, well-being, and sustainability, at all the nested systemic levels that our life is living and breathing within.

I again apologise for taking so long to move away from writing about high performing teams and promise my next books will be about the practical ways we can create and sustain high value creating teams.

References

Hawkins, P. (2011, & 2014 & 2017) Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership. London: Kogan Page.

Hawkins, P. (2014 and 2018). Leadership Team Coaching in Practice; Developing High Performing Teams. Philadelphia: Kogan Page Publishers.

McChrystal, S., Collins, T., Silverman, D. and Fussell, C. (2015). Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. New York: Penguin. 

Professor Peter Hawkins June 2020

Peter Hawkins will be running the next face to face Systemic Team Coaching certificate December 15th -17th in London. Meanwhile AoEC have places left on the Systemic Team Coaching taught by Peter’s colleagues as a 3 day virtual replacement program from 21-23 July 2020 – for full details for both trainings and to book a place, click here.

The Global Team Coaching Institute led by Peter Hawkins and David Clutterbuck, is about to launch the second level Practitioner program starting in October. Peter will be leading the Systemic Team Coaching course with a global faculty of his most senior colleagues. For full details contact Kirsten@wbecs.com

My next Blog I will publish next weekend 12th July on “We are all in this together: Coronavirus, Climate Emergency, Collaboration and Consciousness Change.”

There are more blogs and other free resources on https://www.renewalassociates.co.uk



13 Crackers for Systemic Team Coaches December 2019

Introduction

Last year I produced 13 one-liners on Systemic Team Coaching that the various people who had trained with me from many places in the world had found most helpful. I created them as paradoxical messages that would stimulate new thinking and invited readers to imagine each as a message in a Christmas cracker. (For those of you not familiar with this tradition, a cracker is a tubular package that you pull open with a “bang” at the Christmas dinner table. Inside is a small present, paper hat and a joke or motto.)  Christmas is a time of tradition and ritual – so here are 2019’s new Systemic one-liners.

  1. Treat every difficulty as your next teacher sent from the wider system
    Our choice is either to view difficult coachees, colleagues, bosses, organizations as problems to battle against, or as people who we have not yet found a way of connecting with and who thus present our next life lesson.
  2. If you fill the meeting room with the voices of the stakeholders there is less room for egos
    As human beings we tend to be self-obsessed and take things personally, which builds defensive egos. If we focus on what the future and our stakeholders need from us and bring their voices into the room, there is far less space for egos and personal conflict.
  3. ABC of team coaching – Always Be Contracting
    Thank you to my colleague John Hill from Northern Ireland who taught me this phrase – contracting is not something we do just at the beginning of relationship or start of a meeting – it is something we need to constantly attend to.
  4. Systemic Team Coaching does not end – the prime responsibility just transitions from the team coach to our partners in the team coaching, – the team leader and the team members
    As teams have to continually develop their collective capacity and agility responding to ever-changing contexts, systemic team coaching will always be necessary.  The job of the external team coach is to work with the team so they can gradually take over the full responsibility for coaching themselves.
  5. Get every voice into the meeting within the first three minutes
    If the coach talks too long at the beginning it becomes a seminar; if the team leader talks too long it becomes a briefing meeting.
  6. Team members are more likely to own the agreed ways forward when they have been part of creating them
    People don’t resist change; they resist being changed. The role of the team leader is to frame the challenges and then orchestrate the team members to co-create the ways of responding.
  7. How you say something non-verbally is more important than the words
    Learning good team coaching questions and other interventions is not just about the words but about the tonality, look and embodied way we deliver it.
  8. Always locate the challenge, problem or conflict in a relationship, not in a person or a part of the system
    All real challenges are relational.
  9. Turn blame statements into requests and negative injunctions to positive encouragements
    One of the most frequent interventions we need to do as team coaches is to interrupt blame statements, whether about another member of the team, or external stakeholder, and invite the person to turn the complaint into a request and/or curious inquiry.
  10. Avoid bullet point lists that fragment the challenge into lists of problems.
    Instead create mind maps, virtuous and vicious cycles and other methods that show the patterns of interconnection.
  11. As soon as we talk about ‘the system’ we stop seeing systemic interconnections because we have drawn a fixed boundary where none exist
    Pay attention to the dance between the many systemic levels.
  12. Wide-angled empathy is not just for the people in the team but for all the team’s stakeholders
    The team coach needs to have compassion and empathy for all team members but also for all the wider stakeholders of the team (an themselves).
  13. There is no such thing as a high performing team, only a team that continuously co-creates value with and for all its stakeholders
    High performance is not a place of arrival, but is always in service of continually co-creating value with and for all our stakeholders, including people, systems and the more-than-human world. Therefore, high performance cannot reside within the team’s boundaries, or be owned by the team.

Happy Christmas, Hanukah, Solstice, Dōngzhì Festival, Yuletide, Saturnalia, or December holidays to all my friends, colleagues and Blog followers everywhere.

Peter Hawkins 15 December 2019 ©Renewal Associates 2019

I will be running Systemic Team Coaching 3-day intensives in 2020: January in New York, April in Beijing and India, July in Vancouver Island, Canada and London, October in Lisbon, November in Serbia and Romania.  Also we have Advanced Retreats for Coaches and Team Coaches during June and September and Transformational Coaching in December, all in Bath, UK.
www.renewalassociates.co.uk and www.aoec.com.



Announcing dates of the USA Systemic Team Coaching Diploma programme 2019/20

Now, more than ever, organizations are aiming to encourage the best performance from their teams – and enable them to respond effectively to unprecedented change and uncertainty. Systemic Team Coaching provides a richer, more sustainable transformation than other forms of team or group development.

Peter Hawkins and Renewal Associates are delighted to announce that they are bringing the Systemic Team Coaching Diploma program to the USA for the first time with dates for Modules 2-5 of the programme in New York. (You will need to have completed Module 1 before commencing the rest of the Diploma.)

  • Module 2 – 1-3 July 2019
  • Module 3 – 2-4 October 2019
  • Module 4 – 16-18 January 2020
  • Module 5 – 15-16 April 2020

The Systemic Team Coaching Diploma enables experienced coaches, organizational development consultants and team leaders to become among the most highly qualified team coaches in the field today.

One of the longest-running team coaching programmes available which has been running since 2010 in Europe and since 2016 in South Africa, this ICF-accredited team coaching training deepens your practice by supporting you in applying your learning to a live client assignment. It offers the expertise of highly experienced coaching faculty and support of an experienced, international learning community. The faculty includes leading systemic team coaches from USA, Canada and the UK.

Please see the flyer for information including dates and booking. A more detailed brochure including module content is also available.

For any questions, please contact fiona.benton@renewalassociates.co.uk

“Systemic Team Coaching is an ongoing partnership and the Masters-level Diploma helps you learn how to partner with a complex team during a coaching programme lasting 9-12 months. It provides a very rich action learning cycle with theories, practice with your learning group, applying your learning to your client project, as well as review, reflection and supervision from expert faculty.”
Professor Peter Hawkins, Chairman Renewal Associates and AoEC Honorary President

 

          



13 Crackers for Systemic Team Coaches

Introduction

Several of the systemic team coaches I supervise and work with in America, said that one of the most powerful parts of the training they had done with me was the memorable one-liners that I ‘peppered’ throughout the training.  They suggested I brought these together in a collection.  Another member of the supervision group suggested I asked my supervisees to all send in ‘the one-liners they found most helpful’.  From this I have developed the following.  I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful.  Imagine each as a message in a Christmas cracker, which for those of you not familiar with this tradition, is something that you pull open at the dinner table and inside is a small present, paper hat and a joke or motto.

  1. The team does not create the purpose, the purpose creates the team
    The best research on effective teams, shows that the most important element is having a joint team purpose that everyone recognises and can only be achieved through the team collaborating effectively together. I used to work hard helping teams create their purpose, now I realise I have to help them discover their purpose – as the purpose is already out there in their business eco-system and in the future needs of their stakeholders, waiting for the team to respond.
  2. Explore ‘future back’ and ‘outside in’
    To discover the evolving team purpose, we need to explore with the team both what the future is going to require them to step up to and what their key stakeholders are requiring now and in the future.
  3. Life sets the agenda
    Traditionally coaching emphasises being on the client’s agenda. Systemic coaching proposes that we should be neither on the client’s or the coach’s agenda but focusing on what life is requiring both parties to work on together.
  4. Never know better, never know first
    Traditional coaching also talks about leaving our experience outside the door, but I argue the clients need all of us to be engaging with their issues, but we should never know better and never know first, but once we have enabled their creative thinking, we should bring our own thinking alongside, dialogically creating new thinking, neither they or we had previously thought.
  5. Don’t tell, don’t ask: Frame the challenge, orchestrate the response
    Both Leaders and coaches, often switch between a directive ‘telling’ style and an eliciting ‘asking’ style. Team Coaches whether they be leaders coaching their own team, or external team coaches, help frame the collective challenge and then orchestrate and enable the team to respond creatively and collaboratively.
  6. Destination precedes design
    Before you can design the orchestrating and enabling process, you need to know where you and the team need to arrive by the end of the journey. Without knowing the possible destination(s) you cannot chose what vehicles you will need to get there.
  7. Start every session with purpose and outcome of this session.
    Every coaching session needs to start with some contracting to discover the joint purpose of the meeting and to explore what we need to collectively achieve together by the end.
  8. Quickly get the team on the stage with you as the animator in the wings
    neither you or them in the audience
    Team coaches can fall into the trap of creating a new hub and spoke configuration, with themselves on stage. A good Systemic Team Coach quickly gets the team actively engaged doing the work, but then stays alongside them supporting, challenging, nudging, enabling the best work possible. As part of this the coach needs to get the team to talk to each other directly and not via the coach.
  9. Coach the connections (internally and externally) not the individuals in front of the team
    Avoid coaching or commenting on individuals in front of the team, rather focus on the connection between team members and between the whole team and their stakeholders.
  10. Locate the conflict or problem in a connection/relationship not in a person or part of the system
    The first rule of conflict is to locate the issue in a connection not in a person or part of the system
  11. No such thing as an impossible boss, difficult team member, un-coachable team, just a mode of engagement we have not yet found.
    I often say this may not be true, but it is a great way to start every day, for it interrupts the ‘blame game’ where we and teams locate the problem in someone else or another part of the system. It encourages everyone to bring it back to what it is I and we can do?
  12. Design and prepare for every session but when you start be unattached to your plans.
    They say you can judge a good film by how much is left behind on the cutting room floor. Good team coaching is similar.  The preparation is important for the coach to be able to hold in mind all the many levels of the system and possible ways of approaching the team’s challenges, but when the session starts one needs to be open to what emerges in the team and between you and the team.
  13. Have fun, be creative and partner with ruthless compassion
    Team coaching is at its best when the team and the coach are enjoying it, but also when both know they are stepping up to the challenges life is presenting, and they are creating value for others as well as themselves.

 

Peter Hawkins December 2018 

Happy Christmas, Hanukah, Solstice, Dōngzhì Festival, Yuletide, Saturnalia, or December holidays.

 

I will be running Systemic Team Coaching 3-day intensives in 2019 in New York, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, Lisbon, Johannesburg, London, Montreal, Vancouver Island, Bucharest.  www.renewalassociates.co.uk. and www.aoec.com.



Partnerships are not created by partners: from bartering to partnering

Too many people think in terms of trade-offs that if you do something which is good for you, then it must be bad for someone else. That’s not right and it comes from old thinking about the way the world works…We have to snap out of that old thinking and move to a new model.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

Many partnerships, from marriages to business mergers and from professional partnership organisations to public service organisations partnering to provide joint ‘leadership of a place’ start with good intent but descend into ‘trade-offs’ and transactional bartering of what each partner needs from the other.  In this short blog I explore how all forms of partnership need a purpose greater than the parts as well as processes for regularly renewing the synergy of the partnership.

Whether in business or in marriages, founding partners often think they are the ones who have created the partnership, but for the partnership to begin and be successful, a third vital element beyond the partners is even more important in its formation.

This third element is a collective purpose. It is the answer to the questions:

  • “What can we do together through collaboration that we cannot achieve by working in parallel?”
  • “Who and what does our partnership serve?”

Despite the growth of partnerships in all sectors of the economy, there has been very limited research on how to create effective partnerships that realize potential synergies and little development in how to effectively coach partnerships. Increasingly my colleagues and I have been applying the ‘five-disciplines’ model (Hawkins; 2011, 2014, 2017) to coaching partnerships both in how they form and develop as well as how they resolve conflict.

Commissioning

Many partnerships fail to adequately define the core mission that the partnership is there to serve or to create.  Ismail (2014) redefines the mission as the partnership’s ‘Massive Transformational Purpose’ – the endeavour that creates great beneficial impact for all the partnership’s stakeholders at the same time as transforming the partners and their ways of relating to others.  This creates the galvanising force and collective buy-in that gives a partnership its momentum.  It also needs to be a strong enough motivator to keep the partners fully engaged and committed, even when an avalanche of urgent issues tempts them away or when the dynamics of the partnership become tough.   The commission or collective purpose of a partnership does not usually come from further up the hierarchy but from a massive challenge in the wider eco-system that requires multi-organizational collaboration.

The collective purpose that is formed by a partnership in response to this challenge needs to be one that:

  • Is only achieved by working together and not by partners working separately or in parallel.
  • All partners recognise and define in an aligned way.
  • All partners are committed to and will prioritise over ‘business as usual’ items within their own organization.

Clarifying

Too often partnerships (including marriages) start in a contractual way with each partner saying what they want from the partnership.  This creates a negotiated transaction between the parties.  For a partnership to be transformational the partners need to develop their ‘future-back’ and ‘outside-in’ strategy – addressing questions such as:

  • Who and what does our partnership serve?
  • What can we achieve together that we cannot achieve apart?
  • What massive transformational purpose can we pursue together?
  • How will we know the partnership is successful?
  • What criteria will we use to evaluate our collective success?

Too many partnerships start their thinking from inputs into outputs. Instead they need to try working backwards along the continuum from ‘value-creation’ to outcomes by agreeing the necessary outputs they need to collectively deliver and the inputs or resources which are required to achieve this.

A partnership needs to clarify how this strategy can be developed into agreed strategic objectives with action plans and measurable targets, and clear roles and responsibilities

Co-creating

Inter-group dynamics are not only critical internally within organizations but also between multiple organizations that constitute partnerships. Increasingly organizations have a wide and diverse number of often quite complex partnerships with other organizations. One large drinks company I worked with was using competitors as bottlers in one part of the world, distributors in another and as a joint venture partner in a third area. Elsewhere they competed fiercely for market share. This required a sophisticated and mature way of managing partnerships.

In the public sector where independent services are expected to deliver more at higher quality but with less finance and resources, they are finding they need to work closely in partnership with other agencies to create savings, remove duplication of effort and create synergies in delivery of service.

There has also been a growing recognition of the importance of public sector organizations working together to deliver ‘leadership of place’. The UK’s public sector focussed Leadership Centre writes:

A sustained period of constrained public finances means we need to look beyond any single organization’s resources for solving problems. And the nature of the major challenges we face means they cannot be met by one agency alone. Our focus has rightly shifted away from organizational structures towards people and places, so across the public sector we need to learn to work together in different ways. And we need to do it fast and wide. (www.leadershipcentre.org.uk)

A partnership needs to develop effective ways of co-creating in which meetings do not become dominated by bureaucratic governance but generatively create new forms of response that their individual partner organizations could not have arrived at by themselves.

Connecting

Successful partnerships always focus on who they are there to serve rather than just on each other.  A coach needs to help a partnership to keep focused on this.

A partnership needs to be connecting with all its stakeholders in a way that represents all the constituent members, not just their own organization.  Effective partnerships I have coached have moved beyond ‘representative’ members going back to their ‘constituencies’ to brief ‘their people’ and consult.  They have developed joint statements from all members and new forms of engagement which entail joint cross-organizational presentations, communication and engagement events to the various organizations and the wider stakeholders.

Core learning

Finally, a partnership needs to have regular reviews, attending to its own core learning and performance improvement.  Many of the approaches for carrying out board reviews can be adapted to coaching the core learning of a partnership.  Other embedded core learning methods can also be built into partnership meetings, such as ‘time-outs’, process checks, process consultancy.

What is important however, is that the core learning is not just for a partnership’s internal representational members, but must be generated in dynamic co-creation between all its constituent member organizations, as well as all the customers/clients and other stakeholders for whom it is there to create value for.

A few years back I was privileged to be the celebrant for a couple who wanted to have a spiritual wedding that would speak to the many different beliefs of their community.  They came on retreat to design their unique ceremony.  I posed them two questions to explore before we were ready to co-design the ceremony:

“Who and what does your relationship serve?”

“What is the truth your relationship needs to express to your wider community?”

These questions took them into a rich collaborative inquiry, by the end of the week they and their relationship were ready to co-create a truly moving wedding ceremony.

These two questions are core to all partnerships – whether marriages, joint ventures, mergers or joint leadership of place.  As my wife and I reach our fortieth wedding anniversary, I realise that we need to ask ourselves these questions not only at the beginning of our partnership but at regular intervals to redefine and determine the changing purpose of the partnership and the ever changing needs of those our relationship serves.

 

Professor Peter Hawkins

This article is based on some of my new writing in the third edition of Leadership Team Coaching:  Developing Collective Transformational Leadership which will be published by Kogan Page in July 2017 (already on Amazon for pre-order)