Changing the Conversation

group-conversation-resized-600It’s time to change. Time to change our fears, our dreams, our needs.  With the recent tragedies in the world, I ask myself what is the fear that is triggering the state of panic where we live?

It seems to me that we’re going deep in a vortex of distrust, panic, fear, anxiety and we’re trying to “fix” it with painkillers, drugs, guns and regulations.  We need to learn different ways of engaging in conversations. Conversations that focus not in the reason for panic, but in the opportunities we have to change our world. One of the ways to engage in a collaborative effort to change the world, is to host and and sustain heart-centred dialogue, the kind of dialogue we need more and more urgently.  There is a unique opportunity for everyone in Montreal, to attend the Art of Hosting gathering, this January 2013.  Please, join this community of practice and register for the next event:  Registration deadline is December 28th.

“As a facilitative tool, the Art of Hosting has provided me with a mechanism to access in others the words, thoughts, and feelings that form a heart-centered dialogue and conversation, often creating a sacred place for honoring the collective spirit.  In this sacred place, I have frequently witnessed a transformation of anger, hostility, and resentment to forgiveness, joy, and a willingness to explore mutual collaboration. Indeed, the Art of Hosting is a sacred tool, one that is founded on the principles of a soulful spirit, gracefully and integrally woven within a human fabric that yearns for peace and justice.”

– Michael Havercamp, Art of Hosting Participant 2008


OD professionals

Notes of Joseph Bentley’s Conference at UDEM (Mexico) on March 2012.
joe bentley
1. We, OD professionals, know how to facilitate collaboration instead of
conflict. Organizational issues require collaboration, as the ones that
are at the top of the organization have the power but frequently don’t
know how to solve the issues, and the ones at the bottom have the
knowledge but not the power to solve them.
2. We know it’s important to give voice to everyone, in harmony. We know
that giving voice brings commitment, commitment brings energy and energy
brings progress.
3. We believe that conflict is not always bad. It generates possibilities. Conflict facilitates possibilities and when it’s appreciated, leads to consensus.
4. We know “how things change in a planned way”. An added value of OD is planning, as it allows a semi-organized change, instead of chaotic
5. We understand that it’s always about people. Technology and Finance could be strong but people are the system. They are the ones who solve
the issues.
6. We know how to teach. A lot in OD is to teach the ones with the power.  85% of the leaders hadn’t have any formal training on leadership. A coach
has a very important role in the organization.
7. We know that the most valuable learning is the one achieved through struggle. Problems open you up for learning.
8. We understand the pressure of time. We don’t know where we would be in the next 20 years, or what the conditions will be. We will be solving
problems that we don’t know yet, with people that are still studying elementary school, in situations that we cannot predict now, however, we
know that face to face conversation will be important. We will need to discuss desires, goals, achievements, failures.  We are comfortable with
9. We understand that OD starts always with a problem. It’s difficult to pay attention if everything is ok. All changes start with a need.
We understand that there is conflict between the organization and its needs and the individual and his/her needs. We know how to work with
people to solve the organizational problems.
10. We understand that change requires a lot of energy: at the beginning and also through the entire process. People are usually energized at the
beginning but have less energy after the initial stage. We are able to channel the energy for the bold stroke at the beginning,
as well as the needed for the long march.
An OD professional is the one:
 who is comfortable with ambiguity
 committed with collaboration
 who honors other people
 who involves others
 who is an expert in Human Relations
who learns fast
 who is eager to receive feedback.
We can see things that the rest cannot, understand them in a different way and tell the truth in a way that engage people, instead of losing

Specialization is for insects

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”   ~Robert Heinlen~

I have problems limiting myself to just one or two interests. I love life! I want to do as many things I like, as I can. I was just filling out a form to apply for a Game development program and I’ve realized that human beings are so complex that deserve to pay attention to everything that interest them.

Of course your attention and energy is limited and you cannot do everything always. But you can try and have fun in the meantime!


I was just writing this in my application and I wanted to share it:

I wanted to be an astronaut or archaeologist. As I couldn’t be either one, I’ve been exploring a little bit of everything in life: I’ve acted, played instruments, danced flamenco, written poetry and played RPGs. I’ve led young women groups, meditation circles, book clubs, World Cafes and I’m starting a movement called Re-connection. The most fulfilling activity I’ve done, though, has been to facilitate workshops to change paradigms in blue-collar workers in Mexico and inspire them to go back to school/improve their careers.

 I firmly believe that girls and boys should have equal opportunities to do whatever they feel like doing, and it’s our job to inspire them to do always more than what seem possible or reasonable to do. I love unreasonable!

So, next time that someone asks you about your passion, don’t be afraid of giving them your list of the 10 or more things that you’re passionate about. We need more passionate people in this world!



Leadership through the ages

We know that change is present in every aspect of our lives: our job changes constantly, we meet new people, we acquire more education or we reflect upon new experiences.

The leadership style that we exercise or observe in other people may also change in response to different challenges; although we may not notice these changes in the bigger picture. I was reflecting on the different theories that I learned some time decades (!)  ago and I found that the leadership styles have changed drastically through the ages. Then, I found this image that illustrates these changes clearly:

Needless to say that we constantly meet people who believe that the “Great Man” or the “Controller” are the only styles that work. For sure, we may feel more comfortable using a particular style, but that doesn’t mean that we’re effective. To have a real impact, we need to be at the intersection of the right style for us and our collaborators, the organizational culture and the environment. Why? because we’re not working in isolation.

The bigger our organization is, the more variables come in play. This new era is calling for Eco-leadership, a leader that can help the company to thrive in harmony with the environment. Are you ready for it?

The art of Simplexity

There is nothing new under the sun. I was thinking of a word to explain the work I would like to do with organizations. I figured Simplexity could express my intention to help organizations simplify the unnecessary complexity of things, just to find that the word and the theory already exist.

I’m happy to see that more people are working with the same purpose: understanding the complexity of simple things, and finding a way to make complex things simple.