A podcast exploring awareness of self and system, bridging the territory between consciousness and co-creation
The Art of Convening with Craig and Patricia Neal
Recently I had the honor to sit with Craig and Patricia Neal, authors of The Art of Convening and founders of The Center for Purposeful Leadership. Their career spans a lifetime of bringing people together in ways that generate authentic engagement and meaningful connection.
What stood out for me was their emphasis on the internal journey of convening work. In my own process, I increasingly find how important it is to be clear on my commitment. Often this is not something that is necessarily comfortable, particularly in transformative spaces that hold difficult conversations.
Patricia talks about the power of agreements both within a space and with herself:
The agreements are as much with myself as they are with the people. I have an agreement with myself to show up and hold space for people to find their voice and hear themselves in their authentic voice. I know how to hold space and I’m willing to do it. I'm fierce about knowing the power of a well convened and contained space.
Our conversation is wide ranging from the definition of convening to the life journey that brought them to that definition. Craig and Patricia share a moving account of how they convened hundreds of people in conjunction with city officials in their hometown of Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd. They share details of how they transformed this potentially contentious political gathering into one that left everybody feeling heard.
Their next Art of Convening Core Training is hosted on Sutra and starts on September 16th. You can find it in our newly launched Discovery Section: https://discovery.sutra.co/
In this interview, Craig and Patricia offer deep wisdom informed by a long lifetime of work. Please enjoy.
Marilyn Darling and Heidi Sparkes Guber on Emergent Learning
Marilyn and Heidi bring decades of research working with groups as diverse as school districts and the U.S. Army. I love a story they share about the meaning of truly learning a lesson. A lesson is when you look at the past and notice what worked and what didn't. The learning is when you actually try something new in the world and get a different result. It isn’t a lesson learned until you’ve tried it out and it’s made a difference.
Today’s conversation is all about how to learn lessons that create change in the context of community. Marilyn and Heidi share specific and highly practical approaches to learning together as a system and returning learning to the system. I took pages of notes on this interview and found it full of actionable insights.