The four of us on the Beyond the Basics team are all global stewards of the international Art of Hosting community of practice. We have all attended or hosted at least two of the global stewards gatherings and we have been deeply involved in the creation and growth of the Art of Hosting community over the past decade.
As such, the Art of Hosting is our lineage. It’s where we met. It’s the most important community of practice in our lives and it continues to shape our work. And Beyond the Basics is very much rooted in the Art of Hosting.
A couple of weeks ago in Minnesota while we were preparing our teachings I saw clearly how we were extending what we know about the Art of Hosting. It’s not just that Beyond the Basics focuses more on how the practice of participatory leadership extends past meeting facilitation into longer term and broader strategic initiatives. It’s that our work builds upon the Four Fold Practice of the Art of Hosting the simple pattern that lies at the heart of this approach to facilitation, leadership and community work.
The four fold practice was the first pattern that gave rise to the Art of Hosting. It is simply an observation that great conversations happen when people are present, when they participate, when they are hosted well and when they co-create something. Some of the originators of the Art of Hosting, people like Toke Moeller, Monica Nissen and Jan Hein Nielsen began asking the question, what if these patterns became practices? And in that moment the decades long inquiry that is the Art of Hosting was born.
Our Beyond the Basics offering refers to these practices, but only now have I seen what we are doing. Toke has always called the four fold practice “The Basics” and I have no need to creat new basics. But I can see now how deeply rooted we are in extending and deepening them.
Be present. For all hosts, personal practice is essential. Whatever you can do to bring yourself to be present with a group serves the group. In the Beyond the Basics offering, Caitlin is a deep practitioner of The Work of Byron Katie which is a powerful personal practice that we all use to get at what keeps us stuck, to address what we are afraid of, and to help us become resilient and quality hosts of uncertainty, complexity and confusion. The first clarity we need to address is our own, and we do that with the Work.
Participate. It is impossible to be a part of a participatory process without participating. And it is impossible to affect a complex system from the outside. Understanding how systems works helps us to be more effective participants in the strategic work we are called on to lead and host. Using theory from the science and sociology of complex adaptive systems creates a more powerful way to see and understand and leverage people’s participation in their own work. through teaching Cynefin and working with harvesting methods that are sense-making based, we extend the practice of participation to move beyond the acts of listening, speaking and learning and into the realms of sensing, interpreting and decision making,
Be host, so everyone can make a contribution. Tim’s work with his Collaborative Advantage model extends this practice of hosting beyond the methods that for the core of the Art of Hosting practice. While we are deep practitioners of World Cafe, Circle, Pro-Action Cafe and Open Space, we know these methods alone are not enough to host large scale strategic change work. We need a framework to understand the levels of transformation that need to be hosted and the key design pieces (such as power, results and capacity) that need to be addressed so long term change can continue to be hosted from within systems and organizations.
Co-create. It is one thing to say “just work together” and quite another thing to do it when our communities and organizations are soaked in differences. Where power, privilege, race, economic opportunity and all kinds of other differences are at play we need a set of practices that can bring us to deeply transformative shared work. Tuesday has been developing this framework for many years now and it is taking form in a way that has fundamentally changed my own approach to co-creation. Moving to a place of shared work is taking co-creation beyond the basic level of just doing things together.
In our AoH Beyond the Basics offering we are addressing this extension of our lineage with teachings and reflective practice that help participants to dive more deeply into the four fold practice. You don’t have to have come nto an Art of Hosting to understand or work with what we are sharing, but if this framework makes sense to you, the three days we spend togther will help challenge and deepen your practice in these areas.
We would love to have you join us this July in Leicester, UK or in October in Kingston Ontario.