The Missing Piece: Moving from “I” to “We”

By kate, December 11th, 2017

For those who’ve read my second book, you may be wondering why I’ve invested so heavily in revising the content and released it under a new title, We Can Do This! 10 Tools to Unleash Collective Genius.

Why now? And why this dedication to nurturing a movement to revolutionize how we work together?

First, I’ve been excited to add new content

The biggest change is a new chapter on the oh-so powerful Systems Constellations way of seeing. I learned about this framework in 2012, just after I released my second book, and I’ve wanted to include it ever since.

I’ve also added 11 new illustrations, based on reader feedback, in order to make the concepts more “sticky.”

But the most important changes, in my view, are the new sections on how each framework applies at the personal level. Doing our own inner work is crucial for us to be effective as leaders and change makers; plus the more we use the tools at the personal level, the more we will remember and be able to access the them when we need them in the flux of group situations.

I’ve received tremendous feedback from influential and trusted thought leaders, executives and change agents across sectors on this work, and that inner work element is perhaps the most popular differentiator of the work I’m presenting.

Second, it’s time!

I can’t not do it. I feel called. I’ve been playing too small too long, and it’s time to truly honour this body of work. It is in the tips of my fingernails, and my heart and soul, and the fibre of my being: The tremendous potential of inner work to bring us peace and joy, and to contribute significantly to what David Korten calls the “Great Turning” so needed at this time.

I love Korten’s phrase. Our mindsets and structures and systems need to turn away from those of an industrial growth society, and towards those of a life-sustaining civilization. A huge turning, like steering an aircraft carrier in the opposite direction.

If we work only on the outer, we’ll recreate what we already have in new forms. We need profound shifts on the inner, and “inner work” helps us do that.

Finally, it’s time to shift from “I” to “We”

And I mean that for both me personally and for all of us collectively.

Two years ago, I had a huge “ah-ha” moment: I’d been framing my work as “How might I…”. The classic lone wolf stance. Don’t ask for help. Don’t admit that you don’t know what to do next, or feel overwhelmed or lost. Bury yourself in being busy in things that are relative distractions; sort of on track but not as pointed or undiluted or alive as what is really trying to come through.

Getting that I could ask instead, “How might we…” is changing everything. Suddenly I’m not alone, and the possibilities are vastly greater.

Recalibrating from “How might I…” to “How might we…” has been a journey – I’m still in it.

It is as if every “How might we…” step I take has been matched by Life to the power of 10. Like there is a Tsunami of support just waiting for me to take a step, and to match and amplify each step that I take.

For example, in October 2016, I shared with a friend and colleague the confusion I felt about where to go next. Where once being vulnerable in this way would have been impossible, then I delighted in a wonderfully creative and inspiring conversation. From it came the possibility of a crowdfunding campaign to relaunch my second book with a new cover and new learnings. My inner knowing said, “Yes!”

And with each step forward, more doors opened. When I said “Yes” on the inner to doing a crowdfunder, I soon received an email out of the blue from a woman in my wider circle who I’d not heard from in years. She was on a maternity leave and had solid experience with crowdfunding. She totally gets my work, and without a moment’s hesitation, offered her services, pro bono, to help me craft a successful campaign.

Such support is humbling! It is a gift!

The very fact that someone was willing to help – to contribute hours and hours of professional consulting and hand-holding and nudges – means I can’t zone out and disappear (for long). I can’t, in integrity, receive the gift of support without doing my part — without showing up more and more and more.

But she wasn’t the only one. I soon became very good at asking for help, and was rewarded by a flood of it – from experts in communications, engagement, business and digital strategy.

And it just kept coming, with 200+ amazing souls backing my crowdfunder, intros to potential endorsers, and invitations to give workshops.

I am being midwifed by love and step-by-step practical support to break deep patterns of playing small and working below the radar.

No more Lone Wolves

I suspect that probably 98% of us are like me and can benefit from letting go of the rugged individualism we have been so schooled in, and embracing our incredible potential for collective wisdom, collective capacity, and collective intelligence.

And to get the most out of this “I” to “We” shift, we need to get better at working together. We need access to a suite of perspectives, frameworks, practices, and activities used by professional facilitators and consultants.

As we access these ways of seeing and being, we will know what is possible, and more and more of us will delight in the sweetness of working well together.

What if your best ever experience of working with others became a new normal, and if you haven’t seen anything yet in terms of what is possible for human working with other humans. I know in my bones the potential is joyous and sweet and WANTS TO HAPPEN.

I hope you will join me in growing this movement to revolutionize how we work together.

For peace and joy!

Kate

We Can Do This! guidebook for teams, now available on Amazon

By kate, December 11th, 2017

It’s here! My latest offering, We Can Do This! 10 Tools to Unleash Collective Genius, builds on my second book to support anyone seeking to enliven and empower themselves and their teams. And it’s now available through my website and on Amazon!

We Can Do This!

Meant to serve as a guidebook for teams, We Can Do This! can be accessed in small chunks or taken all together for a deep dive into consciousness.

It harnesses the most powerful tools and frameworks used by facilitators, coaches and consultants to bring leaders into their hearts and into a mindframe that allows for profound transformations to occur.

Your team may not even know what you are up to, but they’ll feel it – and they’ll see it in the amazing results you’re all able to achieve, together.

Guidebook for Teams to Work More Effectively – and Joyfully 

This book is more than just a guidebook for teams, however. It’s a springboard for a movement.

I’d love your help to get We Can Do This! into the hands of every leader of groups – whether they’re part of a large institution, small business, neighbourhood association, grassroots advocacy group, classroom or family – and support us all to work more joyfully, with intention and creativity, while nurturing compassion and intuition, and expanding our ability to tap into collective consciousness and the intelligence of Life.

Share this post via email, FB, Twitter, etc., chat up the book at the cafe, at work or around the dinner table!

By the way, for those of you who are working with a not-for-profit group doing change work, reach out to me at kate@kateRsutherland.com and let me know what you’re working on – I’d be delighted to share an e-copy of my book to your entire team for free.

My goal is to get these tools into the hands of as many people as possible to support the systemic transformation that is so necessary during these challenging times.

With you in love,
Kate

Engaging Ways

By kate, April 15th, 2014

Most meetings and most trainings are ho-hum. Here are some simple ideas to spark more engagement, more connections, and more fun. You don’t have to be in a formal leadership position to make them happen.

  • “Connection before Direction” is an important principle. If people feel connected to at least one person in the group and seen, they are more likely to participate constructively. You can have a subtle and very powerful influence on a group by greeting each person individually, with eye contact and a welcoming smile.
  • Aim to have everyone speak in the first 5 minutes of the session. If people are talked at for more than five minutes, it’s as if they are hazed into greater hesitancy to speak for the rest of the session. You might suggest a quick go-around where each person shares a word or sentence.
  • In ongoing groups, switch up how you do go-arounds to avoid boredom. It can be powerful, for example, to leverage the theme of your meeting or training. E.g. if your session is about making a difference, try a go-around with everyone associating to the word “impact”. If your meeting is about documenting change, you could invite people to say what makes a story compelling.
  • During the “body” of a meeting or session, vary the format. Too many meetings are entirely whole group processes. Even around a board table, you can invite people to have a focused conversation in pairs for 1-5 minutes. I often do this at the beginning of a new agenda item to reduce the “group think” impact of whomever is first to respond to the topic. It also supports quieter people to participate more as they have a chance to formulate and practice their comments in a lower stakes context.
  • Sometimes, after a pairs conversation, I invite people to share what they and their partner had in common. This can be helpful if you are trying to build consensus.
  • The best way to introduce any of these suggestions is by invitation. If you invite people they are way more likely to respond positively than if you tell them.
  • Even inviting a group to try something new can be nerve wracking. You need to take a clear and strong stand for your idea. If the group senses that you are not sure it will work, they will resist the suggestion.
  • In more advanced (open) groups, you can invite people to take a few moments of silent reflection. This is an excellent way to give space for people’s intuitive knowing.

These simple practices can help create more trust, community, synergy and impact. Do you have other ideas? I’d love to hear them, and also your experience with trying these.

Intergenerational Systems

By kate, January 16th, 2014

Each of us are parts of wider systems which — often invisibly — influence what we do.

Neuroscientists working with laboratory mice have shown that fears and trauma appear to be transferred down generations through DNA.

The mice were trained to be afraid of a scent similar to cherry blossoms. The following two generations of mice had no exposure to the same scent. The great “grandchildren”, when exposed to “cherry blossoms”, exhibited a fear response similar to their great grandparents!

The transfer mechanism, according to the research, is the greater activation of specific genes. See a fascinating BBC article here.

I believe this calls us to have greater awareness of intergenerational systems, and greater compassion for ourselves and each other. What if what stops us from moving forward are fears we’ve inherited from our parents, grandparents and even further back?

Being aware of intergenerational effects can help to burst the bubble. I can, by metaphor, train myself to notice when I’m triggered by “cherry blossoms” (or whatever it is), and consciously choose how I respond. I can “give back” what I’ve inherited, leaving the fear and trauma with previous generations.

Over the holidays, my mother gave me a folder with memoir writing she had done in the late 90s. I was struck by several references to how my mother would give up whenever she encountered resistance as she sought connection with her parents.

Perhaps not coincidentally, also over the holidays, my husband and I contrasted our respective styles in the face of resistance: I tend to withdraw/give up, and he tends to persist.

In this new year, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of noticing this particular “cherry blossom” trigger. I have been able to follow up more persistently in situations where I’d like to make a connection, and have way more compassion for my irritated self’s desire to chuck everything in the face of resistance to how I’m organizing a group I co-convene.

Understanding that we (and everyone we deal with) are affected by previous generations opens a lot of cans of worms. The good news is that since those worms are working on us anyway, being more conscious of them allows us to shift our “system”, both for our own lives, and for the lives of our children!

Pass it on!
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P.S. One of the most powerful tools I know of for shifting intergenerational systems is Hellinger’s Constellation work. Ask me for more info if you are interested!