Learning … and curiosity

Digging into a couple of sets of notes from long time clients. Seeing a couple of complete misses with our conversation. Deployment of ‘solutions’ that were so out of sync with their projects…

The beauty of this digging is that I get to try again. We remain in engagement. They remain clients. They remain invested in growing their business. They remain interested in finding, focusing, practicing, and growing in the craft, consultation, and service that is the core of both their business and practice. Me too!

The map that popped out this morning is yet another iteration of deployment. The more I learn the less I know. And … the deeper is my curiosity about the whole of systems that are driving both the engagement and the client’s willingness to continue to do the work.

It is not about a finish line. It is about the practice of pivot, flex and shift that drive better work, better engagement, even, better outcome. The wonder of this work is the willingness to explore a different way. To allow the pivot and abandonment of a thing that no longer works. The solution is not my deployment. The solving is the work of description, identification, questioning and then … crafting answers that fit with congruence the presenting challenge.

In deep gratitude to the adventurous partners in this consulting practice.

Appreciating — a reflection on the writing that challenges each day.

Chris Alexander
Brene’ Brown
Viktor E. Frankl
Murray Bowen
Lisa Feldman Barrett
Richard Feynman
T.H. White
Atul Gawande
William F. Buckley
Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza
Gabor Mate’
Barbara Brown Taylor
Ernest Becker
Daniel Botkin
Temple Grandin
Steven Pinker
John Sarno
Peter Wholleben
Richard Rohr
Parker Palmer
Anne Lamott
Christopher Cowan and Don Beck
Clare W. Graves
Seth Godin
Michael Gungor
Peter Block
Daniel Tammet
Edwin H. Friedman
Donald Miller
Harry G. Frankfurt
Jay Harman
Janine M. Benyus
Adam Kahane
Jackson Katz
Rebecca Solnit
David Graeber

It is a partial list of authors who have demanded attention this past year. Even as I tap this sentence, asking forgiveness for those forgotten, more raise pages to be included. Ah, such a rich place of learning to tap. In that demand is also a grand invitation to look at the foundations of much of my thinking. An invitation to evaluation, discarding, even wholesale remodeling. Along with this list of amazing thinkers, a larger context of the universe in which we all dance has also emerged. The simple question of, “Around what do you organize?” This simple question turns much of the narrative of the past several years on its head. The deeply shaken set of held belief, life narrative, story arc… all dumped upside down. The grand humor of seeing some of the foundation stones… turned over to reveal so much richer a vision. …

In song, in writing, in listening to the hopes and dreams of many clients… in the growing that happens each day in the fields around the house. In the deep seeds of thinking, observation and listening that the fun and challenging partnerships around and surrounding demand…

All of this, a tradition of taking stock. A tradition of pausing to give thanks for so many teachers. A gift of this huge classroom. And so many partners in that learning.

It all started with a review of the current list. The list that shifts and grows each year. For, there is so much to learn. In each new learning, the reminder of … the more I learn, the less I know.

Scope, Scale and Context

As with questions… Who, What, Where, When, How and Why…. Scope, Scale and Context add to the frame. A conversation about this or that disaster… Major, I am saying MAJOR… until the frame shifts to scope and context. Major in relationship to what context…

The sink overflowing… on a slab on the wash porch on the patio… on the third floor of the apartment that has just been remodeled with fine imported hardwood floors… on the second floor and the roof collapsed and the kitchen stove tipped over and started a fire… and… and… and…

Friends, ran out of gas on the way home from a party, that we both attended. As they coasted to a stop, we pulled in and asked to help… a long walk turned into a pleasant drive to get some gas, pour it into an empty tank and … soon after, all were homeward bound. Scope, scale and context.

A disastrous meeting of two vehicles on the road… speed, impact, … oh my. Again, scope scale and context.

When a regulatory scheme is deployed, what is the scope, the scale and the context. From the regulator’s vision? From the regulated’s vision? Ah the permutations that can come from this set of variables.

Then, what happens when the three variables are not congruent or the responses are out of wack or… the train wrecks that can come from assumptive response of scope, scale and context. Such a wonderful world to explore.

A gift of just three words in relationship.

Strike a match…

Walking in the world this morning. Started to think through this idea of resilience and disaster. The walk … a beautiful day on the eve of Christmas.

First there is Scope. Then comes Scale. Finally Context.

Disaster comes in all shapes and sizes. All contexts. All scopes. All scales. Full stop.

When the walk eases away that set and rigid form to hold disaster in a certain frame… there is room to find paths beyond a disaster.

May this full on day be blessed with moving beyond and remembering scope, scale and context. Framing each in congruent response. With congruent expectation. In congruent available bandwidth.

This morning, while walking, it was clear that each breath was enough for the moment. Breathe and step. Pump the arms and then turn for home. Enough on this eve of Christmas. A blessing.

Just up the road…

I wonder at the stunning images that are painted in each moment as the sun rises in the valley. Standing for just a few moments in the breaking dawning of this day. The brush of the sun … the shadows in grand shift. The light breeze of morning. Now, a bit later, the sun begins to come in through the office window. It has risen over the hill and kisses the cabinets behind me. The light in the office shifts.

The pile of notes, trinkets, letters, contracts… all the parts of daily conduct… litter the upper part of the desk. It is a goal of christmastide to file or toss, recycle and find proper place… after the shifting light stops holding my attention.

Perhaps some practice of a tune will find its way into the mix of putter that is a lovely Sunday morning. That putter practice of having a tune work itself out.

Perhaps this afternoon will yield a nap. The plan that was for this afternoon found itself executed yesterday evening. So… there is much room for an alternative set of putter plans.

Years ago, a younger group of crew learned to putter on a walking trip into a downtown where none of us live anymore. It has informed so many gatherings since. The putter practice. That moment of seeing in clarity and then holding that seeing in a putter plan.

Just up the road. With thanks… puttering, just up the road.

The order of the questions…

The five W’s and one H… And their order… in context of the issues being queried.

Who, what, where, when, why and how… The default is the how… wrong order to be sure.

Thurman… Where am I going and who is going with me?

Who is this information important to and why?

When is the plane leaving and who is on it?

How are we going to walk from here to there and when?

As these few examples are tapped… the smile of … oh, how many times have I gotten these in the wrong order? What has been the outcome of that silly order? How big was the train wreck?

And so, in context … from context … the order emerges. The Who, the What, the Where, the When, the How and, the Why… all in an order.

Just so.