Leading Groups Effectively

Awakening heart,
spirit and joy in worklife

Leading Groups Effectively


Dates: February 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11, 12, and 13, 2019 (open)

“LGE is like The Wheel of a ship — The place where we steer the vessel,
direct the crew, and play our part in reaching the destination as a community.”
                                                                                                                              —Ron Nakata     

Gale Leadership Development, upon sufficient request, offers Leading Groups Effectively in association with The Heart of Leadership program. We are pleased to let you know that on February 4, 5, 6, 7, and 11, 12, 13, 2019, we will be offering our next Leading Groups Effectively program.

Leading Groups Effectively is both an opportunity to have a breakthrough in your ability to lead groups such that the intent and purpose of any group you lead is realized, and it is also a transformational piece of work, as “We teach who we are,” as Parker Palmer says. A breakthrough into your own ease and grace in leading, and in being a clearing for others to be engaged and inspired, this program allows you to “observe” The Heart of Leadership, “leading” that program from the back of the room through observing Amba Gale lead. You have the opportunity to occupy the meta conversation of The Heart of Leadership, debriefing each day, and then engaging in multiple dialogues, training inquiries, exercises, and practice mocks during a three-day period following The Heart of Leadership. This pathway provides a powerful opening into the “Beingness” of one who serves through leading.

This is a program which is offered to Heart of Leadership graduates only, and which has four over-arching purposes:

  1. To empower you to have a breakthrough in your ability to lead such that the purpose of any group you lead is realized.
  2. For you have to have greater certainty, ease, and grace in your ability to be in front of groups and unfold the conversation in the room powerfully into an accomplishment or fulfillment.
  3. For you to have a breakthrough in your own Self-expression, authenticity, and sense of Selfhood, unfettered by nerves.
  4. For your leading workshops, team meetings, groups, to be a source of inspiration, joy, meaning, and enlivenment for both yourself and the participants in your groups.

 Within these four purposes are more specific purposes, all of which are accomplished by the end of the seven days:

1)   You have a new opening in your ability to fulfill the purpose or purposes of whatever you are leading

2)   You have a new opening in your ability to have the people you are leading empowered and inspired and are able to produce unprecedented results through and with others

3)    You are released to a call to ongoingly develop yourself as a workshop/group/facilitation/course/retreat leader and to sustain yourself in that development

4)   With respect to being a leader of groups, you are clear what is fundamental to leading effectively and have access to living and being that and developing yourself in that on an ongoing basis

5)   As a group leader, you are clear what you stand for

6)    You have a pathway for finding your voice and capitalizing on your self-expression, your strengths and your gifts, all put in service of empowering others through leading groups 

7)    You make a shift from self-absorption, self-concern and fears/worry to Self-expression and Being-of-Service as a pathway for generating greater ease, delight, and certainty in being in front of groups and unfolding the conversation in the room as an accomplishment in fulfilling purpose

8)    You have greater access to the territory of shaping the listening and listening to the listening for creating your power in leading 

9)    Your leading is a source of joy, delight, inspiration, and enlivenment for yourself and others

 

The key distinctions and inquiries that this program opens are:

 

  • What is the background clearing for leading effectively? (What is in that background?)
  • Who are you being (as a leader) currently and what’s a (potent and authentic) new level of “beingness” you would want to author?
  • What is fundamental to leading groups effectively? (without which you wouldn’t be doing it)
  • Listening to the listening (or listening for the listening for); being reliable for distinguishing each listening in the room
  • Sourcing a safe space
  • Appreciation as a ground of being
  • Taking the lid off your self expression

—  disappearing your fear 

—  removing the (particular) nails in your feet (like fear, pretense and all behaviors that cover that up = looking good, performing, cya, minimize the risk, etc) 

  • Expectations and ideals as they pertain to leading
  • Dealing with your own (other agendas) while leading
  • Leading an Inquiry
  • Releasing the wisdom and brilliance in the room
  • Integrity and authenticity as it pertains to this domain
  • Being responsible for the outcome
  • Creating the ability to create
  • Being One who is (who comes from) Being of Service in the World
  • Levels of creative acknowledgment (and what different levels of acknowledgment produce) 
  • The Communication Relationship (levels of speaking and listening)
  • What are your particular stands in leading your work? 
  • Your relationships to Source/Spirit as you lead

 

The particulars and logistics of this potential offering are:

 

The program will be done in conjunction with the first three days of The Heart of Leadership. Participants of Leading Groups Effectively sit in the back of the room of The Heart of Leadership, noting and observing the meta conversations, the ground of being, and the listening I am creating, as I am leading.

Program sessions, therefore, entail:

– Four hours, the day before Day One of The Heart of Leadership, on February 4, 2019, to prepare your ears and eyes for distinguishing leading through observing my leading

– Debriefing for 1 hour at the end of each of the first three days of The Heart of Leadership, followed by a weekend off, followed by three days of development and training, and starting with a debrief of observations from The Heart of Leadership. These three days are days of good, hard, hands-on work – through inquiry, dialogue, exploration, coaching, and many exercises and practice, in the above distinctions.  

The tuition for Leading Groups Effectively is $2850.  Lodging and food are separate.

 

Comments or debriefs from past participants of the public program:

“Hi Amba,

It occurs to me that your Leading Groups Effectively course could be renamed The Joy of Leading Groups. It was certainly that for me. The course was all about relaxing into my own way of being and finding my contribution within the easy, simple pleasure of being myself.  I said going into the course that I wanted to get “freed up.”  And freed-up is what I got!  Had I known how much fun, how filled with pure delight this experience would be, I could have spared myself all pre-course anxiety, all unnecessary fretting about whether or not I have what it takes to “lead groups effectively.”   Fortunately, my soul recognized the invitation this course is.   What I’ve come away with is a vibrant confidence and humble appreciation for the power and effectiveness of simply being who I am.

Love and gratitude,”
Anna Billings, therapist

 

“Working with Gale Leadership Development over the last five years has led to incredible personal and professional breakthroughs in my life. Every time I have gone to Gale Leadership’s inspired workshops, a new area in my life has opened up. Perhaps the most profound experience I’ve had was when I took Leading Groups Effectively (LGE). This workshop requires participants to sit through the Heart of Leadership as an observer. There’s no way one can sit through that experience without being transformed by it. Listening to Amba’s own listening as she created space for every HOL participant made me aware of her tremendous compassion and at the same time, a fierce commitment to the progress and well-being of every participant. She invited me to do the HOL exercises by myself, and that created a tremendous opening in my life. Then, LGE officially started and we got into pretty intense work over a whole week in Chief Seattle’s suite.

The picture of the Chief in the room reminded me of all my ancestors, blood-related and otherwise, who had to have shared their blessings for me to do this work. It was tremendous fun to be there, and at the same time, life-altering. My meetings have never been the same since I left the LGE. I find that my meetings have become far more effective, whether they are with a single person or with an entire audience of a hundred people. Heck, my time with my own self has become more effective as I reflect on the meaningful purpose of the time I have left on earth. In the few months since my LGE experience, I undertook a major professional transition. There were a million ways in which that transition could have ended badly for those I was leaving. Instead, thanks to Amba’s work, it felt more like moving from one part of a beautiful garden to another, where the fragrance from each part of the garden would waft freely for everyone to enjoy. That grounding allowed me to respect relationships and build a greater future that centered on a community-oriented view of work, as opposed to a solo performer view.

Now that nine months have passed since the LGE, I feel fundamental changes in my meetings. For one, I look forward to a collective intelligence that is far greater than what any one of us could do. That collective intelligence is directly related to my holding space for it, something that Amba focuses heavily on in this workshop. Second, I am much more respectful of time than I have ever been before. I realize now that my preparation for meetings is the way in which I get to respect others. Third, and perhaps this is the most important teaching I took away from LGE, is to stop ignoring my spirit and the spirit of those in the meeting. We are all imbued with a sensory apparatus that clues us into the space we are in, but seldom have we practiced using this information to allow our collective spirit to shine. Prior to LGE, I was more practiced in ignoring uncomfortable information that told me people were not interested. Now, I have learned to be the field that welcomes discomfort.

To give a concrete example, I recently did a workshop where some counterculture ideas were presented. Normally, before LGE, I would engage with just the vocal folks in the audience and once they were on board, I’d move on. Now, I have found ways of soliciting temperature from every member in the room, and offering them ways of expressing discomfort and being ok with it. For instance, my temperature poll had the following options:

  1. Gosh, this makes sense!
  2. I disagree with you
  3. Not sure whether I agree or disagree
  4. Still soaking on this and need to sleep on it

When a significant section of the audience selected #3 and #4, I wasn’t flustered at all, and instead, appreciated their needing time and space to reflect. Don’t know where this came from, but I found myself saying, “Confusion is good for all of us, for the confused seek clarity” evoking much laughter and legitimizing my moving forward without needing everyone to agree with me. The fact that I wanted to create space for this kind of interaction is a direct result of LGE’s teachings.

I do want to mention that when I refer to Amba above, I am also referring to Ruth, whose contribution to our learning experiences is immense. Amba leads from the front of the room while Ruth leads from the back of the room. That in itself is a powerful learning, especially in the context of LGE — how well do we recognize these two roles in our own meetings? While we think naturally about developing to lead from the front of the room, how would we need to develop in order to lead from the back of the room? Ruth taught us this by example.

In summary, I continue to apply LGE more and more, and as I do so, the results seem to get better and better. I wholeheartedly recommend this workshop to professionals who find their work largely occupied with meetings, with the incredible claim that this workshop can help you create meetings of aliveness every single time you choose to have one.”

Somik Raha, Senior Associate, Ulu Ventures

 

“My participation in LGE opened up my ability to listen and be present with the groups I lead by helping me connect with my source which is my unconditional love for the people I lead and the mission of our work together in the world.  Taking the lid off of who I am, and therefore how I lead, has opened up my authenticity with my groups and allowed me to listen deeper to them and to shape their listening for me.  Developing this dynamic with the group, and not just with individuals, has been challenging and rewarding.  Together we are doing what ‘everyone knows cannot be done.”

 (The person who wrote the above also wrote):

“I am so much more aware of the listening in the room and how I am responsible for it and how to shape it.  This is a skill that will be a life long journey of being present, being ever more myself and holding a specific intention for the group.  It is so easy to just talk and not really be in a conversation.  I find it requires a lot of my energy, which I am happy and willing to give.  I also know that I need to take care of my own renewal and keep my connection to my source if I am to be successful in having any conversations that are worth anything.  Listening is the key, I know this, but it opened up again in a new way since this class.  Holding the intention in the background has also opened new power and clarity in the room because I am much clear in expressing the purpose.  Another big opening is the clarity of my source.  Staying connected to that is a huge key.”

Marianne Bastin, Manager, Good Samaritan Hospital

(And one of the people in her meeting following the course wrote to her):

“Loved how the meeting went today—–great blend of structure and open-ended activity.  It was SO nice to have the logistics already organized and set to go, so we didn’t need to take up (limited) time thrashing around about how we were going to go about the task.  (We really don’t need input into every decision to be invested!!!!)  The facts were clear (financial info) and the overall goal was very clear (meeting all three goals of financial solvency, WOW for patients, and satisfaction for staff).  Parameters of the brainstorming task were clear (NO critical comments!  ONLY ideas, no matter how far fetched!)  Then we had all the room to roam we could use with doing the brainstorming task. 

ATTAWAY  MARIANNE———THAT’S  LEADERSHIP!!!!!!” 

And, one year later, another “testimonial” from Marianne Bastin:

“I wanted to have you share in a big success I had this week that you played a large role in. 

I gathered all my staff together for our first integration meeting on Tuesday morning.  These staff are from my two groups, one at Children’s Therapy and one at Mary Bridge.  One of my leadership staff suggested we call this gathering “Integration into Greatness”.  The goal is to bring these two groups together to begin to look at functioning as one unit.

There were 90 people in the room and I was not a bit nervous (first success).  I had the presentation planned out to the minute but sensing the room (second success) I was able to make changes on the fly and still get through the program (third success).  The energy in the room was amazing.  They launched into the work of designing what an integrated program would look like with great gusto and lots of laughter (another success).  I asked them to identify what they saw as benefits to integration as well as what was at stake.  They had lots of great ideas.  When I asked them to identify any benefits to not integrating, and what was at stake if we did not integrate, they struggled…..they could hardly conceive of not integrating.  Big Success.

That I could pull this off Amba, was huge and was possible because of all the work I did in Leading Groups Effectively (and HOL).  The comments from the staff on the meeting have been overwhelmingly positive and they are excited to start working on a plan.  It was definitely the right time for the conversation – and the fact that I could sense the right timing was also a big success for me. 

Thank you, Amba, for your contribution to me that allowed me to contribute to my staff that will allow them to contribute to our community for years to come.

Happy, happy day!”

Marianne Bastin
 

 
“I went into the LGE Course with the intention of improving my effectiveness when facilitating a group.  While that intention continues to be met as the distinctions I learned are increasingly manifested in my leadership, I am even more pleased with the difference I am experiencing in my daily one-on-one conversations.  It is amazing how much those conversations have been turned upside-down by my commitment to listen for and speak into the listening.   Thank you for the experience and for your investment in my on-going development.”

Mike Pedersen, Town and Country Markets

 

“Being grounded in my stand for presence in all interactions with others has been powerful.  I’ve had a greater sense of ease in my interactions—and I’ve had more energy as well.  When I’m in my head and disconnected from others my interactions can wear me out—if I’m really present with the other person/people, however—and connected with the Source that we have in common then I come away with more energy than I began the conversation with.  Maintaining that presence takes mindfulness, and maintaining mindfulness requires intentional work—and over the course of the past month there have been times I’ve found myself getting back into a protective in-my-head mode, which has resulted in a feeling of disconnectedness.  The good news has been than when that’s happened I’ve caught myself and woken back up again. 

I also have not been living in the place of feeling overwhelmed I described to all of you.  I’ve really had a greater sense of ease in knowing that I have the support and help I need to do my job—which I now see differently than I did prior to LGE—as more being a clearing for others’ accomplishment as opposed to feeling that I have to accomplish everything myself.  This ties in with my stand of being in inquiry with others—and not trying to provide all of the answers myself or indulge in an impulse to try to ‘fix’ things.”

Eric Blegen, Deputy Director, Harmony Hill Retreat Center

 

Upon reflection I believe that our LGE group provided so much more than the sum of our individual parts – our ages, experience, challenges and chosen work gave me so much more to pull from – it was a memorable time and one that I’m so grateful for – it helped immensely!

Steve Jarvis, Operations Manger

Abbott Construction

 

 

“As I mentioned to you last time we talked, my first meeting after LGE went very well.  I had a clear agenda but allowed for some flexibility.  We ran short of time before lunch and all agreed to switch the agenda around slightly.  My key purposes were to have each participant learn something new and to feel appreciated as well as update them on Company directions.  All were accomplished and shared through feedback.  I asked Susan Allen to present a portion of the meeting.  It allowed my group to hear directly from a Board member and to hear her gratitude for the group rather than me relaying all the information and appreciation.

One of my team members summed the meeting and my efforts up very well:  ‘I greatly appreciate the openness of dialogue that flows in our meetings. I like the organized, yet conversational aspects of the meeting. Ideas have a place to go and not be held up for another day. In HR, we may never be done, but I feel like you try to create space for all our questions. Reflecting upon our first meeting vs the most current, I would say things were more relaxed and fluid in the most recent. The first meeting felt a little compartmentalized and lurched a little from one project to the next. The second was a lighter atmosphere and as stated above, more fluid from topic to topic. I personally really liked to see how all of the pieces of our HR efforts and the STP goals are fitting together. ‘   Through their feedback, I received appreciation and acknowledgement of who I am for them:  ‘I believe you to be a trusting, empowering, and a heart driven leader. I enjoy working with you and the fruitful staff environment you have created. It is a place of growth, caring, respect, and is personally rewarding.

Additional feedback included:  ‘You seemed to be in a calm, thoughtful mood and communicated a good sense of purpose in the time we had.  I think it was a good balance of “agenda” and time to share and discuss.’  ‘I like how we had an agenda to keep us on track but yet it was also open for us to add or take stuff off as needed.’ ‘You were open to answering my questions when I needed to ask you a question and clarifying intent.

I did find myself checking my watch and getting anxious about the time.  Then I’d look up at one of them and mentally hold them in my hands for a few seconds.  This allowed me to get back on track with my real, true intentions of holding space for each of them and valuing their contributions. 

I am continuing to take time before any meeting to gather my thoughts and clear out the other ‘must do’ things that keep racing across my mind.  This is a continual effort for me.  Earlier this week I deliberately arrived about 45 minutes early to set up the room and have some quiet time to think about the intentions of the meeting.  I started to get pulled away with emails and phone calls.  So to stay true to my stand to shape my schedule, I shut off my phone and did not check it until after the meeting.  This allowed me the time I needed to be present to the purpose of the meeting and to each participant.  I am finding myself much more relaxed in the meeting setting and enjoying the mutual learnings, participation and contributions.

I am continuing to develop myself by catching myself and acknowledging my stumbles and then getting back on track with my new tools.  As always, my stands are proving to be very important and a great check-in to keep me on the right development path.  I have them in easy access to review frequently and keep my focus in the right direction for me.  I can’t go wrong when I am committed to discover the surprises in each person I interact with each day.  Nor can I go wrong when my authentic self is available to each person I interact with or when I am grateful for each person’s contributions.  In writing this, I realize I would benefit from reviewing my printed stands before each meeting.  I’ll add that to my pre-meeting work until they become habits.

Last week I participated as a panel speaker for a couple of groups of high school students.  I was able to relax and really listen to them and search for what they were listening for as well as be an observer while other panelists were speaking.  I enjoyed the sessions and the interactions for all of us.  I left feeling relaxed and comfortable that we each took something away from the discussions.  I have a new appreciation for each of the participants and their curiosity about the next steps of their lives.

LGE greatly increased my awareness of my own personal gifts as well as areas for continued work.  I have had several one-on-one meetings lately that were very serious and uncomfortable.  I was able to create a safe space and could visibly see their anxiety and stress release.  This is allowing an open, safe space to work on the issues and step towards personal accountability and ultimately resolution.  Being able to accept that I create a safe place allows me to be much more relaxed and be in the moment rather than having the questions of ‘if I can’, ‘how do I’ in the background and pulling me away from the present.

As with any work I’ve done with you, the impact continues to show up in various ways with my department team, with other groups and with individuals.  I find myself observing other leaders/facilitators much more and learning from their examples.  I believe through LGE I have become a better participant in groups through a deeper appreciation for the leader.  Thank you for your inspiration and setting the stage for my continual development.  This was a great course and has pushed me to a new level of leadership.” 

Melody Brown, Human Resources, Town & Country Markets, Inc.
 

“There is also something to be said about “critical mass” regarding enrollment in HOL and leadership.  It occurred to me, that after this HOL, all of our team members have gone through at least one HOL and as many as four have been enrolled in some sort of leadership course designed and led by yourself in the last year.  It is my belief that this culmination has led to an increased velocity in which things are getting done faster and with more purpose.  We now have a common language and understanding, whether spoken or not, that we are all connected to.  We now have a new listening for each other that is devoid of files and preconceived ideas about how each of us should be.  This is new ground for us, but is it very exciting new ground with endless possibilities!

Finally, last week I was able to have “my” meeting.  This is an ironic story, in that I knew that someday I was going to lead the conversation about Price Optimization, but I figured it was going to be someday, possibly further into the future.  Who would have known that I needed to do a lot of work in a very short period of time!  I was able to have all of the seed conversations about this topic with all of the managers, so they were informed about the idea before the meeting.  I was also able to fully develop the conversation and “know it”, so I didn’t need to read from it like a script.

The morning of the meeting, I was surprisingly calm and ready for the day.  I started out the meeting with a polite welcome and went straight into defining the purpose in a couple of short, concise sentences with the acknowledgement that I would delve into this deeper as we went on.  Then I paused for a moment of recognition for the work that the group has done and how much I appreciate them. 

This was a show-stopper!  I don’t normally do this and this took them by surprise; however I do believe they took it in and appreciated it.  When it came to the heart of the topic, I delivered the information while maintaining a level of listening for them that allowed for further or deeper conversations.  I was surprised at the level of participation; like they recognized how important their input and contribution was, so they were on the edge of their seats. 

In the agenda, I set aside three hours for this conversation, with the acknowledgement that we could take more time, if it was called for.  We were able to move through the conversation, design the framework of the project and leave with an understanding about how it was going to move into the future.  All of this took place in under three hours! 

But the real icing on the cake was that I got the feeling they didn’t view this as a negative dictate from the corporate level.  They were able to see the benefits for the department, the company and how it could also benefit them personally.

On the boat home, I was talking to Al and Bryce, who were at the meeting and I asked them how they thought it went.  They both replied that they were shocked at how well it was received and how swiftly were able to grab onto the conversation and move it into creation of a real live entity.  Amazing!

This has been a life-altering experience for me.  While it has been a lot of work in my personal growth to get this far, it has more than paid for itself in outcomes.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a participant in LGE.  I look forward to our time together on Thursday.” 

Don Thornton, Wine Specialist, Town and Country Markets

 

 
May you travel in an awakened way,  

Gathered wisely into your inner ground;

That you may not waste the invitations

Which wait along the way to transform you.

(O’Donohue)