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Talk on Conversational Leadership at LCME 2014


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These are the slides of my presentation on Conversational Leadership at the Middle East Conference on Leadership Communication in Abu Dhabi in April 2014.

Published in: Business, Education

Talk on Conversational Leadership at LCME 2014

  1. 1. Conversational Leadership The Middle East Leadership Communications Conference 2014
  2. 2. Birth of the Gurteen Knowledge Café London, September 2002
  3. 3. Global Knowledge Cafés • Run them all over the world • Interesting cultural issues • Format always works • People naturally love to talk
  4. 4. Café Applications • Not just alternative for death-by-PowerPoint – Surfacing hidden problems – Management training tool – A way of transforming meetings – Obtaining buy-in to a project – Sharing good-practice – Instigating action – Giving people a voice
  5. 5. Conversational Methods • Dialogue • Knowledge Cafes • Peer assists • After action reviews • De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats • Storytelling • Randomised Coffee Trials • Communities of Practice • Brainstorming • Open Space Technology • Anecdote circles • World Cafes • Post project reviews • Collective Sensemaking A few examples of Conversational Methods
  6. 6. What people say about conversation
  7. 7. The most widespread and pervasive learning in your organization may not be happening in training rooms, conference rooms or board rooms but in the cafeteria, the hallways and the cafe across the street. Junita Brown & David Isaacs
  8. 8. Conversation is the most powerful learning technology ever invented Conversations carry news, create meaning, foster cooperation, and spark innovation. Encouraging open, honest conversation through work space design, setting ground rules for conversing productively, and baking conversation into the corporate culture spreads intellectual capital, improves cooperation, and strengthens personal relationships. Jay Cross, Informal Learning
  9. 9. Our most effective KM tool is conversation The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves are what determine our success in creating new knowledge as well as sharing that knowledge with each other. Nancy Dixon Common Knowledge
  10. 10. Organizational Conversation Conversation permeates our organisational lives
  11. 11. Business is a conversation because the defining work of business is conversation - literally. And 'knowledge workers' are simply those people whose job consists of having interesting conversations. David Weinberger The Cluetrain Manifesto
  12. 12. Conversations are the way workers discover what they know, share it with their colleagues, and in the process create new knowledge for the organisation. In the new economy, conversations are the most important form of work ... so much so that the conversation is the organisation. Alan Weber Harvard Business Review
  13. 13. Conversations
  14. 14. Conversations to … • Transform leadership • Improve understanding • Build relationships • Improve engagement • Improve decision making • Break-down organizational silos • Stimulate action • Spur innovation • Surface opportunities • Explore possibilities • Surface problems • Solve problems • Identify risks • Share knowledge • Give people a voice • Generate ideas • Coach people
  15. 15. Surface Issues & Break Down Silos
  16. 16. ISN Zurich • Dramatic improvement in inter-team dialog, collaboration & knowledge sharing • Many internal work processes overhauled as a result • Explosion of new ideas & initiatives on the part of staff at all levels of the organization • Empowered staff to speak up and take the initiative Chris Pallaris Chief Editor, ISN, Zurich
  17. 17. Transform Meetings
  18. 18. Transform Decision Making Meetings • Break meetings into two parts • To better understand the issues – Dialogue - Café style – Divergent – Understanding • To make decisions and plans – Debate – Convergent – Making a decision Too often we rush to make decisions without taking sufficient time to understand the issues
  19. 19. Transform Management Training
  20. 20. Challenging Minds ING Bank Academy Amsterdam • Education programme for mid-level managers • Abandoned lecture style training • Small Knowledge Café style conversations around specific topics • Short videos downloaded from YouTube
  21. 21. Increase Connections & Serendipity
  22. 22. Randomised Coffee Trials • Pair people at random for coffee once a week • Bank of England connects 4 people & call it “Coffee Fours” • Serendipity Randomized Coffee Trials • Nesta • Cabinet Office • Bank of England • Mars • RSA • KHDA (Dubai) • DfE • Scottish Government
  23. 23. Organizational Conversation Conversation permeates our organisational lives
  24. 24. Organizational Conversation "Organizational Conversation" is the myriad of conversations, both formal and informal, that take place everyday, minute to minute, within an organization. Conversation is the life blood of an organization. David Gurteen
  25. 25. Conversational Leadership "Conversational Leadership" is a style of working where everyone in an organization, especially managers, understand the transformative power of conversation and take a conversational approach to the way that they lead, manage and interact with people. David Gurteen
  26. 26. Conversational Leaders • Purposefully nurture & stimulate natural conversations – are a catalyst • Talk “with people” and not “at people” • Ask questions of people rather than have all the answers • Listen to ignite rather than reply • Practice dialogue more than they do debate • Speak up and allow others to speak their minds • Take every opportunity to turn a sterile formal process such as many meetings into a conversational one • Make good use of all the conversational methods available • Make the time I view anyone with a sphere of influence as a “leader,” whether or not she has that explicit job description Daniel Goleman
  27. 27. To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being in constant change and who, without thinking that they can control it, wish to influence its direction. Theodore Zeldin Conversation
  28. 28. Listening to ignite rather than reply • Listening is not a passive act, it is very powerful action • The attention of one human being to another is an act of creation. • If I can be profoundly interested in what you think and what you will think next and where you will go with your thinking, you will generate ideas and insights and ways forward that you wouldn’t do without this attention. • I want to be listening in a way that is more interested in where you will go next than I am in what I am going to say next. • And so I like to think of it as listening to ignite rather then listening to reply which I think is a profound difference Credit: Nancy Kline
  29. 29. Conversational Architects • Conversational Leaders are “conversational architects” • Identify the problems and challenges that need to be addressed • Identify the conversations that are needed & the questions that trigger new thinking • Design conversational processes, convene & host them (typically Knowledge Cafes) • Invite the right people – ensuring diversity • Participate as an equal group member
  30. 30. Who is talking about Conversational Leadership? • World Café: Juanita Brown & David Isaacs • Talk Inc. by Boris Groysberg & Michael Slind • Nancy Dixon • Henry Mintzberg • Gervase Bushe • Peter Block
  31. 31. Question
  32. 32. How do we become better conversational leaders?
  33. 33. David GURTEEN Gurteen Knowledge Fleet, United Kingdom Tel: +44 7774 178 650 Email: