I am delighted to have the opportunity to co-direct the Wisdom in Groups event in April 2018. Over the past 7 years, I have been a participant, a staff member and a co-director, and it is one of the highlights of my working year.
We have changed the format a bit this time, to reflect both the changing context we are living and working in, and to respond to feedback from participants and new staff members; but it retains the integrity of the central structure, originally conceived and devised by Harold Bridger.
I think of the Wisdom in Groups event as a ‘headspa’, where my beliefs and assumptions were ‘scrubbed down’ and I came out renewed and refreshed. When I came on it as a participant, I was the leader of an organisation, which had a long and complex history, and I was facing some difficult dynamics both within my team and on my board. The double task model gave me clarity both about the work we did and the way we did that work. The consultancy groups gave me a chance to explore and analyse some of the issues facing me so that I could take some steps forward. But it was in the ‘search’ group that I learned the most: about myself, and how others experience me; about what motivates others and about how groups operate.
I left the event feeling stronger and more resilient. That feeling lasting and enabled me to the take the actions I needed to take in my role. The event marked a step change in my understanding of myself as a leader. I don’t always get it right now but I believe that I can, and I no longer suffer from what some people call ‘imposter syndrome’, a sense that one day someone will expose how ill equipped I am to inhabit the role I have.
I have gone on to use the ‘double task’ model in my daily work as a leadership and organisational development consultant. Peter Drucker came up with a saying ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and I see this in many of the organisations I go into. Using the double task with leaders and teams helps us to work together on strategy and culture at the same time, so that any changes, they introduce are firmly rooted in the reality of the present, and lead to better outcomes in the future.
Over the past 6 years, I have taken great satisfaction in seeing participants benefit in the same way that I did.