Archive for the ‘Career’ category

My Company is Seeking a Team to Train in Clean Language

October 23, 2017

My company’s name is Connections At Work.   My mission is to promote connections between people and ideas.  And I don’t know a better tool to do this with than Clean Language.

Clean for Teams Paris

Training a Team of 12 – Paris , Sept ’17

I am urgently looking for one or more teams to train in Clean Language and the body of work called Clean for Teams.  I will be cross posting similar appeals on various groups in LinkedIn.   Apologies if you see this in duplicate.  Will you help me find a team?  Here’s what I need and why:

My ideal team(s)  would desire a huge increase in performance and/or increased mutual understanding and general engagement with each other. To help me find such teams, consider a few of the following contexts that might apply:

  • You or a team you know of is working in a competitive landscape and you just want your company to outperform all the others for the next 20 years! (Hint: there’s several small companies that have done just that for years using Clean Language)
  • Maybe you are working with a team or know of one where  members participate unevenly or with uneven results due to communication foibles?
  • Perhaps you’ve seen or heard of some drama in a group or team you know of such as blame, secretiveness, inability to say no or to give each other useful feedback.

Maybe its a bit of all of the above… The team can be a team of managers, programmers, service professionals or any other sort of group or small business, agile or otherwise.  It can also be executives. Clean knows no boundaries.

So, why do I need such groups now? Why urgently?

The reason is that I am pursuing a Certification in Systemic Modeling more familiarly  known as Clean for Teams. I need to train one or more teams as part of the certification. More importantly,  I want to see the results I know are possible from these tools. Lastly, I enjoy helping teams get into a state of mutual support, inquiry, and self-development. Here are some benefits of Clean Language:  

– helps groups/teams/leaders strive towards autonomy and mutual support;
– is simple to learn and practice after a few days of training;
– does not require constant coach presence, and is therefore very affordable
– is an efficient way to surface creativity, eliminate assumptions and misunderstandings;
– incorporates a very effective feedback model that can be used frequently and easily

While simple enough to learn , it will take commitment from team members towards creating a higher level of personal and team self-awareness than what they are used to.  It will happen over time, while the team and members learn to drop habits, sometimes unconscious ones and replace them with  introspection and very big dose of curiosity. It isn’t hard, but the will must be there. Don’t worry if you’re a bit scared, I’m there to guide you and it’ll be a very, very pleasant ride.

Initial contact time: 4 sessions of 2-4 hours each depending on group size.  Ongoing monthly refreshers as needed.  

For more background on how Clean Language gets such amazing results when used by teams, do listen to this excellent radio interview with Caitlin Walker, the inventor of Clean for Teams.

Please contact me  at andrea@connections-at-work.com or call me at (571) 437-4815 if you want to learn more and especially if you have leads on a team that is willing to invest in learning this amazing technique.

Listening for Metaphors in Interviews

April 12, 2017

Here’s what I listen for when I interview: metaphors.  I use metaphor-listening to draw some tentative conclusions about a person’s thinking. I do this out of habit from the skills I’ve developed as a Clean Language coach.

Here are some metaphors used by a recruiter in a recent interview:

‘raw shootout’ to describe the competitive coaches market,   

                      literal meaning of shootout: “a decisive gun battle”

‘running you through the gauntlet’ to describe the customer interview process 

literal meaning:  “a former punishment, chiefly military, in which the offender was made to run between two rows of men who struck at him with switches or weapons as he passed”  

‘put in a pipeline’ to describe what happens to me next

literal meaning of pipeline: “a long pipe, typically underground, for conveying oil, gas, etc., over long distances” 

I soon developed an image of a big filter entering the ground, where I and other ‘resources’ who had survived duking it out, and harsh interrogations would be dumped into the delivery mechanism to fuel that Big Agile industrial complex.

These metaphors do not align with my values.  The interviewer was clearly not aware of his own metaphors.  There were no other metaphors that described an alternate reality or an alternate mental model in that interview. I do not judge, but I do notice how I feel and react. 

I am learning the realities of big placement companies with big revenue numbers that lack focus on what really matters:  the connections that people make with each other to gain trust, build alliances, create great products, and instill humanity back in the work force.

Agility is harder than you might think without this.  Connections do matter. And so do contractual relationships which need to be built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and a healthy does of shared values.

What do you listen for in interviews?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in forging stronger bonds, safety, trust, engagement, authenticity at work, do check out my upcoming one day (very small) retreat on the weekend of May 6th.  Accepting up to 6 people on a pay-as-you-can basis.

Book Dreams

April 10, 2013

2013-04-10 20.23.16Many years ago, I had a fantastically colorful dream. In this dream I had a space of my own that was both a bedroom and a library. Bookshelves stretched into every corner and nook of the room. The room contained all kinds of reading spaces and was rich both in its feeling of safety and its practical conveniences, such as microwave, refrigerator, and bed. The colors of the book bindings  matched even more spectacularly the quilts my Mom had made and all the colorful decorations in the room. I could have stayed in that room reading for days or weeks – without an unmet need – or so the dream went.

In 2011, at my second Amplify Your Effectiveness (AYE) Conference, my Korean agilist friend, June Kim, introduced me to Clean Language coaching. Clean Language questions allow one to develop a vision or solve a problem very quickly using metaphors. I was trying to find ways to accelerate my learning.  I allowed June to try a few clean questions on me, and within 5 minutes, in answer to one of his questions, I had a building with a grand library that had cropped up in my path of learning.  Since my kids were now more grown, and I had time, I began constructing my library and started reading voraciously.

So what is the connection between the library dream, the books, AYE and the present work I am doing?   The books provide me intellectual and motivational fuel for my journey.  The conferences and retreats are the place I make connections to new ideas and new people.  In my present work, I am passing along what people are ready to hear about.

I’ve compiled a list of SOME of the books that have MOST influenced me in the past year or so as it relates to the modality of coaching and consulting. I don’t include any Agile, Facilitation, or Lean books, though those  are important to me too.

Each of the following books has contributed to my understanding of the things I need most for coaching work and am most passionate about:
how listening affects thinking;
how mindset contributes to ability to learn, change, experiment;
how making direct and congruent contact with one another is the key  to successful teams, organizations, and products
My new career journey as coach may have started with a dream, AYE, June’s interview, and many amazing books. The  colorful reading den is the symbol of my refueling, so I can go out and reach  people with my heart, my learning, and my listening again and again.
What do you do, as a coach, to refuel for your next gig or goal?
[I dedicate this post to Marian Willeke who attended a Temenos retreat with me in early 2013]

Living Your Inner Mirror

September 25, 2012

[I wrote the beginnings of this post in early 2012, and dusted it off this evening, feeling inspired]

In March of this year, I went to a funeral. Steve Strunk was my cousin’s husband: a well-revered DC jazz pianist; also a music theorist, composer, performer, and professor of music for 39 years.

One of the most beautiful moments of the service was a description of Steve – and the phrase used to describe how he was in life was: He ‘lived his Inner Mirror’.

I took this phrase away, empowered to think about my own life and how my own inner mirror would reflect outwards towards the world.

Coaches Siraj Sirajuddin and Judy Rees had started coaching me  around the same time.  I soon realized coaching or some kind of change-agency was my ‘second’ career calling. This would be my way to ‘live my inner mirror’.  I would be helping others to reflect on their own work lives and improvements. With my coaching goals and aspirations as a change agent, I will be more fulfilled and happy in my life and life work.  I have many, many things I want to achieve within this umbrella goal. Acknowledging the power of following one’s calling has been the first step.  Thank you, Steve, for showing us how to live one’s life passion! Bless you!