The heart of connection

February 17th, 2009

I’ve just listened to a podcast with Johnnie Moore, Mark Earls and Rob Poynton about the benefits of not planning. This is what attracted me to the podcast initially, and while this is where it began, it’s where their discussion ended that excited me. Their conversation covered the dynamics of influence and control, how improv games can elicit insight, the legacy of mechanisation, facilitation and human intelligence.

Here’s some of their collective wisdom that I noted (I couldn’t always work out whose words were whose all the time, but it was a collaborative process so I’m sure they’ll all gladly take ownership).

Improv games bring us all up against our inner control freak … as a facilitator we’re always working with our own control impulse.

Improv enables influence, not power.

(In workshops) people over think, they work too hard. 

Reconnecting to my capacity in the moment – as a facilitator I can’t manage the group so I’m managing my own anxiety.

Intelligence is between us, not within us.

This last message was the most powerful for me.

I came away with the importance of connection – with people and with ideas and with myself – reinforced and affirmed. When facilitating it’s important for me to remain connected – to the group, to the purpose, to my own anxieties. And that connection often comes from being still, noticing more and doing less (as I’ve learnt from Johnnie and improv).

And I also came away with an understanding, at last, of what Dave Pollard means when he talks about his gravitational community. Johnnie is a friend, but I’ve not met Mark Earls or Rob Poynton (although I’ve read their books, Herd and Everything’s An Offer) and I certainly feel they could be part of my gravitational community, people whose ideas and conversations align and challenge, who are generous and willing to share not only their insights, but also their fears and anxieties, questions and musings. This, for me, is the heart of connection.

3 Comments so far

  1. Lynn Walsh on February 17, 2009 12:37 pm

    Great blog Viv
    I listened to the podcast today as well. Some of the things that resonated for me were:
    – all of us have a little piece of the whole
    – don’t work so hard
    – the concept of noticing (not just for the facilitator, think there’s value for the group as well)

    Really liked the story of a group looking to the facilitator for the ??#% what next/are we doing this right direction and a smile being almost permission to keep on with whatever it is they were doing

    On your recommendation, Rob Poynton’s book is on order. I’m really looking forward to the read.

  2. Geoff Brown on February 19, 2009 11:49 am

    Viv … now I too understand what Dave means by his ‘Gravitational Community. Nice post

  3. Mike Wagner on February 19, 2009 1:11 pm

    Viv, thanks for the summary of this podcast. I’ve been wanting to get to it, and will, but haven’t yet.

    I like the observation about improv, influence and power.

    I played an improv game with a conference of religious leaders two weeks ago. I did see the power switched off in favor of influence. Very cool to behold!

    Keep creating…with abandon,

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