Spend a day exploring the edges of work


September 1st, 2011

About 16 years ago, I made the leap from full-time employment and started my own business. I agonised over a business name. I wanted something that would last the distance, and not lock me in to some sort of work that I’d outgrow. I eventually settled on Beyond the Edge Pty Ltd. I was initially attracted to the word beyond. It spoke to me of reaching beyond my own knowledge and experience, and  the unknowns that lay ahead. I chose the edge because imagination was already taken.

Fast forward to 2011. The name has not only sustained me and my business for all those years, it has finally come into its own. Maybe I intuitively knew something?

I’ve been conducting a little experiment recently around the edges of work – exploring some of the approaches that can help us deal with complexity and the demands of our modern-day work.

I’ve written about my experiences of Bodystorming here, and a participant in a workshop where we looked at the tyrannies that sometimes trap us said this:

“I found [your workshop] extremely beneficial for my personal development. I learnt a lot, particularly about my own inhibitions, and how I’ve created rules that are completely artificial, unproductive and unnecessary. After some reflection, I’ve developed some simple steps to overcome my fears of failure – concentrate less on my fears, focus on doing something, embrace being average and just have a crack – be present.”

As a result, Johnnie Moore (UK) and I have begun a venture called, not unsurprisingly, The Edges of Work (web site coming soon).  Johnnie and I have been working together quite a bit lately and pushing each other to our respective edges (where it seems the most potent learning happens). For those of you who don’t know Johnnie, he is incredibly astute at seeing what others miss, likes to playfully explore serious issues and puts a lot of the organisational BS into perspective. We share an interest in complexity, ideas, connections, spontaneity and not playing by the rules!

We’re offering a one-day workshop at this year’s Story Conference in Melbourne, where the theme is Widening the World of Work. We’re going to share some of our experiences and insights around some of the challenges we face in dealing with complexity, unpredictability and demands for creativity, innovation and agility.

The workshop is on Wednesday, October 5 and there’s more information about registering here.

Our understanding is that change happens at the edge: we see it in systems and in our own lives. At the edge, we are away from the routine and familiar: it’s exciting but scary territory, but it’s where new patterns and routines can emerge. How can we, as leaders, managers, and facilitators support people in staying in the space at least long enough for useful change? We’ll share ideas for navigating edge territory, overcoming habitual patterns that give us a kind of safety but prevent us from making real change.

And we’ll share a series of activities we’ve found powerful in getting organisations and people out of stuck places, rigid arguments and unquestioned rituals and into territory where it’s possible for new work to emerge.

We’d love for you to join us. Drop me an email if you’d like more information.

1 Comment so far

  1. David Zinger on September 2, 2011 6:26 am

    I look forward to what you come up with as we need new lenses and ways of viewing work and working/playing with work. I will watch and keep the 4200 member employee engagement network updated. The edge I am exploring is co-creation with honeybees and learning from their improvisations, community, hive mind, democracy, etc. I am at the edge in trying to articulate this at http://www.zinghive.com

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