Author Archives: Mark

Workshop line-up for our Gathering 2019 + extended Early Bird

We have had an excellent and very international response to the invitation for the Host Leadership Gathering 2019 in Munich.  Alongside the introductory workshop on Thursday 27 June 2019 and the Open Space day on Saturday 29 June 2019, the conference day on Friday 28 June will be packed with interesting topics, presenters, discussions and opportunities.  The line-up will include:

  • Mark McKergow (UK) – Host leadership – the next step steps
  • Bjørn Z. Ekelund (SWE) – Creating space and processes for families of poverty seeking housing opportunities
  • Rolf Katzenberger (GER) – Hosting by treating ‘change’ as a guest, alongside the people
  • Leah Davcheva (BUL) – Can we use Diversity Icebreaker and Host Leadership with teams to mutually enhance their impact?
  • Jessika Jake (USA) – The V-I-C-T-O-R Model… for the Host with the Most
  • Pierluigi Pugliese (ITA/GER)- Be a Useful Host
  • Olga Kiss and Gabriella Peuker (HUN) – Host your team in a relationship retro
  • Athena Valdovinos (USA) – The Game of Continuous Improvement: From Concrete Jungle to… Well, Concrete
  • Stephen Josephs (USA): Attentional practices for hosts

Because assessing and assembling the programme has taken a little longer than anticipated, we are extending the Early Bird discount until 31 May 2019.  To get a great discount on the event, please book soon at https://connexxo.com/events/host-leadership-gathering-2019/#bottom.  There is also information on this site at http://hostleadership.com/host-leadership-gathering-2019/. 

We will be getting more information about the workshops and presenters online very soon.  Hope to see you in Munich!

 

We want YOUR proposals for workshops at the Host Leadership Gathering 2109

Plans for the Host Leadership Gathering 2019 are coming together. We have already received some excellent workshop proposals from around the world.  These include:

  • How to host a successful agile stand-up meeting (Rod Sherwin, Australia)
  • Using the Diversity Icebreaker to explore host leadership roles with a team (Leah Davcheva, Bulgaria)
  •  Hosting ‘Change’: what if we treated ‘change’ as a guest, alongside the people (Rolf Katzenberger, Germany)
  •  Attentional practices for hosts: how to step into and out of the flow more naturally (Stephen Josephs, USA)

As you can see, the offerings so far range from the practical to the personal to the conceptual. We are very keen to hear from as many people as possible in all these domains (which all have some kind of practical element). And we would like you to come along and join us.  Please send in your proposal by email to hl-gathering-2019@connexxo.com with: 

  • Title
  • 100 word abstract 
  • Participant take-aways
  • Your biographical details
  • Desired time slot (20/60/90 minutes).

Deadline for workshop submissons is Tuesday 30 April 2019.  If you’d like to test out an idea, please email Mark McKergow (mark@sfwork.com) directly and he’ll get back to you.  Now’s your chance – go on, take it! 

Host Leadership Gathering 2019: 27-29 June – workshop proposals and booking now open

The Host Leadership Gathering 2019 is officially on!  We invite anyone interested in the future of engaging and participative leadership to join us in Munich, Germany on 27-29 June 2019.  The event is focused on learning together, sharing and building the new Host Leadership fieldbook which will be published later in the year.  With content from introductory workshops to more advanced sessions and an Open Space, there will be room for contributions and participation of all kinds.

Event outline: 

  • Thursday 27 June 2019: Host Leadership workshop with Pierluigi Pugliese
  • Friday 28 June 2019: Host Leadership conference
  • Saturday 29 June 2019: Open Space for Host Leadership Fieldbook.

Key dates: 

  • Workshop proposals – 30 April 2019
  • Early bird booking deadline: 15 May 2019
  • Gathering: 27 – 29 June 2019

Full details and booking information are at http://hostleadership.com/host-leadership-gathering-2019/. There are discounts for 2 and 3 day participation.  Make sure you get your workshop proposal in early and register by the early bird deadline of 15 May 2019.  See you there!  Any questions, please contact Mark McKergow (mark@sfwork.com).

Host Leadership in the hospitality sector: Hampton Inn

The philosophy of host leadership is based, of course, around hospitality – the welcoming and caring for guests. In ancient times this was something experience by all; in a world without hotels, travellers relied upon hospitable householders to accommodate them. This still happens in parts of the world which are sparsely populated and where the going is tough, such as the steppes, the desert and so on.

In the modern world the basics of accommodating travellers has become the ‘hospitality industry’. Hotels large and small, guest houses, B&Bs all cater for guests.  And of course some of those operations are very large and employ many staff in their quest to host their visitors.  As part of the research for the Host book, we interviewed some leading hoteliers and discovered that there is an awful lot to running a successful hotel, a great deal of detail, and many hours of effort every day.  After the book was published Philip Newman-Hall, then General Manager of the famous Le Manoir Au Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, UK, was kind enough to say that:

“Having been a host and leader for nearly 40 years, the insights in Host were as refreshingly relevant to me as they will be for any young manager, be they in hospitality or anywhere else where results through others are needed.   These easy-to-apply principles will last you a lifetime.”

We recently heard about how one hotel, the Hampton Inn in Woodinville (Washington state, USA) is using these ideas behind the scenes, in particular in their housekeeping department.  They are applying many of our six roles of a host leader in the running both of the hotel and of their own unit. We particularly like the key question posed by the manager: “What to focus on today?”.  That’s a great way of reducing our ‘User’s Guide To The Future’ into one sentence!

Read the whole story at https://sway.office.com/BEEsHZgMnIEHooNk.

Watch your ‘thresholds’!

One of the six roles of a host leader is the Gatekeeper; the person who watches over the ‘gate’ (or door, or threshold), welcomes people in, lets them know what’s happening and what their expectations are, negotiates about the boundaries and – potentially – excludes people who don’t play by the house rules.  It’s a very rich and  important element of leadership which is not always captured by the other metaphors and approaches.

Our good friend Chris Corrigan wrote a blog recently about the many ‘nested thresholds’ which might apply when thinking about a workshop or event.  It’s easy to see the way that the idea of thresholds works on the day – people arrive (though the threshold), they work together (inside the threshold) and then they leave again (out of the threshold). Chris has identified a full fifteen ‘thresholds’ – not all of then physical – which may be considered when entering and leaving a conversational space.

These start from the instant that people notice and start to engage with an invitation to join.  In our experience that’s a really key moment – after all, deciding to move along and not enter at that point will pretty much rule out any subsequent benefits or possibilities (though it may be the right thing to do for the individual).  We spend a lot of time and effort on working up great invitations to our workshops and talks; when people arrive in good heart and with worthwhile expectations, then a useful session is in sight.  If people show up with misaligned expectations, then difficulties immediately begin to encroach.

The role of a leader in helping people to understand, approach and cross thresholds is an undervalued part of what creates engagement and therefore performance. When it goes well, it seems almost inevitable. When it goes wrong, it’s a mess.

Now read and enjoy Chris Corrigan’s excellent blog on ‘Designing nested thresholds’.  

Mark’s TEDx talk on host leadership is live and online today!

Host co-author Mark McKergow’s TEDx talk about host leadership is online today! Mark was invited to speak at TEDx Kazimierz in Krakow, Poland earlier in the year, and the resulting talk is now online for all to view!  In the course of his talk Mark connects with the SOLWorld community and Sunday Assembly, both of which he played a role in developing, as examples of host leadership in action.  Watch it, like and share please!

Gareth Southgate – host leader!

England v Belgium - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Group G - Kaliningrad StadiumAs England make somewhat unexpected progress in the World Cup, it’s interesting to take a look at the part played by manager Gareth Southgate.  Southgate is unusual in terms of national team managers/coaches in that he didn’t have a long and distinguished club management career – he only coached one team, Middlesbrough, in the Championship (second tier) from 2006-2009.  He came into the England job having been under-21 coach from 2013, and inherited the top role after Sam Allerdyce ‘left by mutual consent’ following allegations of malpractice.  So, Southgate is not the usual England coach – he’s younger, he’s less encumbered by expectation… and he turns out to have elements of host leadership in his style.

This interesting and uplifting story was posted on Twitter recently by Jake Humphrey, sports commentator and currently host of football on the BT Sport channel.  I reproduce it here – it bears close examination:

“Back in 2007 I was working on Sportsround on CBBC. I spent my time interviewing all kinds of sports people, plenty of whom were footballers.  I quickly got used to being kept waiting 2-3 hours past the time the interview should happen, interviews being cancelled at the last moment, or doing interviews in nondescript rooms to keep us away from seeing training or interrupting players.

Some of the stories you wouldn’t believe!! I didn’t mind it, no worries, it was part of the job, and a kids TV show is hardly the top of everyone’s list!! However, our trip to @Boro about a decade ago couldn’t have been more different.

10 minutes after we were due to chat to Gareth he came running down the small hill from the training complex to the pitch where we were standing, apologising profusely that he got held up in a meeting. He immediately knew my name…and the name of all the crew I was working with! 

Straight away he said ‘come and meet the players’ and took us right into the centre of the training pitch, stopped the players working, and told them about us and how crucial he believed sport was on children’s TV to inspire the next generation.

We were then asked what WE wanted to do. Which players WE wanted to speak to, whether WE wanted to stick around for the whole of training. Nothing was too much trouble. At the end of training, and our filming, he was the one shaking hands, thanking us for coming, seeing us out.

And 10 yrs later he leads his country into our biggest game in a decade. I’m so pleased a good guy is getting what he deserves, & from what I’ve seen of his press conferences, his relationship with the media, & how open his players have been, he has stayed true to his principles.”

southgate columbiaIt’s worth looking at this through the host leadership lens.  Southgate is clearly treating his visitors as honoured guests.  He welcomes them over the threshold (Gatekeeper), he knows who they are and introduces them to others (Connector), he offers them choice and possibilities (Inviter), he takes care of the space (Space-Creator)… so many aspects of great hosting and host leadership on show in this one short story.  Following England’s last-16 win over Columbia, he was widely pictured consoling opposition players (right).  Whatever your allegiances in footballing terms, it’s fascinating to see a new generation of leader who also brings a new generation of leadership with him.

 

Space Creator: Everyone Deserves A Great Workplace!

elemental workplace portOne of our six new ‘roles of engagement’ is the Space Creator, the role of creating, maintaining and enhancing the space where interactions take place.  In many organisations this is synonymous with the workplace – the space where many of us spend 40+ hours every week and which can have a sparkling (or indeed crushing) affect on how we work, feel and perform there.

We came across Neil Usher some years ago when he was working to transform the workspace at global mining giant Rio Tinto’s London office. This move, from a traditional City office with wood panelled corridors and many individual offices to an innovative space near Paddington station, was a real masterclass in 21st century thinking about space and contact, with different kinds of space, kitchens, conversation areas, reading points and a café (a key meeting place between inside and outside the organisation, kept outside the security cordon for maximum convenience).  Neil was generous in his time and ideas when we were writing the chapter on Space Creator, and his contributions are prominent in our book.

Neil has been writing on his WorkEssence blog about how work and workplace are intimately connected.  Now he’s gone one step further and authored his own book The Elemental Workplace: 12 Elements for Creating a Fantastic Workplace for Everyone.  Starting from the rallying cry that ‘everyone deserves a great workplace!’, Neil builds the Why (the case for great workplaces), the How (to develop a great workplace) and the What (the 12 workplace elements themselves).  Interestingly, he includes two How sections – the second being how to flex, adapt and redesign the workplace as people use it and discover their own ways of being in it.  Change is happening all the time!

This book is absolutely overflowing with great thinking and practical points about workplaces.  The opening manifesto shows the breadth of wisdom contained within the book:

The Elemental Workplace: A fully inclusive, sufficiently spacious, stimulating and daylight-flooded workplace, providing super-connectivity and localised environmental control, while allowing individual influence over a choice of comfortable, considered settings, offering convenient and secure storage for personal and business effects, affordable and healthy refreshments, and clean well-stocked washrooms. 

The following 200 pages of entertainingly written and thought-provoking text shows all the ins and outs of moving towards an elemental workplace, with lots of personal (and hard-won) experience to the fore.  There are so many great points. Just one random example (produced by flipping the book open and starting to read) on page 172, Neil talks about the relationship that facilities management people have with their workspace users.  He says this should NOT be thought about in terms of ‘customer service’, but rather as a collegiate relationship – we are all ‘in it together’ when it comes to the organisation delivering to its external customers, we all use the space, and therefore we want to make the workplace as positive as possible – for everyone.  In host leadership we think of this as the ‘Co-Participator’ principle – yes, we’re providing for our colleagues, and we’re also providing for ourselves and metaphorically eating the same food, working in the same space.  This balance between serving and participating is key in host leadership and it’s great to see it coming over here too.

In short, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in creating better workplaces and interaction spaces.  And if you’re reading this blog, that probably means you.

Get the book at Amazon.co.uk

Get the book at Amazon.com

Read Neil’s blog