It was with great shock and sadness that I learned yesterday of the death of my dear friend and colleague Steve Onyett. Steve was on a charity cycling ride in Palestine when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was just 54 years old.
I first met Steve at the second SOLWorld conference in Bristol in 2003. Steve was interested in SF for both clinical and organisational use, and lived in Bristol, so it was natural that he came. However, the conference dinner on the Friday night was also Valentine’s Day, and he had at that time a routine of going out for dinner with two (female) friends to celebrate their single-ness. So, he brought the friends along too! The following day, the Saturday, Steve left the conference to join with a million others in London for a Stop The War march against the proposed (and feared) invasion of Iraq. This for me sums up Steve – he was committed to a better world, and if that meant political engagement sometime taking precedence over professional practice then so be it. He was pursuing a similarly humanitarian mission when he died.
Steve went on to train with us in Solutions Focus, joined me in the SFWork team, worked closely with us in our work introducing SF coaching into the NHS in various ways. He was a member of SFCT and came to our regular UK chapter meetings from time to time. He also served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the SFCT journal InterAction, allowing us a share of his visiting professorships at the University of the West of England (UWE) and then Exeter.
During the years I was developing ideas around Host Leadership, Steve was a constant source of encouragement and critique. He was instrumental in getting my first paper on the subject (Leader as Host; Host as Leader: Towards a new yet ancient metaphor) published in the International Journal for Leadership in Public Service in 2009 (he was one of the journal’s editors at the time). He maintained his interest in developing the host leadership metaphors and ideas, and joined our small ‘inner circle’ of practitioners and developers last year – an involvement which continued until his death. He wrote guest blogs about host leadership and solution focused coaching – see the links at the bottom of this piece.
We had occasional jousts about his fascination and engagement with things like the Way of Council and ‘shadow side’ facilitation (vital new development or old hippy nonsense? It was he who proposed the latter term – we laughed.) Steve became very involved in the Embercombe community, acting as a Trustee for their charity and being involved with programmes as well as helping to steward the organisation. He loved being outdoors, and spoke to me of the inspiration he found in Embercombe’s Devon countryside setting. It seems fitting somehow that he met his end in the open air, engaged in a cause in which he passionately believed. He is a great loss to people in so many circles and contexts, and we will feel his presence still in our continuing work.
Host Leadership and Solution Focused blogs by Steve:
Mark is off to Singapore for some exciting Host Leadership events over the next two weeks! The main event is
Mon-Tues 24-25 August 2015: Leading As A Host: A two-day event with Dr Mark McKergow
This will be a great opportunity to work with Mark on real leadership issues at the York Hotel, as well as really get close to the latest in leadership thinking. You will be able to:
- Develop your ‘leadership agility’ – to do the things YOU can do to engage others to the maximum!
Develop ‘stepping back’ awareness – and thereby drawing others forward
Gain clarity on phases and actions – see clear cycles and projects rather than a single continuing stream
Gain an increased sense of good timing – when to act, as well as what to do
Gain new perspectives on challenging situations – acting differently to get a better result
Increase your options – in terms of ‘up-front’ leadership, taking the overview from the gallery, and developing yourself in the kitchen
More details, click the link above or contact Dave Hogan or Vivian, SF Academy, on +65 9776 1826 or email@example.com. Places are limited! Your only chance to work with Mark on Host Leadership in Asia in 2015.
Mark will be carrying out some other speaking engagements on Host Leadership while he is in Singapore:
Mark would love to see you in Singapore – so do come along if you can. If you want to arrange meetings to discuss how Host Leadership can help your organisation, please contact Mark directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our book has reached the finals of two book award competitions, including the prestigious Indie Book Awards in Los Angeles! Wow.
Find out more at http://www.personneltoday.com/pr/pr/host-leadership-book-gains-recognition-at-two-international-book-awards-2/.
We have just released our first Host Leadership tool – Opt In Meetings. This is a simple format/set of rules to make your meetings more engaging, energizing and effective – throw a meeting as a host, and invite folks along!
Check out the details at http://hostleadership.com/about/opt-in-meetings/ and give it a try! We’d love to hear from you. Please leave comments on this format below – it will be evolving with your help.
Since the publication of Host in October we’ve been getting some very nice media interest. There’s a new page on the site where all these valuable resources are being collected – interviews, articles, tips and other coverage. Check it out now at http://hostleadership.com/about/in-the-media/.
We’re delighted to announce that our book Host: Six new roles of engagement for teams, organizations, communities and movements will be published on Monday 6 October.
Great engagement is the key to truly successful leadership, and the secret to moving forward is knowing when to step back… It is no longer about being the hero, the one who has to make everything happen. There is another way: be the host. This book reveals why Host Leadership is set to become a pioneering concept in 21st century management. The book will allow you to:
- Understand how to apply hosting strategies in your organization to achieve greater agility, flexibility and responsiveness
- Become a leader with a highly tuned sense of relationship building and engagement
- Learn how to step into and out of the six NEW roles of engagement
- Adopt the four positions for a Host Leader
“A genuinely new view of leadership – practical and profound.” Jack Canfield
“Being a great host helps you to be a great networker. This practical book will help you build relationships and engagement both inside and outside your organization.” Dr Ivan Misner, founder, BNI
“A great mix of research, philosophy, stories and insight into what real leadership is about.” Mike Brent, Ashridge Business School
The book will be available in print and Kindle editions around the world. The key details:
Publication Monday 6 October 2014 by Solutions Books, London
224 pages paperback, £11.99, $16, also on Kindle
I am thrilled to say that after a lot of work at the end of last year and in January, we have a preview of the host leadership book. It’s called Host Leadership: The new rules ROLES of engagement, and it’s available just for community members right now on our downloads page:
If you’re not yet a community member, you can sign up free in the box on the right hand side of the screen. This also lets you access more of Mark and Helen’s writing and articles on the topic of host leadership.
The preview features a cover design, our latest position of Host Leadership and a taste of the kind of thing we’re working on for the finished book – a mix of big ideas, untold and new stories, and practical activities. Let us know what you think!
We are aiming to have the final book out in May 2014. We will be loading draft chapters here very soon, so you can get the first looks and offer feedback and ideas.
The UK has risen to the top of the world in soft power. That’s the conclusion of the hipster’s choice magazine Monocle’s third Soft Power index, reported in November 2012. We’re up from last year’s number 2 position on the back of the Olympics, Premier League football being screened in what seems like every bar in Asia and Africa, and James Bond. Continue reading
I’ve just been sent this TED talk by Amanda Palmer about the ‘Art of Asking’. Palmer is a musician and performer, was dropped by her label despite some early success and turned to crowd-funding (specifically Kickstarter) to raise money. By inviting her supporters to join her at gigs, even come on stage for a few numbers, she has grown a community of 25,000 people and raised $1.2 million (even though she only asked for $100,000) – the biggest Kickstarter yet. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I joined in with the World Open Space on Open Space (WOSonOS) 2012 here in London. People came from all over the world to Stoke Newington Town Hall in North London for three days of Open Space activity – about using Open Space. Open Space originator Harrison Owen was there, and it was excellent to meet him again over 15 years since I first came across him and Open Space. Continue reading