I am very excited that the website for the 2020 Host Leadership Gathering is already online, and it looks great! Many thanks to Ralph Miarka and Veronika Kotrba for this wonderful front-door to the event, 13-15 May 2020 in Vienna, Austria. Book your place now. https://hostleadershipgathering2020.sinnvoll-fuehren.com/.
We are very excited to announce that the 2020 Host Leadership Gathering will be in Vienna, Austria on 13-15 May 2020. The event will be hosted by our very good friends at SinvollFUHREN. There will be more news and a call for contributions soon. In the meantime, please get the date into your diary!
The latest issue of InterAction (August 2019) contains a great article from Mark McKergow and Dr Peter Rohrig about Peter’s developments to the User’s Guide to the Future model (first described in the Host book) to make it even more useful as a coaching tool. Well worth a read! Check it out here. The article also includes a coaching session, with feedback from the client.
Host Leadership Gathering 2019
Front-line report from Dr Mark McKergow
The third international Host Leadership Gathering was held in Oberschleissheim near Munich on 27-29 June 2019. This town is well known in Germany for its castle (more like a huge palace) and the sun shone throughout with June temperature records falling during the event. Participants came from around the world – Asia, America and right across Europe. Connexxo were our hosts for the whole programme, and their team led by Pierluigi Pugliese, Katrin Seger and Cecilia Maria Zannini did a great job in making sure everything went smoothly.
The first day comprised an introductory workshop led by Pierluigi Pugliese. This was a fascinating experience for me, as it was the first time I have attended a workshop/training in this topic; I am much more accustomed to being the presenter! Pierluigi kept everything moving well and did a great job of balancing his inputs with group discussions and activities. I particularly enjoyed the section he introduced about ‘Charlie and Jane’. Charlie is Charlie Chaplin in the film Modern Times, which shows a particularly grim view of assembly line work in the 1930s. Jane, by contrast, is a modern knowledge worker.
We had a very interesting time thinking about the managers of ‘Charlies’ and ‘Janes’, the many ways in which these were very different contexts and the different needs and desires of both parties in each situation. Of course, while both could benefit from host leadership, the benefits and fit of the approach stand out immediately for Jane and those like her. A lot of interesting cultural differences also appeared – even within Europe there are substantial differences between the Nordic countries where group participation is broadly a given, the northern European countries including Germany, Belgium and the UK where these things are becoming more familiar, and the south of Europe including Italy, Spain and France which still have a long way to come. The day concluded with a beer in the castle’s own beer garden, warm and shady after a busy time together.
The second day was the Conference itself. I gave a keynote about the development of host leadership so far, my journey with it, and some of the next steps that might come out of this gathering including more connection between practitioners, more development of practical tools and helping people discover the richness and multi-dimensional nature of the host metaphor for leaders at all levels of an organisation. The idea of a Field Book had already been proposed by Pierluigi, and those present were excited to get involved and contribute. Bjørn Z. Ekelund from Norway followed with a talk about using hosting methods including all the six roles in a project about connecting families living in poverty with housing agencies and social services. It was fascinating and inspiring to see how connections were built and engagement was promoted in this very tough context.
Bjørn is perhaps best know for his work in developing the Diversity icebreaker, which was presented by Leah Davcheva from Bulgaria in one of the morning workshops. Leah took us through the Diversity activity, which is about preferences in interaction, communication and problem-solving styles. The idea, of course, is that people work better together when they value the preferences of others as well as their own. We looked at some common ground with host leadership in this respect. In the other morning workshop, Rolf Katzenberger expanded ideas about hosting by looking at what happens if we treat ‘change’ as a guest, along with people. This was a popular choice and really expanded thinking about how host leadership can play a key role in leading change.
The parallel workshops continued after our vegan (Thai vegetable curry) lunch. Pierluigi led a group in applying host leadership ideas in some very different contexts, which is always a great way to stretch and build understandings about the approach. In the other room Athena Dadiz from San Diego wowed her audience with her experiences of being a host leader on a construction site – not on the face of it one of the most promising places for this idea, but Athena impressively talked about her ways of including the idea along with kaizen and other continuous improvement methods. She has been very bold and brave in taking host leadership into this very male and traditional environment, and deserves much applause and support. I loved her talking about her task at work as ‘extreme Sisyphus’ (see the picture!).
After tea another series of workshops saw Olga Kiss and Gabriella Peuker from Hungary bringing host leadership to bear on agile retrospectives. We have been finding quite some interest in the agile world which has been accustomed to working with servant-leader ideas, and many agile folk are finding the host metaphor a better and more productive fit for what they do. Jessika Jake energetically shared her VICTOR model as being six things which the ‘host with the most’ should be focusing on today, including Value Co-creation, Intersections and Continual improvement. The day concluded with a talk from Stephen Josephs, all the way from Santa Fe NM via Zoom, about the importance of developing attentional practices for leaders to, in his words, ‘get over themselves’. Moving beyond the post-heroic boundary in leadership agility, past relying on the individual power of expertise and effort, requires the leader to put themselves after the others, not before them.
The third and final day of this Gathering was an open space hosted by Cecilia Maria Zannini around the topic of creating the first host leadership Field Book. Pierluigi showed us examples of ‘mob-programming’ in the agile world and encouraged us to do mob-writing together around a computer and projector (see the picture on the right). This was a very rich day indeed! I convened a discussion on ‘hearing what is being called for’, the necessary precursor to initiating action and connection. How do we choose or at least beging to notice the next potential focuses, for our teams, our organisations and indeed our own lives? A rich discussion produced some great ideas, which I then turned into a 1600 word draft chapter! Other groups produced work in various states of completion from simple bullet point notes to quite complete texts, which those involved will continue to develop over the coming weeks. There will be more news about this coming soon, as we are seeking wider contributions as well – might YOU be interested to contribute something based on your experience?
As we gathered at the end of the day there was even more exciting news; Ralph Miarka and Veronika Kotrba from SinvollFUEHREN in Vienna offered to host the 2020 Gathering! We think it will be around June 2020 – more news to come when the dates and venue are confirmed. My huge thanks go to Pierluigi and the Connexxo team for hosting this gathering with such care and imagination, for keeping us all going in the record-breaking heat, and for suggesting the Field Book idea as a focus for the discussions. There was a lot of energy around continuing with the project, so expect more signs of progress in the days and weeks to come
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’re delighted to see the interest in host leadership and our book Host is continuing. A new review has been published on the Ideas For Leaders website, which rates it 5* as a ‘game-changer’! Fantastic. You can read the review at https://www.ideasforleaders.com/book-review/host.
We’re delighted to say that Host authors Mark McKergow and Helen Bailey have been invited to be the keynote speakers at PublicFunk’s conference Sensommerdage. The event will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 5-6 September 2019. Information (in Danish) at https://publicfunk.dk/sensommerdage/.
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.
- 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.
- 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 (email@example.com).
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!
As 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.”
It’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.