As many of you will know, Mark McKergow (the co-author of Host) is also a global expert and pioneer in using Solution Focused (SF) ideas with organisations and in coaching. Mark runs a 16-week online course in SF with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – the course runs twice a year and attracts people from all over the world, often experienced consultants, coaches and managers who want to make even better use of the power of SF in building positive change in tough situations (and get a university certificate at the end of it!).
One of the topics we consider on the programme is – of course – Host Leadership and the connections with SF thinking. On the most recent course, Niklas Tiger (CEO of Hi5, a software development company based in Sweden) produced this answer about the connections between Host Leadership and SF. I think it pulls together a great deal of wisdom and so I’d like to share it with you. Niklas writes:
“In SF practice it is all about managing and amplifying change that is already happening in a complex and unpredictable system. We do this in order to take steps in a desired direction towards what’s wanted. We also realise that we can have some impact on the outcome, but also that there are many other forces in play that will have impact on where we end up. Since we are constantly expecting this to happen we are responsive and adapt quickly to the changing circumstances keeping a clear (and sometimes updated) idea on where we are heading. Direction and velocity is much the focus.
“With the Leader as Host metaphor it’s much the same. There’s a general idea on what’s wanted and how to get there, but there is also a responsiveness to the complexity in hosting and that there are many other forces in play (the guests and the space for example) that will constantly change over time and require different types of actions in order to keep moving forward towards the desired direction. Sometimes new possibilities or constraints will present themselves and this will require the host to adapt, take action and even change the direction when needed.
“The Host can in some respect be compared to the coach in SF. But a difference from SF is that the Host will both be the coach and the customer since one aspect of hosting is also taking part as one of the guests. Acting in a complex and constantly changing environment and trying to have some impact to move towards to what’s wanted seem to be very similar in both worlds. Also being responsive to what is happening and taking actions that are appropriate to this rather than following a predefined plan from A to B.”
I love the way Niklas connects the flux and complexity assumptions of the SF paradigm with the responsive skills of a great host leader! And of course the wonderful thing is that by learning more about SF we can become better hosts (and host leaders) too. The next SF Business Professional course starts 22 October 2017 – check it out. Perhaps it’s your next development step as a host leader?