Don’t Do This Work Alone

Chatting with a friend who is getting ready for a second edition of a big event that brings together different generations for dialogue and collaboration to create a better future. I was reflecting on the first planning experience and suggested for this year’s core planning team that we ensure we have the different generations represented (we were missing a Boomer last year). She asked if they should have facilitation skills. An excellent question that sparked further explanation of the different roles on a core planning team. Here’s how I described it at a high level…

For the representative of the other generations on the core planning team, it’s more important to have someone who shares the same purpose and passion around what you are trying to accomplish with the event; someone who holds a strategic perspective, who has a stake in the outcomes. As part of the core team they will play a role listening and contributing throughout our whole planning process from their generational context, liaising with guests and participants as part of the invitation process and events, and also liaising with speakers to help them see where their contribution fits.

Generally, here are the roles on the core planning team:

  • The caller who has sensed the need to convene the conversation / event.
  • Strategic perspective holders who have an in-depth understanding of the context and content. (This is where inviting in a representative of the Boomer generation is helpful.)
  • Process hosts who offer their skills of designing an architecture for the process. During the event they are focused on facilitating the processes and hosting the conversation. (This is the role I typically fulfil.)

There are additional roles that are strongly connected to the core planning team:

  • Harvesters such as digital harvesting, graphic recording, theme gatherers and more who are thinking ahead to what we wish to collect as result of the conversation.
  • Speakers that at different points in the event offer a different perspective to inspire and catalyze conversations the participants will engage in. These are not ‘experts with a preferred approach’.
  • Space and beauty hosts who contribute to creating the optimal learning conditions by tending the physical and non-physical.
  • Logistics and admin team who tend to the practical details such as venue liaising, space set-up, equipment etc.

Why work together this way? Peter Block explains “Every time we gather becomes a model of the future we want to create.” If you are called to create a future where the various generations are talking, learning and co-creating together, it doesn’t align to have a one-generation planning team. We must travel together, practicing and learning our way into that future we want to create, guided by the principles we come up with in answer to the question “How are we going to behave together in pursuit of our purpose?

If you are entering an inquiry where there are not ready or easy answers or obvious solutions, where you sense a need to convene others in a conversation that matters, don’t do this work alone. Find others who are holding the same question as you, some other souls who care and could make a difference, and invite them in.

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb

 *With gratitude to the Art of Hosting community who has gifted these insights around the core planning / hosting team roles.