The establishing and growing Sussex & South Coast Connect Group met for the second time at the wonderful setting of the Spithurst Hub in December. The group was formed with the simple idea of like-minded individuals coming together to connect in a meaningful space and inquire into some of the key OD challenges facing the profession and ourselves as practitioners. The theme this time was uncertainty in turbulent times; a fitting topic given the day we met we were all still pondering about the general election results of the night before.
What emerged was a wonderfully engaging, safe space where we were all able to share and discuss what was live in our own practice, all of our experiences clouded by uncertainty in many guises. Themes that bubbled-up for people included; feeling a disconnect between organisations and the economic, political and social systems that we operate within; grappling with what and who we are as practitioners and therefore who we are in service of or to; and consequently wondering how on earth we show up as our best selves in all of this!
Together we re-grounded ourselves in our understanding that the work we have chosen to do is complex, it’s hard and has no answers. It’s hard to describe and it’s experiential – and that’s ok! It’s probably the reason why we love it, why we find it fulfilling and why we see the difference it can make. What was fascinating was finding that in spite of of our differing roles, backgrounds and experiences, we all experience similar tensions in our work.
We felt ourselves unwind, unravel and become more personally energised when together we let go of the premise that it was our role as OD practitioners to resolve the tensions. It was our shared belief that in fact it is our role to work with them. The conversation shifted to explore how, in all the complexity facing organisations, do we make things simpler for our clients? How do we hold the complexity and tensions and guide and support them through? And how do we increase their ability to hold more complexity?
Interestingly the importance of self-care and resilience emerged as something we all saw as critical to our ability to do this successfully. Inner strength, confidence, and a comfortableness with the ways we choose to work with our clients, equip us with strength as practitioners. Someone captured this beautifully by saying “you have to be in service of yourself to be in service to multiple others”.
Our second gathering was a wonderful way to spend a few Friday hours. We were all able to share what was top of mind for us personally and discuss it with people who understood and were able to offer a listening ear, support, and provocation. It really felt like a blossoming community of practice, which on a December afternoon helped each other find a level of certainty within all the uncertainty.
Come join us! Our 2020 meet-up dates have been set and we’re looking forwards to seeing you there.