Liberating Structures

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Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz on acting your way into a new kind of organising with Liberating Structures

...enri, thank you for being on the Leadermorphosis podcast first of all. And, maybe if we start somewhere simple, could you tell the listeners what are Liberating Structures? Henri Lipmanowicz: Keith is nodding, so he's gonna explain this to us. Keith McCandless: That's seemingly a simple question, Lisa. And I think the ...more
...dless: That's seemingly a simple question, Lisa. And I think the best way to say it for your listeners, as they want to transform an organisation, is Liberating Structures are microstructures that shape how people relate to each other. And so the structure part is, who speaks and who they speak to, and how long they hav...more
...Lisa Gill: Yeah, I think that's something that really appeals to me about Liberating Structures is that you don't have to be a facilitator or to do any kind of certification. You learn by doing, by experiencing them. And, and once you've experie...more
... crystallise, I guess, and distil some of that in a meaningful way without it being this kind of messy, open discussion. So at present, there are 33 Liberating Structures. And I know there are some others in development, and now there's a big community around Liberating Structures. But what prompted you to curate these...more
...scussion. So at present, there are 33 Liberating Structures. And I know there are some others in development, and now there's a big community around Liberating Structures. But what prompted you to curate these microstructures in the first place? What was the calling for you to bring them into the world? Keith McCandle...more
...he calling for you to bring them into the world? Keith McCandless: Well, it totally came out of our practice. So if there's a motto or a tagline for Liberating Structures, it's act your way into a new kind of organising. You probably aren't going to think your way into it. Or it's going to take forever if you think you...more
...e, the global community of practitioners are continuing to simplify. And like, Lisa, you suggested, there's at least six, maybe eight really good new Liberating Structures, that address needs. They aren't just about anything, they address needs that were not addressed in the first 33. Henri Lipmanowicz: So I want to ad...more
... we, we would have one extra day after the workshop, where we would invite people to come and have a consulting session with us on how they could use Liberating Structures to address whatever it was that they want to bring to us. And we would sign up for half an hour or an hour, you know, and they would come. And people...more
...conversation didn't lead to something useful that they could do that would help them address whatever they were confronted with, by using one or more Liberating Structures....more
...y, for example. So anything that looks like a structure or process is like “no, that's more of the old stuff that we don't want anymore”. And I think Liberating Structures have really helped me learn that structures are paradoxically really helpful for being containers for all of this kind of human, messy stuff. And I, ...more
...e been in a room and experienced a complete shift in energy and agency. You know, I like this phrase, “let the structure take the strain”. That these Liberating Structures can contain all manner of kinds of heavy and difficult, messy things and somehow help people navigate them and come out the other side, empowered to ...more
...we never worked in a dark cave, but yeah. Lisa Gill: Exactly. And Keith, I know you've just written this blog about liberating strategy. So how would Liberating Structures, for the benefit of our listeners, transform how organisations do strategy as an example? Keith McCandless: One is you can include, then scale. So yo...more
... McCandless: One is you can include, then scale. So you can include ridiculous numbers of people. And you just repeat the same pattern of a string of Liberating Structures, which we talked about earlier - that they all generate something that feeds into the next one. So the biggest difference probably is hearing all of ...more
...do you need to stop? And what do you need to start? What's the new shiny thing and just as powerful or more powerful is what do you exist to stop? So Liberating Structures exist to stop mindless or unwitting exclusion, unwitting, stifling of new ideas......more
...ing to have it figured out. They always need everyone. And the idea that this work needs to be continuous. And one really cool thing. A bunch of the Liberating Structures both help you see what's possible - they see where you are, and they make it possible to track that over time. So like the Ecocycle, lots of companie...more
... with Vioxx, you know, a disaster, right? So that is one thing. One other thing that is very difficult, I think, for most people, to appreciate about Liberating Structures because they are so simple, is to see how powerful they are as a basket, as a whole. And to imagine the possibilities of what they would be able to d...more
...Lisa Gill: I wanted to ask: for people who are listening who had never heard of Liberating Structures before, and are really curious now and want to start trying them out, what would your advice be? What's the easiest and most effective way to start e...more
...eally curious now and want to start trying them out, what would your advice be? What's the easiest and most effective way to start experimenting with Liberating Structures? Keith McCandless: Just do it! But really no, I mean… The best advice is to really start using them together with some other people and start experim...more
...Lisa Gill: I feel like there's so much more we could talk about. And I think maybe we have to have a whole other conversation about Liberating Structures in education, because that's something that's also really interesting. But we've mentioned that you now have this growing global community of Liberat...more
...uctures in education, because that's something that's also really interesting. But we've mentioned that you now have this growing global community of Liberating Structures practitioners and user groups, there's an app now... What do you hope will happen with Liberating Structures going forward in the future? Henri Lipma...more
...ow have this growing global community of Liberating Structures practitioners and user groups, there's an app now... What do you hope will happen with Liberating Structures going forward in the future? Henri Lipmanowicz: Well, we wrote something in the book that is still my dream. And I think, in some way, it's going to ...more
...gate that way. That's what I hope. What name will be on them, what label will be on that, I have no idea, you know. Whether they will still be called Liberating Structures, or somebody will reinvent them and put their own name on it and call it whatever. But I cannot, I can't see why they wouldn't spread because they ar...more

Lisa Gill and Mark Eddleston celebrate 50 episodes of Leadermorphosis

...usiness School, Gary Hamel, and then the next week it might be Extinction Rebellion - fantastic, and Miki Kashtan, Margaret Wheatley, the creators of Liberating Structures and Holacracy, Corporate Rebels, Aaron Dignan, Enspiral, Ouishare: anybody who's anybody in the world of progressive organisations and self-manageme...more
... you're in the middle of an organisation, I still think that you have some power and agency to do some trojan mice experiments, and that's why I love Liberating Structures; that you can always influence things and be intrapreneurial: "Why is this important to me? What could be possible if we did this?" Because I find if...more
...Mark Eddleston: You mentioned Liberating Structures there, which is one of my favourite tools. Now, let's pretend Lisa, that you're you're working in an organisation and your boss doesn't have time for...more
...ources to explore? Lisa Gill: Yeah well, I would say the best way to learn is by experiencing. So I think that's why I'm such a big fan, like you, of Liberating Structures, and it's worth having a look on meetup and seeing if there's Liberating Structures meetup where you are in the world there, growing, or maybe you c...more
...eriencing. So I think that's why I'm such a big fan, like you, of Liberating Structures, and it's worth having a look on meetup and seeing if there's Liberating Structures meetup where you are in the world there, growing, or maybe you can set one up if there isn't one. But if you're very new Liberating Structures, the ...more
...ere's Liberating Structures meetup where you are in the world there, growing, or maybe you can set one up if there isn't one. But if you're very new Liberating Structures, the free app is a really good entry point, and to start, that's something you could do where you could just propose in your next meeting, like: "I ...more
... I think it might be interesting to see if it's useful, if it's valuable. Is everyone okay if we try this?", and then just try it. And the thing with Liberating Structures I like is that it's changing by habits rather than trying to do some big culture change. So I think Liberating Structures are a really good active th...more
... try it. And the thing with Liberating Structures I like is that it's changing by habits rather than trying to do some big culture change. So I think Liberating Structures are a really good active thing you can do. And meetups of course, like Reinventing Work - find a Reinventing Work meetup in your city or start one; ...more
... can be a big first step, can't it? Finding the courage and the bravery to suggest a different way of having a meeting and perhaps to experiment with Liberating Structures. But I think we've got the evidence to show that: I think there's the well worn Gallup Stat that 85% of us are disengaged in work. So I think with th...more

Frederic Laloux with an invitation to reclaim integrity and aliveness

...t there now. So people can look at some of the stuff in my book, they can look at a lot of things in your book, and in Susan [Basterfield]’s book and Liberating Structures. There’s actually lots of stuff that you can start with, and there is no right or wrong. And the other thing is, you can also just simply trust your...more