Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Facilitator • Writer
Welcome to the May 2020 Newsletter

I hope this finds you safe and well and moving through these weeks with as much ease as is possible.  Personally, I'm enjoying the smaller life and the gifts that bring while also waiting to see what happens next with a mix of curiosity and deep concern.

Most of my work has been cancelled but I've been surprised to see what arises and what's possible in its place. For example, the client where a leadership programme was put on hold but where, instead, I'm
running 'listening circles' for some of their front line staff. Similarly, I was due to speak at the OD Network Conference at the end of April and was gutted when it was cancelled. And then, they decided to run a mini version online, and I spoke at that with much higher numbers because it was virtual.  

So as you read this month, as ever I hope you find stimulation and interest here. Next month brings you three interviews with CEOs and senior leaders exploring how they see love in their leadership and I'm already looking forward to writing that.

Is there anyone you know who might like this Newsletter? If so, please do pass it on. 

With love
Helena x

Featured this Month:
  • The long piece this month looks at how now is the time to redesign our workplaces - and design them based on love.
  • I'm also including the piece I wrote following the ONDE event even though some of you might have seen it already on LinkedIn. It considers that at a time of great disruption the last thing we need to more disruption. But how disrupting with love may be the very thing that's being called for now.  
  • Also two sources that, at some level, make for terrifying reading. Both pieces feel, to me, like having a bucket of cold water thrown over me and they leave me gasping for air - and also wide awake. And both pieces have been key in helping me find a sense of clarity in terms of what my role and purpose might be for the coming years. They are also, in my view, all about love 
  • And still no dates of upcoming events as, clearly, they're not running but soon as I have rescheduled dates, I'll post them on the website.
For more information please see below or visit my website. If you have any questions please do get in touch.
Designing our oganisations for love 
At a time of not-knowing, advice is often two-fold. Learn to sit with the discomfort of this.  And do something. The 'do something' need not be anything big at all, but it does seem to soothe us in some ways. In this post, while recognsing we will be in the midst of this rupture and upheaval for a long time I'm also suggesting we can start to take some tiny steps towards designing for ourselves and our organisations the shape and feel of the future we want. And what if ... what if we designed that future based on love? 

You'll find
here and I hope you enjoy it.
Love, disruption & Organisation Development
If you don't work in the field of Organisation Development (OD) please don't be put off from reading this, thinking that it's not for you. I could easily rewrite the piece swapping in 'Leadership' in place of OD and the messages would be the same (in fact, I might do that as a v2).   

I'm on the Faculty of the
MSC in People and Organisational Development at Roffey Park and, a few years ago, I had a CEO in my learning set. At some point, a huge penny dropped and he said 'ah, so as CEO, I'm really Head of OD'. With responsibiity for not only the growth and performance of his organisation and people but also the culture and health, he certainly was - and that realisation significantly changed the way he led.

So in this post, I explore love as a disruptor and talk about how accessing our 'righteous anger' is a form of love and one that feels particularly relevant for leaders as we think about recreating our working worlds in the middle of this rupture we're experiencing. It contains many practical suggestions for putting love into practice, as well as links to other resources, OD or not,
take a look here and see what you think.  
Love in the rubble 
A few months ago, I introduced here a work by the extraordinary Margaret Wheatley - a book called Who Do We Choose To Be? And if that spoke to you in some way, then I think you might also be interested in a recent-ish paper by academic-turned-climate-activist-and-thinker Jem Bendell. 

The paper, called Deep Adaptation, takes a similar lens to Meg Wheatley. It argues that our efforts towards averting the climate crisis are almost certainly pointless as we have already gone too far. and so instead of fighting this we should be preparing instead for what happens next. Recognising that with climate tragedy comes societal collapse, Jem is proposing that we have to learn to adapt, and adapt in a deep way. And that, among other things, this means preparing ourselves by doing the inner emotional and psychological work that will enable us to deal with the rapid and enormous changes that are coming our way. With a 4-part framework that I now use with groups, it encourages us to 'embody and enable loving responses to our predicament so that we reduce suffering while saving more of society and the natural world'.

As you might be realising already, it's a bold and provoking paper. And I spent 4 days last week studying with Jem and his colleague Katie Carr exploring leadership through a lens of Deep Adaptation. It was powerful. 

But why am I including it in a Newsletter about Love and leadership? Because both these piece of work, while looking in the eyes what they see as the stark facts, move next to a place of love. In their different ways, they talk about the importance of human connection, of deep relating, of seeking and finding joy while managing difficult things, of being kind and loving to others...  at some level, they are saying when everything is (or feels like) it's collapsing around us, there are certain things that we can choose to connect with that will help. And those things include love.

Jem's website is
here, with the Deep Adaptation paper and heaps of other connected pieces of writing. Let me know what you think...
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Upcoming Events
For full details on any event, probably online and all other upcoming events, please visit my website by clicking here...

In June is the 6th Relational Coaching Conference on 'Love over Fear' at Ashridge, exploring how we create the conditions for love to emerge in a coaching relationship.

That is still live, but let's see what happens in the next few weeks (maybe it might convert to virtual?) and I'll update the website with any changes. 
Let's Connect
If the idea of love in organisations interests you (or more interestingly if you think that love doesn't have a place in organisations...) come and explore it with me. You could hold a Learning Lunch session for your team on the role love might play in leadership - or run my 'Leading from Love' survey in your organisation. You might welcome a 1:1 session to explore your own relationship with love. Or take part in one of my Action Inquiry groups, exploring love in the workplace. Whatever, please do get in touch as I'd welcome the chance to explore this with you further.

Beyond that my leadership development work is all about conversations and relationships and building programmes that really open partcipants eyes to new ways of seeing and working. Whether you're interested in finding out more about that, want some good books recommendations, or can share your own experiences of developing leadership, it would be good to hear from you.

I'm social too so you can follow me on
Twitter and LinkedIn or connect via Email. Or call me of course, whichever suits. 

Helena x

Email: helena@helenaclayton.co.uk
Call: 07771 358 881
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