Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Coach & Facilitator • Writer

Welcome to the May 2023 Newsletter

A lovely month, May. Not least because of the all the extra holiday this year!  The tulips are pretty much done now, but the apple blossom is really starting to come alive, with a gorgeous fresh green everywhere. 

In the middle of an intense month of work, I also managed to get in a two cold-but-delicious sea swims and an equal number of fish & chips which is a pleasing ratio. But barely anytime for walks on the Downs or poetry - and I'm not so happy about choosing work over things I love.  A friend of mine says: 'if I don't love it, I don't do it' and while I'm not sure I could ever be that clear or definite, there's definitely something in that I could work towards. May has more space in it - am planning to put that to good use. 

I've the last 3 months, I've also been working on my laptop with a broken E-key.  Too broken to replace, which means a new keyboard.  But supply chain problems means there's not a keyboard in all of Europe, apparently.  And since the key pops out every 3 words, it's definitely helping me find my patience. 

In this month's offering:

- a new podcast exploring the work of Jan Jacob Stam with my colleague, Matt
- the boldest and most interesting take I've heard in a long time about what's needed in organisations and leadership development for these times we're in
- an extended Early Bird price for Working with Complex Change
- news of a new publishing house which will bring much needed juiciness to the world
- a vital question about the focus of our OD practice
... and more ...

I hope you find something you like in there. 

So I'll see you in June and until then, keep looking for love in all the small places.

Helena x

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Jan Jacob Stam - new podcast

I mentioned in last month's Newsletter that I'd had a wonderful weekend online at a systemic constellations teaching with Dutch practitioner Jan Jacob Stam.  

It was so rich that a few of us got together to create a study group.  And my colleague Matt and I also wanted to share some of what we learned with others who might be interested, so we recorded this podcast.  We pick up on a  few things that particularly resonated with us, and that we can bring into our work including:

  • systemic 'housekeeping'
  • how unhelpful patterns in us and in organisations have always came into being for good reason
  • the need to exit something while there's still energy in the system for what's emerging
  • how our full potential may only become realisable when we can welcome destruction, and 'give ourselves over to life'.

Matt and I have done a podcast before, exploring our edges with systemic constellations work, and that's Episode 15, following this link

(And do remember that Matt and I have workshop on 23 June where you can explore a complex/tricky organisational through the lens of some tools from systemic constellations.  Filling up nicely.  Still a few spaces available and we've extended the Early Bird price to Monday 15 May.)

The Love Lab, and more ...

The next Love Lab is 6 July in LondonFull details are here.  If you listen to the Amy Elizabeth Fox podcast further down in this Newsletter (do - it's worth it) you might feel a bit love-curious. And you might wonder how DO we cultivate more love in our organisations and beyond.  If so, this workshop is perfect.  It's powerful and wonderful and I think you'd like it.
Matt and I have the next date for our workshop for OD people and coaches - anyone involved in complex problems in organisations -  where you could helpfully step back and look at it through a range of different lenses,  including embodied and systemic.  And an extended Early Bird Price until 15 May. It's on 23 June and full details are here

I'm now running these regularly and there's always a great take-up a a great group of people.  The next one is on Friday 26 May and will give us the chance to talk about what matters most to us in the world at the moment - and how we might respond - and the role love might play.  Oh, and there'll be poetry!  You can book your place here

OD for Life
I really like the work Michelle Holliday is doing in OD.  At a recent gathering with her, I got the chance to explore some of her thinking on OD  - and what it's FOR.

What grabs me is that she says 'OD is not neutral' and I like that. We have to stand for something. And while most of us will align around the core values of OD - democracy, inclusion, participation - Michelle asks us to think about what our work might be like if our focus included the more-than-human world as well as organisations and human systems. How might it shift things if we framed our work as serving life?

The conversation also turned to how OD might have a healing role in organisations, and how OD could be 'an offer of compassion' into systems that are struggling.  The talk I mention below, from Amy Elizabeth Fox, also supports this view - how we need to put love and compassion at the heart of how we practice OD. 

And this is Michelle's OD For Life 'maniflexo'.  She is wonderful at convening gatherings, finding ways to bring people together to talk about what matters and to explore this maniflexo.  Take a look through her site and see if you can make one of them ...
Trauma and love in organisations
I've been doing some research for a piece of client work around what leaders really need to be attending to.  I might summarise it next month but in the meantime,  here's something I wanted to share with you.

It's not often we hear the CEO of a global leadership development consultancy talk so straightforwardly about the need to be trauma-informed in our work in organisations, and as we start to better understand how trauma plays out, the need to work with a 'footprint of love' in helping to support that - which really encourages me to run more workshops like The Love Lab.  She also talks about the role that the spiritual has in our work.  It's one of the most interesting takes on what's needed I've heard in a long time. 

Amy Elizabeth Fox is thae CEO and she runs Mobius Leadership and the keynote talk she gave recently gives a good glimpse into what I mention above, and more.  Really worth a watch. You can also listen to her in this fabulous podcast episode of Coaches Rising. 
Feral Angels press

Something very lovely is newborn.  Only standing on wobbly legs at the moment, but that will soon change because Feral Angels Press publishes 'poetry and prose that lights a fire in your soul, work that has its feet in the muck and mirk of this world and its head on fire in the stars'.  And who doesn't have appetite and need for that in these times.  

Currently the publishing home for Tom Hirons, it will soon host many others so if you sign up to the Newsletter you'll be the first to hear about all the good stuff that's coming out very soon. 


How To Do Absolutely Nothing

Rent a house near the beach, or a cabin
but: Do not take your walking shoes. 
Don't take any clothes you'd wear
anyplace anyone would see you.
Don't take your rechargeables.
Take Scrabble if you have to,
but not a dictionary, and no
pencils for keeping score.
Don't take a cookbook
or anything to cook.
A fishing pole, ok
but not the line, 
hook, sinker, 
leave it all.
Find out

Barbara Kingsolver

G00d reads
In June I'm off to Martin Shaw's Summer School, so I've been reading his Bardskul in (some sort of) preparation.  I mostly had no idea about what was happening on most pages, but it was compulsive reading nevertheless.  Page after page of exquisite poetry that I just couldn't put down.

And by another poet is Thunderstone from Nancy Campbell. It's the story of her setting up a new life in a rickety old caravan by a canal after a relationship break-up. Enjoying it in parts - not least because it makes me think how I might have adjusted to that choice.  I'll let you know next month if I make it all the way to the end.  I might not.
And at work
A lot of diagnostic/discovery work this month. A mix of working my way through data from internal management information and reports, conversations and focus groups as well as runningsome wonderfully creative and energising Large Group Interventions using everything from Mentimeter through to Post Its and image cards to get some deep and meaningful data as well as make the experience as developmental as possible for those involved. And then making some recommendations back to the client about what seems to be needed - coming up this week. 

It's always SUCH a privilege to get to do that work - to be given permission to see inside an organisation and be trusted with the internal organs (so to speak).  It always deepens my engagement with a client system, helps me care even more. 

Also, a new senior women's programme started really well and from the very start they were curious to explore what might be different in their organisation if they tried to make change with a collective voice.  Great stuff. 
So I'll see you in June . And in the meantime, if you think a conversation about how I might support you, work-wise, might be useful, please do get in touch.  You know where I am on Twitter and LinkedIn, or connect via Email. Or call me of course, whichever suits.

Helena x

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