Monthly links & notes: February 2024

A report on facilitation, two interesting articles, and an in-person conference now open for registration.

Monthly links & notes: February 2024
Photo by Brian Kerr.

Online reading

SessionLab’s second annual State of Facilitation report is out and it’s great. It covers topics like disability and methods for inclusion:

“Nobody had previously asked how many facilitators identify as having a disability themselves. About 20% of respondents identified as having a disability. Are our gatherings, communities and events designed to include them?”

And changes to facilitated session format and duration:

“One of the inheritances of the global pandemic has been the spread of shorter interventions. The circa 2 hours session is now the most common session length, whether online or remote.”

(Before the start of the pandemic, my experience was that more time-intensive “dedicated” lean workshops turned out better when decomposed into smaller kaizen activities anyways—allowing more time for reflection, getting new data and ideas, etc.)

These are just two items from this very thorough free report:

State of Facilitation 2024 – Report and Expert Insights
The second edition of SessionLab’s State of Facilitation report. Data, trends, and insights from a survey of workshop design and facilitation professionals.

Next, “Zombie leadership: Dead ideas that still walk among us” in The Leadership Quarterly:

“By only looking for leadership amongst leaders we only find it there and bury all signs of leadership from below. By only recognizing, training, selecting and nurturing a few in positions of leadership we ensure that only a few develop the qualities associated with leadership. Elitist theory scaffolds elitist practice which creates an elitist world. This helps us understand the true extent of the threat posed by zombie leadership: not that the world it describes is false but rather that it may help to create a world in which it becomes true.”

Finally, I enjoyed this thought-provoking article about a family’s day trip to visit a data center in a suburb of Dublin:

“Ireland is no exception to the rule that what we remember and what we forget are always contingent upon the power structures and hierarchies that shape our contemporary moment. At the birth of the state, we burned our history in an act of carelessness; we also freed ourselves to create a new national history. We entrusted the church with our moral guidance and guardianship, and then allowed it to commit unspeakable cruelties on our citizens … At the latter end of the century, and in the wake of joining the European Union, we moved away from our old bad memories and toward a prosperous new era, placing our faith in international investment, almost at any cost. But in a small country like Ireland, the old names — whether they be companies or state organizations or political dynasties — crop up again and again. Sometimes our faulty memories flash up a warning. But often that history is stored in the cloud: intangible, vulnerable to exploitation, and degrading over time.”
Ireland’s Memory Machines — The Dial
Data centers have proliferated across the country, at great cost.

No books

I haven’t read much this month due to some family/schedule things. It is weird to not be reading a few books. I miss the sustained attention that comes with it. Also, that’s where the ideas are: inside books. I’ll get back to it soon!

Upcoming event

The Global Lean Summit returns for its fifth year (and second in-person). It will be held in Indiana in mid-September with a 3-day conference format including an onsite tour at Toyota Material Handling.

I went to the 2023 Summit and it was a remarkable experience. I hope to attend this one, and hope you consider it too. As of this writing, you have a week to dial in early-bird pricing:

The Global Lean Summit – The Global Lean Summit