Standing in the Fire: Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage 1st Edition
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—Susan A. Bouchard, Senior Business Development Manager, Cisco Systems Inc., and author of Enterprise Web 2.0 Fundamentals
“Clear and potent, Standing in the Fire presents a transformed way of being for conveners and facilitators of conflictual meetings. Learning to appreciate and apply its principles and practices sets the stage for breakthrough possibilities for today’s challenged leaders.”
--Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, coauthors of The World Café
“Dressler offers a new perspective and a new set of tools to help channel fire into transformative outcomes. This is a must-read for anyone who must navigate through a sea of emotionally charged issues.”
—Russell Coff, Associate Professor of Organization and Management, Emory University
“Today’s business leaders have to practice the capacity to stand with conflict and confusion in the kinds of challenges they face. Larry Dressler’s fine book gives everyone a framework to understand what’s going on in these moments and the skills to stand in a powerful combination of strength and sensitivity.”
—Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea, coauthors of The Circle Way
“Larry Dressler writes with clarity and deep understanding. He provides an accessible perspective and practical wisdom for moving past the urge to react when things go scarily out of control.”
—Saul Eisen, PhD, Program Coordinator, Organization Development Program, Sonoma State University
“Standing in the Fire affirmed for me that learning to lead others through uncertainty and conflict is, at its heart, a spiritual journey. Larry Dressler has written another provocative and inspiring book that I’ll use and share with colleagues for many years to come.”
—Steve Fox, Executive Vice President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
“We mediators and facilitators pride ourselves in having a sophisticated understanding of group processes, of complex issues, and of what makes groups tick. But self-awareness, which is crucial in this profession, is sometimes elusive. Larry Dressler challenges us to look deeply at who we are and how we can best use ourselves in our work.”
—Mary Margaret Golten, Partner, CDR Associates
“The more complex the challenges, the more likely the solutions involve passing through the flames of change. Offering compelling wisdom from the inside out, Standing in the Fire equips you to support groups in making it through. Step in with both feet!”
—Peggy Holman, coauthor and coeditor, The Change Handbook
“Larry Dressler has done a remarkable job of unpacking what it takes to walk thoughtfully, deliberately, and effectively through even the most challenging leadership moments.”
—Terry Kellogg, Chief Executive Director, 1% for the Planet
“One’s being has as much impact as one’s doing and Larry shares stories and insights that deepen one's capacity to be and do with integrity and intention.”
—Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, President and founder, AmericaSpeaks
“No matter what our job titles are, Larry Dressler teaches us how the toughest work 'out there' is always an opportunity to do the work 'in here’.”
—Jennifer Orgolini, Sustainability Director, New Belgium Brewing
“Standing in the Fire argues that change requires not only the right tools wielded by skilled hands but more importantly the knowing heart of a facilitator to foster true transformation in people and institutions.”
—Paul Michalec, Program Chair, Curriculum and Instruction, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver
“Larry touches the heart of the matter for those of us who are called to do the work of opening and holding space for learning and transformation. To be ourselves in the fire takes an inner strength that does not come for free. Larry’s invitation to practice this stance in our own way is most timely.”
—Toke Paludan Moeller, cofounder, The Art of Hosting
“Eloquent, clear, and wise. Key distinctions in the Being of facilitation are grounded in pragmatic practices that really work.”
—Doug Silsbee, author of Presence-Based Coaching
“Dressler speaks not with the voice of abstract authority but as one fire tender to another. He shows us how personal practice transforms facilitation into an ongoing journey of self-discovery and self-mastery, and he offers a wealth of tips for strengthening our presence, agility, and joy along the way.”
—Susan Szpakowski, Executive Director, ALIA Institute
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He hits it right on the nose with so many issues. Basically, we have to deal with our own issues to be effective group facilitators. Be present, deal with the issues that triggers us, give up control, etc.
It's a very spiritual book that I think everyone should read even if they won't do any group leadership work at all!
Larry's book, Standing in the Fire: Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage, offers a clear, compelling and helpful description of his model and techniques for dealing with group fire, starting with the potential usefulness of fire. For me, his clarity and the resulting *relative* simplicity of his approach has made my work of putting his model and techniques into practice *relatively* easier than other models and techniques I have tried. (Lest I sound like an arrogant fool, I must add this is neither easy nor simple work, this dealing with fire or putting models into practice!) By providing a reframe of the challenge from the inside-out, and then providing a full process approach, from preparation to post-mortem reflection, Dressler addressed the complexity of dealing with group fire without ever overwhelming me. His ability to do this is remarkable in such a readable prose.
His "Six Ways of Standing in the Fire" combined with the 4-Step Practice allows each person to find a practice tailored to wherever the fire most burns for that reader. Having six ways allows the reader to recognize the positive turns we can take with the various ways that we get in our own way. For example, "Stand with an Open Mind" reflects the challenge of those of us stuck with our habitual ways of seeing and thinking. Larry invites us to "dance with surprises," as an antidote to anticipating what might happen next, in order that we not get thrown off by what look like curve balls. Each approach is explained with enough detail and suggestions to help any willing practitioner put into practice the approach that the practitioner deems most helpful. When and if the reader is able and willing, s/he has the means with Larry's guidance to consider and try on the other practices, thereby adding crayons to one's coloring box for dealing with various fires in various environments and when we have our different capacities. (The Crayola reference is my tip to Dressler's low-key playfulness. This is serious work, but we can't take ourselves too seriously, or we risk initiating or exacerbating the fire ourselves.)
Whether you recognize your need to deal with fire as a facilitator, a team leader, a manager, a friend, spouse or parent, I strongly encourage you to read this book, which can help in all manner of fires: at home, at work, or even just within yourself.