Leader as Convener: The Power of Intelligent Community

 Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


The question is: “Who you gonna be while you do what you do?" –song by Barbara McAfee


Craig was joined by 2 other unforgettable leaders, Pablo Gaito, Cargill Corporation and Michael Trebony, Best Buy Corporation, April 3 at the Twin Cities TLG. Craig's life work has in large part been influenced by the concept of "Leader as Convener" and his remarks brilliantly outlined the tenets, practices and principles of this concept. Then it was brought into sharp focus for us when Pablo and Michael shared their very different paths, but very similar principles in leadership with the group.  This is what Thought Leader Gatherings are about.

Which brings us to another question:

Why are we still here?

For 11 years the Thought Leader Gatherings has convened over 1800 leaders in Minnesota and the Bay Area to explore and practice what it means to be an authentic leader.

We get to be the leaders and we get to convene. It doesn’t mean you are a leader with a big title. It is the relationships that we have. No matter where we are, we find that a lot of what we do is based on principles—core principles. When those principles are enacted and community is enacted, we see what is present is our own choice. People feel they have a choice. There is wonder. It isn’t just for children.

There is trust and faith, and understanding and safety. How do we feel safe in this community? The underlying principles that we use. We deeply listen to one another. We use inquiry and questions and the ability to look beyond.

Reflection: a leadership quality of reflection, to deeply reflect about who we are and who we’re going to be; allowing collective wisdom to surface; realization of our interdependence. The success of each of us as individuals is connected to the success of us all. One is based on the other. We create communities of success and intelligence.

Listening, speaking from their own experience, allowing pauses, suspending certainty, and allowing space for differences. These principles carried the day and brought enthusiastic participation within the gathering of about 60.

Patricia filled the role of convener this time, with Wendy Morris assisting. They set the conversation that day to one of "power rather than predictability" and clearly held us all in their hands. Patricia took her role to heart and when Craig, who is usually the main Convener of the TLGs, began to advise, she simply said "Who's the convener?" We all knew.

Barbara McAfee, singer, musician, poet, speaker, muse and much more, closed the gathering with a performance of her song that says it all: "Who You Gonna Be While You Do What You Do?" Watch the video here.