Art of Hosting: Core Concepts

CharOrdic PathChaOrdic StepstonesDiamond of participationSix BreathsFour Fold practice

Chaordic Path and Chaordic Stepstones

Chaordic Field

Chaordic Path

As said AoH is concerned with flux of change.
There is a path between Chaos and Order that leads us to new, collective learning. It is called the "ChaOrdic" path. AoH techniques help us travel this Chaordic path.

Chaordic Stepstones

Chaordic Steps There are clear strategic steps we can take when walking the Chaordic path. These steps are a way of bringing just enough structure or order into the chaos to keep us moving forward on the chaordic path. These steps allow us to progress gradually giving our project or organisation more form as we progress from Chaos to Order (and before the cycle starts again).
Each of these stepping stones is activated by asking key questions. As we design our work together we will select from these questions (or design others) to help us explore each stone as we lay it in place.

The Steps are:
  • identifying the need
  • formulating a purpose
  • defining the principles that help guide us towards our goal
  • Making sure we have the right people
  • defining a concept
  • Finding what is limiting
  • giving it more structure
  • moving into practice.

These steps can be used both as a planning tool and to help understand what you are discovering about an organisation, community or initiative.
When we get to the point of designing structure, we can chart our meeting out using a simple table to ensure that the integrity of the design is fully incorporated:
Time/Day Need/Purpose Activity Harvest Notes

There is no point in doing work unless we plan to harvest the results.
Harvesting includes making meaning of our work, telling the story and feeding forward our results so that they have the desired impacts in the world.
What are the forms of harvest from our work that best serves the need?
It is very important to note that harvesting is an activity that needs to be planned up front, in the spirit of "we are not planning a meeting, we are planning a harvest."
This is a shortened version of a document created by Chris Corrigan and refined by the Art of Hosting community of practice.

The Chaordic process is in continual motion, each step integrating and including the previous steps. It is an iterative, non-linear process supported by an ongoing harvest and feedback loop. Once you have defined the principles you check back if they support the purpose etc. The process allows us to be able to remain in both reflection and practice.
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Diamond of Participation and Five (Six) breaths

Diamond of Participation

Each event follows a pattern that we need to know and recognize. It helps us plan the activities and prepare for the reactions of our group. This pattern is valid not only for the group reactions during the event, but also for the people who are preparing, when they are preparing.
There are 3 phases:
  1. Divergence: Explosion of Energy. Liberation. Motor gets running.
  2. Emergence: All Energy has been released. Chaos. Groan zone. Turbulence. Ideas all over the place. Fight.
  3. Convergence: Calm is coming. Structure settles back in. Some agreement is profiling.

(This was drawn by Jean-Luc Deladrière at the Liège seminar on 20120705)

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Five (Six) Breaths

It is basically a variation on the above, mostly when preparing an event:
  • First breath: CALL
  • Second breath: CLARIFY
  • Third breath: INVITE
  • Fourth breath: MEET
  • Fifth breath: ACT
  • (Sixth breath: that holds them all)

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Four fold practice

4 fold
  • Be Present - Pre-sensing - host yourself first - discern between re-action and contribution to the whole - be willing to sit in the chaos - keep the space open - sit in the fire of the present and the not-knowing
  • Practice conversation - Participate - be willing to listen fully, respectfully, without judgement and thinking you already know all the answers - contribute your bit of wisdom
  • Hosting Conversations - Contribute - be courageous, inviting and willing to initiate conversations that matter - find and host powerful question with the stakeholders - then make sure you harvest the answers, the patterns, insights and learnings into wise actions
  • Community of Practitioners - Co-create - be willing to co-create and co-host with others, blending your knowing, experience and practices with theirs, working partnership.

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