Peter Block – Leader as Convener

Peter Block might not be the most well-known thought leader in the Agile community, but he’s one of the thought leaders who have had the most influence on our success as consultants, coaches, and leaders. 

We are excited to have him in this year’s leading complexity program for the fall. We have long wished to organize something with Peter at Crisp.

Peter is not just an accomplished writer but a true inspiration. His numerous books have informed and transformed how people think about consulting, community building, empowerment, and leadership. His work has been a guiding light for many of us on our professional journeys.

Peter is best known for his fantastic book Flawless Consulting. That title might sound very arrogant. However, he is anything but pretentious. He is provocative in a very humble and soft but direct way. Can consulting be flawless? Peter means that if you do the contracting right, you have put the foundation for excellent coaching or consulting relationships, e.i. Flawless Consulting.

Key ingredients in contracting are creating clarity around all expectations, handling the different stakeholders in the assignment, and clarifying responsibilities and accountabilities. In our experience, this is a very common pitfall for consultants, especially if you are an internal (Agile) coach/consultant. Then, it is very easy to jump into any request without clarity. Poor contracting is an overlooked but widespread reason for failed coaching and consulting engagement.

“What many people fail to understand is that relationships are the mechanism for getting anything done at work.” – Peter Block

Peter is not only a gold mine for coaches and consultants. He is also an authority on leadership and community building. The Empowered Manager and Stewardship were both books way ahead of their times. They are still very progressive and provocative. Peter often raises the challenges of entitlement, freedom, and accountability. 

These are very current challenges when workplaces compete to be the best employers. The best intentions in today’s organizations backfire and create a culture of caretaking, leading to entitlement and a demand for certainty. Certainty is, of course, impossible in today’s complex environment.

This dynamic stems from a subtle culture of hierarchical and paternity mindset. Instead of seeing employees as partners and treating each other as grown adults capable of being responsible and accountable for the situation,

“How do you change the world? One room at a time. Which room? The one you’re in”. – Peter Block

Peter’s latest article is on The Leader as Convener, in which he expands on the new role of leaders in complexity. Leading starts with an invitation. The way you convene sets the scene for what can emerge. Peter emphasizes that these skills, such as contracting, convening, facilitation, and coaching, need to be transferred to organizational leaders.

If you, like us, are intrigued by how to transfer these skills to leaders, consider joining Peter’s “Leader as Convener” session in Leading Complexity 2024. Check out the program to learn more from Peter and the other thought leaders, and sign up for our Leading Complexity Program to attend his Master Class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.