Citizens all around the world are preparing to vote for parliaments, councils, presidents, municipalities and mayors, as well as commissioners and public officers of all kinds.
These are decisions of fundamental importance to the future of civic life, whether in Chile, Falkland Islands, New Zealand, France, Iran, UK, Singapore, South Korea or Kenya. Likewise, in considering future leadership and professional development, people have been considering their decision to attend the Leicester Conference in 2017, some for many years.
Learning about role taking, how to strengthen one’s capacity to be authentic in role, how to cope with the increased uncertainty in organisational life and to manage a career through turbulent times, are all solid reasons to attend the Leicester Conference. Above all, attending the Leicester Conference is about making a commitment to give yourself the time to immerse in the dynamics of a real-time living laboratory studying the complexity of leadership and followership. The two week learning experience opens the way for a deeper sense of what it means to lead and follow in our current world. For many who usually consider a University Summer School, voting for the Leicester Conference is a brave step, whilst for group relations enthusiasts attending Leicester is a heroic ambition.
I have asked the Director of each Sub-Conference to share their thoughts about opportunities for the prospective members in their sub-system.
Olya Khaleelee, Director of the “A” Sub Conference – for those new to residential Group Relations learning says:
The ‘A’ sub-conference is designed for people who have not attended this type of Conference before. Being all ‘first-timers’ enables participants to have a completely fresh and exciting experience, uninfluenced by the views of those who have attended such a conference before, some of whom may erroneously believe that they know how things will develop. In fact, each conference is a new temporary organisation that develops from inception over its two-week life and in which the experience of the process and the outcomes are completely unique both to members and to staff.
Key concepts that are experienced and examined within the various events of the conference setting are task, authority and role, boundary and leadership, which are vital aspects in organisational life. With increasingly global and technologically sophisticated organisations, leadership may be absent as often as it is present. Participants may themselves sometimes feel ‘in’ and on other occasions ‘out’, as well as perceiving others in this light. Hence the title of this conference: Task Authority Organisation Presence in Absence: In & Out @ Work. There are opportunities within the sub-conference to examine the experience of such absence or presence as well as becoming aware of other dynamics such as discrepancies between the stated primary task of this temporary organisation and its actual behaviour.
Tim Dartington, Director of the “B” Sub-Conference – for those with previous residential Group Relations learning experience says:
Why go back to Leicester?
Once you have had the experience of a residential group relations conference, should that not be enough?
Well, yes and no. The learning from a conference continues for a long time, as we revisit the insights of that experience in a continuing exploration of the roles we take in life, the giving and taking of authority, the opportunities taken and sometimes missed to make a difference in the world we care about.
The experience of the ‘B’ member is a real challenge. We know and we don’t know what to expect. Each conference is different. We are different. We are aware of our ambition to learn. We may want to test again the limits of that ambition.
We have looked for certainties and now we are hanging on to uncertainties. As the world we are in is in such turmoil, we may recognise that we are neither innocent nor all-knowing. This is a state of mind that allows us to face reality as best we can – which is the ultimate test of a leader. I look forward to seeing some of you back at Leicester!
Rosemary Viswanath, Director of the Training Group – for those who have attended a Leicester before and wish to work further in the modality says:
The Training Group at times feels like an oxymoron. Or a multi-headed hydra.
You may be asking yourself: Is it an advanced application group? Am I somewhere between member and staff? Am I in the working conference fully or on the margins watching and intervening? Will this give me the passport to being on staff? Does my anxiety and motivation to be on staff get in the way of my own learning?
The Training Group at Leicester Conferences is not offered every year – and its design and structure varies. This makes it an even more elusive and uncertain object!
Its goal is to provide a space within a group relations conference setting to allow TG members to advance their own skills and understanding of group relations framework and its application. That it is in a conference setting is what makes it exciting and complex. How do I find my desire, negotiate a role, find it and work to it, without being certain, confident or even skilled. How do I shape something that is evolving and not a given. How do I work with projections and expectations without immobilising myself? How do I work and walk on the tightrope of envy and desire!
The Training Group allows for a deeper understanding of what working to a task in role means. What it means to be rooted in ones skills and at the same time be interdependent. It also is a space to discover afresh ones love for the work, and how that can be the deepest motive and ones greatest asset.
We invite you to join the TG at Leicester for a rigorous immersion in these issues.
So, there you have it. Three sub-systems, each designed to form an integrated whole through which to face the contemporary leadership challenges, engaging the TAO of Tavistock. Together we will explore what it means to be IN & OUT @ Work, this 70th Anniversary could be the year to bring your Presence.
I look forward to your Vote before the next Early Bird deadline on 29th May 2017.
More information about the conference can be found here. For a brochure or if you have any questions, please contact Rachel Kelly, Conference Administrator. A £500 Early Bird discount is available at the moment.
t: +44 (0)20 7457 3927