Hosting Difference

In my career, as a Chief Executive Officer in a large nonprofit organization, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in meetings with my counterparts around the world. Forty cultures all in one place. Forty leaders common in their vision. And forty different worlds to work in realizing those visions. How do you hold a meeting that unites, energizes, and appreciates the nuances of our very real differences despite the ties that bind us in common purpose? I’ve sat through the Board room meetings frustrated by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the “one person talks at a time” approach, while everyone agrees the real value is during the break, and meals.

When given the opportunity to apply World Café approaches to this group, the outcomes were stunningly different. Relationships were deepened, energy was created. Agreements were forged.  Partnership emerged. Collaborations were ventured. And in the end a standing ovation in response to the peak pleasure of the experience. It’s hard to measure the impact, yet easy to contract the difference of potential from days wasted of formal agenda, preliminary rule and “one at a time” communication compared to the excitement, vitality, and energy present in a World Café.

It was breathtaking to watch people from forty cultures exploring their futures. I’ve wondered a lot over the years how the World Café might serve the United Nations. A dream.

Paul E Borawski
Chief Executive Officer, (ret)
ASQ (American Society for Quality)


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.