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Conversational Leadership

A deeper understanding of the World Cafe offers a view that goes beyond a method, no matter how skillfully utilized, to the recognition of conversation as a core meaning-making process.

Since our earliest ancestors gathered in circles around the warmth of a fire, talking together has been our primary means for discovering common interests, sharing knowledge, imagining the future, and cooperating to survive and thrive.

The natural cross-pollination of relationships, ideas, and meaning as people move from one conversation to others enables us to learn, explore possibilities, and co-create together.

From this perspective, conversations are action—the very heartbeat and lifeblood of social systems like organizations, communities, and cultures.

Conversational leadership takes root when leaders see their organizations as dynamic webs of conversation and consider conversation as a core process for effecting positive systemic change. Taking a strategic approach to this core process can not only grow intellectual and social capital, but also provide a collaborative advantage in our increasingly networked world.

This graphic and most of the above material is excerpted from an article on Conversational Leadership written by Tom Hurley and Juanita Brown. (Download the whole article in English, German, Spanish, or Portuguese)