Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 286 - April 2024




The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.

Gurteen Knowledge Letter
Issue 286 – April 2024

Every so often, I come across a talk on YouTube that really invigorates my thinking. I have long been a fan of Peter Boghossian and love his Street Epistemology conversations.

Recently, he gave an exceptional talk on the Socratic Method in the Western Tradition, which I highly recommend. If you don’t wish to actually watch it, I’ve used ChatGPT to summarize its key insights.

I’m writing a blook post that has been stimulated by his talk, and I hope to publish it next month.

  1. Rethinking Writing for a Complex World
    Larry McEnerney’s insights on good writing
  2. Charting a New Course
    Dave Snowden's Vector Theory of Change
  3. Conversational Presentations
    Making talks conversational with one simple tweak
  4. Knowledge Summit Dublin
    Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 10th -11th June 2024
  5. The Fallacy of Changing Others
    The power of personal agency for change
  6. Please support my work
  7. Unsubscribe
  8. Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Rethinking Writing for a Complex World
Larry McEnerney’s insights on good writing

Effective writing is crucial for driving change in today's complex, information-overloaded world. However, conventional writing wisdom often fails to equip us to engage readers and make a real impact.

Larry McEnerney, the retired director of the University of Chicago's Writing Program, provides unconventional insights that offer a roadmap for crafting writing that resonates and persuades. By understanding our audience, creating value, and challenging established beliefs, we can elevate our writing to inspire action.

My blook post, Crafting Writing That Drives Change, explores McEnerney's perspective, offering bloggers, knowledge workers, and professional writers a fresh approach to making a difference through the written word.

You think that writing is communicating your ideas to your readers. It is not.

What is professional writing? Professional writing, what is it?

It's not conveying your ideas to your readers. It's changing their ideas.

Nobody cares what ideas you have.

Credit: Larry McEnerney

Charting a New Course
Dave Snowden's Vector Theory of Change

Change is constant and unpredictable in our complex world. Traditional linear approaches to managing change often fail to deliver results, leaving us struggling to adapt.

The Vector Theory of Change, developed by Dave Snowden and described in my blook post "Navigating Change in a Complex World," offers a solution. This approach provides a framework for navigating uncertainty and complexity by focusing on setting a direction rather than specific goals and emphasizing continuous learning and adaptation.

As we face critical challenges like climate change and social inequalities, embracing complexity-informed strategies is crucial for building a sustainable future.

Conversational Presentations
Making talks conversational with one simple tweak

In most conferences and seminars, the audience passively listens to speakers without a chance to discuss insights together. But with one simple tweak, you can transform any talk into a conversational experience.

Rather than a one-way information download, allot 5 or 10 minutes for attendees to reflect on your main points in small groups. Pose a summarizing question, then have them turn to neighbors to share reactions.

This conversational component activates learning and participation without taking any additional time — just balance it by shortening your formal remarks or Q&A. Creative grouping allows dialog even in lecture halls or on virtual platforms like Zoom.

I've seen how this small change energizes audiences across cultures and contexts. Conversation cements comprehension and connection.

So inform organizers, then incorporate this powerful practice into your next talk. Let your audience not just listen but also share and make meaning together. Unlock the power of peer learning.

Transform your talks — make them conversational. Learn how in my blook.

Knowledge Summit Dublin
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 10th -11th June 2024

The Dublin Knowledge Summit, held from June 10th to June 11th, 2024, will be hosted at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Until the end of April, my Gurteen Knowledge Community members can receive a 15% discount if they quote the promo code GURTAPR10.

The summit's agenda includes one-hour sessions divided into three parallel tracks. Each session is designed to commence with a 20-minute presentation followed by a 40-minute collaborative segment aimed at developing actionable solutions and insights.

On the second day, John Hovell and I will facilitate a Knowledge Café focused on Conversational Leadership, inviting participants to engage in meaningful dialogue and exchange ideas.

You can find more information and register here: Knowledge Summit Dublin.

The Fallacy of Changing Others
The power of personal agency for change

The question "How do we get those people to change?" constantly arises when pursuing improvement or change. The focus is on how to get management, employees, family, or some "other" group to change their behavior. But this question is fundamentally flawed.

When the question is how to change "those people," we position ourselves as knowing what's best for others. It's an attempt to control, even under the guise of helping. The truth is no one changes simply because we want them to. Pressuring people to change increases resistance, even if the change is positive.

The focus should be on our own transformation, not forcing change on others. Rather than "How do I get them to change?" the question should be "What change is required of me?" This shifts the focus to our own actions and accountability.

Leading by example and exercising personal agency create an environment where others feel free to change. We can't control other people, but we can maintain our example and the world we inhabit. Getting this question right is essential, even if it is challenging. It's a necessary shift if we desire to act on what matters rather than exert will over others.

Please help support my work.
I have been publishing the Gurteen Knowledge Letter every month for over 20 years, and most of you have received it for five years or more. My Knowledge Café also recently had its 20thth birthday in September 2022.

If you find my work valuable, please consider supporting me by donating $1 (or more) a month to become a Patron or making a small one-off contribution. Your assistance will help cover some of my website hosting expenses.

I have over 50 patrons so far. Thank you all.

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Gurteen Knowledge Letter
The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a free monthly e-mail-based newsletter. Its purpose is to stimulate thought about Conversational Leadership and Knowledge Management. You can find back issues here.

If you don't already receive this newsletter, you can register to receive it by email each month.

It is sponsored by the Henley Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues, or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. If you have any queries, please get in touch with me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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