Enabling Human Centred Communities

perspectives Jul 29, 2021

In 2017, Adaptive Cultures launched its first Practitioner Development Program, a vision which had been gestating for over 5 years.

Over the period since 2017, the Program has grown to become an international event, with people participating in the most recent program from across Asia, Europe and Australia.

The groups who come together are typically a mix of leaders and culture practitioners from a range of organisations and included leaders from private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

All participants come with the higher purpose to make a significant positive difference to the organisations they lead and to the people they have the opportunity to impact.

Aside from equipping leaders and practitioners with adaptive skills and methodologies, the intention of the Adaptive Cultures Practitioner Development Program is to build a community of practice for those working in this space.

The reason a community of practice is essential is to enable culture practitioners to encourage, challenge and inspire each other on what can at times be a lonely journey.

Community brings up different associations for all of us. In our past experiences, communities of positive intent have often been eroded by subtle or overt competition and ego which have dispersed the positive potential of the group.

In considering how to build a powerful, global community for leaders and culture practitioners, a core question has been “how can we provide the best possible conditions for this community to magnify its positive potential?”

Over the four years since the inaugural Program, the community has flourished, with many practitioners actively sharing their insights and wisdom. In reflection on what has enabled this, we would like to provide some ideas that may support others with similar aims.

Some of the factors which may have contributed:

  1. A very clear intention and aspiration for the community which included boundaries of acceptable behaviour, demonstration of prior capacity and holding a higher purpose for the work.
  2. An application process with participant interviews to ensure the above and additionally a willingness to go on a journey of personal development, expose one’s vulnerabilities and explore the unknown.
  3. Diversity and common ground. The groups who came together have enough diversity to provide a variety of perspectives and challenge each other, along with substantial common ground in shared values and purpose.  This allows for a powerful level of connection and mutual support.
  4. No compromise. Often commercial interests of “bums on seats” erode intention.  We would prefer the community to consist of a small number of people who align powerfully to the intention, rather than a larger group with members who do not.
  5. Rather than a hotel or corporate training venue, we bring the group together in an ambient, nature inspired venue, encouraging people to show up as humanly as possible, in a human-centred environment. During covid, we provided each person with a nurturing welcome pack.

We continue to be deeply grateful by the quality of the individuals who turn up, their capacity for demonstrating wisdom and compassion and the deep connections that they form.

One of the key themes that comes up each year is how isolating it can be to lead change. While it is important for each of us to build “coalitions of the willing” in our own organisational change efforts, of equal importance is a strong support network outside our organisations. This can provide care and encouragement on the journey whilst sharing a vision of organisational cultures which liberate human potential.

Our next Adaptive Cultures Practitioner Development journey starts in February 2022.  If you are a leader or culture practitioner passionate about cultural evolution and would like to join the Practitioner Program, please register your interest here.


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