Growing Agency for the Common Good

Growing Agency – 90 Minutes with Peter Block –

“Bringing people together as partners is our major task as leaders.” – Peter Block.

Leaders get things done through and with others.  Leadership is about building strong relationships, establishing connections, and working towards the common good. While we may have specific tasks assigned, how we get our assigned work matters. Colleagues with agency over their work become owners and citizens in our shared destiny.

How we bring people together

We are not as divided and polarized as we think. Build connections around a common cause.  Bring people together to use their gifts to support things they can control.  Small groups are THE unit of transformation and connection – small groups of 3, maybe 4. Ask questions that create personal engagement and learning conversations.  Questions like:

  • Why is it important for you to be here today? 
  • What crossroads are you at in this stage of life?
  • Why does that matter to you?
  • What are you good at? How can we support you? 

Heart connections are the key to productivity

After breakout conversations, ask:

  • What struck you?
  • What touched you?
  • What insights did you get?

Don’t ask for a summary or a report-out.  That’s impersonal and sterile.  Making connections from the heart are the key to productivity.  Be aware of what we can learn from the wisdom in the room.

Seek possibility … not problems

Let’s discover gifts together … not just problems.  We are all wounded.  Offering advice assumes that I know better and my solution will work for you.  Don’t talk about marginalized people; that puts you in a superior position. Don’t ask how we can help you; that focuses on inadequacies, making others feel “less than.” Help each other confront our gifts.  Ask,

  • What gifts did we receive from others today?

Then accept the gift.  Don’t deflect.  Say, Thank you, I like hearing that. 

What story will you share with others today?

Our protocols shape power; most often we assume a power dynamic where we are in charge.  Instead, focus on agency.  How are we supporting the next generation? Change the narrative.  Build bridges to what we all care about.

Our stories – where we are – our crossroads – our choices – are what matters – Peter Block

On a Personal Note

Spending time with Peter Block is such a privilege.  He lives and breathes authentic leadership.  I have been reading, and trying to apply, everything he has written for the past 40 years.  Starting with Flawless Consulting – long before I thought of becoming one.  His concepts have helped me through countless bargaining sessions. And I use this Trust and Agreement graphic often in planning change initiatives.

Coming soon …

Activating the Common Good: Reclaiming Control of Our Collective Well-Being

by Peter Block (Author) | November 28, 2023

Larry Nyland speaking

Larry Nyland – Leadership Coach and Consultant.
Seattle Schools superintendent 2014-2018

To talk about growing extraordinary "high capacity" leadership for your team …
Contact: | 425-418-4398 |