Stories - Reflections

Leading with a NO… and Inspiring Followers

PAA has astounding success with HorsePlay HP2 (Human Potential Horse-Powered™) as sustainable, powerful leadership development.

We’re walking the talk of HorsePlay HP2 in our own leadership learning experience with HorseDream. Here’s a recent video:

Christina and Be (black Clydesdale), with help from Holly (Zebra) and Chief Silver Cloud (white Percheron) are synchronous, in spontaneous engagement, without words or force, to explore a leadership dilemma that Christina held in mind.  You see them in a relationship that generates stellar results for the inquiry.

Experience their dance throughout the video, moving from Separation to Approach-Connection-Partnership-Clarity-Guidance-Completion and Closure.  A true circle of shared leadership, open to whatever unfolds as fuel for optimal learning and choices.

BACKSTORY:   HorsePlay HP2 founders, Christina & Lynne, are in a continuous upward spiral of ongoing learning.  They enrolled in HorseDream’s Partner License Program, to learn from the expertise of coaches Gerhard and Karin Krebs, David and Sharon Harris, and Jackie Stevenson –HorseDream founders and members– and the herd at Pebble Ledge Ranch.  Be is the herd’s leader; and she’s beginning to teach Chief Silver Cloud, the newest member of the herd, what it takes to be part of the team, and to lead.

The activity is a “constellation,” as in “assemblage, pattern, arrangement.”  The constellation began with a leadership dilemma for Christina:  As one who prefers leading by building consensus, how do I say NO and still inspire others to follow?

Our cohort of learners (8 colleagues + coaches Gerhard, David and Jackie) asked questions to build clarity about the dilemma.  Once they and Christina built mutual understanding, the colleagues set about creating a “course of possibilities” that represented, in their minds, components of the dilemma and frames of reference to view the challenge in the broadest terms possible.  During clarity-building, the Pebble Ledge Herd (6 horses and the zebra) were free to roam the paddock.  By the time the course-building was complete, ALL of the herd except Holly had moved into the shed.

As the video commences, the question has been framed and clarified; the constellation created; and horses are in the shed (saying No?).  Christina now has the opportunity to lead and learn.  Knowing that Be, as the herd’s leader, would be a wonderful teacher, Christina seeks out Be to partner in leadership, open to whatever unfolds with the herd.

This engagement was a robust application of horse and human partnership creating a wellspring of information from which Christina could draw to arrive at optimal learning for her  –with others concurrently taking away learning relevant to them.  It was unplanned, untrained, spontaneous:  a constellation emerging from the moment the question was posed.

There are countless possibilities for interpretation:  each person takes and makes the most of the experience from their own point of view, relevant to their unique needs. With this in mind:

  • What do you experience as you watch?
  • What are you learning about NO as a leader, and as a follower?
  • When is NO a “YES, I’m supporting you though it might not appear that way?”
  • What relates to your own leadership challenges?
  • What are your own infinite possibilities?