The recent conclusion of the Module Three pilot course in Santa Severa, April 2023 was a significant milestone for the Discerning Leadership (DL) Program. Building on the previous DL formations, this Third Module formation aimed to cultivate Discerning Leadership skills for inspiring and designing effective organizational performance, facilitating change, and promoting regeneration. The Program brought together 15 participants from 4 religious congregations and a Vatican Dicastery, and provided a reflective and practical space to address the unique dynamics and challenges within their respective systems. The DL faculty provided guidance and support throughout the week, allowing participants to put into practice the tools and models that were explored.
Seeing Organizations with Fresh Eyes
This Third Module offered an opportunity to see organizations with fresh eyes, cultivate discerning cultures, and embrace organizational change with a spirit of hope, discernment and courage. By stepping back and taking a contemplative view, participants gained profound insights into previously unseen aspects of their organizations, opening doors to new possibilities. Discernment took center stage throughout the week. Participants experienced the power of prayer, deep listening, and group sharing in supporting shared decision-making inspired by the Spirit.
An integrated organizational map provided leaders with a comprehensive understanding of the various elements at play, empowering them to observe their systems with renewed clarity and develop targeted interventions. The Adaptive Leadership approach served as a valuable guide for comprehending and navigating organizational change, enabling participants to recognize and embrace adaptive challenges and explore effective practices and tools for transformation.
As the program progressed, participants delved into some of the unspoken and hidden dynamics of change within their organizations. In their small groups, they courageously named key polarities at play and learned to appreciate the value of both poles and look for creative solutions beyond either/or thinking.
The pilot’s balance of theoretical inputs, practical case work and group accompaniment was very well received. Leaders found value in the diversity of learning processes and the power of small groups work. They highlighted that the opportunity to share experiences, aspirations, and challenges, reinforced the experience that no one is alone on their organizational journey. The presence of the DL team and faculty created a safe and nurturing space, gently challenging participants and facilitating their progress. As the program concluded, participants left with a renewed sense of purpose, an expanded network of supportive relationships, and a heightened readiness to initiate positive change within their respective organizations.
Here you can find some testimonials from participants:
“The gift of this week has been the freshness made possible by looking at things anew and being exposed to new models and perspectives. The invitation to look at our organizations “from the balcony” brought joy, hope and new insights into our mission.”
“I am grateful for the gift of relationship: the formation contributed to a deepening of the relationship with my own sisters, and with so many of participants that I didn’t know before.”
“I leave with two words: Engagement and Trust in the future. I really come out highly motivated. I still have my fears, but I feel a renewed trust, love and confidence that allows me to embrace my congregation as it is. For me this week has been a kind of retreat for which I feel really grateful.”
“The environment of trust that the DL Team created this week is unique. I felt supported and being cared for, empowered to hold with love my organization, and its vulnerabilities”
“Thank you very much for your dedication, preparation, affection, good humor, the atmosphere that you create, the testimony of synodal work that you offer, and the work for the Kingdom that you are doing.”