It's been a journey...
Waaaaay back in 1999, Meeting Magic was founded on the premise that work in organisations is done in groups, specifically in meetings, and that by facilitating meetings we can support groups to achieve greater productivity.
So, for over two decades we've had the privilege of working with groups from all kinds of organisations - small to large - in all sectors, all around the world, with all kinds of mandates, to do just that.
Here are just a few of our stand-out memories:
Working with a very large group of WWF staff in Cape Town over three days to consider and to develop ideas for adapting to the enormous change they're experiencing in their work as the environmental agenda heats up all over the region, literally and figuratively. This was the first time they convened the whole team in one conversation and it created a relational foundation in January 2020 that was so important for the global pandemic that emerged later that year.
Leadership global strategy meetings in a huge multinational company - working with a diverse group of leaders from around the world to develop a collective understanding of the current context for their organisation, and identify seeds of new ideas for an emerging strategy that would carry them through the next few unpredictable years.
A series of creative meetings with a small, committed team of forward-thinking senior leaders and managers within a national healthcare environment. They came together to consider how they could become even more effective, remain compassionate leaders, and also sustain resilience in the face of increased pressures in their workplace.
Supporting pivots to virtual and remote working in all sorts of client organisations as the pandemic took hold in 2020 and beyond. We've been a remote team since we founded and so were ready and able to help our clients 'go virtual' when the need arose on a scale that no-one had ever anticipated. We were supporting clients to remain connected, run their teams, and operate their businesses at all levels in a way that many were unprepared for.
It has been amazing to work in such a diverse range of situations, to meet such different people, and to witness the power of groups in action.
Back in 1999 meeting facilitation services were rare, and most clients were not even aware of their existence, let alone the benefits. So we're proud to've been part of a wave of change in the world that's raised awareness of the benefits of facilitation and brought it firmly into mainstream businesses around the world.
And now, here we are... in 2022.
We love to learn so it won’t surprise you that in addition to the world changing, so have we!
The way we work with groups now has evolved from our early Meeting Magic offers and we've learnt a great deal from our direct experience with clients, from formal training in our craft, and also from academic study in the field of behavioural sciences.
We've actively developed ourselves and become more and more excited by what we see is possible in groups and communities. We experience great joy from the moments when we witness this potential unleashed.
It's not all been plain-sailing!
In recent years we've become increasingly aware that our mental models are different from mainstream views about groups. We've tried to partner with clients in ways that weave what we know's possible into what they're asking for but sometimes, no matter how much we've contracted for this up-front, it's led to frustrations. For them and for us.
We realise now the part we've played in our own frustrations.
Part of the problem has been the use of language. Words like 'meetings, teams, connection, collaboration, and leadership' are common in business, but we know that the way we see these things is very different from how many people conceive of them. This mismatch sometimes causes confusion.
We've tried to be flexible, to meet clients where they are, and to use everyday language to explain our views, to make it accessible and not sounds like stuffy consultant-speakers. Nobody wants to be one of those!
This, and our need to earn a living, has sometimes tied us in a bind though… trying to offer something unusual and uncommon to a market that's not even aware of its own conventional constraints.
The moments of joy seemed fewer and further between.
So, what to do?
Last year we were forced to stop.
Pressure of work took its toll on our health and both of us ended up in hospital in April 2021. It was a shock, but the universe provided what we needed and made us slow down. Really slow down.
This also created the space to help us rethink.
As we slowed down, we slowed down even more. We ended up taking a creative sabbatical, making time to rest, to experiment and play, to reflect, and to realise the shift we needed to make. We resolved to be radically transparent and much bolder when stating our less conventional views, in the hope that we'll find kindred spirits, courageous souls, who can see and appreciate the value in the difference we bring.
And so, Meet in Magic was born...
Meet in Magic emerged as a play on the name of our original business, reflecting the magic we know exists when people really meet each other, really connect, really focus on the invisible but powerful dynamics between people - all those things that rarely happen in the spaces called 'meetings' in most organisations.
We hope that, by being more open about our views, we'll attract and connect with people who are looking for something different, willing to work in new ways, and who value the rare expertise we bring to play alongside their rare willingness to explore and experiment. Together we know we can create something amazing!
We're feeling the joy again and we're loving our work anew. We're excited about a future full of opportunities to meet in magic.
If you've made it to the end of this story, which took more than a minute to read in a world where slowing down enough to read a blogpost rather than a tweet is increasingly rare, we wonder if you might be one of them?