Generative Engagement

Generative Engagement sets conditions for people to create mutual learning and transformation. It opens shared space so each person has what they need to participate in and contribute to the full functioning of a whole group. Every generative engagement is unique, because it emerges to fit patterns in the moment. We have found, though, that shared identity, a balance of power and influence, and shared voice are conditions that can usually shape patterns of Generative Engagement.


Generative Engagement, as a model, is a way of thinking about how you make moment-by-moment choices to interact with others to create generative space between you. It asks that you consider three conditions* in your interactions to shape patterns of generative engagement.

  • You stand together, sharing identity. You come together, across your differences to work toward a shared goal or purpose. You don't give up who you are, but you do seek to see the others perspectives.
  • You share power in the system by allowing for mutual influence. You work to influence others, and you allow them to influence you. Getting things done is not about bullying or pushing. It is about coming together to decide whats to be accomplished and to share expertise, energy, skills, and resources to get it done.
  • You grant and generate voice. You listen deeply without judgment. You share in ways that others can understand and accept.

So What?

The Generative Engagement model is not intended to paint a picture of a utopian world where everyone holds hands and sings about peace. It is, rather, about the moment-by-moment decisions and choices you make in every exchange. Either consciously or unconsciously, you choose behaviors that either move toward more generative relationships or away from them.

When you set the conditions of Generative Engagement, you increase the chances that you will generate over-arching patterns of coherence. Consider how a Complex Adaptive System functions to generate system-wide patterns.* Generative Engagement assumes that if you set these conditions, then the dominant patterns that emerge will be characterized by:

  • Reciprocity, an equitable giving and taking, sharing responsibilities and benefits in the system.
  • Authenticity, patterns of people experiencing the safety and freedom to bring their whole selves into the work of the relationship.
  • Justice, patterns of access to energy, services and support, and other resources are equitably disbursed across all parts of the system.

The critical factor here is to remember that this is not the path to generative relationships at home, at work, or in the community. The Generative Engagement model is offered as one path that, if these conditions are set, are likely to influence generative patterns of action and decisions.

Now What?

Use Generative Engagement to:

  • Engage with others in open and productive ways.
  • Invite others to engage with you in Generative Engagement.
  • Take wise action to more toward greater coherence and sustainability.

Related Resources

February 6, 2014 Glenda Eoyange engages the attendees in exploring a dynamical approach to employee engagement. What? shapes the patterns of employee engagement? So what? options are there for shifting those patterns? Now what? will you do?
In today’s hurry-up, busy world, how can you be sure you connect with others in your life? In the diversity of your day-to-day experience, how can you listen deeply to those around you to build understanding across differences? How do you interact with those you care the most about to be sure you hear and understand what they communicate?
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