Important Questions Stop You in Your Tracks


My brother asked me over the weekend what the goal of my business was.It was Sunday afternoon and I didn’t have the jam for a tough conversation so I begged off.But since I didn’t want to answer it, I knew it was a question worth spending some time with.Alas – what is the goal of my business?

POPULUS exists an infrastructure for me to do the work I want to do.As a legal entity for accounting purposes, as an entity to engage in contracts with clients and partners, and as a name and image that reflects what I believe about people and communities.In a strict sense, that is all it is.It doesn’t have a goal of its own separate from me, because I am the sole owner.POPULUS is a means for me to do my work.

So the next question is: what is the goal of my work? I aim to support people who see a whole new possibility about how humans can work together to meet and adapt to the challenges communities face.I create the conditions for people to see new possibilities and take bold, innovative and sustained action to make those possibilities possible. I do this work in collaboration with others, always modeling collaborative conversation.The nature of this work shifts from conversation to conversation, from situation to situation, intentionally responsive to the conditions at hand.While there are common ingredients everywhere I go, there is no hard and fast recipe.(Another big question for another blog – what are the ingredients?)

My perfect clients and collaborators see possibilities and recognize that we need to engage each other in different ways to get there. Sometimes the path is clear, sometimes confusing and muddy, but the quality of what we do on and with the path is key; they know that they wish to create opportunities for learning, and that quality conversation will support them in seeing and taking action toward new possibilities.

My intention is to co-create, with clients and collaborators, the conditions for people to get the best from themselves.There is not a clear, linear path to do this, so this work is messy and confusing at times.The truth is, it is challenging for me to articulate this work, yet my clients, collaborators and I find that we speak the same language in non-traditional ways.There is no list of credentials, or competencies.It is visceral,experiencial and even intuitive.Rather than a checklist of skills, it is a way of being with self and others. It is unconventional work to remind us of what we already know – how to listen to each other.

The quality of everything we do turns on the quality of our conversations.Everywhere I go, I aim to host myself and others well.And learning to ask – and receive – questions that stop us in our tracks.

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