#cawconf16 : Keynote from Anthony Kasozi

Post-lunch keynote from Anthony Kasozi about Complexity, Contradiction, Connection and Collaboration.

We know tomorrow the sun is going to rise, but then our bus doesn’t arrive so we can’t get to the work we had planned.

As we live and work in this incredibly predictable and unpredictable word.  The unpredictability creates a sense of unease, as Hetty talked about this morning.  At our best we rise to the challenge.  At our worst we become fearful and frustrated.

In many ways we’ve adapted well – within minutes of being texted to ay his plane had been cancelled, he was texted to say which he was on instead.  We’re learning to look after our planet better. Our ingenuity is tremendous.  But all this doesn’t come without shadows. As we create we destroy. As we connect we complicate. As we strive we over-reach.

The more complex are the contradictions we need to live with, and we hanker for simplicity within the complexity.

Complexity has always been here, and it’s a matter of perspective.  When it’s embraced with an attitude of openness, resourcefulness, possibility it can then be something very different.  From complexity comes discovery.  The more I get puzzled the more I find.

In an over-stimulated world, how do we work with this uncertainty?  As coaches what might we be called towards?

Complexity : The story of where Anthony’s name comes from forms an anchor for him and who he is.  Not his only one, but an important one.  In times of turbulence these anchors help him to be happy while he rides the waves.

Contradiction : In his village there was an issue with goats. A young man had found he could bring up the goats to provide milk & meat, but they were destroying everyone’s crops. Anthony was frustrated that the people in the village kept talking about it but not deciding to do anything. But he learnt that by staying with the conversation and really understanding the situation, a new solution appeared.

Connection : For a couple of years Anthony worked in Africa. He was a manager working with the medical teams. He spoke to the Drs wondering how they come back every day even when such a difficult job. They said that sitting with people in hospital, holding their hand, was a way to be human and show care and that’s what matters. He now sees that sitting with uncomfortable questions allows you to see the joy and the pain and work to something else.

Collaboration : We work with people who are very skilled but who are being faced with challenges that they don’t know the answer to.  Yesterday a group like this wanted solutions.  We’ve talked about this, we need to solve it.  Sometimes things are too complex to boil them down to one simple solution.  Yet we can achieve what we need by collaborating and leaning into the challenge to find a new solution.  Committing to do it together regardless of what it takes is an important step.

Anthony’s proposition – if we were to see challenging times as opportunities to find new meaning, to see it as a new beginning, to help others to live well, to hold our identities as something passed to us and something we develop with each role, if we were willing to ride the waves, if we were able to get interested in the small voice inside us, to start with ourselves, to connect with others.

Let go and embrace!


This has been live blogged from the Coaching at Work Conference and I’ve done my best to represent the session accurately as I heard it – and of course I’m human so I might have captured the bits that resonate with me more.

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