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Standing in the Fire

Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage

Larry Dressler


List Price: 21.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback, Large Print (8/19/2011)


Real organizational change isn’t brought about by decree, pressure, permission, or even persuasion. Sustained change comes when people are passionately and personally committed to a future that they have helped to shape. If you want to turn your organization’s cynics into owners, give them a voice in the decisions that impact their work. Consensus Through Conversation shows how.

Consensus is a cooperative process in which all of a group’s members develop and agree to actively support a decision. It’s not mere acquiescence—consensus goes several steps beyond, transforming people from resigned instruction-followers to dedicated champions of an idea. Larry Dressler shows you exactly how to prepare for a successful consensus-building process, takes you step-by-step through that process, and offers tips for success and traps to avoid. Throughout, he provides a host of tools and examples that make this an eminently practical and immediately useful guide.

Consensus Through Conversation will give you the tools you need to use consensus effectively in your organization. It is a handy, vital reference that you will turn to again and again in your efforts to tackle high stakes issues, make high quality decisions, and build enthusiasm and commitment to action.

Praise For Standing in the Fire: Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage

“Larry Dressler helps us to increase our capacities and practices to lead meetings that are often a test by fire, enabling us to feel the burn and not be burned out but rather be inspired to achieve more effective outcomes.”
—Susan A. Bouchard, Senior Business Development Manager, Cisco Systems Inc., and author of Enterprise Web 2.0 Fundamentals

“Clear and potent, Standing in the Fire presents a transformed way of being for conveners and facilitators of conflictual meetings. Learning to appreciate and apply its principles and practices sets the stage for breakthrough possibilities for today’s challenged leaders.”
--Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, coauthors of The World Café

“Dressler offers a new perspective and a new set of tools to help channel fire into transformative outcomes. This is a must-read for anyone who must navigate through a sea of emotionally charged issues.”
—Russell Coff, Associate Professor of Organization and Management, Emory University

“Today’s business leaders have to practice the capacity to stand with conflict and confusion in the kinds of challenges they face. Larry Dressler’s fine book gives everyone a framework to understand what’s going on in these moments and the skills to stand in a powerful combination of strength and sensitivity.”
—Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea, coauthors of The Circle Way

“Larry Dressler writes with clarity and deep understanding. He provides an accessible perspective and practical wisdom for moving past the urge to react when things go scarily out of control.”
—Saul Eisen, PhD, Program Coordinator, Organization Development Program, Sonoma State University

Standing in the Fire affirmed for me that learning to lead others through uncertainty and conflict is, at its heart, a spiritual journey. Larry Dressler has written another provocative and inspiring book that I’ll use and share with colleagues for many years to come.”
—Steve Fox, Executive Vice President, Central Conference of American Rabbis

“We mediators and facilitators pride ourselves in having a sophisticated understanding of group processes, of complex issues, and of what makes groups tick. But self-awareness, which is crucial in this profession, is sometimes elusive. Larry Dressler challenges us to look deeply at who we are and how we can best use ourselves in our work.”
—Mary Margaret Golten, Partner, CDR Associates

“The more complex the challenges, the more likely the solutions involve passing through the flames of change. Offering compelling wisdom from the inside out, Standing in the Fire equips you to support groups in making it through. Step in with both feet!”
—Peggy Holman, coauthor and coeditor, The Change Handbook

“Larry Dressler has done a remarkable job of unpacking what it takes to walk thoughtfully, deliberately, and effectively through even the most challenging leadership moments.”
—Terry Kellogg, Chief Executive Director, 1% for the Planet

“One’s being has as much impact as one’s doing and Larry shares stories and insights that deepen one's capacity to be and do with integrity and intention.”
—Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, President and founder, AmericaSpeaks

“No matter what our job titles are, Larry Dressler teaches us how the toughest work 'out there' is always an opportunity to do the work 'in here’.”
—Jennifer Orgolini, Sustainability Director, New Belgium Brewing

Standing in the Fire argues that change requires not only the right tools wielded by skilled hands but more importantly the knowing heart of a facilitator to foster true transformation in people and institutions.”
—Paul Michalec, Program Chair, Curriculum and Instruction, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

“Larry touches the heart of the matter for those of us who are called to do the work of opening and holding space for learning and transformation. To be ourselves in the fire takes an inner strength that does not come for free. Larry’s invitation to practice this stance in our own way is most timely.”
—Toke Paludan Moeller, cofounder, The Art of Hosting

“Eloquent, clear, and wise. Key distinctions in the Being of facilitation are grounded in pragmatic practices that really work.”
—Doug Silsbee, author of Presence-Based Coaching

“Dressler speaks not with the voice of abstract authority but as one fire tender to another. He shows us how personal practice transforms facilitation into an ongoing journey of self-discovery and self-mastery, and he offers a wealth of tips for strengthening our presence, agility, and joy along the way.”
—Susan Szpakowski, Executive Director, ALIA Institute

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781576759707, 240pp.

Publication Date: March 8, 2010

About the Author

Larry Dressler is president of Blue Wing Consulting. He has designed and facilitated high-stakes meetings in large corporations like Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Starbucks for over fifteen years. He has also assisted in important community deliberations involving diverse stakeholders: farm workers in Washington State, homeless artisans on Skid Row in Los Angeles, and indigenous leaders in the Ecuadorian Amazon.