How connection drives excellence

Get Artisan’s Neil Denny was recently booked to deliver a full day of training at the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners (IACP) forum in Chicago. The forum was attended by over 500 leading divorce lawyers, family counsellors, therapists and financial experts.

In addition to Neil Denny’s program exploring what a charter for effective collaborative leadership might look like, there were another 7 full day programs and over 30 shorter workshops of 90-180 minutes.

One of the most powerful aspects of the event though was seeing leading and up and coming practitioners joining together in a vibrant, international community.

A key concept of the artisan’s work is this very sense of connection and community.

The artisan craftsperson is not isolated within her or his studio, even though large parts of their work may be done in isolation. Instead the artisan wilfully connects to their profession’s community. This used to be done through guilds. The guilds, in turn, would enable knowledge of the craft to be shared, recorded and stretched, ensuring the constant advancement of the state of the art.

Although the guilds have largely disappeared, their role is carried forward through formal and informal structures.

We still have membership organisations, such as the IACP, but there are also less formal iterations to be found in message boards, forums, LinkedIn groups even the archaic ListServe platforms from way back in the day. The IACP themselves have launched a specific platform to provide such functionality. You can find it at

Many refuse to engage in community, believing that they have not got the time or the inclination to do so. When that happens craftspeople and professionals alike risk isolation and shun the support, sharing of knowledge and rich opportunities for social, almost passive learning that these communities offer in abundance.

What groups do you connect with in your profession, what are the benefits of doing so and how might you make an even greater contribution to that community?

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