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January 12, 2012

Roots of Collective Leadership

Next Tuesday, my colleague Gibran Rivera and I are excited to lead a webinar hosted by our friends at the Leadership Learning Community called “If You Till It They Will Come: Nurturing Collective Leadership.” The above slide is a bit of a sneak peak, and certainly one of the headier, nonetheless important, elements we will cover.  The idea behind this graphic comes from the work of Carol Sanford, who has highlighted the fact that our leadership and change methodologies are always grounded in an underlying belief system about what we hold to be true about the world and humanity.  Not being aware of or transparent about this can get us into difficulty when we are mixing and matching techniques/methods that may contradict one another, or when we are not operating from the same system of beliefs as others.  So here is how we are tracing the roots of our approach to cultivating collective leadership for social change: Read More

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January 11, 2012

Engage for Results . . .

. . . and much more! Melinda Weekes and I are currently partnering with the good people at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations to facilitate another offering of “Engage for Results,” a workshop that builds on our work together 5 years ago through the Change Agent Project. During this initial work convening grantmakers and nonprofits around the country, we heard loud and clear that addressing power dynamics and engaging in authentic relationships would be key to ensuring that grantmaking is more relevant and impactful with respect to the work of nonprofits and outcomes for communities. Read More

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January 10, 2012

Trading in your pain

The following post is reblogged from Seth’s Blog. We hope that it will enrich your life and much as it has ours.

The pain of a lousy boss, of careless mistakes, of insufficient credit. The pain of instability, of bullying, of inadequate tools. The pain of poor cash flow, corrosive feedback and work that isn’t worthy of you.

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January 6, 2012

Epiphany

What has been the most important epiphany in your life?

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany and I’m from Puerto Rico where we celebrate it as Three Kings Day.    In fact, I’ve just heard it argued that Puerto Rico is the country with the strongest tradition of “Día de los Reyes.”  Our Christmas gifts used to come on this date instead of December 25.  We would leave grass under our beds so that their camels could eat as they went from house to house.  I grew up in a nationalist household, so my family was among the last hold outs as “Americanization” (which was really commercialism and marketing) led more and more people to get into Santa Claus.  To this day my father hates Santa – it’s actually kind of funny.

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January 5, 2012

Whole Children, Whole Communities

I have written a few times in this space (see “Right from the Start” and “The System is Us”) about our work with the Graustein Memorial Fund and stakeholders from around Connecticut to re-conceptualize and change the early childhood development system in the state so that all families and children are thriving. We are currently in the midst of a visioning process, whereby members of the System Design Team are engaging various constituents in conversations about what it would look like if the system were truly providing equitable and excellent support and opportunities to all children, regardless of race, ability, and income. In addition, we are asking what foundational beliefs, or values, would under-gird such a reality brought to life.  This phase kicked off with a series of interviews with participants in the Memorial Fund’s annual Stone Soup Conference. This included parents, child care providers, elected officials, advocates of all kinds, and the keynote speaker – Ralph Smith. Check out the series above, along with others posted on the Right from the Start site. There is an emerging picture forming here, that speaks to the power of collective visioning.  What do you see?

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January 4, 2012

Primordial Networking

global brain

|Image by Dionne Hartnett|http://www.flickr.com/photos/dionnehartnett/6289336176|

I spent time over the break reading through Howard Bloom’s robust Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century.  Described as a “lusty tome” by evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, the book is an exploration of history through the lens of group rather than simply individual selection.  Bloom’s concept of collective information processing is eye-opening, provocative, and possibility-inspiring.  It is also very timely given the growing emphasis on networks and collective approaches to change.  Here is a taste, found in the opening pages: Read More

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January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

One of the many things I like about celebrating New Year’s Day is that for a moment in time the awareness of millions of people is simultaneously focused on the same point of transition.  We conspire to create an opening.  We align ourselves with the cycle of the planets.  We leap into a future that is necessarily new.

I’m not big on apocalypse or fear mongering.  But I am often in awe of the stars.  2012 is going to be a big year for the stars.  We’ll hear a lot of silliness, but creative are good alchemists.  Let’s allow ourselves to toy with the idea of transition – of shift, of developmental leaps.

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