. . . or three blogs and a book. That’s what I asked my fellow weekly IISC bloggers to recommend. What are they finding particular value in reading or re-reading for our work supporting collaboration for social change? Here’s what I got (not the complete list from everyone, as there was some overlap and vacations in there):
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Archive for July, 2010
If there is anyone out there not aware of the Creativist movement, I encourage you to take a look and consider enlisting. The Creativist Society has made a space for people to articulate their visions for society at its best with creativity as the core organizing principle. The Creativist Manifesto is an invitation for people to think about what it would mean to be creators before being consumers, which catalyst Olivia Sprinkel presents as being one of the most important choices we can make. Read the rest of this entry »
We have Clary Shirky talking about Cognitive Surplus and the distinction between communal benefit and civic benefit when it comes to collaborative action. We have Daniel Pink talking about Drive and the search for meaning which inspired me to write about the Purpose Bubble. And just last week here on the IISC Blog, my friend and colleague Curtis Ogden was talking about the need “to recognize the change capacity of the marketplace” and creating mechanisms to reclaim markets.
I’m the one that’s all shook up. I’m just getting back from doing some very powerful work with Reading Village in Guatemala and I’m still processing the experience. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of poverty and palpability of oppression. I come back with images of the smiles of an incredibly resilient Mayan people and I can not understand how they have withstood five centuries of aggression. It is in this context that we were called to do our work. Read the rest of this entry »
I was alerted to this slide show by the Leadership Learning Community, for which I am most grateful. I appreciate how it brings together considerations of complexity and living systems for organizational leaders.
By way of summary, here are the 11 “enabling rules” that the presentation highlights for leadership to work in better alignment (and sustainably) with dynamic systems: Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, Melinda and I had the honor of working with this year’s cohort of aspiring urban school principals participating in the New Leaders for New Schools program. It was awe inspiring and heart warming to meet these accomplished educators who are now putting their classroom successes to the test by striving to take on instructional leadership of a challenging urban public school and raise student academic achievement across the board.
Our work was to help the New Leaders develop and strengthen skills that would serve them in putting together and managing their leadership teams. While focusing on meeting design, we talked about how important it is to avoid simply inheriting old practices and meeting culture that may be dysfunctional or deadening. To honor people’s time and energy, it behooves leaders to be thoughtful and strategic with respect to when and how they convene them and to what end. As we discussed the myriad options for creating a group experience, one participant stood up and said, “We really have to get ourselves out of the box to do this work!” Indeed.
As you read this post I find myself in Guatemala, honored to be working with Reading Village, a truly inspired reading promotion organization. I’ve been impressed by the principled stance of its founders, the serious attention they are paying to respecting local culture and being of authentic service. Having run a successful pilot, they have asked me to come a facilitate a set of conversations towards the development of a field guide – a text that will serve replication of the success of Reading Village while remaining flexible enough for local adaptation. Wish us luck! We are doing something good here!
I’ve been making the argument that happiness matters. I think it specially matters among those of us who are working towards social transformation. I believe there is a way to be happy and still face down the horrors that abate our world. I am convinced that when movement builders find and cultivate this sort of clear eyed happiness we will actually become a powerful attractor for those who yearn to build a better world but have not yet found a way to do it. Read the rest of this entry »
This past week marked the release of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ newest action learning guide – Do Nothing About Me Without Me: An Action Guide for Engaging Stakeholders. IISC is pr0ud to be a co-publisher of and contributor to the publication, which builds on our work with GEO staff facilitating Engage for Results. Essentially this seminar walks foundation staff through a series of strategic questions and tools for engaging grantees, community members, and other stakeholders in their grantmaking. Worth highlighting here is what GEO and IISC identify as being core to the case for funders doing more to involve others in their work: Read the rest of this entry »
- Be passion-driven and work-focused
- Think “community-development” not “governance structure”
- Use leading tools
- Integrate reflection, learning and flexibility
I shared the following Wislawa Szymborska poem with faculty in an academic department at a university with whom I was working this week. We read it as we were about to launch our final day of discussions about collaborative leadership and team building.
For the better part of the last year and a half, my colleagues Ashley Welch and John McGah and I have been moving forward an IA/IISC cross-sectoral practice to bring Interaction methods + to the support of sustainability endeavors. Our early meetings around this budding practice included conversations about how best to frame leadership development for sustainability. We arrived at the graphic above, which combines what we see as the core elements needed for leadership to embrace and enroll others in sustainable pursuits.
With a foundation (watermark, if you will) of content knowledge about what sustainability is, the three elements are as follows:
• Systems Thinking (Seeing) – This is all about helping individual leaders and collective leadership see the whole, to understand that nothing stands in isolation, and that we must have a deeply felt sense of the interconnectedness of phenomena in order to make truly informed decisions. We take both our inspiration and instruction in this realm from the likes of the Sustainability Institute, the Center for Whole Communities, and The Elumenati.
• Self-Awareness (Being) – What we do is informed by who and how we are in the world. Awareness of our own beliefs, mental maps, and inherent tendencies is a powerful lever for making the sustainability shift, for aligning thought behind action. Self-awareness might also be cast as mindfulness, or the ability to be present to what is. Here we build upon our existing work around the inner side of leadership with the contributions of the Pachamama Alliance and John Milton.
• Collaborative Capacity (Doing) – With the whole in mind and awareness of our inner state, leadership will have a greater understanding of the need to work collectively toward more sustainable lifestyles and ways of doing business. Collaborative skill is key, including knowing how to frame sustainability efforts, create the right conditions for innovation, build agreement, structure decision-making, and design life-affirming experiences for diverse stakeholders. This is the heart and soul of the Interaction Method, and it is supplemented by the work of Keith Sawyer, CRED, and the many pioneers of large group methods and network-building.
Another key element and overlay for all of these is leadership’s ability to understand and navigate power dynamics as they play out in systems, in ourselves, and in our chosen methods for working together.
Eager to hear your reactions, tweaks, and additions.