We often focus on the understanding of power as a process and as a social construct. As Beth Roy says, “power is not something you have; it’s something you do.” I was struck by a contrast as I listened to a brief story this morning about Lyndon B. Johnson.
Biographer Robert Caro described Johnson as having “no power” as Vice President because the Kennedy’s didn’t want him to have any. When President Kennedy was assassinated, he suddenly had all the power conferred by that office. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been enjoying David Rock’s Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work, a book that pulls from neuroscience literature in an attempt to help us understand ourselves better, and to create new pathways to creativity, productivity, and . . . social change! Rock leads with the idea that the highest point of leverage to help someone change behavior is at the level of their thinking – to help them think better for themselves. He goes on to illustrate how what we pay attention to and how largely determines the content and quality of our lives. This includes the way that we pay attention to problems. Read the rest of this entry »
Last weekend I had a most unique privilege. I facilitated the final retreat of a three-year process. I have been working with the Barrboletas, the Barr Fellows cohort of 2009, since their inaugural learning journey to Brazil in June of that year. We have a book worth of documentation. The fellowship as a whole will be highlighted in the May issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. This post is a celebration of their last retreat as a cohort – they will continue to participate in an exciting plethora of network activities as they are moved and able.
The following post are 5 tips that will help in your Social Media strategy for any organization. These are just 5 easy tips out of 10 that can be used in order to strengthen any social media platform. We hope that you find these extremely useful.
Why should businesses bother with social media? From Twitter and Pinterest to Facebook and Google+, the social realm can bring the human element to a product or service. A Facebook page enables a company to share behind-the-scenes photos or answer consumer questions. On Twitter, that same company can offer coupons, or get in touch with a person immediately over a complaint.
You can’t have peace or justice without it. Consider the following:
“Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.” So says Nigerian human rights and democracy activist, Hafsat Abiola. Her words echo those of John Paul Lederach , who wrote in The Moral Imagination that peace is not a condition—a process through which people can build relationships conflicting parties and continually engage to create a reality where “the other” continues to exist.
Another offering here in the spirit of simplicity and how we can get a lot from doing little things differently. Yesterday I blogged about “working agreements” to set groups and collaborative efforts up for success. Today, I want to lift up the power of planning meetings, convenings, and longer term collaborative endeavors with the end in mind. Often we find that people have the tendency to jump into doing and talking about doing without working backwards from the intended outcomes. There is an art and science to crafting “desired outcomes statements,” which we teach in our workshops (see Facilitative Leadership and Essential Facilitation), and a starting point is to imagine your stakeholders leaving said meeting or collaborative process and asking yourself:
What shared understanding is it important/imperative for us to have achieved?
What agreements is it important/imperative for us to have built?
What commitments do we want people to have made?
What products do we want/need to have generated?
What feeling/spirit do we want to carried forward out of this experience?
There are times when I have to remind myself that it is the simple things that can have the biggest impact in our change work. For example, I have been appreciating the impact of intentionally establishing what we call “working agreements” at the outset of a single convening or ongoing work with a group. Others might refer to these as “norms” or “ground rules,” though we like placing emphasis on the fact that these are guidelines that everyone builds together, agrees to, and can amend as we discover new needs, hence “working.” Read the rest of this entry »
Periodically, we lift up the work of organizations working at the grassroots. Project HIP HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing and Power) is a youth-led organization that works at the intersection of arts and organizing.
I am a big fan of Seth Godin. But this particular post seems to be extra relevant! Those of us that are working for justice too often get caught up in the dead-end negativity he describes. But thankfully we are also at a moment of transition! And more and more of us are stepping boldly into the future with a passionate and resounding YES!
Compared to my post from yesterday, this certainly feels like a big shift, going from the sublime to the tactical. At a recent gathering that I facilitated, members of the steering committee of a food system change initiative, local and regional funders, and members of other organizational networks came together to discuss ideas for ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the committee’s work around ensuring community food security. We came at this from a few different angles, including a conversation about actual and perceived constraints and challenges to supporting this kind of net work. Here is a taste of what came up, which resonates with what I am hearing in other networks as well: Read the rest of this entry »
The late David Bohm pointed out the lost potential of quantum physics as he saw it being assimilated by a traditional and very mechanical mindset that wanted to make it another instrument of control, prediction, and quantification. For him the power of the field was much more subtle, qualitative, and lay in the understanding that there is an “implicate order” to reality from which form emerges via our thoughts and efforts to make meaning. From Bohm’s perspective, much of what ails us stems from disorganized thought that has us attaching to form, regurgitating and defending our prejudices, as opposed to thinking that embraces the more creative flow of life. As he once expressed it, “Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally.” Read the rest of this entry »
The goal should be to have the minimum number of meetings and scenarios and documentation necessary to maximize the value of execution. As it gets faster and easier to actually build the thing, go ahead and make sure the planning (or lack of it) keeps pace.
I picked this up from a Facebook Friend this morning. Apt description of too much of our national (un)civil discourse. At IISC, we have the privilege of working every day with folks who are crafting alternatives to these dangers. What alternatives are you working on?
“The most sustainable impact comes from our deriving meaning and then connecting that meaning to our purpose, to what we stand for, and to the contributions we make.”
-Dr. Monica Sharma
There is something about the invitation to health and wholeness and to talking about how to measure it that seems to be a real draw to our Whole Measures workshop, which we offer jointly with the Center for Whole Communities. I can see it in the eyes of many participants as they walk into the room – “Tell us how!” And there is a bit of a disruptive experience that occurs when we let people know it is not so formulaic. One of my favorite quotes comes from my mentor Carol Sanford who has said, “Best practice obliterates essence,” and I think it really applies to what we are talking about here. Read the rest of this entry »
This past weekend, I attended our local Eco-Festival in Arlington, MA and connected with members of the nascent Transition Town group. They, and now we, are evidence of a growing movement of people interested in grounding solutions to climate change and natural resource depletion in local community. The above trailer is for a film from the Transition Network that captures inspiring stories of Transition initiatives around the world, “responding to uncertain times with creativity, solutions and ‘engaged optimism’.”
This post comes courtesy of staff from the Center for Arab American Philanthropy who attended the convening in Michigan that Cynthia and I facilitated last week. As the post mentions, youth played a key role in the proceedings, offering up moving testimonials and powerful elements of a vision for moving the state forward to a place of opportunity for all . . .
I caught this drawing posted among many other charts in IISC Learning Center. It caught my attention. I have long been familiar with the idea that silence equals complicity. But I always applied it to movement and our work for justice. I never quite thought of it as applying to organizational dynamics.
Last week, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with a delegation from Egypt—four young men who were involved in the April 6th revolution and continue to work for democracy in Egypt. They were at the end of a three week tour of the U.S. focused on the role of social media in politics and elections.They were frankly surprised that here, in the country that gave birth to Facebook, Twitter and Google, we not doing more with social media to advance our democracy. Their visit with IISC was to focus on some of the social technology that fuels social change work. Still, I thought to myself, “No pressure!”