I just facilitated the 6th Creative Change Retreat at the Sundance Institute in Utah. The amazing experience leaves me grateful to my friends at the Opportunity Agenda for trusting me with the design and facilitation of such a significant convening.
Today more than ever I am convinced that the change we want to see in the world is a change that demands the evolution of consciousness and culture. As the artist and the activist come together – as they become one – we will be able to join into a different kind of intervention.
Check out the ways that love of her many identities frees up spoken word artist Jamila Lyiscott to be her full self. She reminds us that a full, loving embrace of yourself and your cultures enables others to see you more fully and embrace all of your cultures, while it makes space for others to do the same for themselves. That’s change making at a personal level that can radiate outward to the entire community. Read the rest of this entry »
We continue to explore the power of love. Listen to Dr. Maya Angelou speak about the power of love to liberate the human spirit. She speaks of how her mother’s love liberated Maya to become her fullest self and how Maya’s love liberated her mother at the end of her mother’s life. She speaks of the unconditional love that frees a person to make their highest and best contribution to the world—a love that is at once personal and public, individually meaningful and essential to our collective lives.
This past weekend’s CommonBound Conference was quite the experience. It was inspiring to be with the more than 600 participants from around North America talking about and sharing examples of what it might take to evolve a just and sustainable economy. I found the event’s closing plenary, an interview of and conversation between Adrienne Maree Brown, Gar Alperovitz, and Gopal Dayaneni, to be particularly stirring. For those who missed it, here is a smattering of what was buzzing in the Twittersphere . . . Read the rest of this entry »
I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’
Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet whose landmark book of 1969, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — which describes in lyrical, unsparing prose her childhood in the Jim Crow South — was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday in her home. She was 86 and lived in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Vincent Hardingdied on Monday and our world is emptier for it. Vincent is an unsung hero of the Civil Rights era, whose work as a speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was essential if not widely known. His best-known speech was Dr. King’s speech Beyond Vietnam, where Dr. King boldly extended his critique to U.S. foreign policy, connecting the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. with struggles for justice in other parts of the world. You can hear Vincent explain the significance of the speech in an interview with Democracy Now! You can hear or read some of his thoughts on spirituality and justice in an On Being podcast called Dangerous Spirituality. Read the rest of this entry »
Kate Tempest and this video were brought to my attention by Tom Kelly of the Sustainability Institute at UNH when he presented Tempest’s work as an “offering,” a ritual opening and closing we use in our meetings of the Food Solutions New England Network Team meetings. It was certainly apt as we were talking about what it means to “put ourselves out there” on various fronts, to enter new territory with one another as we collectively push forward the conversation about New England creating a more just and sustainable regional food system.
I appreciate Tempest putting herself out there in general as a young artist, and this particular poetic rendering of the Icarus tale that suggests the young ambitious man’s “fall” provides lessons for the collective advancement of those whose feet have not “kicked the clouds.” Celebrating boldness and reaching new heights . . .
‘The effect of positive emotions on helping others is stronger and longer-lasting than self-interest.”
- Wayne Baker and Nathaniel Bulkley
At times thinking about social change can get rather complex, and rightfully so. And it can be helpful to ground ourselves in some of the simpler (though not necessarily easy) and timeless principles and practices of gratitude, kindness, and generosity. This video, from a rather surprising source, speaks truth about the power of giving, recently validated by a study conducted by Wayne Baker and Nathaniel Bulkley, who are also creators of The Reciprocity Ring. Both the study and this video remind me of an ongoing line of inquiry I have with respect to networks for social change - How can we cultivate skill, will, and structure so that the natural impulse to give (and receive) can thrive?
How are you making space for kindness? What does this look like? Feel like? Sound like? What is the impact?
I’ve spent the last two days with twenty-three people who do the concrete, sometimes humble work of convening meetings, directing resources and evaluating programs. They came from far flung places, from Ohio and Illinois to Hawai’i, to explore how the tools of Facilitative Leadership can remake our work so that it awakens and nourishes our communities’ deepest desires. Working with them was like a peek into the future of what leadership can be.
There are lots of workshops that help leaders to learn about decision making; there are few that require a decision-making process to be informed by our hearts as well as our minds. This group seized the opportunity to engage both their hearts and heads to wrestle with tough practical questions: How can you do brainstorming that includes people who value reflection and introspection more than quickly generated speech?
They made space to speak tender truths that usually cannot be said out loud: How can we help our communities hold each other more accountable for achieving results without damaging the richness of our relationships, or abandoning our traditional cultural processes?
And they practiced creating the conditions for the people they serve–the people they supervise, their clients, their coalition members–to take responsibility for learning and working through these questions together.
It was an honor to witness how they showed up for each other in the workshop, as well as what they did and what they learned. Twenty-three new and seasoned facilitative leaders reminded me that the purpose of leadership is to show up as an agent of dignity and hope.
If another world truly is possible, I think I spent the last two days with the leaders who will guide us there.
This video makes it clear how wonderfully complex and interconnected life is. ‘Trophic cascades’ invite us to consider how changes in one part of a living system can change other elements of the system and the system as a whole. How did wolves change the behavior of rivers in Yellowstone Park? Check it out.
Thanks to my colleague Ashley Welch for sending along the link to this video while I’ve been feeling a little under the weather. It was a great quick boost and reminded me of how silliness matters in what can otherwise become very serious work. And laughter is a legitimate and effective practice for resilience and development.
Please share with us your favorite silly and/or laughter inducing media!
“My job is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”
- Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger, singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who championed folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 94. More about his extraordinary life here and in the above video from Democracy Now!
“Life comes when you give people a chance to contribute something.”
- Coralie Winn
IISC board member Jamil Simon brought staff attention to the film The Human Scale a few weeks ago during a discussion about building the capacity of cities to collaborate amidst growing demographic complexity and other social as well as environmental challenges. The film is screening this very evening in Somerville, Massachusetts.
In our collaborative capacity and network development work at IISC, there is considerable complexity to hold. This can create quite a mental exercise for everyone involved – What is the system we are trying to develop/problem we are trying to solve? What are the contributing factors? What is our desired future state? Who should be at the table? What are the systemic leverage points and associated strategies? Etc.
This is necessary work, and it can become incomplete or rather one dimensional when it only taps some of our collective faculties. Read the rest of this entry »
Or remember back in February when 50,000 people rallied in DC against the XL Pipeline? And then in October when the protests of 5,000 young people linked the pipeline, fracking, and the whole mess of fossil fuel development?
Much has been written and said in the past month about President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. I think the one important gift President Kennedy gave the country was a certain hopefulness about what people could do at their best and what government could do at its best. Listen (starting at 36:30) to an excerpt from President Kennedy’s inaugural address, read by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. He enjoins the listeners to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In these days of Washington gridlock and partisan gamesmanship, it’s a message we can stand to hear afresh!
In the regional food system network development that IISC has been supporting, we have been making a habit of building certain rituals into our meetings. One is to invite offerings of various kinds to open and close meetings, an opportunity for people to share what matters most to them and bring more of what moves them to the conversation. The following poem has been making the rounds, and has become a favorite for some of the universals it seems to invoke. Wishing you all a deeply nourishing Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, four friends of mine lost parents and siblings. Rockwood has had a few unanticipated challenges this year. The ripples of the 2008 recession are still affecting the nonprofit sector, and many organizations are struggling. The instability of our national government in recent months has made things very difficult for many folks.
What we now know as Veterans Day began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, commemorating the end of “The War to End All Wars.” Sadly, World War I paved the way and was quickly followed by World War II. And countless lives have been lost in wars since. Sara Robinson’s description of the relationship between Remembrance Day and pacifism in Canada struck me as a powerful reminder on this Veteran’s Day. Here’s an excerpt from a longer post.
Reporting live from the third annual Vermont Farm to Plate (F2P) Network convening, I am relishing this opportunity to work with and watch a successful network move into its third year of existence. There is much more to share about the F2P journey, which I hope to do in a follow-up post to this one, but for now, I wanted to highlight a couple of themes that continue to resonate throughout the convening and contribute to the growth and success of this network.
With appreciations to Carole Martin for passing this along, I wanted to offer this poem as a reminder of the important role of listening in helping to create trust and grounded-ness in the work of social change . . .
Finding What You Didn’t Lose
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water. Read the rest of this entry »
As we enter into the last weeks of summer (yes, it’s true), I find myself becoming more reflective, slowing down a bit in anticipation of a seasonal transition. What comes to mind is this poem from Marge Piercy, for all that it has to offer in terms of thinking about harvesting, about reaping what we’ve sown through our care-full efforts, about going slow to go fast, and what it takes to do social change work well.
I recently was reminded of a truth about resilience. It came in the form of a story told by someone about the root system of red wood trees. These giant and venerable beings, some standing as high as 350 feet and as old as 1000 years, are not so deeply rooted in the soil. Their roots tend to only go to a depth of about 4 to 5 feet, which is extraordinary when you consider how far up they reach. So how do red woods remain vertical amidst storms and the ravages of time? The answer is that they reach out to one another. Below the surface, they stretch their roots out horizontally where they become entwined with those of their neighbors. This becomes the source of the forest’s strength – vast networks of interconnections.
On a day when we like to focus on independence, I like how this story reminds us of the extent to which our ability to survive and flourish is caught up in our common roots and interrelationships.
As we break bread with our friends and family, lets not forget about the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we may live free. Thank You for all that you have done. We will never forget you.
Thanks to our friends at Colorlines.org for calling this post to our attention! Read on and ask yourself, what does it take to be able to create this kind of a “teachable moment” with such poise, grace and clarity.
If you don’t know the kind of person I am and I don’t know the kind of person you are a pattern that others made may prevail in the world and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.Read the rest of this entry »
The following post has been reblogged from Seth’s Blog. He is a genius and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
The tried and true is beyond reproach. It’s been tried, and of course, it’s true. True because it worked. In times of change, though, most of the tried is in fact, false. False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer. Sure, it might be what you’ve always done. But that doesn’t make it true, or right, or best. It just means that you already tried it. The nature of revolutions is that they destroy the perfect and enable the impossible. Seeking out the tried and true is the wrong direction for crazy times.
I read a quote earlier this week that I had seen before that went something like, “We need to act our way into a new way of thinking.” Indeed, increasingly what seems to be called for is the practice of prototyping and risk-taking, breaking the more linear and often drawn out process of plan-act-reflect-refine. This poem by Mary Oliver, from her book A Thousand Mornings, captures something of this spirit for me: Read the rest of this entry »
In her new book, futurist Marina Gorbis references an inspiring passage from a document created in 2007 that supports the values of the Institute for the Future (IFTF):
“Valuing open collaboration, independence, and the ability of anyone to rise to the endeavor, we draw on network leadership models that provide a platform for self-organizing structures. The value of these self-organizing structures is that they can act quickly, responsively, and creatively from the edges. The guiding concepts in this view of leadership are openness, self-election, continuous prototyping, robust platforms, and low coordination costs. Leadership skills focus on community building, consensus building, mediation, commitment, and humility.”
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
Some version of reflection on the power of words has been coming up frequently in various networks lately, including the power of the right phrase, the right question, or the right story to become an attractor that galvanizes collective action. This seems a critical function in networks, tapping memetic resonance. What have you seen in net work that helps unleash the lightning?
“Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit.
This beautiful video speaks to the importance of will, community, and creativity to transform an otherwise unused asset into a new engine for local economic vitality. In the words of catalyst Greg Cox, “This is an evolution. . . . You come up with an idea. The human animal reacts with fear almost all the time. And you go, ‘Ah, it can’t happen. It’s Rutland. It’s not going to happen here. It’s been too difficult. We just don’t have the capacity.’ This is the way the story is. We looked at the outcome we wanted and we’re trying to rewrite the story.”
“We are at a stage in human history that is as monumental as changing from a hunter/gatherer society to an agricultural society and from an agricultural society to and industrial society. Read the rest of this entry »
Years ago before taking up the work of leading Rockwood, I was an organizational consultant. I was paid to be right — to be an expert. However, as I sit here at my current desk, I realize how very little I really knew about the everyday running of and caring for an organization. Now I’m not going to disparage or disrespect the work I did during my many years in organizational development, but I must admit that I would be a much better consultant today, having been in this seat for awhile.
The following post has been reblogged from our friend Rob Fletcher at Quixote Consulting. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Play can easily get short-changed in daily work. Like music and arts education in schools, when budgets, deadlines and tempers are tight, it’s the first thing to go. Play is so important to me and yet I notice the number of posts I write about persistence go up and up…but not so much about play.
With thanks to Jeffrey Cufaude from Idea Architects, who I met on Twitter and from whom I learned about this video, I wanted to pass along this reminder of the power of empathy and the fact that the shoes of another are often our own.
Winter is certainly a time that can test our resolve in the Northeast. This winter in particular feels like it has done that on many fronts, including the volatility of the weather and the seemingly exceptional virulence of multiple strains of viruses making their way through the region. And this is to say nothing of the ongoing personal and social challenges with which many of us are wrestling. Read the rest of this entry »
Ellen Gurzinsky posted this on facebook this week (in honor of International Women’s Day).? Rather than adding my own words, I thought I’d pass it along here — a beautiful piece by Maya Angelou.? In the spirit of Melinda’s recent posts of wonderful poetry, here’s another gem. Really – what more is there to say?
Twelve year old Adora Svitak called for mutual respect and reciprocal learning between adults and kids. Her TED bio calls her a “child prodigy” but I think that exceptionalizes her talents and perspective and implies that she is very unlike her peers. I think she models a poise and wisdom that is all around us if we just look for it.
Something BIG happened on Monday, January 21, 2013. In his second inaugural address President Obama made an unapologetic link between the struggles for liberation and our nation’s evolutionary thrust.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.
“It’s time for us to get together and talk about how we get more healthy food to people, how we bring our community back using local food, how we improve our community health using local food, and how we create new jobs. . . . We need to change our food system and the answers are in the room.”
- Stephen Arellano
I’ve been closely and excitedly watching and participating in the local food and urban agriculture movement as it grows both here in New England and in my native Michigan. Detroit has certainly been catching national attention, in part due to exposure via films such as “Urban Roots” and the good and ongoing work of the likes of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Fair Food Network. And my lesser known and native Flint is doing its own to grow what my friend Stephen Arellano has called “a human scaled economy” rooted in a reclamation of old industrial and abandoned residential lands for the purposes of equitably feeding the community, not just through good food, but through a grounded education and good profitable work. Read the rest of this entry »
Robin Katcher, the new director of the Management Assistance Group, is a friend of the Institute’s and a leader among those of us who work to bring an understanding of networks and complexity to the work of social transformation. I found these reflections on the more personal aspects of working with complexity to be specially appropriate for the beginning of a new year.
Winter Solstice is just around the corner. I find it’s a good time to reflect on the past year, and look toward the year ahead. Every year at each of the Solstices, I scan my life and consider what I’d like to let go of and what I’d like to invoke.
I was so grateful when Laura Moorehead, Director of Training with the Institute for Civic Leadership, shared this reading from Margaret Wheatley at the close of my time with this year’s ICL class. From my perspective, there is much wisdom here, and the words do a very nice job of summarizing much of what IISC was there to share and discuss regarding leadership, networks, and collaborative change . . .
Over the past several years, there has been a great deal of international focus on the notion of happiness. While there are many definitions of happiness, here is a composite of my favorites: “emotions experienced when in a state of well-being that range from contentment to intense joy.”
At the closing of last week’s Vermont Farm to Plate Network Gathering, my colleague and friend, Beth Tener of New Directions Collaborative, shared the following beautiful story and metaphor from the evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris. In it is the invitation that we both feel net work offers – to not simply engage in new superficial ways of working, but to let it take hold of us in shaping a new “genome” for human awareness of and interaction with living systems . . .
A caterpillar can eat up to three hundred times its own weight in a day, devastating many plants in the process, continuing to eat until it’s so bloated that it hangs itself up and goes to sleep, its skin hardening into a chrysalis. Then, within the chrysalis, within the body of the dormant caterpillar, a new and very different kind of creature, the butterfly, starts to form. This confused biologists for a long time. How could a different genome plan exist within the caterpillar to form a different creature? Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a regular reader of our blog you have been part of our ongoing conversations on evolution. I like to remind my clients that the big bang is not a one time event, that the bang is still happening, and that we are actually in it!
Yes, we are in the process of becoming. Aligning ourselves with this idea can ground our efforts in a process that began 14 billion years ago. Talk about a change in perspective! Our own becoming conscious is integral to this evolutionary process. So what will we do with this consciousness? It’s a powerful way to think of movement, of progress, of development. I loved this video, because it literally helps us to SEE it… with our own eyes, and on any given night.
I’ve found myself gravitating more and more to this poem, sharing it with others often in the context of system change work. In these times of flux on so many fronts, the good news from my perspective, is that we are being asked to loosen our grasp on the myths of fixity and solidity that no longer serve us. On the other hand, letting go can be very disorienting. With so much changing, what can we count on? What guides us through? What is the thread that you follow? Read the rest of this entry »
Years ago, Bob Moses of the Algebra Project gave me some feedback I response to my request. He said “You have to make peace with the fact that there’s more to do than you can get done.” I’ve been trying to make that peace ever since!
What helps you to “finish each day and be done with it?” What gets in the way?
About a week ago I was in my car on my way home, and traveling toward me on the busy sidewalk was a young man (20-ish) on a skateboard. It took a moment for me to register that he had a toddler-aged girl on his shoulders. Neither of them had helmets or shin pads or any protection whatsoever.
My first thought was “Stop! Get that child off his shoulders — they could both be killed if he hits a rock! This is child endangerment!!!” All my alarms started clanging, and I was on HIGH alert.
During Monday’s IISC staff meeting I read the following poem. It speaks to where many of us may find ourselves in this new season. And it encourages some resolve as we embark upon new directions, approaches, configurations, partnerships, breadths and depths with our social change work in these uncertain and pregnant times . . .
For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge. Read the rest of this entry »
The following are some notes I jotted down as I got myself ready to facilitate IISC’s first staff meeting of the new season, and in full swing of our new President, Ceasar McDowell’s, tenure. The overall theme was one of new beginnings . . .
In preparing for today’s meeting I was thinking a lot about how I can often take for granted development, growth . . . evolution! In one moment I may be struggling with a challenge, straining with the growing pains and demands of a given situation and then a few moments (or hours or days or weeks) later I’m skating with relative ease to the rhythm of life and not even appreciative of that fact. I have simply moved on. But of course it wasn’t so simple – in many ways it was and is remarkable. Read the rest of this entry »
Anil Gupta created the Honey Bee Network to support grassroots innovators who are rich in knowledge, but not in resources. His aim is to help them and other grassroots entrepreneurs gain the recognition they deserve.
This trailer is from a film about the work of dropping kowledge, an initiative in which IISC’s new President, Ceasar McDowell, has been deeply involved. dropping knowledege “invites you to question yourself and the world around you.” “Every time you ask yourself a question, a new dialogue begins,” and dialogue is a step to reclaiming conversation and its outcomes.
It is hard to believe that I may have to convince some people that 6 minutes is worth their time to watch this, but seriously, think of how easy it is to fritter away that time in other ways. This is well worth the watch, as is reading Bill McKibben’s recent piece in Rolling Stone Magazine. Both the video above and the McKibben article put much in perspective and remind us why climate change is a fight we cannot afford to lose. They also confirm why it is so important to come together as a community to share solutions, ideas, and positive energy. For an opportunity to do this in New England this fall, check out Connecting for Change.
“I believe that we can restore our hope in a world that transcends race by building communities where self-esteem comes not from feeling superior to any group but from one’s relationship to the land, to the people, and to the place.”
Regular readers of this blog will know of my work around and passion about food systems. Food, as Growing Power founder Will Allen once put it, is “the great connector.” So much comes together in what we eat, including: chains (more ideally cycles) of producers, processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and composters; global and local providers; considerations of environment, economy, and equity/access; cultural traditions; and of course community when we bake and break bread together. On this July 4th holiday, as conversations heat up around the region, country, and world, about the importance of remembering what literally sustains us, I want to celebrate the food movement and share 10 of the more inspiring and instructive articles, reports and videos I have come across in the past year or so. Enjoy and Happy Interdependence Day! Read the rest of this entry »
There is a lot of conversation in our sector about the generations…the boomers, the x’s, the y’s, the millenials now all working together. Someone recently mentioned they read that four generations can now be found in our organizations. This phenomenon is often presented as a problem to be overcome rather than an opportunity to be seized. In fact, combining the openness and technological know-how of youth with the patience and experience of older folks may finally be just the right ingredients for real social transformation.
Today I am inspired to write about the hag. This is timely in that I am staring right into my 63rd birthday, born in 1946, the year that ushered in the baby boomers for better or for worse (depending on your point of view). It is also timely because like many others in the social sector, I am a founding executive director seeking to make room for the next generation of leaders (see future blogs) and challenged to re-imagine my continued contribution to social justice.
Not to be a caricature but again like so many of my cohort who were called to service by President Kennedy and came of age in the civil rights era, my life’s work was initiated as one of the first Vista Volunteers stationed in the border town of Laredo, Texas. It was there that I learned first hand about oppression, racism and injustice as well as hope, change and activism. I knew the work I wanted to do in the world. I was young then, not yet a hag.
After attending the recent “Strategies for a New Economy” 2012 Conference hosted by the New Economics Institute, Cheryl King Fischer, Executive Director of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, alerted me to this upcoming event and ongoing campaign . . . As they say, “There are places right now in America where communities are fixing the future. Across the country, people have found new ways to work, new ways to create jobs…and new ways to be sensible about using the earth’s resources. Fixing the Future is a journey of discovery, finding communities which are thriving in these difficult times.”
This is a re-blog of a newsletter article by Brian Fraser of JazzThink. I was particularly struck by the invitation to consider how we “manage our voice” in conversations.
“Fatima Amarshi, Executive Director of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society that runs the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, began her spring appeal letter with this wonderful quote from jazz guitarist.
You’ve heard that “it takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village to make an IISC engagement happen. I want to raise up a shout out and express my grateful for the excellence with which our colleagues do the detailed behind-the-scenes work that makes IISC’s practice possible.
It’s been my pleasure over the last few years to have been of service to and learned from Antioch New England students and staff. The video above is the product of Antioch graduate student Emily Read Daniels, who has been in some of our discussions about networks.
A blog post on the Management Innovation Exchange site has got me thinking. In a post entitled, “Forget Empowerment – Aim for Exhilaration,” Polly LaBarre profiles Ricardo Semler of Brazil’s Semco Group. Semco is noted for its dramatic turnaround as a business, and for its unusual way of managing itself under Semler’s leadership, as noted by LaBarre -”no organizational chart, no fixed offices or working hours, no fixed CEO, no HR department, no five-year plan (or two- or one-year-plan), no job descriptions or permanent positions, no approvals necessary.” All of this is geared towards increasing individual autonomy and agency, participation at every level, and trust. The results are reported to be quite astounding with respect to business outcomes as well as employee fulfillment, with a long line of interested prospects at the door. Semler himself has even freed himself up to pursue interests in the realm of helping to reform primary education and the legal system! So how can I not help but be curious about some of what I/we might bring into our organizational life and work at IISC? Read the rest of this entry »
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?
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.
Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is a respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, and interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. The Great Turning, to which she refers in this clip, is a name for the “adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.”