December 22, 2010

Burn Brightly


|Photo by L.C. Nottaasen||

Another calendar year is coming to an end, and as of today, the seasonal darkness begins to recede.  As I look forward to 2011 and the return of the light, I am reminded of the following words of George Bernard Shaw.  Through them I find meaning in the busy-ness of life and blessing for the fullness of each day that calls on my whole self to be of service.  May we burn brightly and steadily in the coming year and bring clarity and warmth to a world in need. Read More

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December 17, 2010

A Process Poem

Thanks to the current ICL/Hanley Center Health Leadership Development class for the conversation that inspired this impromptu composition . . .

How Matters

How matters,

Perhaps more than you think.

Who you invite matters,

And how you invite them.

How you come together matters.

What you talk about and how you talk about it matters.

Where and how you start matters,

As does where you go next,

And where and how you end.

How matters.

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December 16, 2010

Public Leadership Shifts

contentcontent and process

Ever since the mid-term elections, I’ve taken to choosing a politically-oriented question for the practice meetings I do with participants in our collaborative skills workshops.  Specifically, in helping people to more firmly grasp the difference between content (an egg) and process (how you prepare the egg), I’ve invited participants to consider “process-oriented” changes they would like to see in our public leadership.  It’s been interesting to see some of the common themes and requests emerge across the political spectrum.  Below are some of the ideas that have come up for federal, state, and municipal/town levels: Read More

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December 15, 2010

From Herding to Hosting

In order to make the point that the sky is the limit in terms of the way in which we bring people together to collaborate and ultimately realize social change, I’ve taken to showing the video clip above and the one below back-to-back in our Facilitative Leadership trainings.   The point I am trying to make is not that any one approach is necessarily better than the other, but that there are a plethora of options available to leadership between herding and hosting “the people,” and that much of this comes down to context and what we are trying to achieve.  If it is true, as Barry Oshry says, that the work of leadership is to create the conditions for systems (human and otherwise) to be able to cope with threats (survive) and prospect opportunities for development (thrive), then we will understand and embrace the vital leadership role of process designer and use it wisely.

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December 14, 2010

No Labels

The “No Labels” political effort feels more like the work of well resourced spin doctors than an emergent political movement that can address the paralyzing institutional polarization that might bring our country to its knees.  I was struck by this quote from a New York Times story focused on Bloomberg’s role:

In fact, though, the rise of the independents represents a movement in exactly the opposite direction — away from party organizations altogether…  This isn’t so much a political phenomenon as it is a cultural one. In the last decade or so, the Web has created an increasingly decentralized and customized society, in which a new generation of voters seems less aligned, generally, with large institutions. and the Tea Party groups, for instance, were born as protests against the establishments of both parties, and they empowered citizens to create their own agendas, rather than relying on any elected leadership. Read More

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December 8, 2010

The Apprentice

Last month we were graced by the presence of Kathy Sferra, who was on loan from Mass Audubon.  Kathy took the initiative to approach us about spending one month of her six week sabbatical apprenticing herself to IISC, observing and contributing to our work and taking the lessons back to her home organization.  She began contributing instantly as a thought partner, often making keen observations and asking good questions that her relative outsider perspective afforded.  As her parting gift to us, Kathy offered up the following reflections and take-aways, specifically with respect to designing and facilitating meetings and other convenings, that I wanted, in the spirit of the season, to re-gift and pass along: Read More

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December 7, 2010

Theory U – The 4th Proposition


Click here to see The 1st Proposition

Click here to see The 2nd Proposition

Click here to see The 3rd Proposition

The 4th Proposition of Theory U is:

The most important tool in that leadership technology is the emerging Self – the leader’s highest future possibility. Theory U is based on the assumption that each human being and each human community is not one but two: one is the current self, the person that exists as the result of a past journey; the other is the Self, the self that we could become as the result of our future journey.  Presencing is the process of the (current) self and the (emerging) Self listening to each other.

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December 6, 2010

Human Sized Social Change


My friends at the Engage Network recently asked me this provocative question:

What does it mean to create social change that is “human sized” and prioritizes people and relationships, rather than prioritizing large email lists, or campaigns, or raising money?  What does that mean to you and YOUR work in the world?

Here is my first take at an answer: Read More

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November 30, 2010

We don't have a leader!


We are so lucky!  The Pew Hispanic Center just published a report titled “National Latino Leader? The Job is Open,” and it seems we can’t agree on who is our leader.  The report seems to lift this as an area of concern, “national leadership” has often been helpful for groups facing injustice.  A down economy and anti-immigrant fervor make this a particularly difficult time for our community – so shouldn’t we be worried that we don’t have a leader? Read More

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