Roots of Collective LeadershipJanuary 12, 2012 Leave a comment
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:
- Epistemology – Epistemology speaks to how we know what we know. Underlying our approach to collective leadership is the belief that there are multiple ways of knowing, not just cerebral, analytical, or intellectual. In addition, we can know about the world and humanity in more intuitive, affective, kinetic, and “spiritual” ways.
- Cosmology – Our view is that the universe is evolving, engaged in ongoing emergence of new form and function. We look to complex living systems and networks as being the underlying dynamic of our reality.
- Ontology – In keeping with our cosmological view, our understanding of the nature of human being is that it is dynamic and developmental. We are human beings and becomings. We can learn and unlearn, acquire new capacities, and self-organize to create and innovate.
- Technology/Methodology – Our operating metaphor for cultivating collective leadership for change is “gardening” (rather than field generaling), and perhaps more specifically Permaculture gardening. We look to a set of practices that intentionality create the conditions (till the soil) for collective leadership to emerge and that feed its development, while humbly acknowledging that we cannot predict everything that will ensue.
From this foundation, we will offer our additional thoughts about a framework that can help to organize our thinking, approach, and tools to unleashing collective intelligence and effort.
I’m really looking forward to doing this webinar with you Curtis. I find it so helpful to keep this frame in mind – it is in keeping with our commitment to understanding context – essential to the effective practice of a collective leadership that can be truly adaptive.
Likewise, G. That’s why I also like this idea of imaging over visioning. Gotta be clear on what is and what rules constrain the game. They exist, even when we pretend they don’t.
Hi Curtis and Gibran! I hope you’ll share more about the webinar with us! Is this visual what you’ve developed as a tool to explain where the two of you are coming from – what beliefs lie beneath the rest of your presentation? That’s what I’m gathering, but it wasn’t entirely clear to me from your post.
Yes, this is more about the underyling beliefs supporting our approach to cultivating collective leadership. The webinar itself offers another framework for organizing tools and techniques, and explains this.
Hello. Sadly I missed your webinar but I’d be very interested in seeing a recording or notes. As a permaculture farmer and leadership/change consultant in the UK, I’m very interested to find out how you, too, connect these practices.
Sue, sorry you could not join us. The recording and slides will be available on the Leadership Learning Community website next week, I believe. And Gibran and I will write a blog follow up or two in the next couple of weeks. Also, you might be interested in these past posts that speak to where you are coming from as a permaculture gardener –
And would be interested in hearing about your own practice and learnings!
I also missed your webinar and am interested in seeing the recording or notes. I liked the pp presentation but be helpful to hear more. Thanks much, Cathe
Thanks Sue and Cathe. Regarding and slides should be available on the LLC website next week, I think. We will also be writing some follow-up blogs here.
Must be one of the best articles that is written for this purpopse