Tag Archive: development

January 12, 2012

Roots of Collective Leadership

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: Read More

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September 29, 2011

Tips for Encouraging Self-Organization

self organization

|Photo by grongar|http://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/4965343939|

Building on yesterday’s post of the video about sociocracy, and inspired by the work of John Buck and Sharon Villines that I mentioned there, I’ve been pulling together a list of ways that leaders at all levels in organizations and networks might encourage more collective self-organizing, self-correcting, resilient and adaptive behavior.  Here’s a start and I invite readers to please add: Read More

April 25, 2011

Experiment with Empathy

We are wired for connection.  You give us the internet and we turn it into the largest web of connections that has ever existed.  Each of us has mirror neurons, “neurons that mirror the behavior of  another, as though the observer were itself acting.”  Empathy is our highest capacity – the vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.  Our highest levels of development come with a heightened capacity to see and experience truth in other perspectives and at other levels. Read More

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March 2, 2011

Radical Acceptance


|Photo from andronicusmax|http://www.flickr.com/photos/24258698@N04/4023806676|

This past week I’ve been in Florida for our family’s annual pilgrimage and a desperately needed reprieve from what has certainly been a challenging New England winter.  And as in years past, I’ve had the fortune to be able to attend a speaker’s series that my father-in-law has been instrumental in putting together down here.  Last Friday I got to hear from Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter and counsel to numerous other American heads of state, both Democrat and Republican, on matters of foreign policy.  Brzezinski had only 45 minutes to present what ended up being a dizzying tour of his perspective on the current state of geopolitics and suggestions for US strategy going forward.  As grand (and certainly opinionated) as this undertaking was, I was most struck by how he began his talk, and the ensuing response. Read More

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January 18, 2011

Meditation for the Love of It


One of the guiding mantras here at the Interaction Institute is the idea that “the success of an intervention is directly proportional to the inner condition of the intervener.”  This idea and our commitment to “the love that does justice,” help us to uphold those practices that nurture our inner condition and facilitate our capacity to love.  It is with this commitment in mind that I share the following review:

Sally Kempton has written a wonderful book.  Meditation for the Love of It is a breath of fresh air in this current wave of meditation literature.  Pleased as I am by the booming interest in the practice of meditation, I am often frustrated by what feels like a one sided perspective of a beautifully multi-faceted tradition.  A masterful teacher, a great writer who is able to transmit her own direct experience of the Self, Sally Kempton makes accessible a rich meditation tradition that could otherwise be relegated to the inaccessible realms of esoterica. Read More

November 16, 2010

Theory U – The 2nd Proposition


Click here to see the 1st proposition

The 2nd proposition of Theory U reads:

(1)   The leadership process requires three movements: (1) establishing the horizontal connection (“observe, observe, observe”), (2) establishing the vertical connection (“connecting to Source”), and (3) acting from what emerges in the Now (“acting in an instant”).

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May 4, 2010

A Two Stage Process


|Photo by TeresaM3Kids|http://www.flickr.com/photos/teresam525/3530463356/|


|Photo by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel|http://www.flickr.com/photos/43147325@N08/4370125469/|

I’m a big fan of Kevin Kelly.  His latest blog post reflects on what he calls “Two Kinds of Generativity” and it has me thinking about the next phase of movement.  Kelly describes the evolutionary process of an innovation.  He speaks of the first stage as one that is “vague, incomplete and open to change.”  This first stage is appealing to the early adapters, “tinkerers, nerds, fans, and hacks who will make it do all kinds of things no one had thought of.” Read More

February 18, 2010

Accentuate the Positivity, Take 2


|Photo by Reenie-Just Reenie|www.flickr.com/photos/flickrchickr/2589059730|

In a previous post I referenced the work of Marcial Losada, which indicates that elevated group performance is associated in part with a high degree of “positivity.”   Specifically, groups that excel in terms of innovation and productivity tend to be those where there is at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.  The importance of this ratio has been further highlighted by some other findings and experiences I have had working with community-based activists.

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May 19, 2009

What Would Google Do?

What Would Google Do? is a question that I have been asking myself for a number of reasons lately, not the least of which  is because I am reading the book right now. I am reading this book and multiple blogs (Meg Hourihan, Clay Shirky, Deb Kantor, Kris Krug, Z Plus) really in the hopes that I can locate myself, our organization and the clients with whom I work squarely in the “new paradigm, “the quantum age” repeating the mantra as I go, “do what you do best and link to the rest”.

This mantra was ever-present for me as I worked this week with a group of folks who are at a most critical juncture in their effort to build a field, the goal of which is to increase awareness and funding to address the root causes not the symptoms of social injustice. A core of the larger global network has been convened, knowledge and product gaps identified, and a commitment to moving forward together has been made. This group was then tasked with figuring out “whither next?” Now what?

Their task is to create a road map that will involve the appropriate people and resources to increase the knowledge and expand the network. As the collaboration-centered process “experts” building collaborative road maps that creates the container for creative engagement, emergent thinking and right action for greater social impact is what we at IISC do but the question remains: what would Google do?

As in most of my life-long searches, I look for some basic princples: the Ten Commandments; the Four Noble Truths; the six articles of faith; burn more calories than you eat and I found some. Here are a few (and like all basic principles have the quality of…..duh…until of course you really, really contemplate their meaning and worse, their implications for your life)

  • make mistakes well – admit them, share them, learn from them;
  • life is beta – everything is a work in progress and can always be improved; when you make a mistake iterate your way out of it, learn your way;
  • be hon est –  be direct, authentic, say what you mean;
  • be transparent – make your process explicit; hand over control through openness and information
  • collaborate – include, include, include….co-create
  • don’t be evil – well, here we’re back to the Ten Commandments, the Four Noble Truths etc….

My own answer to the question is: learn, connect and of course, Google!

April 28, 2009

Decentralization and Human Development

I have been a zealous (some would say over-zealous!) proponent of networks and the application of network theory to the work of social change. I have been pushing and working for a radical rethink of our very approach to social transformation. I believe we have to move away from a model that is organization-centric into a mission-based model that maximizes the potential of decentralization. My vision calls for an approach that creates the conditions for the emergence of ideas, opportunities and formations that we could not have been imagined through our visioning and strategic planning efforts.

I am still a believer, and I’m probably still a zealot, I still see the ways in which an unbelievable wealth of passion, conviction, dedication and self motivation is wasted away, trapped by organizational structures that constrain this energy rather than liberate it. However, I have also been delving into a multiplicity of frameworks and studies addressing human development and it is increasingly evident that we are all at different stages of development. Being an adult does not always mean one has advanced through every stage of development and so not everyone can work with the same layers of complexity.

Now, I am clearly aware that I’m delving into dangerous territory, and I have no intention of getting into “who decides who is how developed,” but I will be bold enough to agree with the proposition that human beings evolve through a set of developmental stages, that these stages allow us to deal with greater and greater levels of complexity, and that we are not all at the same developmental stage. This is an important insight for someone working to shift organizational structures. It is possible that the more idealized decentralized models we are looking at might actually be making an idealized assumption about the developmental levels of the human beings involved.

However, rather than pulling back from this push forward along the paradigm shift, I think that what is important is that we understand that such developmental dynamics are always at play. Accounting for this layer of complexity does not mean that we move away from facilitating decentralized, self-organizing systems, it means than in fomenting this next phase of social movement we also seek to create the conditions for developmental progress among the human beings involved. Our job is not to assume that some people just can’t shift, but to understand how certain organizational parameters can support our evolution while liberating our will to create change.

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