Tag Archive: empathy

August 17, 2011

Profits of Transition

“Chaos is the primal state of pure energy

for every true new beginning.”

– William Bridges

Interesting value for money

|Photo by James Cridland|http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/3947254236|

To say that these are uncertain times would be stating the obvious.  And yet I’ve found myself uttering this increasingly to the organizations and initiatives with whom I am working, often met by a temporary sigh (ambiguity loves company, or at least momentary normalization). This uncertainty was perhaps best captured by a client who recently said, “We went into transition in 2007 and never came out!”  At IISC and our partner organization, Interaction Associates, we’ve also been feeling the strain of this extended global “groan zone” in which we find ourselves.  And amidst the angst there are some exciting conversations happening on both sides of the Interaction house that I (no longer so secretly) am hoping will tear down some walls.  William Bridges, in his classic book Managing Transitions, talks about the work of transition as not simply being about “getting through intact” but about emerging different and better.  I am convinced that this is a call to rethink some of the sectoral divisions we have established that are not serving us well.  Surely we can do and be better, as is suggested by the re-posted Guardian Sustainable Business blog post that follows.  Interaction Brothers and Sisters, readers from all sectors, prophets of profit, what are your thoughts about Jo Confino’s words below and how might we create “a framework for more harmonious balance”  to take us the next step in our collective evolution? Read More

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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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April 16, 2010

A New Day for Philanthropy?

GEOConf10_logo_final_RGB

Just back from the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Conference, the theme of which was “Unleashing Philanthropy’s Potential.”  Marianne and I were in attendance in part to facilitate a session on “Leveraging Philanthropy’s Best Intentions for Collaborative Change.” We came away inspired, impressed, and heartened by the overall conference conversation, which included explorations of whether there is a need for greater empathy in philanthropy, how funders can support and evaluate the impact of networks, strategies for foundations to embrace innovation in their grantmaking practice, and what we might all learn from the Obama Administration’s emphasis on supporting “what works” (via such mechanisms as the Social Innovation Fund).

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March 4, 2010

Listening (& Learning) as an Ally

peace

|Photo by bitzi took his umbrella and left|http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitzi/193922475/|

My wife and I are wrapping up our annual winter vacation to visit family in Florida.  Each year this proves to be something of a spiritual practice for me, and this trip has been no different.  As wonderful as it is to slow down, un-hunch shoulders, and wear fewer layers, the focus of my practice tends not to be the natural surroundings and climate so much as what I find to be the challenging social environment.

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March 4, 2010

Listening (& Learning) as an Ally

peace

|Photo by bitzi took his umbrella and left|http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitzi/193922475/|

My wife and I are wrapping up our annual winter vacation to visit family in Florida.  Each year this proves to be something of a spiritual practice for me, and this trip has been no different.  As wonderful as it is to slow down, un-hunch shoulders, and wear fewer layers, the focus of my practice tends not to be the natural surroundings and climate so much as what I find to be the challenging social environment.

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February 8, 2010

Breaking Ground

My colleagues and I went to see Daniel Pink when he came to speak in Cambridge. We had all read his book “A Whole New Mind- Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future,” and found that it gave us a framework and vocabulary to describe what we were finding in our work, which is that we are not only straddling era’s, we are straddling between the sides of our brains. We are discovering that in the work of social change most of the ideas, the data and the numbers are all available to solve many of our most intractable problems. What’s missing in our approach as outlined by Pink in “A Whole New Mind” resides in the right side of our brain: inventiveness; empathy; meaning and our capacity to design our way to wholeness.

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