Tag Archive: Seth Godin

December 3, 2018

Net Work: Overcoming Scarcity Mindsets and Practice

“Scarcity alters how we look at things; it makes us choose differently; … our single-mindedness leads us to neglect things we actually value.”

-Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives

Image by geckzilla, shared under provisions of Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

A few weeks ago, the inimitable Seth Godin wrote a blog post about “the magnetic generosity of the network effect.” In the post, he talks about how a “scarcity mindset” can impact our willingness to share ideas. This can happen, says Seth, when we treat ideas as if we were sharing a pizza. But ideas are not pizza slices. Ideas can grow, inspire, flourish. Ideas when offered freely can give birth to innovation; in dialogue they can create even better ideas. The exchange of ideas can grow energy and enthusiasm among sharers and recipients. This is central to the notion of “network effect” – as a network grows, so does the potential of the network. It’s potential grows. Having connections is only as good as what gets shared through those connections, and in which directions. In other words, networks are made valuable not just through connectivity, but through generosity and mutuality.

I work with some groups, aspiring to be networks for change, that struggle with what I would call an “organizational mindset” in their work. Their tendency is to want to immediately put structure and boundaries on what they are doing – who is in, who is out; how we will make decisions; what committees need to be formed, who has what kind of power, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except when it is driven by a scarcity mindset, an overly protectionist stance that can result in the hoarding and unwillingness to share things that are not scarce – ideas, appreciation, a skill, gratitude, love, an image, a tune – and whose sharing can create the richness of emergence and greater abundance. Read More

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December 12, 2017

Network Principles in Action = A Visual Gift!

Image created by Claudio Nichele, shared with permission of the artist and available through Flickr.

I mentioned in a previous post how much I love Twitter, for a variety of reasons, including how it helps me to see networks at work and can help create a variety of great network effects. Well I have reason to yet again appreciate it, as a recent blog post I put up inspired Claudio Nichele, who is located in Brussels, Belgium and works at the European Commission, to create the great sketch above of the network principles I wrote about (see below).

Just like that, an unexpected gift and enhanced visual value! I asked for Claudio’s permission to post, which he granted, and we both agree it is a wonderful example of what happens when you work out loud (see principle #9 below). Enjoy, and please feel free to rift on these images and the principles below, and if you do, let both of us know what you create. Read More

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October 24, 2017

Thinking Like a Network 2.0

“Relationship is the fundamental truth of this world of appearance,”

– Tagore

Over the past several years of supporting networks for social change, we at IISC have been constantly evolving our understanding of what is new and different when we call something a network, as opposed to a coalition, collaborative or alliance. On the surface, much can look the same, and one might also say that coalitions, collaboratives and alliances are simply different forms of networks. While this is true, it is also the case that not every collaborative form maximizes network effects, including small world reach, rapid dissemination, adaptability, resilience and system change. In this regard, experience shows that a big difference maker is when participants in a network (or an organization, for that matter) embrace new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. The following revised list continues to evolve as our own practice and understanding does, and it speaks to a number of network principles to guide thinking and action:

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October 2, 2017

Re-Launching and Refining a Network Leadership Institute

“We cannot live for ourselves alone.  Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along those sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

– Herman Melville

2017-2018 NLI cohort members engage in a team building exercise focused on the dimensions of collaborative success.

Last week I worked with the Backbone Team of Food Solutions New England to launch the second cohort of the Network Leadership Institute (NLI) at Ohana Camp in Fairlee, Vermont. This initiative has grown out of FSNE’s commitment to cultivating both thought leadership and network leadership “to support the emergence and viability of a New England food system that is a driver of healthy food for all, racial equity, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.” Another impetus for the NLI was a year spent doing system mapping and analysis that revealed four leverage areas for advancing a just, sustainable and democratically-owned and operated regional food system, including cultivating and connecting leadership (see image below). Read More

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February 24, 2016

Network Leadership Roles 2.0

“Network entrepreneurs are keenly aware that they are few among many working across the larger system, and in this way they embody a special type of … leader[ship].”

– Jane Wei-Skillern, David Ehrlichman, & David Sawyer

30916171_0a9d1be50b

Image from Taro Taylor – https://www.flickr.com/photos/tjt195/30916171

The concept of leadership has been undergoing an evolution. In this “network age” there appears to be both an expanding appreciation that leadership has always been about more than the singular heroic individual, and that going forward, leadership really must be much more of a shared endeavor.

In our collaborative consulting work at IISC, leadership (or what we often call Facilitative Leadership) is about “holding the whole,” thinking expansively about the state of a given complex system (community, economy, ecosystem, etc.) and paying attention to what will be required to ensure resiliency and/or change for more equitable and sustainable benefit. In these situations, the traditional top-down images of leadership fall far short.

Network leadership is at best a dynamic, diverse, more decentralized and multi-dimensional phenomenon. Many of those with whom we partner at IISC understand this implicitly, and we have found it important to help them be more explicit about this by clearly delineating the roles that leadership can embody in a collaborative/networked change endeavor. Read More

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June 24, 2014

Agree on Process

pillars

You might have picked up that I’m down on too much process and too much meeting.  It’s a funny place for someone that makes a living facilitating.  It is part of a semi-conscious effort to look at the opposite of my core assumptions and seek the wisdom there.

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September 29, 2011

The Evolution of Revolution

The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do

when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become

more fundamentalist and try to hold things together or you’re

going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an

experiment, making it up as you go along.

-Pema Chödrön

I’m blown away by #occupywallstreet.  And I am thrilled by the conversation it has unleashed – sometimes amused, sometimes frustrated and often moved.  I’ll be at Liberty Plaza this Friday.

I’m appreciating the political discussion, the strategic questions, the desire for racial inclusion in this emergent process.  However this turns out, it is way bigger than a protest.  Something is changing, Kevin Kelly points to it: Read More

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September 28, 2010

Naming What’s Broken


Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

This video of Seth Godin’s funny Gel Conference talk about why so many things are broken around us has, from my perspective, many truths and considerable wisdom to it.  One thing that has become clear from the last few years’ worth of meeting and working with community groups and social change advocates is that it’s time for more of us to step up and name what’s broken.  From our antiquated and alienating public participation processes (see this link for a list of 21st century engagement techniques) to mind-numbing soul-sucking meetings to our siloed and overly simplistic ways of seeing and approaching complex and systemic problems, we know we can and must do so much better.  So say it with me – “It’s broken.”  This isn’t about complaining or assigning blame (because that would be broken too), it’s about getting curious about the brokenness and creative about reassembling the pieces into something that better supports our collective humanity.  And, to follow Mr. Godin’s lead, why not have a sense of humor about it?

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September 28, 2010

Naming What's Broken


Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

This video of Seth Godin’s funny Gel Conference talk about why so many things are broken around us has, from my perspective, many truths and considerable wisdom to it.  One thing that has become clear from the last few years’ worth of meeting and working with community groups and social change advocates is that it’s time for more of us to step up and name what’s broken.  From our antiquated and alienating public participation processes (see this link for a list of 21st century engagement techniques) to mind-numbing soul-sucking meetings to our siloed and overly simplistic ways of seeing and approaching complex and systemic problems, we know we can and must do so much better.  So say it with me – “It’s broken.”  This isn’t about complaining or assigning blame (because that would be broken too), it’s about getting curious about the brokenness and creative about reassembling the pieces into something that better supports our collective humanity.  And, to follow Mr. Godin’s lead, why not have a sense of humor about it?

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April 15, 2010

Working the Lizard in Us

lizard

|Photo by John D. McDonald|http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychoactive/2943294866|

Science has confirmed what many of us feel, that we are each more than one person.  We are minds and bodies, left brains and right brains, controlled and automatic responders.  This last division is due in part to the fact that we each have more than one brain.  Our old reptilian brain is what we can depend on to keep us safe from physical harm most of the time.  Our newest brain is what gives birth to the wonders of critical thought and creativity.  The amazement I feel about the evolution of our higher thinking is dampened somewhat by my understanding and experience that my multiple brains are not often well coordinated.  I walk into a meeting on the one hand (or brain) excited to facilitate, while on the other I am anxious, my more primitive wiring believing there’s a saber toothed tiger in the corner).  Welcome to what Seth Godin calls “the lizard” inside.

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December 16, 2009

What’s the Word?

In the wee hours of the morning, I came across an amazing new project Seth Godin‘s been working on.? He pulled together 60 thinkers from around the world to answer the question “What Matters Now?” and created an e-book with their responses. Each person took a single word (sleep, re-capitalism, enrichment, nobody, meaning, ease, etc.) and used it to frame a short piece describing what they’re thinking about and working on for the coming year. And he’s hoping it will spread far and wide.

I thought I’d pass along a few short excerpts from this amazing piece.

One thing Elizabeth Gilbert describes in writing on the topic of ease:

“My radical suggestion? Cease participation, if only for one day this year – if only to make sure that we don’t lose forever the rare and vanishing human talent of appreciating ease.”

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