“We seem to have been living for a long time on the assumption that we can safely deal with parts, leaving the whole to take care of itself. But now the news from everywhere is that we have to begin gathering up the scattered pieces, figuring out where they belong, and putting them back together. For the parts can be reconciled to one another only within the pattern of the whole thing to which they belong.”
Throughout the past few years readers of this blog have seen some discussion about the tensions that exist between those working on individual behavior/spiritual change and those striving for structural transformation. Read More
Talent thrives within diverse ecosystems. The straightforward and linear has given way to the complex and emergent. This is the nature of evolution. So it’s no longer about putting two and two together but about noticing patterns – it’s about sensing our way into the web of connection.
Three years ago I had the privilege of helping to design and facilitate a convening of people in Maine interested in the power of networks for social change. The day featured many interesting presenters, including Michael Edwards who gave a provocative concluding talk entitled “Love and Networking.” His words have been coming back to mind of late, as I do work in different systems where networks are all the rage and we struggle to balance the more formal structural elements with the animating consciousness and connectivity that are the transformational juice. During this Labor Day holiday, I invite you to consider Michael’s inspiring words, excerpted from the fuller presentation, and add your own thoughts and reactions:Read More
Dr. Sahtouris was attending a basketball game in China and was seated next to a Chinese man who cheered wildly after the first basket of the game was scored. When the other team scored its first basket, he cheered with equal enthusiasm. He continued to do this for each basket scored by either team. Finally, Dr. Sahtouris turned to the man and asked, “Which team is yours?” The man replied, “What do you mean?” Dr. Sahtouris said, “Well, which team do you want to win?” He replied, “What difference does it make?” To which she replied, “Well, why are you pitting two teams against one another?” He responded, “To drive excellence. We applaud the excellence wherever it happens.”
Throughout the past couple of years readers of this blog have seen some discussion about the tensions that exist between those working on individual behavior/spiritual change and those striving for structural transformation. The point has been made that both are necessary. The fact remains that we often find ourselves in rooms with people who are essentially on the same side of the issue, but engaged in “tactical sectarianism” (thank you, Adam Pattantyus), arguing about whose approach is best. Read More
I have devoted most of my life to the quest for justice, the path has been beset by victory and loss, hope and frustration. I often find myself contending with a deep awareness that too many of us – including the radicals and do-gooders that I count among my friends – including my own self! All of us seem to be stuck in a paradigm that has reached a dead end. And yet it is all we know. And so we give our hearts and our passion, our energy and life force to a process that often seems doomed.
|Photo by Keith Williamson|http://www.flickr.com/photos/elwillo/5440401913|
The more I do our collaborative consulting work here at IISC, the more interested I become in the role of the convenor in complex multi-stakeholder change efforts. This role, typically held in our work by a funder or someone else with convening power (local/state government, school district, a well-connected community-based agency) has much to say about the success and nature of a social change effort, and yet from my perspective remains under-appreciated and/or poorly misunderstood. Over the next few months I’ll spend some time in this space reflecting on what we and others are learning about this critical role and soliciting your thoughts, reactions, and experiences.
Was just thinking of you, especially in light of the following tweet, which I really want to discuss with you (and others at IISC if they are interested) – The evolution is from systems, to complexity to networks – these transcend and include each other. Great stuff, and I want to explore this more. I want to understand it better. Read More
“How do societies create the breakthroughs needed for a more just, tolerant, healthy, educated, and equitable world? How do they challenge the prevailing wisdom without losing hope? How do they enact lasting change and protect it from the inevitable backlash?” This age-old question is subject of Paul Light’s new book, Driving Social Change, from John Wiley & Sons publishers. The Nonprofit Quarterly features a summary of the book in their most recent issue.
We at IISC have the privilege of witnessing heartful, sometimes heart wrenching dialogue about critical issues in our world from multiple perspectives. We work with passionate laypeople and professionals focused on education, environment and sustainability, public health, peace and justice, youth development, racial justice, city planning and community development, to name a few disciplines.
I’m encouraged by a few themes that are coming up more and more in our work. And, I’m even more encouraged that increasingly, they are emerging as imperatives, not just “nice ideas.” As we facilitate processes and bear witness to the struggle to bring forth justice, here are some of the voices we’ve heard calling out: Read More
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.
Just coming off the second public offering of Whole Measures: Transforming Communities by Measuring What Matters Most, IISC’s joint venture with the Center for Whole Communities. I have to say, the workshop experience keeps getting better and better. More is yet to come (next stop, New Jersey in March), and I wanted to offer these words as a way of summarizing our evolving co-creation.
What we talk about is what we see,
so must convene conversations that matter.
What we see is what we measure,
so we must see the whole (system).
What we measure is what gets done,
so we must measure what matters.
What must be done cannot be done alone,
so we must design and facilitate collaborative processes.
We cannot do any of this by transaction or command and control,