Tag Archive: The Responsible Business

April 22, 2015

Network Building as Change: Caring Through Connection

The following is a slightly modified post from a little over a year ago. In recent months, the notion of putting care at the center of “net work” – to ground it, make it real and people accountable – has surfaced a number of times and strengthened. The original post included the phrase “the empathic turn.” Since that time I’ve come to see “caring” as a more appropriate word, rather than “empathy,” as it evokes for me not simply feeling but action. This re-post is inspired by the activists and thought leaders who are about to gather in Oakland, CA for the “Othering and Belonging” Conference, hosted by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

In an essay that I continue to revisit, the poet/essayist/novelist/farmer/ conservationist and champion of sanity, Wendell Berry, talks about what he calls “the turn towards affection.”  Having spent many years reflecting on and pushing back against the unfortunate demonstrated human capacity to despoil landscapes and demonize “the other,” he takes a strong stand for both deep rooted connection and . . . imagination:

“For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it.”

In other words, by his assessment, imagination thrives on contact, on an intimate form of knowing that is not simply intellectual, but intimate and holistic. For Berry it is only this kind of knowing that can lead to truly “responsible” action.

Others, past and present, hold the truth and power of this kind of fuller bodied knowing to be self-evident, in environmental conservation and social justice efforts and in what it means to be a responsible human. Professor john a. powell writes in his book Racing to Justice:

“There is a need for an alternative vision, a beloved community where being connected to the other is seen as the foundation of a healthy self, not its destruction, and where the racial other is seen not as the infinite other, but rather as the other that is always and already a part of us.”

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July 23, 2014

Networks as Responsible Structures

freedom-and-responsibilityThere is growing awareness that current organizational structures can breed irresponsibility.  That is, arrangements are created where people are less able to be responsive in helpful ways.  This happens, for example, when accountability is bottlenecked in hierarchies and decision-making is distanced from where the action is most timely and relevant. Read More

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February 27, 2014

Networks-as-Change: The Empathic Turn

In “networks-as-change,” effectiveness is grounded in affectiveness.

In an essay that I continue to revisit, the poet/essayist/novelist/farmer/ conservationist and champion of overall sanity, Wendell Berry, talks about what he calls “the turn towards affection.”  Having spent many years reflecting on and pushing back against the unfortunate demonstrated human tendency to despoil landscapes and “the other,” he takes a strong stand for both deep rooted connection and . . . imagination: Read More

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June 20, 2012

Growing Response-ability

Over the past couple of years, I have learned much from Carol Sanford, organizational consultant and author of The Responsible Business.  This includes a deeper understanding of the word “responsibility.”  Often this term has a burdensome association with it, as in, “with great freedom comes great responsibility.”  Here are a couple of definitions that come up when you Google the term:

  1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
  2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.

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June 22, 2011

The Living Systems View of “Good”

flower

|Photo by daisybush|http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennajones/4951125886|

I am very much looking forward to my upcoming cafe conversation with Carol Sanford, author of the recently released The Responsible Business. Someone once said, “What Deepak Chopra and Steven Covey are to the individual, Carol Sanford is to the whole organization.”  I have considered her as a mentor at a distance, ever since getting introduced to her work by fellow Arlington resident Bill Reed.  What I have come to appreciate about both Carol and Bill is their incisive emphasis on regenerative design and capacity building as they help people to understand that they are not separate from but a part of “the environment.”  In a recent blog post, Carol shows how our anthropocentric views have not only put us at the center of things but also apart from them, in ways that are increasingly detrimental.  Even with the best of intentions to “do good,” there is often a division between provider and other (think what is implied in “giving back” or “helping the environment”), as opposed to “working to evolve a living order” of which we are intimately a part.

What follows is an excerpt from Carol’s recent blog post “Sustainability: Moving From ‘Less Harm’ to ‘Deep Good'” (for the entire post follow this link). Read More

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June 22, 2011

The Living Systems View of "Good"

flower

|Photo by daisybush|http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennajones/4951125886|

I am very much looking forward to my upcoming cafe conversation with Carol Sanford, author of the recently released The Responsible Business. Someone once said, “What Deepak Chopra and Steven Covey are to the individual, Carol Sanford is to the whole organization.”  I have considered her as a mentor at a distance, ever since getting introduced to her work by fellow Arlington resident Bill Reed.  What I have come to appreciate about both Carol and Bill is their incisive emphasis on regenerative design and capacity building as they help people to understand that they are not separate from but a part of “the environment.”  In a recent blog post, Carol shows how our anthropocentric views have not only put us at the center of things but also apart from them, in ways that are increasingly detrimental.  Even with the best of intentions to “do good,” there is often a division between provider and other (think what is implied in “giving back” or “helping the environment”), as opposed to “working to evolve a living order” of which we are intimately a part.

What follows is an excerpt from Carol’s recent blog post “Sustainability: Moving From ‘Less Harm’ to ‘Deep Good'” (for the entire post follow this link). Read More

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