Tag Archive: values

July 20, 2011

Value-As Storytelling

story

|Photo by umjanedoan|http://www.flickr.com/photos/umjanedoan/497411169/#|

In our Whole Measures workshop, we come to a point when participants realize that the promise of learning how to “measure what matters most” is not a case of digesting “best practices.”  This is often a difficult moment, one fraught with frustration, but also the beginnings of insight (or a reminder) that we are each part of a gradual unfolding that is unique depending upon our particular context, and that to simply embrace some kind of cookie-cutter method of measuring health and wholeness is futile.  This is so, in part, because before we measure what matters most, we must determine what matters most, and this changes from system to system.  Furthermore, it is no easy task of discernment.  Often people are good at setting goals, or talking abstractly about “values,” but this does not always equate with getting to heart of what is most meaningful to us, as demonstrated by the lives we actually live or our hearts’ deepest desires.  One of the best processes we’ve found for doing this is to embrace storytelling. Read More

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April 27, 2011

Taking Stakeholders Seriously

stakeholder

|Photo by Robert Higgins|http://www.flickr.com/photos/37893534@N07/4779016818|

“Stakeholder” is a big word in our practice at IISC. When it comes to our collaborative change work, we take  stakeholder analysis very seriously, in certain situations spending a few days to complete this critical task. The aim is generally to surface the names of those groups and individuals who as a sum total will help to ensure that we have the system represented in the room. What this means is pushing people, at times, into uncomfortable places to consider typically unheard voices and those they have outright resisted inviting to the table but without whom they could not hope to make the kind of change to which they aspire.

Typically we engage in a conversation with our clients and partners that asks them identify, in the context of some given change effort, those whose stakes are defined in the following ways: Read More

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April 20, 2011

The Distant Hill, Under Our Feet

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,

Going far ahead of the road I have begun.

So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;

It has its inner light, even from a distance —

And changes us, even if we do not reach it,

Into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we already are;

A gesture waves us on, answering our own wave . . .

But what we feel is the wind in our faces.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

The older I get, the more I think I understand these words by Rilke.  Read More

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January 13, 2011

What Love Looks Like in Action

power-love-justice

Picking up from my post the other day (“Pauses for the Cause”) about the process learnings of our recent IISC retreat, I wanted to focus a bit on the content take-aways.  As I previously mentioned, the reason for our coming together as a staff was to revisit and dive into the roots of our collaborative practice: networks, equity/power/inclusion, and “the love that does justice.” It wasn’t long before we were wondering whether these are not more appropriately called the lenses through which we look as we go about our collaborative capacity building and change work.  And it did not take long after that for us to question whether the labels we have selected for these lenses are the appropriate ones.  I want to spend the rest of this post looking at where our conversation took us with respect to love, in particular.

What’s love got to do with it?  That was not exactly our guiding question, but we got there eventually through some of our struggles to reach shared understanding and agreement about what we mean when we say “the love that does justice.”  Our facilitator engaged us in writing on stickies short phrases and sentences that explained what it means to integrate this into our practice.  The activity yielded a plethora of multi-colored squares that we then organized into themes.  Here is what emerged, categorically speaking: Read More

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October 27, 2010

Geiger Counters for Quality

signs

|Photo by marcomagrini|http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcomagrini/698692268|

“We don’t talk about what we see,

we see only what we can talk about.”

– Fred Kofman

This week I’ve been rereading Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems and really savoring it.  Each time I look at it, I pick up something new, not just about systems thinking but about life in general.  I’ve been focused primarily on Meadows’ chapter “Living in a World of Systems,” which considers how we can work with complex systems while acknowledging that even when we understand them better, we cannot predict or control them.  One of her suggestions is that we learn to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.  This is not a question of throwing out what we can quantify as being somehow overly reductionist. Rather, it is a matter of not giving up on what we cannot measure and making quantity more important than quality.  How important this is for our social change work!  Read More

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January 15, 2010

King Day Reflection: Haiti, Katrina & Our Values

martin_luther_king_jr

|Public Domain|http://publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com/2009/01/dr-martin-luther-king-jr.html|

Haiti. I’m sure I’m not the only one who watches with profound sadness at the loss of life and devastation by way of natural disaster and makes direct comparisons to the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and its blow to the precious people of New Orleans.

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June 25, 2009

This I Believe

In the 1950s journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted a radio program called This I Believe, in which he invited people from all walks of life to share their personal philosophies. Fifty years later, Dan Gediman revived the show on National Public Radio with the goal of “encouraging people to begin the . . . difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.” The result has been a growing movement of communities and schools jumping at the opportunity to invite citizens and students to articulate their core beliefs and values, and to align their lives accordingly. For a taste (actually a glimpse and/or listen), check out this link.

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