Generating ideas, connections, and action


Talking about Networks and Power

Last month LLC held a Funders Learning Lab: Investing in Networks and Network Leadership. It was great to have people investing in networks, working with networks and leading in networks all in the same conversation about what we are learning.  We covered a lot of ground, much of which I am still mulling over.  Fortunately, we have very skillful partners and network sages, June Holley and Allen Frimpong, helping us to synthesize lessons from the meeting which we will be publishing soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share just one of many provocative propositions that emerged from a fishbowl conversation.  Beth Kantor, LLC board member and well know blogger describes fishbowls in this article. The kick off question for the fishbowl that began with Curtis Ogden, Elissa Perry and Allen Frimpong as our first fish was, “How can network structures and ways of thinking and doing create social equity?”

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GUEST BLOG: Trainer’s Notebook: Fishbowl Facilitation Technique By Beth Kanter

Last week, I participated in the “Funders Learning Lab: Investing in Networks and Network Leadership.”  The participants included both funders and practitioners with expertise in networks, leadership development, philanthropy and social justice. The goal was to add to our collective understanding about investing in network leadership and networks. The lab was convened by Leadership Learning Community and Center for Social Sector Leadership. It was expertly facilitated by Alison Lin and Odin Zackman.

When I get to participate in sessions that are focused on content that I’m intensely interested in AND are well designed and facilitated, it creates the perfect storm for learning in my field and the trade craft of facilitation.

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GUEST BLOG: Moving From Inclusion to Collaborative Solidarity by Curtis Ogden

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Lilla Watson


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Reflections From The Field: On Detroit

Creating Space XII took place not so long ago and it was an opportunity to learn about what it means to develop non-traditional leadership. CSXII brought together a diverse group of leaders. Interestingly enough, so many present did not consider themselves leaders, they simply saw themselves doing the work.

One of the most impactful parts of Creating Space XII for me was going to the field to understand how art and culture was transforming communities. Right away from the moment we landed, Detroit did not feel like other locations. We were not close to downtown, and the large structures close to our hotel felt 

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CSXII Perspectives | Thoughts from Jeffrey Jones

The following was written by our Creating Space XII facilitator Jeffrey Jones. 


Greetings Creating Space XII family,

As some time has passed since our shared journey into non-traditional leadership at Creating Space XII, I have had the opportunity for reflection and I thought I would take this opportunity to relate my some of my perspectives and learning with everyone. Undoubtedly, the raw emotions and genuine examples of non-traditional leadership that we experienced during Creating Space XII are testaments to our collective commitment to this work; to witness it first-hand at Grace in Action and the Oakland Avenue Market Garden turned a mirror upon ourselves and the tremendous work that we all do.

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Lessons From Creating Space XII

Creating Space 2015 has the potential to change the conversation about leadership development if we listen deeply to the voices and experiences of people on the ground doing heavy lifting change work in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. There were several important questions that surfaced during Creating Space 2015:

  • What is leadership (or who is a leader)?

  • What is leadership development?

  • What are the problems with these concepts and language?

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Webinar Follow Up: Questions on Self Organized Leadership in Networks: Lessons from Occupy Sandy and the People’s Climate March

When Hurricane Sandy hit, a self organized network quickly emerged from pre-existing networks and new volunteers that resoundingly out performed traditional relief agencies.  Why and how was this network able to do this?  What does leadership look like in situations such as this that are complex and ever shifting? In our webinar we explored the nuts and bolts of self organizing, strategies for supporting such networks and how self organized strategies and leadership can be applied to your work on complex problems. However, some questions remained for participants. Below are the answers to your pending questions.


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Webinar Series | Evolutionary Leadership: How To Redesign Our Communities, Institutions, and Societies


Thursday November 12th, 2015 at 11:00am Pacific


Most leadership programs today train leaders to be effective in the world we currently live in - the same world that is not working for all the humanity and its ecological systems. This makes leaders to consciously or unconsciously reinforce established cultures and institutions even if they have best intentions and are truly concerned about the people and the planet. This traps leaders in always leading from the past rather than from the highest possibility for all stakeholders. Evolutionary Leadership addresses this leadership trap of our time by enabling leaders to be effective in redesigning the world.

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Answers to Questions: Boundary Spanning Leadership Integrated with Network Development by Chris Ernst and Chuck Palus

Q: I get the "direction, alignment and commitment" elements of leadership, but I don't understand what (if anything) changes from traditional to networked leadership in terms of role clarity: who does what, when? (Ann Janette Rosga)

Response: There are two phases of realizing networked leadership. The first is creating awareness that all management and leadership is already networked as the natural order of things. The second phase is intentionally shaping those networks toward specific strategic purposes, as Juniper is doing. In this second phase, the strategic purpose is key in determining roles. In other words, start with the logic of what you are trying to accomplish with the network. Then, the shapers of the network (a few people who are themselves energizers, boundary spanners, and leaders) have the task of helping the key parts of the network determine how to achieve shared direction, alignment, and commitment.


Q: Would love more insight on cognitive differences and how that might be defined  (Samir Mehta)
Response: In terms of the 5 boundaries identified in the CCL research – vertical, horizontal, stakeholder, demographic, and geographic – we include cognitive differences as well as any dimension of human difference as part of demographic. Interestingly, when we began the research, we were focused only on boundaries associated with demographics. As the research unfolded in organizations across 6 continents over a decade, we came to realize that many of the same underlying forces beneath demographics also were in play for vertical boundaries (associated with authority and power) or horizontal boundaries (associated with experience and expertise). In short, fundamental issues of identity is at the root of these boundaries in our organizations and communities.

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series

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If you haven't already, we encourage you to read the "Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series." This series details modules that support non-traditional leaders.
Each article is linked below: