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What About Creativity?

Donna and Cynthia build models by eekim on Flickr

A former LLC Board Member recently mentioned that she was going to be teaching a course this semester on Leadership and Art. read more »

What’s love got to do with it?

What’s love got to do with it? Catchy, isn’t it? Well I thought so when I saw this as the title for a GEO conference session (www.geofunders.org) I read on, “This session will question the current paradigm and hypothesize that we are not fully tapping the power of inner resources and human relationships for social change.” As I read this I thought about a speech I heard last summer at a national reunion for Kellogg fellows in Estes Park, Colorado. The speech by Parker Palmer made the trip worth while, and yes, of course it was fun to gather with close to 200 former Kellogg fellows in a stunningly beautiful place. (BTW, the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance is an interesting and well developed model of alumni organizing for those who would like to take a look (www.kfla.org). The speech by Parker Palmer has been reprinted as a chapter, “The Politics of the Broken Hearted” in the book, Deepening the American Dream, Reflections on the Inner Life and Spirit of Democracy, a Fetzer Institute publication. read more »

"New" Architectures and Change: A Bay Area Discussion on Leadership and Social Media

The social web is a brand new way of doing very old things with still emerging implications. The nature of change has always been connected and collective but our recent history and the infrastructure of the nonprofit sector and our social change organizations has been much less so. We as a people, and our communication tools, are on a path to bring the individual and the collective back into balance and planning for this is both impossible and necessary. A document in progress examining this shift is available here.

Join the Bay Area LLC on May 16th, 2008 (save the date!) to discuss this topic live and in person at the next Bay Area circle gathering.

Leadership and Sustainability - Changing the Question

Sustainability has become a part of the nonprofit leadership lexicon. The thing is, it’s a word that holds so much, the sustainability of the planet (and in fact all life), the sustainability of our work, the sustainability of the individual. It’s a word that conjures up fear because it speaks to our survival on both the macro and micro level. In leadership we are beginning to take up environmental sustainability as part our organizational and personal practices whether we are explicitly environmental programs or not. Many organizations are trying to hold green meetings with carbon offset programs. (eg. LLC and ILA’s international conference). We often focus on sustaining our individual organizations, but what if the question was about how to sustain our mission? read more »

LLC: Looking Forward, Looking Back - So Where Are We Now?

Quite truthfully, we are struggling with an important tension. We have learned a lot in our 7 years of experience looking deeply into a number of programs and looking broadly across the leadership development field. What we have not yet done is synthesize the learning into a more definitive analysis of where we think the leadership development field needs to be heading and the implications for leadership development. We frequently get calls from folks asking for more direction, e.g. “What are the most important innovations we see?” The tension for us is one of how to put out a point of view based on what we are learning in a way the continues to invite learning and contributions from individuals and programs that have a different idea. We have very intentionally attempted to cultivate an environment in which there was a comfortable, safe and free marketplace of ideas. We still value a rigorous exchange that encourages all ideas and provides stronger leadership to the field. The costs of operating from old paradigms demand a shift in our thinking at a field level and we feel called to help. This is the juncture between learning and leadership and the “so what” of our learning. We want to provide leadership to the leadership field in a way that generates even deeper learning. We hope to engage you in the synthesis project and look forward to your input and involvement. read more »

Leadership and Sustaining Breakthrough Change

For anyone interested in creating and sustaining breakthrough change, you may want to read a fascinating article by Matthew Chin entitled Sustainability and the Second Law of Thermodynamics (September 2003). Matthew runs Operations Success Programs with the Primary Care Development Corporation, an organization that helps health centers and clinics form learning collaboratives to achieve and sustain transformational change in serving the poor, the uninsured, and the under-insured in New York City.

After years of implementing a highly successful organizational learning model in diverse health centers and clinics, he and his colleagues became interested in why clinics and health centers have a hard time sustaining the gains that they made. He discovered that leadership was critical to long-term success. read more »

Presidential Elections & Leadership Lenses

Observations on the “I” Fear Factor and the Hopeful “We”

Six weeks after 9/11 I found myself at the annual meeting of the International Leadership Association. We were all shell-shocked and eager for a chance to talk, heal and try to make some meaning of what was going on. An impromptu panel session formed over lunch as a number of scholars shared their thoughts and concerns about 9/11 and its aftermath. One speaker’s comments stuck with me and were unfortunately played out in the months that would follow. Jean Lipman Blumen talked about what occurs in a climate of fear and our willingness to abdicate leadership as we look for a savior and hand over our authority for the promise of safety. Of course during the years that followed, we saw Congress give new authority to the white house and our civil rights being slowly eroded as we responded to the promise, “I will make America safe.” read more »

Tear in the Matrix: Presencing Part 2

Read Part One

I guess you could say we reached a point in the Tuesday group where we had to choose the red pill or the blue pill (If you have seen the movie, you may remember when Morpheus offered Neo the red pill. If Neo chose the red pill and truth he was warned that he would never be able to retreat to the comfort of his current world and if Neo chose the blue pill he could go back ‘to sleep’ and the comfort of all that he knew and believed before.) Through the U Process we as a group chose the red pill. Many of us have experience with those “no turning back” lines of inquiry in our personal lives, “Is this the right job? Is this the right relationship for me? Do I want to have children?” It's something else altogether to engage in this type of deep questioning as a group!  read more »

A Tear in the Matrix: Inspired to Blog!

When was the last time you were in a conversation so riveting you waited uncomfortably for a break, afraid of what you might miss if you left the room, even for a quick trip to the bathroom? I was just in such a conversation that lasted for a day and a half. The discussion was incredibly tight without the usual tangents. In a world of chronic “know and tell” we were transformed to A+ listeners. We were engaged in the U Process and “Presencing” led by Otto Scharmer.  read more »

Three LLC Circles Share Learning About Sustainable Leadership Networks

Three LLC circles (Sustaining Networks/Alumni, Social Media and Leadership, and Health Leadership) convened for a conference call and web-based meeting using the WebEx platform to discuss creating and sustaining leadership networks. Twenty people explored the following questions: read more »

  • What forms of collaboration and network creation are we seeing in the leadership development arena?
  • What tools or processes do we find strengthen leadership networks?
  • What are the biggest challenges to sustaining network participation?