Generating ideas, connections, and action


Leadership, Time, and Mindfulness

Here is a sad confession. I meditate in fits and starts even though I know in my soul that it’s a good thing on so many levels, and for reasons that others writing for this column have articulated better than I can. To add to the irony, I think I can’t make time for meditation.  It reminds me of a story I heard relayed by Thich Nhat Hanh. He described arriving in Boston where he was picked up by a woman who had to stop on the way to get flyers and then on to a dry cleaning store to pick up something else and then a quick stop to pick up food for the event. Not an unfamiliar story for many of us.  He asked her about how she managed the pace of her activities. Her response was, “You don’t understand, if I did not run around like this I would never have any time for myself” and his response? “It’s all your time!”

 read more »

GUEST BLOG | The Key to Effective Learning? Soap Bubbles! By Eugene Kim

This article was first published on Eugene Kim's blog, Faster Than 2.0.This is part three of a three-part essay on facilitating group learning. Part two of a three-part essay on facilitating group learning. See also part one, Getting real about experiments and learning.” and two, "Documenting Is Not Learning."


Two months ago, I blogged about my experiment with Dharmishta Rood and the Code for America Incubator, which wraps up in another few months. The goal is to help startups — in this case, a company called PostCode — develop great collaborative habits in its formative stage. The theory is that it’s more effective to build good habits from the start than it is to try to change bad habits later.

 read more »

Guest Blog | The Seminal Skill in Adaptive Leadership: The Work of Building Trust By Katherine Tyler Scott

In response to Deborah’s blog on Trust and Leadership, Katherine Tylor Scott shares this article. Originally published on the Ki Thought Bridge website.


One of the first things we learn in life is whether and how to trust someone else. Our experience with our caregivers tell us whether we can be safe and secure in a dependent relationship, whether the environment is loving or hostile, open or closed to our discomfort, affirming or rejecting of who we are, and whether our basic survival needs will be met without fear. What we learn in these first relationships of trust-holding remain with us for all of our lives. They are the building blocks, the foundation for who we become. If we have not examined the origins of trust in our own lives we will be unaware of the influence they have on our behavior and the health of our relationships. We will be unconscious as to the effect these early formational experiences have on our leadership of others. We will be limited in our understanding of the  impact that trust in our lives will have on the individuals and groups we invite into the vulnerable and risky work of adaptive leadership.

 read more »

Questions From "Successfully Transitioning Your Organization to a Network Mindset" Webinar

Beth Tener and Carole Martin presented ways of transitioning our organizations into a network mindset. They presented applicable tools to transform any organization. They answered many questions live, however, here are a few more questions that they were able to dive deeper into. If you missed the webinar you can watch the recording and view the slides. Beth and Carole also share more resources in this blog.

 read more »

Networks and Leadership Webinar Series: Foundations as Network Leaders: Learning from One Foundation’s Journey and Results


Join us for the third session of the Networks and Leadership Webinar Series on "Foundations as Network Leaders: Learning From One Foundation's Journey and Results"

What does it mean for a foundation to become a facilitative leader?  And how can foundation staff make the case for network-based funding approaches to boards and other stakeholders?  This two-part series will explore successes and insights from the DentaQuest Foundation’s national systems change strategy Oral Health 2020.  Started in 2011, this network-based strategy has achieved notable results—development of oral health leaders across the country, creation of new state partnerships connected to a national health improvement network, and tangible system and policy changes such as the expansion of public benefits in more than 15 states.  Come learn about what it took to make this work happen from the perspective of Foundation leaders Brian Souza and Mike Monopoli, initiative evaluator Clare Nolan (Harder+Company Community Research), and network weaver Marianne Hughes (Interaction Institute for Social Change).

 read more »

Listening for Change

For many of us, talking to others with opposing views requires skill. I was reminded of how important this is while listening to “39 Shots” a podcast episode from Criminal. It featured the story of Nelson Johnson, the founder of Beloved Community and who also happened to be a Creating Space V catalyst in 2004.


On the podcast, Nelson re-lives November 3, 1979 the day he and others from the Communist Workers Party were attacked by the KKK. Five people died because of the violence that happened that day. To the disappointment of some in the community, state courts acquitted the KKK members named in investigations. Twenty-five years later a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was organized.  The podcast also featured the restorative

 read more »

GUEST BLOG | Documenting Is Not Learning by Eugene Kim

This article was first published on Eugene Kim's blog, Faster Than 2.0.This is part two of a three-part essay on facilitating group learning. Part two of a three-part essay on facilitating group learning. See also part one, Getting real about experiments and learning.”


A few years ago, my friend and colleague, Rebecca Petzelwrote about a participatory art exhibit where the artist asked, “What is transformation?” One of the replies was, “Moving beyond documentation.”

I laugh every time I read this, but I also shake my head. How and why did documentation become so synonymous with learning (or worse, transformation)?

My mentor, Doug Engelbart, always said that the distinguishing characteristic of a high-performance group was its ability to learn and improve. One sign that a group was good at learning was its ongoing care and maintenance of what Doug described as a “dynamic knowledge repository.”

When people asked Doug what a “dynamic knowledge repository” looked like, he always described something digital. That made sense. Among the many things that made Doug a visionary was his recognition that digital technology had the ability to transform the speed at which we act and the quality of those actions. It’s something I still believe wholeheartedly.

 read more »

GUEST BLOG | A Simple Way for Nonprofit Leaders To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Their Daily Work by Beth Kanter

Yesterday, I had the honor of being a guest facilitator at a transformative leadership retreat with colleagues Heather McLeod Grant, Chris Block, Lance Fors, and David Havens. The retreat curriculum is built around a framework called “I-WE-IT” that covers mindsets and practical skills that today’s social change leaders of all generations need as we move towards more collective approaches.

 read more »