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Catalyzing Collective Leadership

Commons Matters

As citizens we need to understand, value, and restore our Commons, in all of the forms it takes, from beneficial societal cultural underpinnings to our biosphere.  Commons Matter!

The Commons Transition Project and team are amazing and very worth following in their own thought leadership.  They, in turn, have highlighted the work of the Center for Planetary Culture, in particular the Center’s Plan for Rapid Transition, authored by Daniel Pinchbeck.  It is an inspiring tour de force which I will read multiple times.  I highly recommend it.

The Solutions Project

The Solutions Project is a fantastic demonstration of cultural change makers inspiring citizens to take action when political leaders remain beholden to vested interests.  It enables citizens to focus on their state or any state to see what mix of renewables are achievable and the progress being made.

System Leader

One of my heroes is Peter Senge, a leading systems thinker and author of Fifth Discipline, a book I’ve studied and read cover to cover multiple times.  I always value hearing his point of view on current challenges, as well as the cohorts with whom he is in dialogue.  In 12 minutes of video highlights from a May 2015 FSG.org sponsored event “Catalyzing Collective Leadership” they had the following to say:

John Kania (managing director FSG):  “The transformational leadership that is required to turn the tide is counter-cultural … in that it runs against the grain of what is perceived as what strong leadership is that leads the change.”

00:58 Senge:  “The problem is that set of images is excessively individualistic.  They put so much emphasis on that person, that person’s qualities, their characters.  We need lots of leaders in lots of places everywhere, all kinds of people stepping forward doing all kinds of things…  We live in an era where no matter how effective, the effective use of hierarchical power and authority is simply inadequate for the problems we face, it’s that simple.

02:20 Kania & Senge:  The term System Leader, as opposed to organizational leader, describes people who catalyze collective leadership.  Really great leaders are always great listeners, kinda contrary to the image of charismatic projecting leader with a great message, but not good at listening to anybody.  A great listener builds collective leadership.  There is nothing that helps anybody step forward in their own capacity as leader than to be listened to.  Listening deeply is a developable skill.  04:06 In order to create the change out there, you have to start with the change in here (within self).  Great leaders have a deep commitment to their own growth and development.  They ask for help, they do not keep up the stereotype of the infallible leader.

05:30  Three key capacities for System Leaders.  1) Helping everybody else in the system see the system, its complexities, disfunction, and patterns.  2) Helping get to a deeper level of dialogue so they can get to true shared meaning. 3) Shift from fixing problems to co-creating shared pictures of the future.

08:33 Alan Khazei (CEO and founder, Be The Change, Inc.):  Our strategy for each of these is to build coalitions so we try to do collective impact.  We try to find other practitioners and ask “Can we work together”. Once together, can we work on a common agenda?