Future Leaders At Play

Stopped at a red light, I noticed a YMCA bus going through the intersection. Written boldly along the side of the bus was ‘Future Leaders at Play’. It reminded me of a favorite task of my granddaughter at her elementary school–to have her turn as the line leader. You might think ‘how fantastic’. I do get excited when young people are encouraged in their leadership. There is no question at that point of ‘which one is a leader?’. Rather, there is an assumption that every child is a future leader and that every child as a child can engage in leadership!

Like me, you might be reflecting about what happens between all of this encouragement about leadership in children, and the out dated old paradigm concepts about leadership that pervade the adult world of organizations of all kinds. What happens when our children and grandchildren enter the workforce and discover that they have very little authority to carry out their leadership?

What happens to all of this fantastic leadership energy and skill?

Will deep disappointment set in, resulting in mediocre effort and apathy?

Will bewilderment set in, resulting in job dissatisfaction?

Will shock set in, resulting in anger and despair?

I don’t wish to be so cynical as to say, maybe we shouldn’t get the hopes of children up regarding leadership and their right to engage in leadership! These young people are our hope for the future!

You can see why I am such an advocate of the new leadership paradigm ‘leading so that people will lead’. This requires a shift in our thinking about leadership, who has it, and how organizations can benefit from a culture of leadership.

In using the Genuine Contact way of working, and learning modules of the Genuine Contact™ program, you can equip yourself for leading in this new paradigm with some multi-purpose tools and techniques, and of course expand your leadership capacity during your learning. I hope you are as committed to providing a culture of leadership for our children and grandchildren as they enter the workforce!

The Benefits of Pattern Disruption

As I was getting ready to write this post about the benefits of pattern disruption, I lost my favorite necklace. Now, I know better than to be attached to an object. Life including leadership of our lives  requires us to get better and better at skillfulness at letting go. And yet my shock at discovering when I  lost my precious necklace showed me that

1.I had formed quite an emotional attachment;

2.I was willing to let go of some things easily, but not others particularly sentimental ones;

3. despite my previous self talk that when crystals are ready to move on, you experience losing them and it is okay and natural, my self talk and self preparation didn’t pan out to ease the loss in that moment

All in all, I had fooled myself into believing that my ability with detachment from outcome, and my willingness to let go, were not what I had believed them to be. Yes indeed, I can still feel my grief some weeks later even though I had put writing this blog aside for weeks. I had worn that necklace to every country I have visited during the past fifteen years, it was with me in discussions, workshops, time with friends and family. And my granddaughter was in love with it and I had secretly in my heart promised it would be hers one day. As I tell this, I am sure you can understand how the attachment grew and grew.

Why is it important to be able to let go, to be able to detach from outcome? Change is a constant in life. With change comes loss. To thrive in life, it is important to grow personal capacity to let go. Some mystics teach us that we learn to let go sufficiently until we no longer fear death.

To develop personal capacity to detach from outcome, to let go, there are a few simple things you can do. They are ways of disrupting your habits and patterns, learning to leave something behind and embrace something new.:

1.Change the location of something in your bedroom. I did this with where I keep my socks and the results were funny. I kept going to the ‘old’ drawer every morning for a couple of weeks, laughing at myself each time for how long it was taking me to go with the flow of the new pattern. Once you have a new habit and pattern, change up something else and keep doing this, always coaxing yourself to easily let go of habits and patterns.

2. On the monthly anniversary of your birthday, do something you have never done before.


Getting Started in Creating a Culture of Leadership using Open Space Technology

One of the best ways to create and nourish a culture of leadership is to use meetings as a catalyst. A fantastic method for carrying out interactive, highly participative meetings in which people experience their own leadership is Open Space Technology. I have favored the use of this meeting method since 1992 when I was an early pioneer with this work. I celebrate 25 years of incredible results from facilitating thousands of OST meetings!

Formal leaders who have an interest in nourishing a culture of leadership begin the process of moving towards a leadership culture from different starting points. Sometimes they want to go slowly, a little at a time. Sometimes they want to go big for a change in the interior terrain, a culture change as quickly as it is possible to make the leap from the existing culture to a culture of leadership. I like what the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron advises about all things in life “Start Where You Are”. And so, in creating a culture of leadership, we simply start where we are, and wherever the formal leader feels comfortable to do so.

Now, back to Open Space Technology and using meetings as a catalyst. We recommend including an Open Space Technology meeting as early in the shift towards creating a culture of leadership as possible. For a leader who needs to go slowly, kind of like just putting a big toe in the bath water to feel the temperature, the meeting may include just a few people, maybe even only senior staff. It is rather a small space to open, and yet it works just fine. There is no predetermined agenda and the theme is likely to be something like ‘issues and opportunities for creating nourishing a culture of leadership’. An agenda will get developed quickly, with topics created by those gathered in relation to what is in their hearts and minds for moving forward. Conversations happen for each of the topics, notes are taken, and recommendations are made.

The leader who wants to go big from the start and get on with creating and nourishing a culture of leadership quickly, will invite the maximum number of people possible, ensuring a maximum mixture from all groups within the organization who have a stake in its well-being. The number of people is usually limited by the number of people that the chosen venue can hold. In large organizations, the number is usually in the hundreds. Again, no predetermined agenda and a similar theme to the one mentioned above for the small group. The agenda gets created fairly quickly, which is surprising considering the number of people. The agenda is a good summary of what is in the hearts and minds of the people in relation to creating a culture of leadership. Conversations happen for each of the topics, attended by those who most care about that topic. Notes are taken, and recommendations are made.

People feel engaged. They are part of co-creating the organizational culture. They offer their leadership, feel a shared sense of vision, have the experience of important communication about what matters, and get to some idea of how the shift to a culture of leadership could be managed.

Open Space Technology is a great meeting method for movement forward in creating a culture of leadership. If you are thinking about getting a culture of leadership moving in your organization, don’t worry about how big or small a step you are ready to take right now. Remember, you need to start where you are. And no matter where you are, using this meeting method will be of good service to you.

Are you ready to take some steps to create a culture of leadership? Does it help you to know that you don’t have to take too big a step at once if you are not ready or to take a really big step if you are ready to do so?