Grow People for Inspired Change

grow-people“What if the act of believing in others was part of the trajectory, the catalyst even, to fuel others to live the best version of themselves?” —Ted Egly, in Believing In Others.

As a leader, supervisor, coach, facilitator, team lead, or change agent, your role is to help “grow” people to be the best they can be. One practical framework to help you do just that is Appreciative Inquiry (AI*);  it is a strength-based approach to growing people for inspired change.

Starting from an AI stance, people, teams, organizations and communities are not viewed as “problems to be solved”, but rather as complex systems whose positive core is to be embraced and amplified.

Facilitate these four powerful questions, and you will succeed as a leader in focusing your people on their strengths, and in helping to lift them to the best version of themselves. Continue reading “Grow People for Inspired Change”

How Do We Get There?

strategic planning VancouverTranslating Vision and Strategy into Action

(This blog follows previous Strategic Planning newsletter topics.)

Sound familiar? “Our team had an incredible strategic planning retreat. Everyone got excited and aligned around a vision and the clear strategic results we all wanted to achieve. Now we’re back to “reality”, with poor follow-through, so chances are very little will actually change.”

Many strategic planning processes fall short at this stage. Continue reading “How Do We Get There?”

Where Do We Want To Be?

Articulating A Bold Consensus Vision of the Desired Future

vision.path2As often attributed to Cat and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s novel, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

The visioning phase of strategic planning is about becoming crystal clear on your destination – the vivid images of what you’ll see when you get there. This creative, aspirational, and visionary stage is usually the one that your participants are looking forward to. Continue reading “Where Do We Want To Be?”

Where Are We Now?

creative tensionAnalyzing the Current Situation*

Creative tension is a key concept that informs the Insight phase of our model of Strategic Planning, and goes like this: “Successful change is the result of seeking to resolve the creative tension that arises from simultaneously:

  1. Holding a clear-eyed and honest observation of current reality (where things are now )
  2. Remaining steadfastly committed to a clear and compelling future vision (where we want things to be), i.e., refusing to settle for less than what we want, despite reality.” Continue reading “Where Are We Now?”

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Just caught this fascinating talk by Dan Pink on the hidden truths behind personal motivation, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Except for straightforward tasks, it’s not the age-old motivators of money and power that drive us, but rather, our desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose. In fact, research has shown time and again that using money as an incentive for activities dependent on our cognitive skills is a sure-fire way to reduce performance! The implications are powerful for all organizations, teams and groups seeking insights into how to boost innovation and performance.

Bonus: The graphic recording of Daniel Pink’s speech is truly dazzling and worth taking the time to watch!  (Thanks to Rosemary Cairns who first posted this to the IAF Group listserve so that I can now share it here.)

“You Are Brilliant and the Earth Is Hiring” – Class of 2009 Commencement Address

A message of urgency and hope for young people and all of the rest of us.

Extracts from: Commencement Address to the Class of 2009 University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009

Paul Hawken is a renowned entrepreneur, visionary environmental activist, founder of Wiser Earth and author of many books — most recently Blessed Unrest. He was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters by University of Portland, when he delivered this superb commencement address (read the full transcript)…..

“Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. ….. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system; you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades. …..

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. ….

Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done. …..

No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. …..

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. …. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history. …..”

Read the full transcript)…..

Stand By Me – Music for Change

Wow, this is a truly uplifting rendition of the classic, “Stand by Me(originally released in 1955 by The Staple Singers and released again in 1961 by the Drifters) from the Music for Change website. Music for Change is committed to developing cultural understanding and respect for cultural diversity through music and the arts in educational, community settings and through events and projects. Click on the link for the composite audio/video of different singers and musicians from different places around the world singing this great tune. Enjoy!

Leadership in a Complex World

Love this quote:

“In this day and age, when problems are increasingly complex and there are no simple answers, and no simple cause and effect – how stressful for leaders to pretend that they have the answer. A life-affirming leader is one who knows how to rely on and use the intelligence that exists everywhere in the community, the company, school, or organization. Such leaders act as stewards of other people’s creativity and intelligence. Today’s leader needs to be one who convenes people, who convenes diversity, who convenes all viewpoints in processes where our intelligence can come forth. These kinds of leaders do not give us the answers; rather they help gather us so that we can discover the answers together.”

– Margaret Wheatley, author, Leadership and the New Science