"If we want to get through change and not just be victims of circumstance, we are going to have to rise to the challenge. The natural humility of people who live in our region is one of the obstacles we face in the challenges of our declining economy, aging demographic and risk-averse decision-making culture."
This is my latest monthly column in the local newspaper. A short video blog introduce this months column followed by an excerpt below. Read the full column online here or even better get a subscription to Lighthouse NOW!
If we want to get through change and not just be victims of circumstance, we are going to have to rise to the challenge. The natural humility of people who live in our region is one of the obstacles we face in the challenges of our declining economy, aging demographic and risk-averse decision-making culture.
I went to see Billy Bragg play in Halifax a few years ago. It was a great show. I have been watching Billy Brag perform in all kinds of venues since I was about 14 years old. He gets the audience all riled up with his rants and brings some good tunes into the mix. His history of punk music combined with traditional folk makes him a unique mix of modern revolutionary and lineage holder. At one point he asked the audience what they wanted, a Bob Dylan song or a Carpenters song. The lights went up in the auditorium and people put their hands up to vote.
Then he stopped playing the Carpenters and sang the Bob Dylan song all the way through!
I have gone back to that experience a lot in the last couple of weeks. It captures something cultural for me. What is it going to take to get us mobilized? How bad does it need to be for us to rise up, take the bull by the horns and start getting change done en masse? What is a vision of the future that we would all want to strive for and be proud of?
I don't mean vision that we have to get to - but something to motivate us to move from here. We don't need a milestone that we measure ourselves against to find out if we did a good or bad job. We need something that invigorates our citizens, educators, local government and business leaders into collective action. An aspiration that sets collective direction.
For me, this is population growth. I can see a future of schools full of kids, a culturally-diverse community and brimming economy driven by local people's actions. That is what keeps me motivated day to day. I can see it happening within the next 10 years. I can see the seeds of it already underway right now in our communities.
What if we swapped audacity for humility?
What would we do if we were not afraid?
I truly believe if we could change the quality of our meetings, not only would people's happiness and productivity go through the roof, we would need less meetings. Imagine a bright future ahead of us: no more meetings for the sake of meetings!
The training needs to get more granular and focused on the day to day skillful leading of effective and meaningful meetings. Meetings that matter! If we can change things on this day to day level we begin to build a more engaged culture within our organisations, communities and systems. The more engaged people are, the greater ownership they feel and the more motivated they are to generate results. All too often we try to bully or incentive people into action rather than shifting how we organize ourselves around our work.
This has been the inspiration for Leading Effective Meetings the new online course Tuesday Ryan Hart and I are offering. We ran a pilot last fall, got positive feedback and are now launching the training as part of Word Done Better, Together . Greater participation needs to become business as usual - rather than be a series of exciting events that give a break from the normal way of doing things. If we want to be able to respond and adapt to the constantly changing circumstances around us - we have to be able to meet, engage multiple perspectives, figure out a critical path forward and continue to learn as we go. Bluntly put - if we can't figure out how to meet properly we stand a very low chance of running a successful organisation or initiative.
Check out the Work Done Better. Together site, spread the word on the leading effective meetings program if you like it but more importantly let's all figure out how we train in the day to day of running good meetings. That way we can influence the way everything happens, rather than just a few strategic initiatives.
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