Tuesday Ryan Hart and I were recently in the states doing some work around Social Justice and Equity in Independent Schools. Tuesday is a teacher for me on issues of difference, power and social justice and it was great to get this chance to work together. A few insights popped up over the days that I would love to share. They came out of our reflections on the hosting and design team as well as during participant conversations. It was basically a great big bubbling pot of learning! Here’s some immediate thoughts as I sit in the airport waiting for my (delayed!) flight back to my family:
When our analysis becomes an obstacle to impact
I believe if we want to be a change leader we have to find a way to engage and work with people who hold power and influence. It is essential piece of the puzzle that needs to be integrated into our strategies. It is dangerous not to – our work ends getting squashed, co-opted or undermined long term. Simple put, any obstacles I carry to working with power is hurdle to having impact.
One of the things I have found in my life is that how I perceive people in positions of power and influence impacts my capacity to work with them. I grew up with very few examples around me of people wielding power with integrity and as a result had a pretty inherent distrust of senior leaders. This has shifted as I have changed my relationship to my own power and authority. It is not just our experience that creates obstacles to working with power and influence though it can also be our analysis of how the world functions.
Here is a short video of Tuesday talking about her perspective on: “How can our analysis of power be an obstacle to influence and impact?”
This is the third and final blog with a focus on working with change leadership and participatory approaches in the mainstream. In response to the needs of my clients and the work we are doing together, I am re-articulating, redesigning and rebranding my work to be able to have the greatest possible impact. It is exciting to share what I am learning and the response to the blogs has been provocative and inspiring. I look forward to hearing more and continuing this conversation with you for years to come!
My Business Model Matters
Recently one of my corporate clients took me to task for just handing out work to others without making any money from it - warning me that the quality of work others do upon my recommendation has the potential to undermine my brand. She considered it not only irresponsible to my business' growth but also to my family security (three kids!). It struck me that in this next incarnation of my work, how I run my business was one of the ways people are assessing how / if they will work with me.
Check out this recent article in the Chronicle Herald. Originally published here. Thanks to Quentin Casey, Mahone Bay resident and freelance journalist, for picking up on the story.
Now Lunenburg County project leaders will meet as a group once a month to discuss their projects and share ideas. There will also be three community gatherings over the next few months. That activity will culminate Oct. 15 with what organizers are calling Now Lunenburg County 2.0. That event will be used to present progress reports on the individual projects, as well as the larger goal of creating change in Lunenburg County. (Contributed)
Elspeth McLean-Wile was sitting in her office, staring at her computer, on the morning of Feb. 12. On her screen, Ray Ivany, the president of Acadia University, was releasing the final report from the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, which he chaired.
“As we explored current economic and population trends we became more and more alarmed,” Ivany wrote of Nova Scotia’s prospects. “The evidence is convincing that Nova Scotia hovers now on the brink of an extended period of decline.”
Streaming the report launch in her office, McLean-Wile, the owner of Wile’s Lake Farm Market & Bakery, was left troubled but motivated.
“After it was over, I said, ‘I just can’t sit here anymore and think that somebody is going to do something. Why shouldn’t I try to do something?’” she recalled. “That was the start of it.”
This is part 2 about going mainstream ... there's more to come! A part 3 on business models, branding and protection. All my understandings here are evolving on a daily basis in conversations with clients, collaborators and colleagues ... it would be super to here any thoughts you have to throw in the mix! Here we go ...
Making it as easy as possible to lead change
My experience of change leadership and participatory approaches is that it demands people shift their world view; the way they see their world. This means their beliefs about themselves, their work, their community, what results are etc all has to change. Without the worldview shift none of the models and methodologies deliver. The level of change we are willing to go through inside ourselves is directly relative to the level of change we will see around us.
That is no small ask! I want to remove all obstructions and distractions from that core activity. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to enter that realm of my work because it is so critical. That has meant I have had to let go of some of the things I held most sacred and develop new ways of working that fit better the context I am in. I do not want to give people an excuse to dismiss it - it just feels too important to me. I cannot be precious about it.
What can I let go of to allow for greater connection among people? What are the props I am attached to that no longer serve the work? What language alienates rather than invites people into conversation and action together?
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