I am about to embark on a a trip over to Europe. Pretty excited! It's a mixture of work and family time. The first week of July is Art of Hosting Beyond the Basics and I am finding I have a bunch of questions going in. These events are where I get to bring some of my most alive questions and most potent learnings. Here's some of what is cooking for me:
How will a return to personal purpose change my work?
I am working towards a more fair, equitable and just society where wealth and power are distributed more evenly. I don't expect it to happen in my life time but that is the direction all my work is moving - one step at a time. I have known this for a long time but it became very clear to me again recently at a local event we were running for business leaders. This renewed sense of clarity has sharpened my focus on all of the work I am involved in and I can't help feeling it is going to have lots of ramifications - not yet sure what!
How can we build local economies that transform the distribution of wealth and power?
Where I live it seems like people think entrepreneurship and start up ecosystems are going to save the collapsing economy. I just don't buy it. The focus on supporting individuals to succeed in their start ups or expand their entrepreneurial ventures just further embeds self interested action and individualism. Not only that, it continues to give money to those who are privileged enough to have access to the money and time to "innovate" - further entrenching already existing disparities between those who have and those who have not.
Putting forward entrepreneurship as a social change mechanism is a simplistic approach. We cannot apply business product development to social challenges. If we want to truly build resilient local economies we are going to have to address issues like racism, sexism, hunger, wealth distribution and many more. These are the issues which I believe lie at the root of our economic vulnerability.
Having a thriving entrepreneurial sector is important but not an answer in itself. We cannot put all our eggs in one basket - there is no silver bullet for change, it must happen on all fronts. The more connected the change leaders are the more accelerated their learning is and the faster we move through the eye of the needle.
I do think that there is a way to apply the entrepreneurial mindset to systems challenges - just as Rachel Sinha and Charmain Love identify in their article "Bringing an Entrepreneurial Mindset to the World's Failing Systems". Well, no answers here and lots to think about for me.
How can I identify the key leverage point for an intervention into a system?
I am pretty consistently finding myself daunted by the scale of challenges I am facing. Like the local economy question above the scale of the issue defies a simple answer. For example, I am involved in a project at the moment where we began with senior leadership sessions and then a three day training for some of the brightest leaders of change from across the system (who we will continue to support over time). However, I cannot help feeling that what we are doing is just making the fundamentally dysfunctional current system, bearable and slightly better. This is important work that reduces suffering considerably but does not get to the systems level transformation we need.
I need an issue that is compelling enough to bring together the key players. How can I identify this critical issue? What are ways in which we can analyse the current data to surface systemic pressure points? How can I leverage the the core of people we are already working with to see a bigger picture and be able to make strategic choices towards systems change?
What's the best way to run a kick ass webinar series?
Just landed the gig to design and deliver a five part webinar series on "Leading Effective Meetings". Myself and Tuesday Ryan-Hart are planning to do a twenty minute video teach that is followed up by 45 minute webinar conversation - along the lines of flip the classroom. Each group would be a maximum of 30 people. What is the best arc of learning across the five sessions? What's the best webinar platform out there (I heard Zoom is good)? How simple and helpful can I make it?
How can the design of leadership education within government transform the organisational culture?
It looks like I am going to get to deliver some significant pieces of training for executive leaders and managers within government over the next couple of years. This is exciting for me as it feels like a huge leverage point in terms of changing how people turn up with the current structures, the culture of the workplace. I am in the midst of designing these and have lots of questions about the content, design and support as people go back into their workplace.
What does an industry wide participatory summit for senior level leaders look like?
I have been working with team folks in and around the Newspaper Industry across Atlantic Canada, particularly the community newspapers. This has lead to a call for a national summit of community newspaper leaders to see a bigger picture together, think strategically and develop skills to collaborate in the face of rapid change. What is a design that will allow us to do solid work together as an industry but also build capacity as change leaders?
How can we best launch a national community of social justice and equity practitioners?
The National Association for Independent Schools in the USA is moving from a representative and advisory model around social justice and equity towards building a national community of practitioners. We are right in the middle of the design and have a key retreat coming up. What does a de-centralised community of practice look like on a national level and how can it still serve the purpose of informing the organisation as well as supporting the practitioners?
Yeh. It's going to be a busy fall and I am happy to be getting some time to digest what I have learned from the first part of the year to apply into the second. What are your questions?
Now ... time for a trip to Europe for BtB and some holiday with friends and family!
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