Monthly Archives November 2013

Our generative process: why contemplation is productive

Reflection always finds us, whether it is our yearning hunger for stillness or our move into slightly disenchanted self-doubt. There is nothing wrong with it. It is a circle turning and helping us to make sense of experience; helping us, in some cases, to re-connect with what we really want, with the core of our intention, with new possibilities for our contribution, with our leadership quest.
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Understanding our quest

I believe that our leadership journey begins long before we ever get the chance to move into an official leadership position. There is a perceptible search for coherence that is fueled by the initial deeper intention. Both engender the beginnings of a quest, and are probably the most underestimated or neglected forces in a leadership journey. The other day I talked to a passionate leader from the WWF  about what helps leaders reconnect with a quest that began long ago – most often during their adolescence. She suddenly thought about her son and laughingly said, he wants to study quantum
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The future of leadership development

About ten years ago I ran a sought-after international leadership development program for multinational companies together with Bill Isaacs (www.dialogos.com). What struck me years later was the impact of the program that was thoroughly based on a dialogic approach – about half of the participants left their companies! Although there are many factors that push people to leave their jobs, it made me think – did we wake up an old longing? Did we contribute to them asking themselves different questions that led to different actions? Did the program alienate them from the dominant culture of their company? These unanswered
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The nature of humanness is to contribute to evolution

Humility sometimes arrives with the realization that the world is larger by far than our perception can reach, that our contribution to sustain life counts, and it is essential and possible to serve. It is then that we not only see, but feel the bigger picture. Our contribution will no longer spring from the desire to excel or get it right, nor from the hope of leaving a legacy, but from the insight that the deepest nature of humanness is to contribute to evolution constructively.
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Sustainability moves centre stage

There is a global trend that cannot be ignored any longer – sustainability moves on the agenda of every nation, every organisation and more and more citizens.  Sustainability megaforces will not only impact  businesses over the next 20 years, but also governments and civil society organisations. They range from climate change, ecosystem decline, energy security, water scarcity, and resource management to poverty, economic justice, food security, demographic change, and population growth. Those who are confronted with sustainability challenges in addition to the actual implementation of strategies to tackle these challenges, notice another global trend: solutions cannot be found in isolation.
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What are the skills for collective leadership?

Imagine the following. You are in the middle of a mountain area, surrounded by the most beautiful views. There may be some snow on the far mountains, and there are green bushes beside you and there are birds singing and you are standing in the middle of all of that. And somehow you feel very close to the universe, very much at home in the universe, very much at home within yourself. And suddenly you have the feeling, wow, anything can be done, as long as I am able to drive things forward together with others. And you see the
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Our generative process: how do we get the balance right?

The first step in keeping our generative process going is always observation. What is our natural rhythm? What is your focus, what do we tend to neglect? What is the sequence of events that we can track to identify the pattern? What do we prefer to avoid? The reality is that our lives tend to be unbalanced, occasionally or for a longer period of time. But I believe there is a deeper force in us that pulls us back into balance – not that we always understand the message. But if we observe more closely how this rhythm works and
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Balancing our generative process – contemplation

Without contemplation, we become victims of our own actions. Times of inner and outer silence, collectively and individually, are a way of processing the realities emerging from passion and commitment. Reflective energy is regenerative and transformative. Insights gain the space and time to surface. The qualities are those of stillness and waiting, of sinking into a deeper level of existence that builds and dismantles constantly without our interference. The energy of contemplation holds the capacity simply to observe what is happening and become conscious of our patterns of action in life’s processes.
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Balancing our generative process – commitment

Without commitment and perseverance, life cannot be maintained. We need the confidence that things will work out if we hold to the energy strongly enough. The generative process depends on this caring and nourishing in order to flourish. When this is missing our leadership intention cannot really grow, it cannot be sustained. We know this – patterns of self-sabotage through lack of patience, our fear of repetitiveness and boredom becoming so overwhelming that we make frequent restarts without ever achieving what we set out to, settling for less then we expected because we stop believing that things will work out.
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Balancing our generative process – passion

When I describe passion as an arousal of the heart, it is the desire to make a difference, the urge to change something for the better. Passion is at the base of creativity and inspiration. When we feel passionate, we know why we are here and why we’re doing what we’re doing, and we can inspire others. Our initial deeper intention is nourished by passion. Dreams hold passion, as do aspirations. Passion is the direct expression of our capacity to love life, the world and other people. Sometimes, over long periods of time on our leadership journey, passion lives a
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