Monthly Archives February 2014

Collective Leadership: What is the conceptual challenge?

When seen against the backdrop of the evolution of human consciousness the process towards a greater awareness of one’s true responsibility in the world is clearly necessary. I noticed that numerous books on leadership most often refer to the individual. This is important, as we need to develop certain capacities to be able to lead collectively. But there is far less clarity about how these individual capacities can bring forth collective action. There are no complete answers yet, so I consider this a collective learning journey that I invite you to join. Here are my thoughts: In my view, one
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Collaborating for innovation

Whoever is responsible for supply chain management, particularly when sourcing from South East Asia, knows that no progress to responsible business practice can be made without engagement of different stakeholders and collaboration with actors we may have avoided before. More and more companies work closely with NGOs to improve living conditions of workers way upstream the supply chain. But what if one solution found creates new problems? If you ever had the opportunity to visit a factory in South East Asia (where your brand jeans are produced) or a rose farm in Kenya (where your fair trade certified Valentines roses
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How does co-creation happen?

Can you remember an encounter with people that made you think – we are creating future here?  What are the ingredients of such a creative space? The future is constantly emerging as a result of the ‘space in between’, a room of encounter between us and other people, a space released or blocked by communication. The more dialogic this space is allowed to be, the more likely that it leads to a state of sustainable co-creation.
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Collective intelligence needs diversity

Collective intelligence emerges not in superficial harmony, but in a space that is grounded in respect for difference. With our openness to collective intelligence we acknowledge that finding solutions to the challenges of sustainability requires a variety of thought, knowledge, experience and world-view. We can then begin to understand that there is a deeper space of coherence beneath difference. Let us just think about South Africa’s transition from the apartheid regime in the early 1990s, for example. The country developed away from an unjust paternalist system towards a more inclusive and human rights based democracy. The amount of challenges in
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Crises can be the most rewarding and full of growth

  Do you know the times when you tried out various paths with successes and failures, but are somehow unable to reconnect with you skills and early aspirations, your role in the world? Crises do not always have an easily understandable purpose. Not every crisis leads to deeper reflection or a reconnection with our deeper intention and our deeply held values. But they are a form of rebalancing and it is worthwhile to discover the underlying positive natural intent in them. The outcome of learning is unpredictable. The fear and anxiety are unconsciously part of our journey, the less we
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Using a compass for planning our collaborative actions

Life is about evolutionary change. Leadership challenges in the outer world are always opportunities to grow – as a person, but also as a leader who is dedicated to making a difference for the world of tomorrow in collaboration with others. People who lead collectively venture into the unknown. They take the road less travelled if it leads to innovation and the testing of new approaches. They are visionaries who keep a sense of wholeness alive and connect with future possibilities. They find innovative solutions and consensual agreements through diverse perspectives and respect for difference and inspire others to engage
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How do we recognise groups of committed citizens for sustainability?

Collaboration for sustainability requires well functioning groups of people who lead collectively – be they called management teams, project teams, core groups, committees, partnership teams, task forces, working groups or a leaders network. They exist within one or across several organisations. They are composed as cross-sector groups – with representatives from civil society, public sector and private sector. People in such groups have differences in power, experience, education and culture. They have language barriers, as not everybody is able to communicate in his or her native language. This is all part of our sustainability endeavour. Luckily we are diverse and
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The future requires us to learn faster

The future resilience of global, societal and local systems requires better and faster adaptivity, hence not necessarily better steering, but more effective collective learning mechanisms. With climate change, resource scarcity, social imbalances and the crisis of financial systems we are realizing that our future depends on action that is based on dialogue and cooperation between different stakeholders. It might be difficult to overcome mistrust, but there is no other route: stakeholder cooperation is the future. Our capacity to facilitate collective learning at all levels of human society thus becomes the most crucial factor for a sustainable future. A company like
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Travelling the inner and outer path

I am convinced that our leadership contribution to more sustainable action in the world requires parallel development of our inner resourcefulness, reflection, mindfulness and its expression in the outer world as redefined leadership contribution. The journey within seeks resonance in life-enhancing action. While the inner process can – but must not be – done alone, the outer journey requires collective leadership. There is interdependence between inner changes in consciousness and the development of collective consciousness.
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