“People don’t need enormous cars; they need admiration and respect. They don’t need a constant stream of new clothes; they need to feel that others consider them to be attractive, and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don’t need electronic entertainment; they need something interesting to occupy their minds and emotions. A society that allows itself to admit and articulate its non-material human needs, and to find nonmaterial ways to satisfy them, would require much lower material and energy through-puts and would provide much higher levels of human fulfillment.” ― Donella H. Meadows, The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
Meaningful relationships are a cornerstone for better co-creation. We start building such relationships slowly, through a step-by-step engagement process, but in order to really grow a movement with impact we need to grow. To do so we need to stretch along network connections. Once networks are established, it becomes easier to plan change, to inspire and initiate. Moreover, our impact increases when we reach across institutional boundaries – across the silos of public sector, private sector and civil society. As initiators we therefore need to become nodes within networks, connected with other leaders who collaboratively take up a movement with us.
How do we grow our networks? Firstly, self organising connectivity is a mind-set. As soon as we recognize that connectivity responds to a human need to belong and contribute, our attitude towards networks changes. Rather than see the building of networks as a strenuous attempt to convince and push people, we can perceive it as creating dynamic movements and invigorating networks that people feel inspired to join. When we see the world as made up of a web of relationships that need to be appreciated and enhanced we open to self organizing connectivity.
Connectivity is also a technique; the way of building networks can be learnt. Building networks is more than handing out our business cards or engaging people because we need them; it is the attention to HUMANITY that counts. How do we enhance networks for change? By showing authentic interest in the person we want to engage, by offering our contribution to help, by appreciating people’s expertise, by being open to learn from others and by genuinely caring.
Here are a few questions that help guide us toward Connectivity:
- How did my most stable and fruitful business relationships come about?
- If I drew a map of my team’s network connections – what would it show?
- If I had to rate the cohesion of my wider network of collaborating stakeholders on a scale between 1 and 10 – would be my assessment?
This blog post looks at the dimension of ENGAGEMENT and zooms into CONNECTIVITY in the Collective Leadership Compass. For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and reviews on amazon.com, or get inspired by an onsite course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change.