Archives for Accessing our humanity

A pattern of human competences in interaction

Over my years of working in complex collaboration projects and institutional change management, I took notice of what shifted actors into a more collaborative space. Shifts tended to occur around personal competences. People brought these competences in or they developed them jointly with their collaborators. Although, nothing I noticed was radically new – what was new was the uniquely unfolding combinations of these competences, forming a constantly changing pattern of mutually supportive ingredients . And it was the aliveness of this  presence that made a difference. In a stuffy room in Salvador de Bahia all the ingredients were there. Each participant had a very valid reason for
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Life moves towards Balance

Finding our balance requires incorporating new techniques into our lives. There are many ways to get it right – from a regular workout at the Gym, to retreating into nature, to meditating or playing with our kids. Yet I believe we can go one step further in understanding how balance works and why. Can we simply learn from life? Balance requires a combination of three different energies in order to bring forth life, maintain its growth and take it to the next level. The first energy is our passion for life, for what we do, for how we relate to others. This passion
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Business leaders as catalysts for change

Wanting to make a difference for a better world is probably the most widely suppressed desire in organizations and among senior leaders. Beneath the surface of many high performing top executives is a vague disappointment with the competitiveness of the corporate world, and an unexpressed deep desire to create more meaning, more connectedness, and more relatedness. A senior manager from a multinational company told me “What I feel is that every person actually has a core that wants to serve … and it is more about uncovering it, because this gets silenced, cut off, nobody is asking for it, nobody
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Sustainability narratives – which one willyou choose?

A shift in thinking often precedes a change in action. This process is supported by collective narratives, which, for better or worse, help people to emotionally engage and create a different future. Narratives speak to the human capability to find meaning, and consciously and collectively shape the  future. Therefore, when collective leadership decides to engage with transformative change we also need to engage with collective narratives.   Through the lens of the dimensions of the Collective Leadership Compass, narratives co-creates a future that engenders responsibility and enacts future possibilities. But narratives also touch on other principles. They further the dimension of engagement
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Can power be controlled?

Humans have long been fascinated by the dynamism of free-flowing waters. Yet we have expended great effort to tame rivers for transportation, water supply, flood control, agriculture, and power generation. Poff et al, 2008, The Natural Flow Regime  Sometimes life develops as if designed by us. We feel we are in a flow. At other times, things happen that push our life into disarray. We feel we are loosing control. As we fight against feelings of powerlessness we respond by identifying problems developing and implementing a solution for its control. Control is profoundly ingrained within most existing human societies: we
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A Mind and Heart for Sustainability

From the many encounters I have had with leaders from various parts of the world, I have noticed a remarkable aspect of today’s reality: the desire to make a difference is present in many leaders, however deeply buried. I met very, very few who, if sincerely questioned, would not  find deep in their heart the aspiration to contribute to a better world. Beneath the surface, there is an unexpressed need to create more meaning, more connectedness, and more relatedness, and to help improve the lives of others. Wanting to make a difference in the world by serving humankind is probably the most widely suppressed desire in organizations and among
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Creating a paradigm shift

Donella Meadows’ article: Leverage Points – Places to Intervene in a System is  an inspiring reminder, a timeless contribution that makes one think – and hopefully act. Reading it you might recognize how many aspects of sustainability initiatives are still stuck in regulatory approaches that – according to Donella – are lowdown on the list of effective leverage points. The second highest effective leverage point, she suggests, is the power to create a paradigm shift. This is what she says about how to create a paradigm shift: “You keep pointing at the anomalies and failures of the old paradigm, you keep speaking louder and
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Leading for sustainability

Leading for sustainability is expressing your creative potential as well as your ability to bring forth the world with others. Although there is no need for radical break-ups, revolutions or sudden changes in activities,  it is important to listen to when your heart tells you:  “Here is a chance to redefine your leadership contribution”. If you want to lead for sustainability, take small and consistent steps: Watch you heart – is it involved, where can you feel passion ? Act on the urge, no matter how small your steps are. Be persistent despite the odds and setbacks. Know that you
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Leaders’ choices: collectively co-creating sustainability

Why is the change towards sustainability happening so slowly in many companies and initiatives? Could it be linked to leadership and the way leadership affects initiatives? Every change in an organization results from the choices made by dedicated people. Leaders are therefore co-creators of an interconnected reality. Leaders need to respond to a call for a sustainable world – as well as to questions about human dignity, inclusiveness, and a fairer distribution of wealth Leaders mirror their organization, while, at the same time, holding the potential to impact the way an orginisation view itself. Leadership based on lived values can change an entire
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Crisis invites us to move beyond command and control

Recently, a group of ecologists – working with large-scale terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine ecosystem – identified how crisis can add resilience to a system. Ecological change is not uninterrupted and steady –  rather, it is erratic. The slow increases of natural capital, such as biomass or nutrients, are interspersed by sudden releases and reorganizations of that capital – through natural processes or human imposed devastation. However, it is the very introduction of these interruptions which produces environmental diversity and variation. And it is often through attempting to control and lessen such impacts that a system loses resilience.  “That is, a
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