Saturday, May 07, 2011

Further thoughts on Social Change Through Multi-Generational Dialogue

The below is a section on my paper that I believe provides the foundation of why we need to change how we are talking in our organizations. Again if you would like to full paper, just let me know.

According to Bontekonig (2011) in organization and social structures based on hierarchical leadership models, newer generations are only able to contribute as much as the older generation allows. The older generations can choose to support the tendencies of the emerging generations which will update the surrounding culture or they can block these tendencies and effectively stymie social change. In a time of rapid change and complexity as we are now experiencing, slowing down or blocking the input of newer generations of leaders can be devastating to the social changes that are needed to address the complexity and challenges faced by our organizations and societies. Bontekonig says,
Each generation needs the support of the other ones to complete their destiny in improving the culture, be it in a company or in society....when a generation is not supported in a company, the leaders of this generation – about 15% of the generation – often leaves this company soon. The followers stay and adapt to the ongoing culture. Which means that the culture of this company will not be updated and slowly loses its vitality and inevitably will 'die' (p. 5).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Introduction to new paper: Social Change Through Multi-Generational Dialogue

Social Change Through Multi-Generational Dialogue
The root of our global crisis, more frequently than not, is a crisis of leadership” (Pór, 2008a, p. 14). This very well might be the foundation of the difficulties we face as we approach social change globally. We are depending on old paradigms of leadership which fall short of what we need as we organize to address the complexity and challenges of our world. Depending on older leaders who bring forth the knowledge and experience of leading in a world that no longer exists to train and develop emerging leaders is one of the artifacts we need to challenge if we are going to be able to act effectively to create the needed social changes to create a healthy world. Older leaders stand to learn just as much from younger leaders as younger leaders have to learn from older leaders. This paper proposes that we can transform leaders of all ages by bringing them together in multi-generational dialogue to address the pressing questions that we as people, organizations, and societies face now and into the years to come. Pór, a pioneer in collective intelligence, explains the old paradigm as well as what we can expect by changing the paradigm when he explains,
In hierarchy-ridden social institutions [or any organization]....the meaning making function is attributed to the top. Times of exponential expansion of knowledge and complexity call for a new, more capable mode of the social organization of meaning. When this happens, we won't be drowning in information while longing for wisdom (p. 11).
As we bring generationally diverse leaders into dialogue around questions that are critical to our future, we provide a framework for community intelligence to emerge. And when we add to this a global perspective that understands that all things are interconnected, we have the opportunity for global wisdom of the group to emerge and it is this group wisdom that will provide us the direction to move forward. As group wisdom is one of the important outcomes that this paper hopes to highlight, let's define what we mean by group wisdom and why it is different than collective intelligence. Atlee and Pór (2006) provide a us with a picture of the difference between collective intelligence and wisdom. They start by explaining that collective intelligence is not always wise and it is wisdom that we need which then leads us into their explanation of collective intelligence and wisdom. They say
In relation to intelligence, wisdom can be viewed as an expanded perspective and motivation that embraces more of the whole of the situation being considered. Collective intelligence is wise, then, to the extent it successfully embraces whole systems in all their complexity and contexts; the interests, capacities and perspectives of all stakeholders and of the systems, themselves; full, relevant, and nuanced information about the situation; the whole of who we are as human beings; any emergent realities and creative possibilities; and so on. The more that intelligence -- whether individual or collective -- embraces the whole of relevant reality, the wiser we can consider it to be.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A time to reflect on the years conversations

With school, work, health, and family, this has been an incredibly busy year. I can honestly say that I do not remember a year quite like it. So many wonderful outcomes of the conversations that I have had as well. After four years in my current role at work, our site is performing and our leadership team is doing well. I have been coaching and mentoring our leadership team to coach through conversation using conversational leadership, engage with their direct reports, simplify messages, and create the discipline to have the right conversations at the right time and not procrastinate. Incredibly after four years they are doing it and it is paying off. Our staff is doing much better and morale is up. Our site feels successful. Wonderful.

My family is doing great. David is working as a barista and he has a wonderful conversational style with his clients. They love him and he is having fun.  Hazel and Kinnera are also doing well with my Hazel helping at school and again dance skating. Kinnera loves school and is one of the top students in school. She is an example why gaming is not bad for kids. She is a fantastic gamer,  a fantastic student, and socially very connected. A fantastic kid.

School is going well. I am finishing my coursework so that I can start my dissertation starting in May. I study so much it is incredible. But I love the work. My field is dialogue and deliberation and the focus of my thesis is going to be developing generationally diverse leadership in conversational leadership through sustained dialogue using The World Cafe. Very exciting work and I am excited to begin. I will be glad to have my coursework behind me and focus on my dissertation. Another exciting transition in my life.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I know that I will.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation meeting in Portland

180 practitioners of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement gathered for the NCDD conference in Portland Oregon in November 13th. The organizers did a wonderful job of organizing the conference and having the opportunity to gather with so many people dedicated to furthering dialogue and public participation in our political process was fantastic. To start off the conference a World Cafe was convened in Friday night which was open to the public. I can in early to participate as there was no way that I would miss a World Cafe session. The conversation was excellent even though the turnout was not as big as I had hoped. The harvest from that Cafe was used to frame some of the questions posted for the next day.

The next day, the day of the conference, turned out to be a great gathering and sharing of ideas and practices. We had excellent speakers in the morning outlining creative public engagement practices and then an Open Space session in the afternoon where participants self-organized to talk about topics of interest. For both the World Cafe on Friday and for the speakers on Saturday, graphic recorders recorded the conversations which can be seen on the NCDD conference site. To see the details of the session visit the agenda for the conference.

Outside of having the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event with others interested in the field of dialogue, deliberation and public engagement, it was nice to be able to visit with all of these folks that I had never met. As I live 3 hours away from Portland, only those few from Bend who ventured over were familiar to me. The conversations that we engaged in were excellent and the co-generation of new ideas and sharing of ideas made the trip worth it. I will certainly go next year particularly if regional events are held again. In closing I would highly recommend that if interested in the field that you join NCDD and start helping this community do the excellent work being done to create conversations that matter.

I would also recommend that to get an in depth education in the field, join the DDPE certification program at Fielding Graduate University. The program is embedded within the Fielding HOD doctoral program that I am participating in full time or the master program in HOD but if you have a bachelors degree you can join a cohort and gain mastery in this fantastic field. And if interested in The World Cafe visit the World Cafe site or the World Cafe community and join in the conversation.

A World Cafe for fellow Fielding doctoral students and faculty

My friend and fellow doctoral traveler Bart Buechner hosted the November San Francisco Fielding Cluster meeting at the VA center in Yountville just north of Napa Calif. We had two faculty that came in to deliver a workshop on Critical Theory and I was to host a World Cafe after lunch. I did make it down but it was an arduous trip. I got to the airport in Redmond Oregon at 5:30 am and the plane was delayed and did not leave until 9:15. I got lots of reading in at least. I did make it down to the Bay Area and after picking up a car made it to the meeting at just after 1 pm, 4 hours late. But I did make it in time for some of the workshop, lunch, conversation, and then the delivery of the World Cafe. Most of the participants, 14 in all, had not experienced The World Cafe and one of those who had did not have a good experience so I was excited to introduce the fantastic dialogic process to the group.

We as a group came up with a question which focused on power differentials and the Obama election and whether Obama could make a difference and what our hopes and dreams had been in supporting the Obama election. We had a short amount of time so I did a quick philosophical introduction to The World Cafe as a dialogic process and then set 15 minute rounds and a 10 minute harvest. The conversation was outstanding and again based on the results it was clear that the power of dialogue is what can drive the healing of the world. Although it was a short meeting for me, the trip down was invaluable.

At 3:45 I hit the road to go to Woodside to have dinner and visit with my friend Deborah and her husband Stephen at the home of one of their dear friends. After driving in pouring rain the whole way I got there at 6 pm and stayed until just after 8 pm. Wonderful conversations with Deborah and the hosts. Let for the airport and got to the terminal at 9 pm. Noticed that my flight was delayed, thank God, as it had been scheduled to leave at 9:05. I have no idea how I thought that it left at 10. Well it was delayed until 10 and then until 11 and by the time I got home it was 1:30 am and I was exhausted. But it was well worth it.

The trip although a busy, was a reminder of how important dialogue is and how important gathering in friendship is to us. Have wonderful conversations and a great holiday season.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Using Dialogue Deliberation and Public Engagement for social justice

As I get closer to defining my dissertation, I am beginning to focus in on how to use dialogic practices to increase social justice in the world. I am currently working on a knowledge area for my doctorate in social change and my recent research has helped me focus on world-systems theory and gender and globalization. These tie closely together. First to explain a knowledge area. Fielding Graduate University is not a bricks and mortar framework where you go and sit in class, listen to a lecture, and test out. We have knowledge areas that we must research and demonstrate in the form of scholarly papers and projects our deep understanding of that knowledge area. There are many required and then others that can be added to inform the thesis. We contract with faculty, we have 40 or so, that specifically have the background to help us with our chosen direction. We chose our topics and focus, it is not dictated to us. We are a multi-disciplinary PhD program and I can draw off of multiple fields of social science to further my practice and studies. A very powerful paradigm.

World-systems theory is interested in economic inequality in the world and gender and globalization is concerned with women and girls and their role in the world. These are very important research topics to me and I am combining them and exploring how dialogue can help create social justice for women and girls in the world. Critical theory and feminist epistemology are also closely related to this work and I will draw heavily off of them.

Keep up the conversations to help heal our world.


Friday, October 15, 2010

A wonderful team of dialogue professionals

I just invested three full days in Baltimore with 8 other dialogue professionals who are joining with me in the journey to dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement certification. One faculty who led our cohort and 8 of us on the certification journey had a wonderful experience. It never ceases to amaze me just how talented others are. Being in three days of intimate dialogue around questions that matter was a fantastic experience. Each person was so talented and offered so much. We as well visited NTL Institute and AmericaSpeaks in Washington D.C. and had wonderful receptions by the teams at both groups. We also visited the Library of Congress and the rare book manager provided a tour and examples of rare texts on town hall meetings from the founding of our nation. Wonderful. Although I dialogue is a part of who I am this certification process is fantastic and this trip was a real treat.

Continue the conversations,


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dialogue Partner (Samtalspartner)

It has been a long time since I posted and I can honestly say that my doctoral work is keeping me buried, both in time and mentally. With that said my doctoral work is focused on dialogue and deliberation and is an expansion of the work in conversation that I have been doing over the last ten years. Of note is that I have finally defined what my role is in our world, and that is the role of dialogue partner. As you see in my title, I identify a dialogue partner as a Samtalspartner, a term and a practice from Sweden. Here is the definition of my practice:

Dialogue Partner (Samtalspartner) - in a relationship of mutual respect and trust with partners (or client systems) accompanying one another in service to generating value to all the stakeholders to the enterprise.

My doctoral work in human and organization systems from Fielding Graduate University provides a strong foundation for my field of practice as well as a focus on social justice which is of critical importance to me. So as I have moved forward in my field of practice, I have been digging even deeper into the field of dialogue and deliberation and am excited to apply this work as I explore new ventures where social justice is a critical component of the work.

My general field of study is as follows: Doctoral Student - Researching social transformation through multi-generational dialog using The World Cafe within a living systems framework. I am also completing a certification in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement which is giving me more tools to help communities of all types socially transform to create a healthier world for all people both human and non-human alike.

Thank you for visiting and continue the conversation.