Polarities Are Not Problems

Given how polarized the political climate in the US is right now, I thought it would be valuable to look at what polarities are and how we might better manage or leverage them at work and in our communities. This is the first in a three-part series on polarities.  A polarity is a state in which two ideas, opinions or beliefs are completely opposite or very different from one another. What polarities are showing up … Read more…

Six Myths About Leadership

What are your beliefs about leadership? That leaders are born, not made? That there is only one right way to lead? Or, that you need to be in a formal leadership position to lead? Let’s explore these beliefs and others that are myths (i.e., widely held beliefs or ideas). Myth #1 Leaders are born and not made.  If this is true then the $14 billion dollars spent annually on leadership development is a rather colossal … Read more…

The Power of Silences

Early in my career I had the privilege of working with an all Native-American Board of a foundation in the northwest and with the Board of a Buddhist Monastery. In each meeting, they taught me the power of silences: both spontaneous and planned. People around the world cultivate silence as a source of equanimity, creativity, and wisdom. For example, silence is an essential element in indigenous ways of knowing and healing as well as in … Read more…

They’re busy, but are they productive?

How many items are on your To-Do list? How many emails are in your inbox? How many meetings are on your calendar this week? As my dear husband and business partner Roger James asks, “They’re busy, but are they productive?” It’s another way of asking, “Are you achieving what you want to achieve?” Or, are you being gerbil-like, running around a wheel without considering what you really want to achieve in both the long- and … Read more…

Four Essential Questions: #4 Who Belongs?

This is the final entry in a four-part series that explores four questions: (1) What are we doing here? (2) Who is leading? (3) Who owns this place? (4) Who belongs? Aftab Omer , President of Meridian University, shared these “archetypal” questions while we were planning the annual gathering of the Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN) with the founders of the GLEN, David Sibbet and Gisela Wendling, and fellow GLEN members Karen Buckley and FireHawk Hulin. “Who belongs?” is writ large in … Read more…

Four Essential Questions: # 3 Who owns this place?

This is the third entry in a four-part series that explores four questions: (1) What are we doing here? (2) Who is leading? (3) Who owns this place? (4) Who belongs? Aftab Omer , President of Meridian University, shared these “archetypal” questions while we were planning the annual gathering of the Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN) with the founders of the GLEN, David Sibbet and Gisela Wendling, and fellow GLEN members Karen Buckley and FireHawk Hulin. Just as with the first two … Read more…

Four Essential Questions: #2 Who is leading?

This is the second entry in a four-part series that explores four questions: (1) What are we doing here? (2) Who is leading? (3) Who owns this place? (4) Who belongs? Aftab Omer , President of Meridian University, shared these “archetypal” questions while we were planning the annual gathering of the Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN) with the founders of the GLEN, David Sibbet and Gisela Wendling, and fellow GLEN members Karen Buckley and FireHawk … Read more…

Four Essential Questions: #1 What Are We Doing Here?

This is the first entry in a four-part series that explores four questions: (1) What are we doing here? (2) Who is leading? (3) Who owns this place? (4) Who belongs? Aftab Omer, President of Meridian University, shared these “archetypal” questions while we were planning the annual gathering of the Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN) with the founders of the GLEN, David Sibbet and Gisela Wendling, and fellow GLEN members Karen Buckley and FireHawk Hulin.  The question—what are we doing here—might appear … Read more…

Networks of Conversations

Conversations, aka meetings, are the sine qua non of organizations and communities. They are how things get done. “Is there anything that matters that isn’t done through conversations?” asks Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan, authors of The Three Laws of Performance. Planning, problem solving, policy setting, coaching or staying up-to-date with colleagues: all of these occur through conversations. In addition, meeting conversations feed into other ones. Managers develop a recommendation for a board of directors. … Read more…

Creating A “Friendly Emptiness”

A friendly emptiness? That sounds paradoxical. Let me explain. In my blogs I write about how to include and interact effectively with those who might, at least on the surface, differ from us. Perhaps I am naïve in still believing this is desirable and possible. In the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in language, law and policy that seeks to divide us into categories where some are included and others excluded … Read more…