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…

6.5 Lessons From Basketball

Once they squeaked by the Houston Rockets, it was predictable that the Golden State Warriors would squash the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball League Finals. For those of you who are not basketball fans bear with me for a moment. Let me show you how lessons from basketball can make your meetings more effective. I begin with a personal note. I was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts where basketball was invented by Dr. … Read more…

Change the Brain for Good: Being a Verb Instead of a Noun

This entry* on attention is the final one of a five-part series on what we know about the impact of contemplative practice on the human brain and the relevance of these findings to doing meaningful work in groups. The first entry introduces this series and describes the impact of meditation on whether we can respond effectively to disturbing events instead of reacting to them. The second one investigates resilience; the third considers empathy and compassion; and the fourth investigates the impact of meditation on … Read more…