Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Desertified

Desertification is a word used to describe the depletion of fertile land through abusive practices, such as deforestation or monocultural agricultural applications. Sustainability is sacrificed in the interest of short-term yields. The result is that rich, fertile, living soil becomes degraded and desertlike. 

When nature is treated like a finite resource rather than a living co-entity, desertification is reliably the result.  

I often see parallel desertifying dynamics playing out in human social environments, for the same kinds of reasons. 

When we humans choose to treat the Earth -- or Each Other -- in abusive and controlling ways, we are quite often successful.  We get the desired result of a whole lot of sameness, lack of diversity, monoculturalism.  That pervasive sameness looks, feels, and smells much like a desert - lifeless, infertile, depleted, de-energized,.........dead.

Is that really what we want, for the Earth or for Our existence?


Friday, October 16, 2020

RunWell

As a student athlete I was a member of the 4x400 relay team.  I remember coming off that last turn and heading into the home stretch.

OUR team success depended on MY performance.  And MY performance depended on how well I had conditioned myself to perform optimally.  Running well is as much a function of what goes on in our mind as it is a function of physical condition.

The best leaders I know understand this dynamic and build it into the daily disciplines of the organization.  Here are some of those daily disciplines wise leaders embed, promote, and celebrate:

> They talk about shared values ALL. THE. TIME.

> They identify habits that support the organization's vision and support, praise, and enable them, relentlessly.

> They deliberately prune organizational habits that do not highly align to (in some cases, even run counter to) the vision.

> They understand that it's the PEOPLE in the organization that determine its success (or failure), not the org chart or handbooks.

> They afford team members great autonomy in pursuing the vision of the organization.

> They persistently notice, persistently recognize, and persistently praise effort invested in the pursuit of the organization's vision (even when those efforts fall  a bit short).

Just like my relay-running days, performing well depends on disciplined conditioning - along ALL dimensions (and certainly not just around the physical components).

Friday, October 9, 2020

EscaLearn

I view schools as sanctuaries of learning.  Sacred places where ways of thinking, ways of knowing, and ways of behaving are transmitted generationally forward.  

As the core function of schools is LEARNING, the compelling need for increased learning applies just as much to the adults in those schools as it does to the children.  

Further, if the learning of the adults in schools is not occurring at a richer and brisker clip than the learning of the children, a problem exists.  

Further still, if the learning of the leaders in those schools is not occurring at a richer and brisker clip than the learning of ALL the other stakeholders (young and old alike), an even bigger problem exists.

Come to think of it, those same three assertion apply to ALL organizations.  At least they do for those that intend to survive.  When the learning stops, the circling of the drain accelerates.

LEARN forward, every day, on purpose.  Leaders show the way, please.

Monday, October 5, 2020

DogWagging

A desire for consistency in behaviors across organizational membership often results in an abundance (or, overabundance) of rules, regulations, protocols, levels of permission, ......  The effect is that members begin to feel that their purpose in the organization is to be compliant to the "rules" rather than to pursue the Vision of the organization.  

Organizational Vision (which in most cases is noble and worthy) begins increasingly to take on secondary status to the need for adherence to bureaucratic structures.  In effect, the tail begins to wag the dog.   

The best leaders I know fight relentlessly to ensure that the pursuit of the organization's Vision remains the premise for the daily decisions made and actions taken.  Metaphorically, they insist that the dog keep wagging the tail, and not the other way around.  

Beating back the DogWagging tendency is a never-ending battle for right-minded leaders.  

But, if the leadership doesn't resist it.....