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What should we do today to have a better future? #discussion-starter


Stan Garfield
 

In yesterday's call, Leif Edvinsson suggested that we continue the discussion by answering this question: What should we do today to have a better future? He would like to start a cross-generational dialogue, possibly using gamification as with WICI. Please reply to this thread with your thoughts. Thanks!


Jamie Muskopf
 

I made a few connections to work happening around me during Leif's presentation and perhaps I can start the conversation here by discussing them in the context of the question you're asking: "What should we do today to have a better future?"

First, I think we need to recognize that cooperation and competition go hand in hand now and even more so in the future in the very large systems around us. The U.S.'s relationship with China is one example of this so I look forward to reading your book, Leif. In order for the future to be "better", we must understand what this means, where and why we need to cooperate, and how that factors into both the mechanics and the outcomes of competition. Leif mentioned during his presentation that economic competition is different today because there has been a mindset shift. It would be interesting to explore today what shifts in mindset we need to have moving into the future as it relates to the topic of cooperative competition.

Second, Leif spoke about digital transformation, quantum society, and quantum leadership. These require not just cooperation, but a shared sense of community and purpose to be successful. I think we need to take a look at how we are creating, leading and participating in communities today because, in addition to policy changes in government and corporate culture shifts, we should not forget the role of the citizen and community in transformation. I'm currently immersed in Peter Block's 2008 book "Community" (I'm very late to that party!) and there's a passage I have read and shared several times over in the last 24 hours: "A shift in the thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and actions of institutions and formal leaders. This idea is in sharp contrast to the tradition of beliefs that better leadership, more programs, new funding, new regulations, and more oversight are the path to a better future. All of these are necessary at times, but they do not have the power to create a fundamental shift. The small group is the unit of transformation. It is in the structure of how small groups gather that an alternative future will be created. This also means that we must set aside our need for scale and speed. Scale, speed, and practicality are always the coded arguments for keeping the existing system in place." Understanding the power of small groups to affect the change and knowing how to leverage that today I think will lead to a better, more connected future. 

Would love to hear more thoughts on this interesting topic.


Wendi Bevins
 

Thanks, Jamie and Stan. I wish I'd been able to attend the session with Leif and will be sure to go back and look at the recording and slides. I appreciate your insight on the balance, or intentionality, around which aspects of competition and cooperation happen together simultaneously. 

As a parent, I've mulled on this idea of a better future for my child a couple different ways and keep coming back to one question: What am I having to 'unlearn' that I hope my child never even considers normal? I grew up in a very close-minded faith group and had to unlearn a lot of what I was taught to make sense of the world. As a white person in the US, I'm beginning the process to unlearn white supremacy, which is even harder because it's so deeply baked into every system and institution I know. I think that gets a bit at your second point, Jamie, that the work is led by 'normal' people, it can't wait for the right leader or the right movement. Those big influencers are important and can set good things in motion but the work must be done by normal people who shape and are shaped by what society considers normal behavior. 

This is an interesting thread and I hope more voices will join.

--
Wendi Lammey Bevins


Jamie Muskopf
 
Edited

Wendi, thanks so much for bringing your voice and your perspective as a parent into the conversation. I just attended a book club discussion about Barry O'Reilly's "Unlearn" with Barry O'Reilly who was lovely and very insightful. I highly recommend the book and looking into the work he's done on this topic. Though it's very much a leadership and management text, I found it so helpful on a personal level. In the book he writes, "People do not change their mental models of the world by speaking about it; they need to experience the change to believe, feel, and see evidence of it."  We need safe spaces to do that and we need small spaces to experiment and challenge ourselves before we ask others to change. That all happens inside and between 'normal people' as you mentioned. So perhaps another observation to come out of what you said is that to have a better future, we need safe spaces in which to challenge ourselves and our mental models (or "unlearn").


Ivan Butina
 

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry that I missed a call that apparently I should have attended.

@jamie@... thanks for sharing the quote from "Community." It resonates a lot with me both from a professional perspective as well as from based on my organizing experience. Within the professional context, I believe that organizational change can be achieved bottom-up by organized networked groups/communities who practice the desired change and advocate for it. I don't dismiss top-down initiatives, but in my experience, they tend to fail. Also, change takes time, hence one has to be ready to commit to the long term rather than looking for short term gains. Having said that, one also needs to be opportunistic by seizing opportunities when they appear. During my organizing/social activism experience, I advocated for focusing on the longer-term picture - where the real change happens - but it is difficult to do it as we are stimulated too much by developments that we feel we need to react to (hence we tend to be reactive instead of being in control), the distracting continuous social media buzz, and temporary attention one can more easily obtain nowadays (which serves no purpose if it doesn't fit a longer-term strategy). Given all this, I tend to say: "I prefer to work with a small group of people who have shared values and vision and are committed to them, rather than generating lots of buzz and having hundreds of thousands of people join without a clear vision, shared values, and commitment. 

As for the question "What should we do today to have a better future?" - thanks, Stan for posting it!1) We need to invest in leadership development at all levels, starting with younger kids. This is not about training but about continuous learning and practice. I firmly believe that any leadership development should also include self-discovery, introspection, and mindfulness. Only if one is aware of and connected with their own values, one can commit to practicing them for life and connecting with others in doing so. 2) We need to invest in collaboration and knowledge sharing - globally and for tackling the major global challenges. In doing this, I believe that KM has a crucial role to play. However, we need to elevate KM and infuse it with a new purpose that is about serving humanity - whether this happens from a private corporation, a government agency, an international organization, or a civil society or NGO it doesn't matter. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I was expecting to find a global KM platform - whether led by the UN, the World Economic Forum (they capture and share good practices on major global issues), or some academic consortium. I haven't searched hard enough, but I haven't seen anything alike. We need KM to leverage our collective intelligence, skills, experience, knowledge to tackle any global challenge to the best of our capacities. 

Finally, I recognize the importance of the collaboration/competition tension and would love to hear other's thoughts on it.

Best,
Ivan

On Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 12:59 PM Jamie Muskopf <jamie@...> wrote:

I made a few connections to work happening around me during Leif's presentation and perhaps I can start the conversation here by discussing them in the context of the question you're asking: "What should we do today to have a better future?"

First, I think we need to recognize that cooperation and competition go hand in hand now and even more so in the future in the very large systems around us. The U.S.'s relationship with China is one example of this so I look forward to reading your book, Leif. In order for the future to be "better", we must understand what this means, where and why we need to cooperate, and how that factors into both the mechanics and the outcomes of competition. Leif mentioned during his presentation that economic competition is different today because there has been a mindset shift. It would be interesting to explore today what shifts in mindset we need to have moving into the future as it relates to the topic of cooperative competition.

Second, Leif spoke about digital transformation, quantum society, and quantum leadership. These require not just cooperation, but a shared sense of community and purpose to be successful. I think we need to take a look at how we are creating, leading and participating in communities today because, in addition to policy changes in government and corporate culture shifts, we should not forget the role of the citizen and community in transformation. I'm currently immersed in Peter Block's 2008 book "Community" (I'm very late to that party!) and there's a passage I have read and shared several times over in the last 24 hours: "A shift in the thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and actions of institutions and formal leaders. This idea is in sharp contrast to the tradition of beliefs that better leadership, more programs, new funding, new regulations, and more oversight are the path to a better future. All of these are necessary at times, but they do not have the power to create a fundamental shift. The small group is the unit of transformation. It is in the structure of how small groups gather that an alternative future will be created. This also means that we must set aside our need for scale and speed. Scale, speed, and practicality are always the coded arguments for keeping the existing system in place." Understanding the power of small groups to affect the change and knowing how to leverage that today I think will lead to a better, more connected future. 

Would love to hear more thoughts on this interesting topic.


Ivan Butina
 

Given that via e-mail conversations split whenever there is a change in the title, I missed Wendi's point on unlearning - and thanks, Wendi, for sharing your experience!

I can see unlearning and creating safe spaces as two skills that definitely should be part of a leadership development program. In particular, I see a strong connection between this and the "self-awareness" work I believe is key for leadership. 

Best,
Ivan

On Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 3:57 PM Jamie Muskopf <jamie@...> wrote:
Wendy, thanks so much for bringing your voice and your perspective as a parent into the conversation. I just attended a book club discussion about Barry O'Reilly's "Unlearn" with Barry O'Reilly who was lovely and very insightful. I highly recommend the book and looking into the work he's done on this topic. Though it's very much a leadership and management text, I found it so helpful on a personal level. In the book he writes, "People do not change their mental models of the world by speaking about it; they need to experience the change to believe, feel, and see evidence of it."  We need safe spaces to do that and we need small spaces to experiment and challenge ourselves before we ask others to change. That all happens inside and between 'normal people' as you mentioned. So perhaps another observation to come out of what you said is that to have a better future, we need safe spaces in which to challenge ourselves and our mental models (or "unlearn").


Nirmala Palaniappan
 

I normally miss the calls because of the time zone difference and miss some of these online email threads as well. It feels good when I manage to catch up with these email discussions. Today is one such day. 

I picked up a really lovely thought from your message, Jamie. So important to not be obsessed with scale, speed and practicality. That resonates with me so well. Lots of organisations bark up the wrong tree and create toxic cultures because of this passion for scaling up and growing quickly and dismissing anything that’s not “practical”. However, I do feel the need for leadership as a lot of things in this world works because of influential philosophies and approaches promoted by charismatic people who have what it takes to change minds. 

Warm Regards
Nimmy 

On Sat, 29 Aug 2020 at 10:29 PM, Jamie Muskopf <jamie@...> wrote:

I made a few connections to work happening around me during Leif's presentation and perhaps I can start the conversation here by discussing them in the context of the question you're asking: "What should we do today to have a better future?"



First, I think we need to recognize that cooperation and competition go hand in hand now and even more so in the future in the very large systems around us. The U.S.'s relationship with China is one example of this so I look forward to reading your book, Leif. In order for the future to be "better", we must understand what this means, where and why we need to cooperate, and how that factors into both the mechanics and the outcomes of competition. Leif mentioned during his presentation that economic competition is different today because there has been a mindset shift. It would be interesting to explore today what shifts in mindset we need to have moving into the future as it relates to the topic of cooperative competition.

Second, Leif spoke about digital transformation, quantum society, and quantum leadership. These require not just cooperation, but a shared sense of community and purpose to be successful. I think we need to take a look at how we are creating, leading and participating in communities today because, in addition to policy changes in government and corporate culture shifts, we should not forget the role of the citizen and community in transformation. I'm currently immersed in Peter Block's 2008 book "Community" (I'm very late to that party!) and there's a passage I have read and shared several times over in the last 24 hours: "A shift in the thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and actions of institutions and formal leaders. This idea is in sharp contrast to the tradition of beliefs that better leadership, more programs, new funding, new regulations, and more oversight are the path to a better future. All of these are necessary at times, but they do not have the power to create a fundamental shift. The small group is the unit of transformation. It is in the structure of how small groups gather that an alternative future will be created. This also means that we must set aside our need for scale and speed. Scale, speed, and practicality are always the coded arguments for keeping the existing system in place." Understanding the power of small groups to affect the change and knowing how to leverage that today I think will lead to a better, more connected future. 



Would love to hear more thoughts on this interesting topic.









--
"The faithful see the invisible, believe the incredible and then receive the impossible" - Anonymous