Monday, December 17, 2012

Framing Leadership Literacies

Then there’s now, our very own information age, the fastest and most global of all the four great epochs in the history of human communication.  It’s a bit startling and perhaps humbling to consider that one of the greatest transformations in human interaction is playing out across our everyday lives…We’re so busy attending to multitasking, information overload, privacy, our children’s security online, or just learning the new software program and trying to figure out if we can really live without Twitter or Four Square, that we haven’t rethought the institutions that should be preparing us for more changes ahead.     From Cathy Davidson, NOW YOU SEE IT! How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

The future is not what it used to be.

For the past five or so years, I’ve been pearl diving for insights into what’s needed for rapid shift times, looking for a touchstone to frame key organizational survival skills.  I use the term survival both in the sense of organizational viability and of organizational well being when there’s turbulence all around.

The future is not what it used to be, nor are the literacies called for to help our organizations and communities flourish.

The use and usefulness of the term ‘literacies’ for essential for 21st century knowhow didn’t originate with me. Last year, I worked on a client project to assist an organization in rethinking their talent strategy.  During the process, we pulled up diverse vantage points on skills needed for the 21st century workplace.

The term ‘literacy’ generally refers to the ability to read and write, the most basic of skills, in western culture at least. But as I reflected on what will be called for from us in the next years, where even the probability of human survival is being questioned, it seemed that what is needed is more fundamental than skills or competencies. To flourish in the next iterations of our organizations and communities, we have to become literate in new ways, not just a linear progression of enhanced skilling up.  What is needed is somehow fundamentally different than before.  

Literacy is a more generative, as well as more urgent, term.  If we must be literate in something, it means that we cannot fully participate or craft our human world without a particular ability.

In searching around to see how literacy is now defined, this from Queensland, Australia educational planning stood out: “To be literate in the 21st century, one must have ' the flexible and sustainable mastery of a repertoire of practices with the texts of traditional and new communications technologies via spoken language, print, and multimedia, and the ability to use these practices in various social contexts. [Adapted from Anstey, M. Literate Futures Report, Queensland, p.9, 2002]

Another new take on literacy from the Oregon State Board of Education: The combination of foundation skills (reading, math, writing, and communication) and workplace skills (teamwork, resource allocation, decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, personal self-management, and technology competence) necessary to adequately function as workers, family members, and members of a community in an information society.  []

And, as it turns out, both Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan used the term ‘literacies’ a generation ago to mean much more than reading and writing. More recently, Cathy Davidson, Duke University professor provided her own checklist of literacies for the digital age in her recent book, Now you See it: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, [see Appendix.]

The Institute of the Future has done deep work on literacies for the future. In 2004, they published a paper by Andrea Saveri, Howard Rheingold, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang and Kathi Vian on the literacy of cooperation, considering the opportunities of collaboration, cooperation, and collection action applied to the dilemmas of our time. And, they continue to do groundbreaking work in the area.

New literacies mean that leadership is also called to be different.

Over the next weeks, this will be our topic.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Studio Series--Revised

Here is an updated listing of workshops coming up that have their base in Appreciative Inquiry connected to other stregnth-based approaches and literacies.

Contact me to discuss your participation.

Working from the strengths we discover in ourselves and our communities
Asheville, NC

Three different small-studio explorations into the theory, principles and practice of AI. You will expand your capacity for facilitation, collaboration and leadership in today’s shifting organizations.

In a time of such rapid change, it can be difficult for any of us to wrap our arms around how the shifts in our culture, technology, and knowledge might affect our daily lives. What do we need to learn? How is this impacting the way we lead and participate in our communities? Appreciative Inquiry (AI), at heart, is an inquiry into what gives life in a system. It provides a path to tap, track, raise, and direct energy. Incorporating the principle that organizations and people do not need to be fixed but affirmed, Ai deepens our ability to benefit from the collective intelligence contained within our organizations.

1  Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry
23-24 January [Wednesday & Thursday]
$863.00    Limited to six participants Register early

In this initial 2-day workshop, participants explore and experience the principles and practice of AI, getting basic skills necessary to apply it immediately. This studio is designed for people who want to get started with Appreciative Inquiry or want a thorough review.
Discover, enrich and transform your ability to:
• Move from a problem to a solution focus
• Frame and focus individual, group, and system strengths
• Tap the power of language and stories in finding answers to tough issues
• Generate powerful conversations that move you forward

Explore research on organizational implications of positive psychology and neuroscience, Examine recent case studies and lessons learned from applying AI to a variety of industries and situations.

2  Appreciative Inquiry and the Future:
Leadership Literacies for This Century
15—17 January [Tuesday evening, Wednesday & Thursday]
Prerequisite: training in basics of AI
$1097.00     Limited to 6 participants

Leaders who have been exposed to the Appreciative approach have welcomed the opportunity to balance the usual deficit-based problem-solving framework with the power of a collaborative, strengths-based approach to developing teams, fostering innovation, and increasing collaboration and connection. In this studio targeted to your particular leadership situation, we will explore key literacies and match them with strength-based practices, considering these questions together: 
How can we quickly define and leverage our strengths and the strengths of our customers and partners?
• How can we keep tapping our collective intelligence and resourcefulness to find vision and solutions for the way forward?
• How do we shift our frames as organizations and communities demand that we get better at working with the multiplicity of current perspectives?
• What will it take for us to collaborate better, both inside our organization and with our stakeholders and communities?

3 AI Everyday: 5 Ways
6--7 February [Wednesday & Thursday]
Prerequisite: training in basics of AI
$863.00 Limited to eight participants Register early

More than any other request, I hear from people that they want to learn ways to apply AI everyday in their lives, not just use it for big events. This two-day studio focuses on exactly that:

o Power of Reframing: Learning to reframe issues and dilemmas from deficit to solution everyday, Get more experience in choosing the most powerful topic you can pose;
o Power of Connecting Multiplicity and Wholeness: Tapping and developing the collective collaborative capacity that is already present in our organizations;
o Power of Strengths and the Positive: Bringing out the best in people while achieving key results, shifting from a deficit to strengths focus and greater team engagement;
o Power of Questions: Focusing our attention, direction, and intention with powerful inquiry;
Power of Playing FAIR: Practicing a framework for difficult conversations that can be used everyday

Upcoming Spring Workshops:
• META AI: Appreciative Organizational Design and Governance
• AI Summitry: Tapping Whole Systems to Move Organizations and Communities Forward
• Leadership Literacies [Part 2]: Framing Leadership in the Opportunities of our Time

How To Register:
If you bring a friend, you will both enjoy a 20% discount. If you have taken an AI course with Sallie before, you will receive a 10% discount. If you have taken one of these courses before and want to review it, you can do that for a 50% discount. Under 30 and looking to make a difference in your community? Also a 50% discount. If you are interested in taking two or three of the workshops, you will also receive a package price. Let’s talk.

Sallie Lee

Thursday, December 6, 2012

RSA Animate - The Power of Outrospection

Wonderful animation from RSA on the kinds and conditions of empathy, even the idea of collective empathy, and how that rises and falls in our cultures with the times. Where do you think we are in the US as a culture in terms of extending collective empathy?