Leadership and Networks
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Socialogy: An Interview With Eugene Kim

Socialogy: An Interview With Eugene Kim | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

I met Eugene at least five years ago when he was working at Blue Oxen, a social consultancy, and we’ve remain aware of each other’s work without ever actually working together. So I am remedying that in this minimal way, with an interview.


About Eugene Kim





Eugene is the co-founder of Groupaya, and his bio there is great, so I pulled a few bits of it:




Eugene hates the idea of putting people into boxes, which is good, because we can’t put him in one. he has worked as a writer and an editor, a researcher and an analyst, and a programmer and a manager. In 2002, he decided to bring all of these skills and interests to bear on his true passion: collaboration for social good. 


He believes that groups are smarter than individuals and that tools should serve people, not the other way around. When Eugene speaks, people listen. Sometimes he shares an insight, more often he raises an essential question, always he helps groups get clear.




The Interview


Stowe Boyd: I read your recent post, The Real Importance of Networks: Understanding Power. You wrote, ‘Networks are special because they are a lens that help us better understand power.’ And your presentation is that organizations exist to make the latent power of the people in the organization greater than linear.


Organizational structure is a shortcut. The problem is that shortcuts don’t always prove to be a good idea. - Eugene Kim


Eugene Kim: That’s the theory behind organizational structure at least. Ideally, in any group, you want the right hierarchies to emerge. For example, if I’m out in the woods with no food or water, I want to defer to the person in the group who has the best survival skills. And, if it turns out that that person proves time and again to be the best suited for making decisions, it makes sense to give that person some kind of formal authority — perhaps in the form of a leadership title — so that you’re not having to figure out the best person for every situation.


In other words, organizational structure is a shortcut. The problem is that shortcuts don’t always prove to be a good idea. The group promotes the person who was good at surviving in the forest into some kind of leadership role, but suddenly, you’re not in the forest anymore, you’re in New York City. Is that person still right for that role? And if not, how do you get the right person into that job?


Max Weber said that all organizational forms are destined to become more and more bureaucratic. Structure begets rigidity. A network-oriented mindset helps you fight that rigidity. In today’s world, that’s not only desirable, it’s necessary.


SB: You make the power relationship seem like a meritocratic decision of the group. And the legitimacy of a business elite has to be based on productivity, at face value. However, there is a great deal of oligarchic control in organizations, where those who are founders, owners, or more senior are in charge, but the conventional rationale for them having leadership roles is less about performance justifying their positions than the naturalness of hierarchy and people’s desire to be told what to do. I constantly encounter people that say things like ‘There we will always have hiearchy’ without actually trying to prove it.


EK: Most people’s experiences with organizations are with a certain kind of hierarchy, and so when it comes to creating our organizations, the natural thing to do is to default to what you already know, even if those experiences are wretched. It’s habit, and it’s human.


Max Weber said that all organizational forms are destined to become more and more bureaucratic. Structure begets rigidity. A network-oriented mindset helps you fight that rigidity. In today’s world, that’s not only desirable, it’s necessary. - Eugene Kim


I was always curious about why Wikipedia is so bureaucratic under the surface. Again, Weber says that it’s inevitable for all groups, but it didn’t make sense to me with Wikipedia. This is a community of people who live and breathe networks and self-organization, and who frankly are a bit counter-culture.


When I led the Wikimedia strategy process in 2010, I made it a side project to try to figure this out. After talking with a lot of folks, I came up with the following hypothesis. Most people who edit Wikipedia are in their teens and 20s. Many of them have only had experience being in one kind of institution — schools. When the community started experiencing the challenges of scale, they naturally dug into their own experiences for the solution rather than starting with base principles. Voila! Bureaucracy!


Starting from base principles is really hard. It requires a tremendous amount of discipline and a comfort level with uncertainty. But if you truly care about creating high-performance groups — and not everyone does — it’s necessary.


SB: I have said for years, ‘I am made greater by the sum of my connections and so are my connections’. A slightly different take on your formulation about the purpose of organizations is that each individual opts to connect to others to have the opportunity to cooperate with them, and through those networks advance their personal agenda. So, this power may be accumulation of the personal aspirations of the individuals, rather than a property of the disembodied organization.


EK: Wow, we’re really getting into some deep philosophical stuff here! I don’t know what the purpose of organizations are. I’ve already cited Max Weber, so I’m starting to get out of my comfort zone.


Here’s what I believe. I believe that individuals want to feel alive in everything that they do. Most of us do not feel alive. Self-help is a $11 billion industry, on par with the movie industry. We spend at least half of our waking lives at work, mostly in organizations. Most people feel like zombies while they’re at work. That’s not a good thing.


When you feel connected to other people, you feel alive. When you feel like you’re part of something bigger that makes you yourself feel bigger, stronger, more powerful, you feel alive.


When you’re not able to bring your whole self to work, when you’re part of something that’s constantly getting in your way rather than making you more powerful, that’s when you start to feel like a zombie. That’s the cost of rigidity.


SB: I completely agree with that sentiment. I once said,




Whatever else social business comes to be, it has to be based on how people operate when they feel most free, most creative, most engaged, and most needed. We have to build a way of working where the people doing the work matter as much as the work being done.


Whatever else, social business must be that.




In each Socialogy interview, the third questions relates to the concept that we are not applying the newest findings from science in the business setting, like cognitive science, anthropology, or neuroeconomics. What fields do you think are most relevant — and underutilized — in business?


Whatever else social business comes to be, it has to be based on how people operate when they feel most free, most creative, most engaged, and most needed. We have to build a way of working where the people doing the work matter as much as the work being done. - Stowe Boyd


EK: Sports, music — fields where we have clear models of high-performance groups. Business has long found sports to be a kindred spirit, yet two of the most important aspects of sports (and music) have yet to see widespread adoption in the business world. I’m talking about coaching and practice.


All of the top teams and the top athletes in the world have coaches. Same goes for musicians. What’s the percentage in the business world?


And how about practice? I know you’ll appreciate this, because of your background in martial arts. In sports and in music, you spend 90 percent of your time practicing and maybe 10 percent of your time performing. In business, the numbers are reversed. We pay lip service to the importance of certain fundamentals, like listening, but how often do we practice those things intentionally in safe spaces with feedback? You can practice listening — musicians do this constantly.


SB: Yes, I agree about high performance, but in areas outside of sports and martial arts a high performers share the characteristic of creating loose connections with lots of potential cooperators. And then when some new threat or opportunity comes along they rapidly compose networks and pull them into an ad hoc advisory or working group to figure out what to do. I guess that’s a kind of practice, too.


Eugene, thanks for your time.


EK: Not only is it a practice, it’s something that can be practiced. Why must we wait for high-stakes situations and then try to do these things cold, especially if those things feel unnatural? We need to be creating more safe opportunities to practice these so that it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable when the stakes are high.


In many ways, the Internet has been that space. I believe we’re experiencing a shift right now, because the first generation to grow up with widespread connectivity is now part of the workforce, and they’ve had many years to practice this kind of behavior. This is a good thing.


Stowe, thanks for having me! Always enjoy our conversations!


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


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Measuring the Impact of Civic Engagement

Measuring the Impact of Civic Engagement | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Provides an overview of the process used to develop tools to measure the impact of civic engagement practices in the human services field. Also presents the Civic Engagement Measurement System, which consists of an inter-related set of tools that represent a promising new approach to the measurement of outcomes and impacts in civic engagement.
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Three Ways Human Networks Can Help Drive Change

Three Ways Human Networks Can Help Drive Change | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Human networks provide an important, yet usually overlooked, resource. Wise leaders can tap these networks to boost company effectiveness.
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youthCONNECT: A (Net)Work In Progress | Venture Philanthropy Partners

youthCONNECT: A (Net)Work In Progress | Venture Philanthropy Partners | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
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What Really Matters for Resilience - a Mercy Corps Research Report

What Really Matters for Resilience  - a Mercy Corps Research Report | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
When a combination of crises struck Somalia in 2010/11, famine left millions in need of emergency assistance. Drought, political instability, conflict, and food price spikes all contributed to the worst crisis the region had seen in 60 years, and more than a quarter-million people died.

However, the costs of the crisis were not equally borne: Despite the absence of humanitarian assistance in certain regions, some families adapted or quickly recovered. In short, they were more resilient. We wanted to know why.

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Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance

Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Leaders can only lead in participation with others being led, so why do most business schools cling to notions of individualism?

Via june holley, Leadership Learning Community, Yanes Setyoningtyas
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BUILDING NETWORKS FOR CHANGE

BUILDING NETWORKS FOR CHANGE | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
It takes a campaign to change a policy.  It takes a network to change a system.  --June Holley There is a not-so-quiet revolution taking place in the way we work. We can see it everywhere in nature...

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The Network Navigator

The Network Navigator | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
The power of a networked world is shifting the emphasis of work from expertise to navigation. Are you ready to move from expert to network navigator?


From Expert to Navigator - a financial services example


Research into perceptions of an advice relationships in financial services consistently often comes up with a common theme. Usually, the financial services organisation is keen to build a trusted relationship with the client as an advisor and to demonstrate its depth of expertise in the advice process. 


However, these goals are rarely what the client is looking to achieve. The client is often more interested in building a relationship with someone who is responsive to their needs and who can to help them navigate the complexity to find their own answers. The complexity the client needs to navigate is not just the financial decisions; it includes the organisations own advice and service processes. In times of complexity, uncertainty & change, clients are reluctant to be dependant on someone else’s expertise. They want control. They want to be guided across the map of choices and find an easier way through the process.


The Network Navigator


Networks and the increasing pace of change that they bring about are having a similar disruption for the traditional model of expertise-based advice.


Relying on a proprietary stock of knowledge is no longer enough to justify an advice proposition. Knowledge is increasingly a flow. Stocks of knowledge are out of date too quickly as the network learns more faster by sharing.  If clients want access to stocks of knowledge, they can find the information themselves (& access a greater diversity of insight and experience) if they are prepared to put in the time and effort.  Doing that work for them on an outsourcing basis is a low value task.


The challenge of a networked era is no longer gathering a stock of knowledge. The challenge is leverage rapid flights of knowledge and guiding others through networked knowledge creation. The skills that rise to the fore are no those of hoarding a stock of knowledge. The skills are those of being able to connect people, share capability and create new knowledge together.


The 8 Skills of a Network Navigator


A network navigator does not need to know the answer. They do not even need to know the whole way to the solution. They need to be able to lead others, to leverage the knowledge of the network and to find a way forward in collaboration to create new value: 



Setting a course: In a complex world often the purposes, goals and questions are as unclear as the answers. Helping people clarify their objectives and questions before and during their engagement with the network is a critical role that the network navigator can play.


Seeing the big picture map: Navigators are people who can hold the network system in view and manage the micro detail to guide people forward.  A navigator creates new value with an understanding the broader map and new & better paths that others may not have considered.


Make new connections: Increasing the density of networks can be critical to creating new knowledge and value from network interactions.  Bridging weakly connected groups is another role that navigators can play to realise new insights and value.


Recruiting a crew and local pilots:  Building community matters in new network ways of working.  Community takes connection to a deeper and more trusted level and begins to accelerate learning and change.  Network navigators know how to recruit crew to their travelling community and add local pilots as they need to learn faster in new parts of the network.


Translating strange cultures: Connecting diverse groups often means that there are differences of context, language and culture to be bridged before conversations can create new knowledge. Network navigators have the skills to understand and share diverse inputs.


Logging the journey: A network navigator works out loud to record their journey and let others contribute and benefit from the record.  A network navigator nows there are many others seeking the same answers or looking for better paths forward and makes that possible by sharing their work and inviting others to contribute.


Weathering storms & avoid shoals: Journeys through networks are not linear and often unpredictable.  The navigator has the experience and the confidence to see others through the storms and to sustain others in their journeys. Most importantly, when the storm is darkest, they have the passion to keep pushing and keep experimenting.


Navigating where there is no map: Network navigators need to be able to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity.  They need to be able to lead others forward to learning even if it is dark and there be monsters.




Acknowledgements:  This post is in large part inspired by conversations with a wide range of participants that occurred during John Hagel’s recent visit to Melbourne for the Doing Something Good dinner and Centre for the Edge workshops that I attended.  It is also informed by ongoing conversations about new networked ways of working among all members of Change Agents Worldwide.  

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Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance

Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Leaders can only lead in participation with others being led, so why do most business schools cling to notions of individualism?

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How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different

How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different by Terry Heick This content is proudly sponsored by The Institute for the Habits of Mind, promoting the…

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june holley's curator insight, February 25, 2014 10:03 AM

Lots of information about the different kinds of thinking and action needed in the 21st century.

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Reflecting on the State of Enterprise 2.0 as an Organizational Culture Change Agent

Reflecting on the State of Enterprise 2.0 as an Organizational Culture Change Agent | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

Dan Pontefract's latest blog post about the state of Enterprise 2.0 - and the need for behavioural change in our organizations in the way we lead, learn and collaborate.


If we are to talk about the next generation of the enterprise — Enterprise 2.0 — then we must also discuss behaviour, culture, learning or leadership in concert with the premise of collaborative-based technologies.



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Efficienarta's curator insight, February 19, 2014 3:19 AM

The Chris Heuer quote in this blog particular resonated with me 

 

“connect with each other and figure out how to re-imagine our broken corporations and set about trying to fix them.”


In my experience this necessitates involving the people much more in the development and application of strategy and processes as well as the technology.

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Good Leaders Never Stop Learning

Good Leaders Never Stop Learning | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

Based on the book, Good Leaders Learn, Ivey Professor Gerard Seijts divulges key leadership lessons from some of today's most notable managers.



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Efficienarta's curator insight, February 14, 2014 5:09 AM

I do further and suggest that good leaders have teachable points of view and the first of these is that teaching and learning are core values of successful enterprises.

Rim Riahi's curator insight, February 19, 2014 11:07 PM

Have managers lost the ability to listen? Professor Jim Heskett reviews recent research that suggests we don't even listen to ourselves anymore. What do YOU think?

Jerry Busone's curator insight, February 24, 2014 10:38 AM

Love the 10 clear pathways to leading...

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Learning and Emergent Leadership at Google | Harold Jarche

Learning and Emergent Leadership at Google | Harold Jarche | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

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june holley's curator insight, March 19, 2014 11:00 PM

..you have to be willing to relinquish power."

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Three Ways Human Networks Can Help Drive Change

Three Ways Human Networks Can Help Drive Change | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Human networks provide an important, yet usually overlooked, resource. Wise leaders can tap these networks to boost company effectiveness.
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Connected leadership is helping the network make better decisions

Connected leadership is helping the network make better decisions | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
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Sourcing New Ideas Through Experimentation: A Starter Kit « Packard Foundation

Sourcing New Ideas Through Experimentation: A Starter Kit « Packard Foundation | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
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How leaders from across public services can work together better

How leaders from across public services can work together better | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Expert views on why we need better leaders, the challenges of collaborative working and how to overcome them (What do you think makes a good leader?
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Great Leaders Build A Culture of Courage In A Climate Of Fear

Great Leaders Build A Culture of Courage In A Climate Of Fear | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Fear is a potent human emotion that can sabotage success for even the brightest minds and biggest organisations. It can also undermine an organisations ability to harness the potential of those within it. Learning how to create a ‘culture of courage’ in which employees feel safe to push back, take risks and explore new possibilities is becoming an ever more valuable skill in today’s marketplace

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Hive Chicago Learning Network | Re-imagining learning

Hive Chicago is a network of civic and cultural institutions dedicated to transforming the learning landscape by creating opportunities for youth to explore their interests through connected learning experiences.

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june holley's curator insight, March 20, 2014 2:20 PM

This has a list of characteristics useful for network learning for network leaders.

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The Future of Leadership - Reading

The Future of Leadership - Reading | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
Leadership is the technology of human potential. We know that leadership needs new concepts to adapt to a network era. Without the right new leadership concepts, we won’t realise the human potential of the future of work.


Change Agents Worldwide is offering solutions and development opportunities for change leaders looking to make the transition to network era. I am excited to work with an extraordinary team of change agents to bring that about. Leadership can come from any role, so building capabilities matters for all individuals and for all teams.  The opportunities are tailored to people’s personal goals, needs and position in the organisation.


Getting Here


Creating the future of leadership in a network era takes a diverse series of influences. The list below is the set of books, articles and blogs that have most influenced my personal learning. Like all such lists it is partial and personal. There are too many great thinkers and leaders whose work I have not had the time to read or the space to include here. I have included a long list under categories to enable people to dip into sources that they may not have seen before.


If you are looking for some great places to start, here my list:


General Leadership Agenda:



The Leadership Challenge - Kouzes & Posner


On Becoming a Leader - Warren Bennis


Leading Out Loud - Terry Pearce



Leadership Stories



Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh


Maverick & The Seven Day Weekend - Ricardo Semler


The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership - Steven B Sample


Small Giants - Bo Burlingham



The Rationale For Change



Future of Management - Gary Hamel


Moonshots for Management or What Matters Now - Gary Hamel


The Responsive Organization Manifesto


The Manifesto for a New Way of Work - Stowe Boyd *



Adaptive Leadership Techniques:



The Work of Leadership - Ron Heifetz & Donald Laurie


The Practice of Adaptive Leadership - Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky


The Australian Leadership Paradox - Liz Skelton and Geoff Aigner


Solving Tough Problems & Power and Love - Adam Kahane



Discovering Purpose & Authenticity:



Purpose posts from this blog


Purpose - Nikos Mourkogiannis


True North - Bill George



Personal and Organisational Learning:



Seek>Sense>Share - Harold Jarche


Teaching Smart People to Learn - Chris Argyris


The Living Company - Arie De Geus



Working Out Loud:



Jon Stepper


Bryce Williams


The 3 Tiny Habits



Network Leadership:



Wirearchy blog - Jon Husband


The Network Navigator


6 Social Media Skills Every Leader Needs - McKinsey


The Power of Pull - Hagel, Seely-Brown & Davidson


Multipliers - Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown


Leadership that Gets Results - Daniel Goleman



Systems & Design Thinking



Fifth Discipline - Peter Senge


The Opposable Mind & The Design of Business - Roger L Martin


The Laws of Simplicity - John Maeda


Change by Design - Tim Brown



Communication:



The Communication Catalyst - Mickey Connolly & Richard Rianoshek


Fierce Conversations - Susan Scott



Community Building



Cultivating Communities of Practice - Wenger, McDermott & Snyder


Rules for Radicals - Saul Alinski


WISP at Sanofi Pasteur - Celine Schillinger


The First Follower - Derek Sivers




Any list like this is partial. These are the works on leadership that I go back to again and again as inspirations. This list clearly could be far more diverse and far longer. 


Whose leadership inspires you? Who has been left out of this list? What materials should people read or engage with to design the future of leadership in the future of work?  


I look forward to seeing your additional ideas and suggestions in the comments.


Notes


Change Agents Worldwide has a free e-book with essays on steps companies can take to be ready for the future of work.


* In an earlier version of this post Stowe Boyd’s Manisfesto was incorrectly referred to as The Manifesto for the New World of Work. The post has now been amended.

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june holley's curator insight, March 23, 2014 9:22 PM

Great reading list on network leadership - site has links to articles and books

Ian Berry's curator insight, January 7, 2015 4:32 PM

A lot of essential reading for change champions in these recommended books I agree with headline The future of work is under new leadership

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How Mentored Open Online Conversations nurture 21st century skills — All About MOOCs — Medium

How Mentored Open Online Conversations nurture 21st century skills — All About MOOCs — Medium | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it
I suggested in another post in this collection that MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses — apply new social technologies to an old way of…
Leadership Learning Community's insight:

Fabulous post on how important it is for network leaders to have conversations with others on what they are doing - and how important having a mentor in these settings is.

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Leadership skills for the year 2030

Leadership skills for the year 2030 | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

Will it be the ability to thrive amid uncertainty? To handpick talented employees in a remote region of China? Or just to stay awake as you visit three continents in three days?


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Kenneth Mikkelsen's curator insight, March 2, 2014 8:55 PM

The book; Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future  uncovers six megatrends that will dramatically impact organizations' markets, cultures, systems, and processes. You can read more about the book here


Download the Leadership 2030 whitepaper here

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Cultivating Collective Mindfulness: The Leader’s New Work

Cultivating Collective Mindfulness: The Leader’s New Work | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

The reality is that we—all of us, not just the financial elite—are the collective sleepwalkers. How do we wake up? Why is it that, across so many major systems, we collectively create results that nobody wants? Nobody wants to increase environmental destruction, poverty, cultural ADHD, or suicide. Yet we keep doing it. Why do we collectively recreate these patterns?


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Don Cloud's curator insight, February 10, 2014 8:44 PM

True leadership mindfulness ... transitioning from "me" to "we"!

Graeme Reid's curator insight, February 13, 2014 5:23 PM

A great thought-provoking article.  I get the sense that we are beginning to wake up to our realities of diminishing resources, lack of purpose, unhappiness etc - what is needed is a catalyst to speed up the rate of change.

Rim Riahi's curator insight, February 19, 2014 11:00 PM

The reality is that we—all of us, not just the financial elite—are the collective sleepwalkers. How do we wake up? Why is it that, across so many major systems, we collectively create results that nobody wants? Nobody wants to increase environmental destruction, poverty, cultural ADHD, or suicide. Yet we keep doing it. Why do we collectively recreate these patterns?

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8 Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace

8 Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace | Leadership and Networks | Scoop.it

The office is more than a place that employees go to earn a paycheck. Relationships between employees and employers are essential in creating an efficient and successful businesses. For these relationships to flourish and employers to successfully manage employees, there needs to be some degree of trust.


The Jacobs Model , outlined in an infographic, identifies eight drivers of trust that are necessary in the workplace.



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Pam Ross's curator insight, February 5, 2014 8:20 AM

I believe Trust is the foundation of positive workplace culture. 8 components of building trust here. 

june holley's curator insight, March 4, 2014 7:17 AM

Would be interesting to see how these apply to building trust in networks.

Wanda McKenzie's curator insight, June 18, 2014 12:46 PM

great infographic