Saturday, May 09, 2009

SoL Conference Post #1

This week I had the opportunity to attend The Society of Organizational Learning's (SoL) Leading and Learning for Sustainability Conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference was lead by Peter Senge, an MIT professor who wrote The Fifth Discipline and The Necessary Revolution. Senge was also named as one of the 24 people who had "the greatest influence on business strategy over the last 100 years" by the Journal of Business Strategy. Needless to say, this week was an awesome opportunity. Not only to learn more about sustainability and systemic thinking but also to have a chance to learn different listening and visioning practices. This conference happened one year after I graduated college and that I believe is really significant. I'm going to be doing several posts on the teachings and personal applications of this week. I hope it inspires dialoguge and personal reflection for everyone who reads it.

The program objectives where:
  1. Deepen connection to source of generative leadership through clarity of vision and purpose and personal sustainability.
  2. Appreciate relationship between interior development and external action.
  3. Balance between intiating and sustaining systemic change in the long term and building momentum now.
We talk about the difference between "leadership" and "boss-ship." Something I learned is that the original meaning of "leadership" is the ability to help others step over the threshold. Whatever that threshold may be. Over the next three days, I learned that the language we use is very important and that I need to work on selecting the right words to use. Before I had just been concerned with getting my message out there, however, now I've come to realize I need to spend more time on picking my vocabulary wisely. We talked about how the word "sustainability" is not equal to the ability to care and is just an umbrella term for a lot of different things and has a different meaning to individuals. Following that discussion, we talked about if good leaders are born or made. Peter Senge pointed out that your point of view on that question sets up your view on your own personal development. George Marshall, one of only three five star generals in the US Army once said, "Great leaders are born, then made."

We then got into small groups and did our first "check in practice." Called What Do I Stand For, in which in small groups of complete strangers shared what we stand for. Here is what I came up with for myself:

I stand for:
  • God
  • Human rights issues, particularily around adsocent girls and water rights
  • Curiosity and always asking questions
  • Social media tools and hearing people's stories
What do you stand for?

No comments: