Saturday, April 21, 2007

ED Leader Newsletter #8

Dear ED Leader Subscriber:

You will find a mixture of articles in this week's newsletter. As you can tell, one of our objectives is to tap the vast well of leadership knowledge out there and apply that knowledge to economic development.

The leadership field is broad and deep. Economic developers should be using what is out there to strengthen leadership in their organizations.

Next week we will have another ED Leader profile or two. The interview with Jeff Finkle a couple weeks ago was very well received. I think you will also enjoy the two upcoming interviews.

The following articles were posted to the ED Leader website in the past week:

We look forward to hearing from you. Please visit the ED Leader website here to view archived articles.

Best wishes,

Don Iannone, Publisher

Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Leadership

A recent article by Nikos Mourkogiannis speaks to the importance of purpose in sparking organizational leadership. It is an excellent read. Here is a summary from the article to whet your appetite. Purpose is critical to our success in economic development. Think about the applications of these ideas to your organization.

"For any organization, the starting point of greatness is not in meeting expectations--whether of shareholders, board members, or constituents--but fulfilling a Purpose that fits the identity of the organization. For example, is a foundation charged primarily with discovery: inventing new approaches to helping people? Or with excellence: promoting a high standard of service and execution? Or with altruism: making greater numbers of people happy? Or with heroism: proving that difficult challenges (such as natural disasters) can be mastered?

The answer will vary from organization to organization, but the central point is universal. Organizations that thrive over time do so by invoking and fulfilling a purpose: ideally one based on a moral tradition that has stood the test of time. In my book Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies, I apply this principle to commercial firms and corporations, but the value of a moral basis of purpose is just as relevant to social sector organizations and their leaders as it is to leaders in any other sphere. While it may be tempting to think of organizations as being made up of instructions, processes, and resources, it should never be forgotten that people are their fundamental components. And one of the distinguishing features of people is that they have strong ideas about what is right and wrong. If you can resonate, collectively, with those ideas, then you can tap into people's commitment and creativity to a far greater degree. Karl von Clausewitz, Prussian general and author of On War, was right to believe that in war the physical factors are "little more than the wooden hilt, while the moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon, the finely-honed blade."

Many people who talk about organizational purpose are concerned either with accountability or responsibility--what the organization must do to fulfill its obligations. But if you are interested in promoting greater levels of success, then purpose must be considered as a form of choice: to what ends are the leaders, and the rest of the organization, willing to commit themselves? This way of looking at purpose may not be familiar to all readers, so I will spell it out--first in the context of commercial companies, and then for the social sector."

Source: Leader to Leader, No. 44 Spring 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Leadership Essential: Use Your Intuition

Book: Developing Your Intuition: A Guide to Reflective Practice (Author: Talula Cartwright )

Subject Matter

Leaders often have to make decisions without complete information, and those decisions are expected to be not only right but also timely. Using reflective techniques can help you learn to depend on your intuition for help in making good decisions quickly. Reflective practices may seem time-consuming at the beginning, but the time you put in on the front end is well worth the investment. It will pay you back both in time and in the quality of the decisions you make.
I can personally attest to the value of working on your intuition. I just completed a ten-week course on the subject and practice does make perfect! Anyone can learn to tap their intuitive wisdom. I have a "hunch" your leadership will benefit from some intuition training.
Executive Summary
Strategic and tactical choices can’t always wait. Without the confidence to trust their intuition, less effective managers may analyze too long, second-guess their decisions, or change course midstream. Reflective techniques help managers understand that they have alternative ways of thinking about problems.

Managers who are open-minded about using these reflective practices can boost their confidence in their intuitive thinking. They can learn to trust their instincts when critical situations demand quick decisions and when complex problems defy easy answers.

Reflective practices may be considered whole-brain activities. They work by connecting R-mode and L-mode thinking, and thereby provide access to data, facts, values, experiences, hunches, analysis, evaluation, intuition, different perspectives, and feelings. That connection and access make reflection a whole-brain activity.

One of the most helpful tools for reflective practice is a journal. Keeping a journal greatly improves the chances of remembering important experiences, and it also provides a place to reflect on them. You can use your journal for writing, drawing, pasting in photos and other visual images, and for recording your hunches. You can also combine journal writing with other tools for reflective practice: imaging, dreams, analysis, and emotions.

The paradox managers learn as they grow accustomed to using reflective practices is that even though these processes seem time-consuming at the beginning, they actually enable the savvy and seasoned leader to make decisions more quickly. The time you put in on the front end to strengthen your confidence in your hunches and gut feelings is well worth the investment, and it will pay you back in time and in the quality of the decisions you make and how effectively you solve problems.

Click here to order Developing Your Intuition: A Guide to Reflective Practice.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Harvard's Great American Leaders Database

Want access to the Whos' Who of US business leaders. It's yours for the asking from Harvard Business School?
The Great American Business Leaders database was compiled in an effort to identify and chronicle the lives of 20th century men and women whose business leadership shaped the ways that people live, work, and interact.
The Leadership Initiative staff created this database as a resource to help better understand and learn from the business leadership legacies that have been developed and nurtured over time. Capturing and illuminating the lessons of the past will undoubtedly assist in better preparing leaders for tomorrow.

Note: A narrow selection of fields from the database can be viewed on this website. Please complete the attached form for access to an electronic copy of the full data set.

The Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School was created as a catalyst to achieve the School's mission..."to educate leaders who make a difference in the world." Since its inception, HBS has been committed to shaping business leaders with the integrity and capabilities to build world-class organizations. Today, the Leadership Initiative seeks to ensure that HBS remains at the forefront of leadership research and development for the 21st century and beyond.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Governance Futures Research Project

Under the leadership of BoardSource and in collaboration with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University, the Governance Futures Project seeks to discover, develop, and disseminate innovative governance strategies that vary significantly from conventional practices.

The project is based in part on the assumption that some governance problems arise from the very design of our governance models -- not merely from poor execution of those models -- and that we ought to explore the potential of alternative governance designs, even as we continue to help boards perform better with the governance models they now use. A bigger set of ideas, tools, and models may improve governance and thereby enhance the accountability of the nonprofit sector.

Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, co-authored by Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan and Barbara E. Taylor and published by John Wiley & Sons is a result of the Governance Futures Project.

Governance Futures is supported by several funders, including The Atlantic Philanthropies, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.

To learn more:

About the Researchers
Case Studies
Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leading from "Whole" Visions

I like to share with you a clip from an article entitled Awakening Faith in an Alternative Future, A Consideration of Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, which was published in Reflections, the journal of the Society of Oranizational Learning. It introduces us to a new way of thinking about things, especially how we conceive of and organize life; or more appropritaely how life organizes itself.
"Presence offers a theory of profound change that is both radical and simple, based first on understanding the nature of wholes, and how parts and wholes are interrelated. Our normal way of thinking cheats us. It leads us to think of wholes as made up of many parts, the way a car is made up of wheels, a chassis, and a drive train. In this way of thinking, the whole is assembled from the parts and depends upon them to work effectively. If a part is broken, it must be repaired or replaced. This is a very logical way of thinking about machines. But living systems are different.

Unlike machines, living systems, such as your body or a tree, create themselves. They are not mere assemblages of their parts but are continually growing and changing along with their elements. Almost 200 years ago, Goethe, the German writer and scientist, argued that this meant we had to think very differently about wholes and parts.

For Goethe, the whole was something dynamic and living that continually comes into being “in concrete manifestations.”2 A part, in turn, was a manifestation of the whole, rather than just a component of it. Neither exists without the other. The whole exists through con­tinually manifesting in the parts, and the parts exist as embodiments of the whole. The inventor Buckminster Fuller was fond of holding up his hand and asking peo­ple, “What is this?” Invariably, they would respond, “It’s a hand.” He would then point out that the cells that made up that hand were continually dying and regenerat­ing themselves. What seems tangible is continually changing: in fact, a hand is completely re-created within a year or so. So when we see a hand – or an entire body or any living system – as a static “thing,” we are mis­taken. “What you see is not a hand,” Fuller would say. “It’s a ‘pattern integrity,’ the universe’s capability to cre­ate hands."

For Fuller, this “pattern integrity” was the whole of which each particular hand is a “concrete manifesta­tion.” Biologist Rupert Sheldrake calls the underlying organizing pattern the formative field of the organism. “In self-organizing systems at all levels of complexity,” says Sheldrake, “there is a wholeness that depends on a characteristic organizing field of that system, its morphic field.” Moreover, Sheldrake says, the generative field of a living system extends into its environment and connects the two. For example, every cell contains identical DNA information for the larger organism, yet cells also differ­entiate as they mature – into eye, heart, or kidney cells, for example. This happens because cells develop a kind of social identity according to their immediate context and what is needed for the health of the larger organism. When a cell’s morphic field deteriorates, its awareness of the larger whole deteriorates. A cell that loses its social identity reverts to blind, undifferentiated cell division, which can ultimately threaten the life of the larger organism. It is what we know as cancer.

To appreciate the relationship between parts and wholes in living systems, we do not need to study nature at the microscopic level. If you gaze up at the nighttime sky, you see all of the sky visible from where you stand. Yet the pupil of your eye, fully open, is less than a centimeter across. Somehow, light from the whole of the sky must be present in the small space of your eye. And if your pupil were only half as large, or only one quarter as large, this would still be so. Light from the entirety of the nighttime sky is present in every space – no matter how small. This is exactly the same phenomenon evident in a hologram. The three-dimensional image created by interacting laser beams can be cut in half indefinitely, and each piece, no matter how small, will still contain the entire image. This reveals what is perhaps the most mysterious aspect of parts and wholes: as physicist Henri Bortoft says, “Everything is in everything."

When we eventually grasp the wholeness of nature, it can be shocking. In nature, as Bortoft puts it, “The part is a place for the presencing of the whole.” This is the awareness that is stolen from us when we accept the “machine” worldview of wholes assembled from replaceable parts.

Source: Reflections (Society of Learning Journal)
As we think about leading local economies and communities, how can we apply these concepts to ensure that we cultivate their learning and growth in the proper directions?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Leadership Profile": Juana Bordas

Diverse leadership is vital to economic development success. I ran across a wonderful interview with Juana Bordas and would like to share it with ED Leader readers. The following story comes from LatinaStyle Magazine.

The Mestiza Leadership Institute in Boulder, Co., has made a name for itself since its inception in 1995 as the consulting firm to turn to for tapping into the benefits of multicultural leadership. Behind it all is an exceptional woman who learned at an early age that servant leadership, a lifetime dedicated to helping and giving back to the community, was her calling in life.

Juana Bordas has taken many turns in her professional life. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, founded Mi Casa Resource Center for Women in Denver, Co., and now heads Mestiza and several successful non-profit programs. Her ambition and passion were borne out of her experience as the daughter of immigrants, which marked her as different from her peers. Even at a young age, Bordas realized the importance of being part of a collaborative, supportive group.
“I had a real inferiority complex as a child. My parents spoke broken English, we were poor, I was small and dark — a lot of things were going on,” recalls Bordas, whose parents immigrated to Florida from Nicaragua before she was born. “The thing that was an anchor for me was that even as a young girl I understood that girls help each other. For everyone, there’s a network of people that support you and surround you.”

Bordas has dedicated her career to creating a network of Latinos reaching into the highest echelons of corporate America. She has been at the forefront of diversity leadership issues since she became the first Latina faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership, an elite center for training top-notch executives; it was that experience that inspired her to create a consulting center geared specifically toward the needs of the Latino communities.

“I got the idea that what we needed in our community was the training, because the real missing piece in that top level of trained leaders is the Latino piece,” she says.

Bordas went on to make her mark as the founding president and CEO of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, now located in Arlington, Va., and then founded Mestiza Leadership International in 1995. Mestiza, the Spanish word for people of Native American and European heritage, seemed a perfect name for Bordas’ new endeavor, which specializes in training and developing a work environment that encourages diversity and effective leadership.

“[Mestiza] signifies that Latinos are mixtures, and that we are so diverse that we can become a model for the whole world,” she says. “Sometimes people don’t understand what the word means, but it doesn’t bother me because I’m working for posterity here!”

Bordas’ vision of her legacy led her to create her non-profit venture, the Institute for Mestiza Leadership, three years ago. Under the umbrella of the Institute, Bordas created a training program called the Circle of Latina Leadership. Approximately 70 women between the ages of 22 and 45 have been through the program to date. It has been so successful that Bordas created another program, Compañeras, a community-oriented extension of the Circle. In Compañeras, women who’ve been trained in the Circle give back to the community by mentoring 12-year-old girls. Bordas dreams that these young women will grow up to become Latina leaders in their own right and, in turn, to become compañeras (companions) and mentors themselves.

Compañeras also features a distinctly Latina twist: The young women being mentored are invited into the mentors’ homes, and the mentor is invited into the mentoring subject’s home. “Part of our view is the thought that our advancement is pretty empty if it doesn’t involve la familia, the family,” Bordas says. “We believe that our young people need to know their roots, their mentors, the ones who have passed on before us.”

Bordas seems to be in her element when she’s multitasking and juggling her considerable roster of programs, the publishing of her first book, her speaking tours, and life as a mother to three adult daughters: Chela, a lawyer; Carmen, a bilingual teacher; and Paloma, a student.

Bordas’ first book is tentatively entitled “The Tribe of Many Colors: Leadership for American Democracy,” and could be published as soon as the spring of 2005. It tackles the integration of the leadership practices of people of color within the American democracy.

“Leadership is moving toward collective, or team-based, leadership, or reciprocal leadership,” Bordas said. “So my book takes a look at the different dynamics in each community [of color], examines how they lead, and presents the thesis that until we integrate the practices of all our people into democracy and into organizational structures, one cannot have democracy.”

Another of Bordas’ projects is the Latino Leadership Development Program, a five-day intensive training session she founded in 2002 through Mestiza Leadership International. The program has been tailored expressly for Latinos at the executive level.

“What we teach you is: How do Latinos approach corporations to sell our endeavors? How do we market ourselves? Where is the great Latino advantage? What is it we have to offer?” she says. “We have to develop leaders that are very strategic and that have to promote change. We have to promote leaders with corazón.”

Tapping into the Latino advantage, Bordas says, strengthens the Latino network at the top and creates a greater network of mentors.

If Latinas cannot tap into a network, Bordas counsels them to set up the network on their own and abolish the stereotype of the old boys’ network as the prototype for the mentoring system. “For a young Latina that doesn’t have a mentor, I say, ask someone!” she urges. “Don’t forget that even the people around you, your peers, your comadres, are possible mentors. We get this idea that a mentor has to be a certain type of person, and they don’t.”

Bordas’ uplifting vision and her devotion to the Latina community earned her an induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997, a Wise Woman Award from the National Center for Women’s Policy Studies and the Franklin Miller Award from the United States Peace Corps. Bordas has a reputation as the person to turn to for countless corporations interested in maximizing the strengths of a diverse workforce.

“Latinas are starting businesses faster, getting into Congress and politics overall faster, and have so many qualities that are attractive to the dominant culture,” Bordas says. “The groundwork really has been laid. The opportunities are pretty wide open today, although there’s still a lot of bias and a lot that we have to do.”

Bordas’ vision for the future is one that will forever involve her devoting her time and energy to her ideal of servant leadership.

“I believe I’m going to do my best work in my ’80s! The thing I take away is that to be involved and to help people is very joyous,” she says. “It’s fun! I have such a hard time understanding why people don’t get involved.”

Source: LatinaStyle: National Magazine for the Contemporary Hispanic Woman

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Futurism: A Tool for ED Leaders

Futurism can help economic development leaders ascertain the future they are working to lead toward. Like the idea? Here are a few of the most common techniques used in futuring.

* Scanning: An ongoing effort to identify significant changes in the world beyond the organization or group doing the scanning. Typically, scanning is based on a systematic survey of current newspapers, magazines, Web sites, and other media for indications of changes likely to have future importance. Scanning focuses mainly on trends--changes that occur through time--rather than events--changes that occur very quickly and generally are much less significant for understanding the future.

* Trend Analysis: The examination of a trend to identify its nature, causes, speed of development, and potential impacts. Careful analysis may be needed because a trend can have many different impacts on different aspects of human life, and many of these impacts may not be apparent at first. Longer life spans, for example, increase the number of people for whom resources must be provided, but also increase the number of people who can contribute to the economy and society through paid and unpaid labor.

* Trend Monitoring: Trends viewed as particularly important in a specific community, industry, or sector may be carefully monitored--watched and reported regularly to key decision makers. For example, a rapidly rising unemployment rate or the appearance of a deadly new disease may have significant impacts on many different organizations and communities. On the other hand, fashion trends may be of keen interest to such people as clothing manufacturers or fashion-forward consumers.

* Trend Projection: When numerical data are available, a trend can be plotted on graph paper to show changes through time. The futurist can then extend the trend line or "project" it into the future on the basis of the recent rate of change. Such a projection shows where the trend should be at some point in the future assuming there is no shift in the rate of change. Example: A population with a steady 2% rate of annual growth will double in about 35 years.

* Scenario Development and Analysis: We all explore future possibilities through our imagination. For instance, we try to imagine what would happen if we accepted a job at a certain company: What good things--and bad things--might happen to us as a result of taking the job? Scenarios are attempts to imagine future possibilities on the basis of what we know (or think we know). Scenarios are useful in helping us to understand what might happen as a result of a decision we may make.

The future development of a trend, a strategy, or a wild-card event may be described in story or outline form. Typically, a scenario seeks to show one plausible way that the future might unfold. Scenarios are particularly useful in futuring because of the general uncertainty of the future. Typically, several scenarios will be developed so that decision makers are aware that future events may invalidate whatever scenario they deem most likely and use for planning purposes.

* Consulting Others (Polling): Since "two heads are better than one," we may ask other people--often experts--for their opinions about the future. Other people can also advise us on whether we are likely to enjoy a trip to a certain city, for example. Business executives and government leaders constantly use consultation as a means of understanding the possibilities of the future and making better decisions. Data may be collected through face-to-face conversation, telephone interviews, and questionnaires sent by electronic or ordinary mail. Delphi polling, popular among futurists, uses a carefully structured procedure to generate more-accurate forecasts.

* Models: Events that occur in the real world can be imitated in ways that help us to understand them better. A model of a building can help people to understand what a future building may look like. A map is a two-dimensional model that enables us to tell which streets we will come to if we go in a certain direction.

* Simulations or Gaming: A model is a static representation of something, but it has a dynamic twin--the simulation. Generals and admirals simulate battles when they move their model ships and aircraft about, either on large maps or during "war games" that involve real troops, materiel, and even live ammunition. In war games, real soldiers may become actors in a mock battle, which helps them to understand what actual combat is like and helps generals to test out alternative strategies and tactics they may later use. The game Monopoly simulates the real estate market. Games can also be played with real people playing various roles: In the game SimCity, one person might be the mayor while others play the roles of urban planner, transportation manager, landlord, city council, and so on.

* Computer Simulations: Complex systems such as the U.S. economy can be modeled by means of mathematical equations, which can then be fed into a computer. Then data can be entered to express the situation in the economy at the present moment. After that, policy makers can ask various "What if" questions, such as "What if we increase the income tax rate by 20%?" This policy change probably will have numerous results, many of which might never have been anticipated, due to the complex interaction of the many variables. The computer might show, for instance, that a proposed increase in the income tax would reduce automobile sales by 30% and cut the GNP by 10%.

* Historical Analysis: Futurists may study historical events in order to anticipate the outcome of current developments. Often a current situation can be compared to one or more situations in history that seem to be similar. For example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was compared by some commentators to the Vietnam War, with the implication that the Iraq War would also prove disastrous. Many government leaders have relied heavily on what they learned from history to guide them in making key decisions.

* Brainstorming: The generation of new ideas by means of a small group assembled to think creatively about a topic, such as a problem to be solved, an opportunity to capture, or a direction to take an organization. Group members are encouraged to build on each other's ideas and withhold criticism. Brainstorming is useful in identifying possibilities, opportunities, and risks. Other idea-generating or problem-solving methods are also common, such as idea mapping, impact analysis, and the systematic identification of all possible variables. Professional futurists may use brainstorming with their clients to help stretch their minds beyond the present and to promote continuous innovation and long-term strategizing.

* Visioning: Since futuring is about more than predicting, many futurists engage in the systematic creation of visions of a desirable future for an organization or an individual. Typically, the futurist will start with a review of past events and the current situation, move on to envision desirable futures, and then identify specific ways to move toward the desired future. A visioning procedure often prepares the way for more-formal goal setting and planning.

Source: The Art of Foresight: Preparing for a Changing World Magazine article; The Futurist, Vol. 38, May-June 2004