Assignment 6.1.b: Tribal Leadership and Blog Points

Assignment 6.1.b: Tribal Leadership and Blog Points

The three blogs that I am currently following are HOLOS (written by Neil Croft) , John Thackara, and DO - The Encouragement Network.

Neil Croft's blog looks at pertinent information on leadership and our world today, promoting his business HOLOS that holds a team of specialists and culture coaches who have been training other diverse leaders on change leadership. Category topics within leadership include authenticity, innovation, personal development, and society.

John Thackara is a seasoned writer, curator and editor who has traveled the world in search of interesting stories on sustainability and design, realized in diverse communities working towards future wellbeing. The blog is quite diverse with topics including locality & place, learning & institutions and design areas within food systems, mobility, social innovation, transition, art and development. 

The DO Blog has a load of information from the latest news to workshops, lectures and podcasts - basically all the resources you need to get inspired and creating. Do - The Encouragement Network has a simple idea: people who are "doers" can inspire the rest of us from their story, leading to a chain effect of us "doing" things that inspire others. 


In Neil Croft's article, "Maturity in the age of Trump and Brexit", he similarly shares a concept of human levels of maturity, five to be exact. It is a little different concept than Tribal Leadership, in that it stems from brain maturity rather than stemming from language, but they both have a similarity in its complete dealings with social interaction and development in a communal sense, and they both have five levels that are very similar in concept and explaination. Croft's levels of maturity start out with, Level One: Self - more at an infant level with the concept that the whole world exists to serve us, Level Two: Dependent - more at the time of two-five years old when are sense of entitlement from level one is challenged, leading to "Terrible Twos", Level Three: Independent - more at the teens and puberty period when we embark on an error strewn journey towards independence, therefore collaboration and vulnerability is less available, Level Four: Interdependent - more at experiences of deep vulnerability, love and moments of being part of something bigger than yourself (i.e. having children and finding true love), a psychological /or emotional challenge that enforces trust and brings us to this less common level, and Level Five: Integral -- the highest level of understanding interdependence as something that is universal, tied to a sense of responsibility to all (beyond human life) and not only fit for the present but the future with actions aligning behind lifestyle values that hold integrity and authenticity. The Levels match with the Stages in Tribal Leadership. I found the blog to be an interesting build on what we read in Tribal Leadership and added more depth to the Tribal Leadership Stages by bringing in a familiarity with each of our human emotional growth and process.

In John Thackara's post, "Socially Smart Sanitation", he talks about why the millions of dollars spend outside to help India's sanitation problems haven't yielded better results, even with the government new-toilet-every-second campaign. Talking to the locals, Thackara reveals that toilets are not the issue, but the mass production solution to sanitation, as it doesn't fit to every town or situation. For help to be sustainable in the long term, it needed to be "owned" by the local community, in that they feel committed and a part of the solution. This is exactly what was described in Tribal Leadership with getting Stage Three "I am great" folks to cross the bridge into Stage 4 "we are great" spirit that is open to collaboration and brings each individual to a language of "we" ownership and loyalty to the tribe by showing engagement, involvement and sincere execution towards creating solutions. Thackara also notes the importance of having someone on the team that is involved and a part of the community whose sanitation problem wants to be fixed by outsiders. It takes someone that is the "local leader" that speaks the inside language and starts conversations with the community, and asks for ownership of other locals to be a part of the solution. Like Tribal Leadership points out, it's about changing the language from "your" problem to "our" problem.

The last blog I am reading is from Do Lectures and this post, "Stop the Analysis Paralysis. Do Shit" by Chris Baréz-Brown was quite funny, resonating, and meaningful to me. It is about doing more instead of hiding behind models, specific techniques and fancy titles as he says. There is a lot of truth to that. It is about testing, trying and going out with an idea to see if it something to continue pursuing, and seeing if people even like it or need it! This reminded me of the Griffin example in Tribal Leadership, when the hospital was saved by the new Tribal Leaders that helped everyone to get on board as a unit -- from employees, doctors, board members and community leaders-- asking them what they thought needed to improve and getting everyone involved in sharing insights towards creating solutions. To go the even extra mile they went through a research tear, launching surveys, focus groups and even showing up at other hospital maternity wards to get first hand insight from expecting families. As Brown would comment, this is "getting shit done" in an immediate way that directs you towards you next steps. Instead of diving into expensive and extensive research, the best is to just get on the field yourself and test if what you others are game to what you are offering. Thanks for that reminder!
 

3.1 Assignment: Learning From Nature

The three blogs that I am currently following are HOLOS (written by Neil Croft) , John Thackara, and DO - The Encouragement Network.

Neil Croft's blog looks at pertinent information on leadership and our world today, promoting his business HOLOS that holds a team of specialists and culture coaches who have been training other diverse leaders on change leadership. Category topics within leadership include authenticity, innovation, personal development, and society.

John Thackara is a seasoned writer, curator and editor who has traveled the world in search of interesting stories on sustainability and design, realized in diverse communities working towards future wellbeing. The blog is quite diverse with topics including locality & place, learning & institutions and design areas within food systems, mobility, social innovation, transition, art and development. 

The DO Blog has a load of information from the latest news to workshops, lectures and podcasts - basically all the resources you need to get inspired and creating. Do - The Encouragement Network has a simple idea: people who are "doers" can inspire the rest of us from their story, leading to a chain effect of us "doing" things that inspire others. 


On this week's topic, Learning From Nature, and the materials we were given for assignment 3.1, there are many overlapping themes and ideas coming from the readings, videos, and blogs. In Neil Croft's blog post on "Megatrends Update on Digitisation" , he emphasizes the point that "everything that can be automated or digital will be" (Croft). Croft also mentions, like Gerd Leohard's video talk, that marketing and advertising will change, as well as music, art and video will become "key tribal content channels" (Croft) of culture based on interests, and will be useful in distributing content. He like Gerd believes that industries are changing, and more creative leadership and adaptability of company structures will be needed for the future. For the post I extracted the same concepts from Gerd Leohard -- that businesses/people will become interdependent and interconnected for thriving in the future. There is bridging and simplifying in tasks and efforts with different talents leading in diverse areas, be it both human and technology... It sounds like the future is about harmonizing both. 

In John Thackara's blog post "Back to the Land 2.0 " he mentions nature and our position as humans now to create a new story, that of stewardship to land, a purpose that a diverse group of people can relate to, support and share even with other differences. He also speaks of idea of bioregion, looking past the human colonized definition of land, but from a biodiversity perspective defined by nature. He goes on to explain the mirroring of nature and ourselves as, "Bioregions are not just geographical places; they also embody the interconnection of our minds, and nature's, at a molecular, atomic and hormonal level" (Thackara). Through some examples of ecosystem restoration projects, he shares that they are working towards repairing "the unity of mind and world, that has been fractured by modernity" (Thackara). I thought the the section on ecological systems was a great way to reflect the way in which companies could work, mimicking nature. As John writes, "ecological systems are unique to each place, and the same goes for social assets of a bioregion - individuals, groups, networks, and cultures" (Thackara). If a leader would respect the internal cultures of a company like bioregions, it would flourish -- knowledge is socially created, experienced directly, local and embodied. I now see a leader as someone who is the "embodied nature of land-based knowledge" (Thackara). I like that this article stresses the importance of artists, designers and city-planners to creatively return to the land. Quoting Wendell Berry, "The cities have forgot the earth and will rot at heart till they remember it again." A lot of what continues in the post is sharing the different community-based doers, and open source platforms all moving towards restoration ecologically, culturally and socially. 

From the Do Blog, I checked out the Do Lecture "How Nature Inspires Better Clothing Design" and listened to an inspiring talk from Neil McNair, of McNair Shirts, and how his passion for snowboarding and the mountains brought him to the company he has today. With a close relationship to the outdoors daily, Neil discovered that every "functional" hi-tech jacket he had would have a short life and use, which brought him back to traditional fabrics and materials from the inspiration of his favorite Dachstein gloves. On top of it, meeting company textile specialist Natalie, brought her dream alive of bringing up north Yorkshire back into its fame as a textile hub. Now McNair shirts are manufactured in Yorkshire, spun, woven, raised and steamed all within ten miles of their atelier. Following his passion, Neil's company has not only created an natural quality product (made of wool), but it has also brought sustainability back to a community with job creation and factory use. Looking back to "Tomorrow's Natural Business" article, I can see some applications and questions worked on for McNair shirts that has made both the company and the community of Yorkshire a success story. 

 

2.2 Assignment: Changing Leadership Models

2.2 Assignment: Changing Leadership Models

On the quest to understanding what it is to be a leader today, we reflect on the diversity of leadership, noting leaders qualities and styles found in the examples from Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson, and Madeline Albright.
Comparing these examples to the “classic leadership model” of the past, for example Henry V in Band of Brothers (or many lead characters in national epics), show us men born leaders from the hierarchies of nobility that would guide followers -like a hero of saving grace- with a dignified shivery, camaraderie, and self purpose, set to mentally prepare followers towards sacrificing tasks in the name of fame and power. These examples of leadership in historical storytelling were not diverse, usually very masculine, white, sacrificial and colonial, with a focus on the individual glory of the leader.

Though beginning qualities of leadership such as courage, sacrifice, camaraderie, upholder of values, and guiding self purpose are things we still wish to see in leaders, the ideas, purpose and responsibilities of what it is to be a leader today are changing in society, becoming more diverse and thoughtful than ever before. 

Here I will provide a brief look at specific individuals and their qualities of leadership that start to differ from the "classic leadership model". * For more background on the information I am referring to, select the highlighted link to view the videos:

Nelson Mandela: He is noted for his innate endowment — his character (calm manner/humble/ self reflective), statue and composure as a leader (courageous/brave), taking care and thought in the way he presented himself and what he said. His sacrifice to his people and his values (time spent in prison) is something that made him honorable and self disciplined, appealing to not only people’s heads but also hearts. He held flexibility, though was also seen as consistent towards his values, and stood for understanding and upholding diversity of his people —reconciling different races through his leadership by learning about their cultural interests, languages and backgrounds. Mandela shows heroic qualities referenced from classic leadership, but in many ways and examples he steps beyond the self, shifting focus to the interests that mattered to his people. 

Barack Obama: Similar to Mandela, Obama was seen as someone with calm intelligence, modesty, held self-discipline, strength, and courage. During his presidency he also valued reconciliation by creating unity between races, creating an openness and “let’s move on together” collaborative approach that was concerned about connecting the diversity of the nation and going beyond himself and his power. He had a fluidity and way about him that made him trustworthy and relatable. He was also viewed by some as a hero, holding qualities also from the classic leadership model, but what made him different was his relatable down-to-earth composure as a person, husband, and father, as well as his approach to democracy that included all Americans - not "us versus them".

Desmond Tutu: Listening to Desmond Tutu, you get a sense of his humility. What he consistently repeats as an important character of a leader is his sacrificial service, being a servant that is inspiring to his/her followers -- examples such as Mother Theresa, Mandela, Dalai Lama. A leader is someone not seeking self-glorification, but is leading to serve. His stressed emphasis on humility and purpose in sacrifice and service is greatly different than what we see watching classic models like Henry V.

Sir Richard Branson: Looking at Richard Branson composure as he speaks about himself is very humble for a businessman with more than 400 companies going. You don't get any sense of self worship or self focused glorification for his accomplishments - qualities that would usually be seen in classic leadership. Business to him is about creating, and there is a joy and passion for relations and people. You can tell that as a leader, to do what he has done, took persistence, vision, creative purpose and patience to make them all realities when people told him he was crazy. He sees the importance of his role as a leader is to appreciate people - look for all the good things they do and to take every opportunity to listen to what they have to say (be a good listener). This model of leadership is very different from the classic model in that it takes the leader completely out of the spotlight, and shifts the focus towards day-to-day efforts and praises of his followers (employees). 

Madeline Albright: Holding an accomplishment of being the first woman to serve in the United States Government as Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, carries such a calm and humble composure. Her biggest win, to her, is hearing that she inspires other young women to step into the roles of their dreams. She values respecting the choices of others, as well as diversity. Having no female role models to look up to in a male dominated work space, Albright was driven to look elsewhere to other lands with female leaders. With this she helped in shaping a community, the G7, that was the support and community she'd come to appreciate and trust. In her example, it shows that leaders can't do it alone. Having a support group to ask advice and trust in helps the leader become the best he/she can be. This is a big shift away from the classical model of leadership, as it highlights female and community based leadership, shifting away from a "one man show" and acknowledging and respecting the total that supports the role of leadership.

 From the touched upon examples listed here, we can see that leadership is moving away from the classical model of leadership by collecting values that look more at: selfless service, unity in diversity (the "we" inclusive of all people), community support, inspiration from the bottom up, flexibility, openness, honest communication (listening and speaking), calm and humble composure, self- reflectiveness, thoughtfulness, and courage and consistency as the upholder of purpose, values and vision. Leadership is not a systematic set practice already defined in stone, but is a dynamic skill that adapts to change and environmental needs. New leadership won't only need to understand the qualities of their past role models, but will need to adapt to their "now" environments, implementing their values with the tools of their unique life experience, talents and passions.