Ben Ziegler at Collaboration Journeys calls the Gulf of Mexico/BP oil disaster a failure of connection.  I read his post immediately after watching Mark Earls speak on Why Good Ideas Matter.  The link is to Tim Kastelle’s blog where I found the video.

On the face of it, they’re not about the same subject.  Except each of these posts touches on something I’ve been feeling.   I’m disappointed. Disappointed in political leaders who pretend to be something that they’re not.  Disappointed in those who put national interests ahead of global ones.  Disappointed in how we (individuals, groups, organisations) are not honest with ourselves and others about our motivations which are often based on protecting vested interests and looking after ourselves and our own.  And disappointed when we apparently can’t work together on problems that appear to be too hard to solve.

As Mark Earls introduces his talk, he mentions being at a music industry conference where all he was hearing was conversation based on these words – assets, money, cash, owner, extract, exploit and enforce.   Depressing, especially for an industry built on creativity.   There was nothing about ideas, making things happen or creating things of value.  He produces data demonstrating how culturally embedded habits and beliefs don’t change, and notes that even small changes can take several lifetimes.

Ben Ziegler speaks of how I want to see the world.  A world where we connect with people who are different.  A world where we connect people with nature and where we let natural systems be.   It’s about relationships, sustainable practice and systems thinking.  Where we respect unpredictability and let go of the idea that we can control it all.

Mark Earls talks about how we ‘hack’, improve and/or adapt others ideas and reapply them.  I’ve adapted his 5 questions to ask ourselves when new ideas emerge.  I’d like to see these adapted questions applied to myself and communities of all sizes and scales when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges.

1  What does this challenge?  (What’s at stake here for each and everyone of us?)

2. How can we explore it further?

3. What’s the offer for us here?

4. Where does this suggest things are going?

What must I/we absolutely – can’t wait – do next?

5. How might this make our (being part of this world) more (connected)?

Disappointment is not a useful place to be.  This is what’s challenged me this morning.  I want to connect the dots and work towards understanding what the offer is, and then (with a sense of urgency) act on it.

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney- business and strategic planning – team conversations

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Great Ideas.jpg
Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) is the author of Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity.  Early this year he started sending out Hugh’s Daily Cartoon on an email subscription service.  I recommend you drop by Hugh’s website and sign up.  Every day there is a new wonderfully ‘scribbled’ thought.

Resistance is everywhere.  An idea emerges from someone else or from our own head and we begin to ask all manner of vocal and silent questions.  Can we afford it?  Didn’t we try that once before?  How will things change for me? How will it work?  How can we sell this?  How does it fit with what’s happening now?

In The Answer to How is Yes: Acting on What Matters, Peter Block pays particular attention to the question “How?”  He begins with an excerpt from his book – Stewardship.

“There is depth in the question “How do I do this?” that is worth exploring.  The question is a defence against the action.  It is a leap past the question of purpose, past the question of intentions, and past the drama of responsibility.  The question “How?” – more than any other question – looks for the answer outside of us.  It is an indirect expression of our doubts ….

Peter Block says that we find ourselves giving in to our doubts “instead of settling for what we know how to do, or can soon learn how to do, instead of pursuing what matters to us and living with the adventure and anxiety that this requires”.  [..]  We often ask ourselves the question of whether something is worth doing by going straight to the question “How do we do it?”” He suggests that if we were to go for six months without asking the How question something might shift.  We would focus more on why we do what we do – and create space for conversations, room for discussion about purpose, (room for great ideas) about what is worth doing, about what matters.

There is value in sitting quietly and welcoming the space of uncertainty and allowing yourself not to be distracted by other things. Distractions are resistance at work.  Hugh MacLeod’s first chapter is Ignore Everybody.  Include yourself in that advice.  Resistance is everywhere!

Lynn Walsh – workshop facilitator – SydneyLynn Walsh – workshop facilitator – Sydney

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