Leading a Movement (vs. Being a Board)

Kokopelli 2 - reducedAt its meeting last month, Creating the Future’s board took on one of the most important questions any board might tackle – the future of the board itself.

What does leadership mean for an organization that intends to “accomplish a mission” vs. self-perpetuate? As it becomes more and more clear that what we are leading is just one part of a much larger movement for creating a more humane world, what does leadership mean? What structures would support such leadership?

The following are the questions the board asked, and the exploration those questions generated. (To watch the whole meeting on video / download the audio as an MP3, click here.

What does it make possible when we view leadership of a movement vs. an organization?

• Individual voice to something larger and collective
• Creates something that isn’t owned, isn’t proprietary
        • Inclusion
        • No barrier for me to contribute / for me to change the world
        • Accessible
        • I can be a contribution
• Equity – ability and access to their voice
• No preconditions to being involved
• Accomplish something bigger than we could on our own
• A movement makes community benefit possible
• Provides focus on the values and orientation towards values
• Keeps our eyes on the prize
• Validates / builds upon collective enoughness
        • It doesn’t take more than what we have
        • It takes what we have to offer, not more
• Resonating effect
        • Shared values are amplified
• Honors whatever people contribute however they contribute
        • Actions
• Inspires people
• Resilience / strength in diversity
• Movements are about action
        • No time to waste on blah blah
• People can be part of the movement however they feel / self-identify that “I am involved”
        • People taking action around changing questions, bringing out the best in people
• Instills values that translate into day-to-day action / experience
• Organizations focus on a narrow slice of the movement –
        • Movement = a Quilt
        • Empowers going beyond that

What would it mean to actively lead a movement? When people are actively participating in leading a movement – what does that look like? What would we see them DOING?

• Leaders walking the talk of values defined by the movement
• Tap leadership capacity of people
        • Bringing out leadership in everyone
                • Activate people’s contribution
        • Bringing out the leadership of individuals who have self-identified by their contribution
                • Or desire to contribute
• Contributing their time
        • Articulating that as a contribution – they see it as that
• Listening / actively asking
• Nurturing
        • Calling people
        • Finding places to meet
        • Helping people articulate their vision
        • Encouraging/ promoting
        • Praise
        • Directing people
        • Deeply encouraging conversation
        • “Leaders eat last”
        • Helping people articulate THEIR vision
        • Helping people see their own next step
        • Defending a person
        • Publicly standing behind them
• Actively connecting people
• Being present – I will be there when you need me
• Knowing yourself
        • Reflective
        • Hear people describing their abilities realistically
• Joy, energy
• Not making assumptions about other people
        • Active conversations about beliefs
• Actively contributing their own networks
• Actively getting to know people
• Help people become members of the community as quickly as possible
• Actively / vocally seeing / connecting with people who care about the same thing and inviting them in
• Telling the story of the movement
        • Growing that story
        • Telling their OWN story
                • Encouraging people to tell their stories
        • Actively finding commonalities in the stories
                • “I found my people”
        • Engaging people in
                • Activities
                • Meetings
                • Programs
        in ways that meet them where they are and bring them in
• Rallying
• Welcoming people in to activities they can contribute to
• Creating opportunities to be side-by-side with other components in the movement

Defining “the movement”
• The global movement to create a more humane world.
• Creating the Future as part of the support network for the movement to create a more humane world.

What’s Next?
Next meeting, the board will continue this conversation.

If Creating the Future is a participant in the movement to create a more humane world – a contributor, an on-ramp, a support to that movement…

1) What would active leadership look like in leading and deciding upon our current activities?
2) What would active leadership look like in connecting with people and organizations already in the movement?
3) What would active leadership look like in sustaining and upholding our values and thought framework?
4) Are we saying this is the leadership we want for this organization?
        And if so, what would that take?

What stands out?

As you read these minutes, we hope it raises questions for your own work. What stands out as you consider leadership in this context? What does redefining leadership as “leading a movement” vs. “leading an organization make possible for the results of that effort? What does it make possible for growing the leadership potential of those leaders?  What leadership structures have you seen that more actively engage those leaders in what matters most – ensuring the mission is accomplished?

Looking forward to learning from you all!


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