============================================================================ Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 11:23:54 -0800 To: •••@••.••• From: Rosa Zubizarreta <•••@••.•••> Hi Richard, i really believe that one of the "sticking points" where we are getting blocked in terms of organizing is around issues of leadership. Given all of the abuse of leadership in our current system, it's perfectly understandable. At the same time, it is very self-destructive for us to throw out the baby with the bathwater... there is a lot of interesting stuff in business circles about concepts such as "servant leadership", etc, that is arising basically because the hyper-competitiveness in the business world is creating a need for companies that maximize the intelligent and creative participation of all of its members ,which traditional forms of leadership don't do. (AS YOU KNOW, my using this example does not mean i am an advocate of capitalism nor of corporate greed!) I think it would be VERY helpful for organizing purposes to have articulated a theory of xxx leadership. (Call it democratic leadership, or facilitative leadership, or whatever you want. but in essence, the "good" kind.) This of course needs to be articulated in a different sort of language than the one which the business world uses. I don't have the time at the moment to do a full and comprehensive treatment here, but some essential points would be (these are not original...) 1) one of the main functions of leadership is to develop, encourage, and support others in becoming leaders. 2) there is no shortage of the need for leadership. It's not a zero-sum game. instead of pyramids, we need to think of it in terms of overlapping circles. You are leading the renaissance network effort. I am a participant in that effort. I can be leading a "facilitation for activists" effort. You are a participant in that effort. We are all active, empowered participants in a wide variety of efforts. Yet, as leaders, we take overall janitorial responsibility for ensuring the comprehensive well-being of a select few. (Otherwise, we'd be ridiculously stretched, if we tried to "lead" every single thing in which we wanted to participate!!!) 3) Everyone has the potential to be a leader in some area about which they care deeply. The solution to past abuse of leadership is to help larger numbers of people step into their natural leadership, NOT to try and do away with the function of leadership altogether, nor to attack people that are trying to serve others by taking leadership responsibility. Self-organization DEPENDS upon a maximum degree of leadership ability in each and every one of us. 4) There are several functions of leadership. One is to hold a vision of something that will be of benefit to all, and coordinate the collaboration of all of those who are inspired by that particular vision. 5) Another function of leadership is to facilitate the coordination of problem solving efforts by inviting everyone's best thinking about a particular area, and creating a forum where group consensus can emerge. THIS TAKES WORK, DOES NOT HAPPEN EASILY ON ITS OWN. WHILE IT IS NOT THE WHOLE OF LEADERSHIP, IS ONE OF ITS KEY FUNCTIONS. 6) The person who is coordinating the leadership function for a particular area (i use the longhand instead of the shorthand word "leader" because that word has become so charged!) is responsible for seeing to it that stuff gets done -- which does not necessarily mean doing it themselves (NOR does it mean imposing tasks on others!) What it does mean, is asking for help. 7) For example, in terms of the facilitation function, in many cases the coordinator ("leader") might choose to invite someone to serve as facilitator, especially if the leader has particularly strong opinions on the subject under consideration. 8) LEADER AS JANITOR: Another key leadership function is being "loose ends coordinator". This means taking responsibility for the function of the group as a whole, and taking care of any loose ends that may be falling between the cracks. Again, the person taking responsibility for this fulfills their function best by ASKING FOR HELP. At the same time, if help is not immediately forthcoming, or if the person doing a particular task is somehow unable to do so, the responsibility reverts to the coordinator for doing it themselves, finding someone else to do it, etc. 9) It is of course true that small, stable groups are able to, over time, share these functions equally amongst themselves. If we are a group of 6 or so, who know each other well, we may not need to designate any one person "official janitor" in order to make sure that all the difficult stuff gets done. HOWEVER, if we are a larger group, or a newer group, or a group with fluctuating membership, it is very difficult to function well without having some designated individuals taking responsibility for particular functions. Well, that's all for now, off the top of my head... there's more, but this is a fair start... I am VERY tired of seeing how lack of understanding of these basic kinds of principles holds us back.... And, the reason i have put forth all of the above, is that i think that some of the cultural resistance i am encountering to facilitation in general, is due to the general distrust for leadership. Having one person at a meeting designated as "facilitator" just seems to push lots of folk's buttons.... as i've mentioned before, my ideal is that we would ALL know how to do this, so that everyone can take turns as needed. Often it's hard to find someone neutral in a group on a particular issue -- organizations could be paired up, as "buddies", so that our local environmental organization could provide facilitators for our labor organization meetings, and vice versa..... i know i'm biased in this respect, but in my opinion, if we want to get organized, having basic literacy in facilitation be as wide-spread as possible is absolutely key.... Of course, another way in which facilitation may push people's buttons is that by nature, it is NOT adversarial -- it is instead collaborative. So, maybe to the extent that people realize that part of the need is to CREATE EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVES THAT WORK, rather than to simply be "against" some thing or other, folks will start to realize its usefulness.... At the risk of having you "turn off" and not hear anything else i'm saying (which having met you briefly, i realize is not that likely :-) i do want to acknowledge another "bias" of mine -- while i agree with much of your analysis, i truly believe that there are many so-called "elites" who are hanging on to their desperate policies only because they themselves do not see any alternatives -- maybe they don't have the faith in the "general public" that you or i have -- but who would absolutely WELCOME seeing sane and effective solutions emerge to the mess that we are all in. And i myself, while i do see many instances of ordinary humans doing quite wonderful things, often feel so frustrated at how much better we could be doing... YES, there is oppression, yes there are all kinds of constraints, AND, what can we do with the whatever "small degree of freedom" we do in fact have?? (Have you read Michael Lerner's Surplus Powerlessness? I'm curious as to what you think of it...) Anyhow, that's the end of my rant for now! Please forgive any excesses, and know that i greatly appreciate you and your work.... Rosa ============================================================================ Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 11:23:54 -0800 To: •••@••.••• From: Rosa Zubizarreta <•••@••.•••> Subject: Fwd: Participatory Facilitation Workshop in January 2001 Cc: •••@••.••• Hi Richard, I am forwarding to you the following announcement i received from Tom, about a very low-cost facilitation course that will be offered from activists, because you may know some folks here who may be interested in taking it. Strange as it seems, sometimes we need to go (literally or metaphorically) half-way around the world in order to find out about stuff in our own back yard.... ********* X-Sender: •••@••.••• Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2000 21:38:53 -0800 To: •••@••.••• (undisclosed list) From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••> Subject: Participatory Facilitation Workshop in January 2001 Dear friends, I'm so pleased that my friend Sam Kaner's group Community At Work is offering an affordable facilitation workshop for activists and volunteer world-workers. (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-facilitation.html ) I usually rave about dynamic facilitation, which is my favorite group facilitation technique. But it is wise to have a full facilitation toolbox and a broad facilitation sensibility so you can really help diverse groups with their diverse facilitation needs. What I like about Community At Work's approach is (a) it covers a wide range of techniques (b) in the context of a powerful overarching theory of how meetings work -- a theory that has influenced my thinking profoundly for years since I first ran across it. In my website I give a very high rating to Sam's book on Participatory Decision-Making. This workshop is based on that book, and you get a copy as part of the course. You'll find yourself referring to it often. If you are interested in facilitation, I recommend this rare opportunity. Coheartedly, Tom _ _ __ _ _ _ _ GROUP FACILITATION SKILLS: Putting Participatory Values into Practice Taught by Susan Lubeck, J.D. Senior Consultant, Community At Work January 18-21, 2001 Thursday evening 6pm-9pm Friday through Sunday 10am-6pm Community At Work, San Francisco COST: Sliding scale $40 - $125 per person (Note: normal price for this workshop is $675-$1275) ELIGIBILITY: Grassroots activists who regularly donate at least 5+ hours per week, unpaid, in support of progressive social action. COURSE SYNOPSIS This course teaches participants how to put participatory values into practice. Skill building is emphasized, with practice sessions in the following areas: stand-up skills; group-oriented listening skills; brainstorming technique; tools for prioritizing long lists; facilitating open discussions, breaking into small groups; using structured go-arounds; understanding and working with group norms; handling conflict respectfully; consensus-building technique; dealing with difficult dynamics; goal-setting; agenda design; and procedures for making final decisions. Participants are exposed to more than 200 tools and techniques. Everyone receives a copy of the Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. WORKSHOP LEADER Susan Lee Lubeck, J.D., has spent most of her professional career working on issues related to chronic urban poverty. For ten years, Susan worked at the Oakland-based Urban Strategies Council, where she facilitated large-scale collaborative processes that led to changes in government policy and resource distribution, in such areas as education reform and neighborhood development. In 1991, Susan joined the staff of Community At Work as a specialist in participatory organization development. She has taught GROUP FACILITATION SKILLS workshops for community leaders in New York, Florida, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Washington D.C. TO REGISTER Please call Sunny Sabbini at 415-282-9876. She will confirm your eligibility to attend this workshop, discuss payment, and place your name on a "registration pending" list. Your registration will be finalized when your payment has been received. The workshop has a maximum attendance of 24 people. Registration will be finalized on a first-come first-served basis. If the workshop is already filled when you send in your payment, your check will be returned to you. CANCELLATION POLICY: Full refunds will be given for cancellations made with three weeks notice. After January 1st all registrations are final -- no refunds will be issued for cancellations after January 1st. If you register and cannot attend, you are welcome to send someone else in your place, so long as that person also meets the eligibility criteria. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * Eugene, OR http://www.co-intelligence.org http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_Index.html ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ Please take a look at "A Guidebook: How the world works and how we can fix it" http://cyberjournal.org/cj/guide/ A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .