Heroes and Hobos

In the end the world you take is equal to the world you make.


Management Leadership That something else better that isn’t management or leadership
Attitude Compliance Humility Service
Authority Based upon title Based upon earned trust None; offers an example which may be followed or not
Questions Questions are viewed as a threat to authority Encourages questions to develop an ethical understanding Asked frequently
The Framework Procedural Relational Engaged and connected
Rules / Boundaries Based upon conformity Based upon an ethical, philosophical concept Based on respect for others
Procedures Standardized Personalized Adapted as needed
Innovation Discouraged if it challenges the status quo Provides a vision that inspires others Secondary to creativity, freedom and exploration
Submission Forced: based upon a fear Voluntarily: submitting to another’s strengths to protect one’s weaknesses There is no submission; exchanges are mutual and of mutual value
Motivation Extrinsic Intrinsic Not necessary
The Results Behave externally but rebel internally (or when no one is looking) Empathetic, ethical thinkers who want to do what is right Cooperative environment populated by creative and expressive individuals who see respect for and service to others as the highest good

I’ve taken this from “The Collaboratory,” an international, virtually self-associating group of new economy entrepeneurs, futurists, tech genuises, open source mavericks, social media gurus, green planning mavens, activists (and hacktivists), etc… from across the virtual universe/globe that I am a member of.

Bernd Nurnberger  (Japan) recently brought to the group’s attention to the above chart, originally from John T. Spencer, to which the Canadian blogger, Stephen Downes, had added the third column. On his blog, Downes explains how

“while [he gets] that ‘Leadership’ is supposed to be something better and to be aspired to, it left him short; … there’s a need to characterize another attitude, one that is neither ‘Management’ or ‘Leadership’, which gets to the core of a more ideal state.”

… and I couldn’t agree more. I’d add to this some insight from the East, distilled for Western dissemination and replication via the concept of mindful leadership, ‘a secular process to explore the roles of self-awareness and self-compassion in developing strong and effective leaders.’

Immediately while reading the chart above I found myself thinking about my own Buddhist spiritual and intellectual training, and the combination of humility and rigorous self-analysis that it requires when taken seriously. It’s no surprise to me to find that Harvard Business School Professor/internationally recognized, award winning leadership development expert William George recognized this — nor a surprise that it became, in fact, the key to his bestselling “True North” and “Authentic Leadership” series of books (and the foundation of the “True North Groups” Institute, which I’m only stumbling upon now, which takes this discipline/system and trains potential leaders and communities that wish to implement this model.)

What I was going to point your attention to is this old Harvard Business School article, from way back in 2010 [note: virtual time, with its potential for reduction redundancy and geographical obstacle removal, moves very fast!] when George came together with Tibetan master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche to create the Mindful Leadership Conference. [Read the summary of that experience HERE]. As he tells Harvard, “leaders who don’t develop self-awareness are subject to becoming seduced by external rewards, such as power, money, and recognition. They also have difficulty acknowledging mistakes, an Achilles’ heel that has crippled a number of CEOs who have appeared in the news recently.

And while to the less engaged of us, the out-front integration of Buddhist philosophy into business practice in the United States might seem avant or risky business, if you know where to look you will see quickly that it is *precisely* this sort of innovation that is the carrot being chased by the failing industrial giants — and why George has been showed with the most prestigious awards out there for this (ancient, but for us) revolutionary approach. This is the reason everyone is foaming at the mouth for social media and crowdfunding, why the ascendancy of stocks for New Media is so unbelievable at times. They are scrambling. This is our time.

Capitalism isn’t dead — it’s just changing. Into the sort of environment where “leadership” takes on a more organic, tribal form — one where leaders from Agriculture, who turn their hands to the soil, and from Food Service, who take that food to table, and from the Creative Sector, who help us to see and know ourselves, are understood as equal in value to each other or to leaders from any other field… perhaps moreso, if that field only produces illusory value or results.

In no small way has the process of coming together daily in dialogue with the Collaboratory cemented my assurance that this is both the right time and the right model for this time. That far from being “idealistic,” that any and every business model that orients itself and its …Captains… , lets say, around a value system predicated on the above philosophical groundings and practices will find itself and its participants pulling together in practical, sustainable, and replicable harmony. In systems and using models, furthermore, that we desire to share and have copied via P2P/Open Source guidelines both online and off, as value comes to be something we wish to share rather than hoard.

At times, extending these conversations/ receiving input from all reaches of  the larger “Next Edge” network that was formed as a result [now numbering over 2,000 and including some of the most respected, most highly sought after minds in the futurist community, the new economics, social media, and tech, as well as innovators taking collaborative models to the field in every discipline, from arts to agriculture and city planning] has been overwhelming, but it’s just another striking example of the human system that thrives within and via the 1’s and 0’s — something that is having very real impact on the ground, from activism to business and beyond. Shall I repeat it in case you forgot?


** as a follow up, here’s a post from Fast Company on how Zen is influencing innovation 


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Who are these heroes and hobos?

You are.

If you are a writer, a poet, an independent magazine, or a small press, you are a hero -- and a hobo in the best sense of the word. You wander through this institutional wilderness seeking beauty in the word and on the page, and you've written your own maps and set out alone or with a few friends and just a bindle... but no longer.

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