Monkey Mind Musings About Community
As the holidays become a distant memory and we get back to the reality of more typical regimes, I’ve been reflecting about the upcoming year.
Rather than making resolutions which my monkey mind doesn’t always allow me to keep, I thought it might be an idea to focus on the community building work that continues to absorb so much of my energy. Here are…
Posted on 01-05-19
Where the Sweetness Happens
I do believe that community leadership is ultimately about having the courage to step forward. But, on that particular day, I wasn’t feeling it at all.
I had just reviewed the content of a presentation I was about to deliver at a national forum and was beginning to second guess myself.
On an intellectual level I understood the community leadership learnings I planned to share were solid, innovative, and grounded by boots-on-the-ground experience. However my personal insecurities, (perhaps a subject for another blog?) in combination with working…
Posted on 05-14-18
A Tattoo That Made Me Think?
While I like to consider myself as one who loves change and embraces trends, tattoos are something I’ve personally never been able to get behind.
In part its because when I was growing up tattoos weren’t especially mainstream. Unless of course you considered sailors, bikers, and criminals to be mainstream.
Mostly though, I’m not a fan because I’m easily bored and tattoos are just so darned permanent. Heck, I get tired of the same outfit after six months, so why would I… More Posted on 04-14-18
Did I Walk Out to Walk On?
A while back I received an email from my alma mater advising me that I had been nominated for a Distinguished Alumni Award.
While I know it was an incredible honour and I should have been excited, the truth was that I didn’t feel it was something I deserved.
I am aware that I work really hard, have taken risks, and have had some success. However, my track record with employers and sometimes painful climb up the corporate ladder left much to be desired.…
Posted on 02-01-18
You Didn’t Step Up Ridley Scott
I used to be a fan of English movie director and producer Ridley Scott.
Famous for films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator, I loved that at the age of 80 he was still actively pursuing his passion. After a recent CBC interview I’m having second thoughts.
In the interview, Scott discussed his latest movie, All the Money in the World, and what it took to recast Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer and then substitute all his scenes within…
Posted on 12-29-17
Maturity and Moxy?
I don’t know much about building cars or how to fix them if something goes wrong, but I would say I’m a pretty good driver.
Driving a car is also how I think about information technology. And, even though I don’t speak geek, know very little about coding, and struggle to fix anything when it goes wrong, I use technology better than most people my age.
For me technology is simply an extraordinary gift providing previously unfathomable opportunities to communicate, share ideas, learn, grow, challenge, collaborate, advocate, engage, and make…
Posted on 11-24-17
If a Three Year Old Can Understand Cooperation…
Our youngest son wasn’t quite three years old at the time when his older brother unexpectedly gave him one of his coveted GI Joes.
As the result of being the recipient of such unexpected generosity, he turned to me, grinned, and said, “Mommy, that’s cooperation”.
While I was sure a child with that kind of a vocabulary was a genius, upon questioning, I soon realized that he had simply absorbed cooperation as the word of the day from Sesame Street.
Simplicity lifts the fog of complexity.
That’s not to say simplicity is easy because getting to simplicity rarely comes without a lot of teeth grinding, heated discussions, and a team willing to work really really hard.
I’m working now with that kind of amazing team from Yukon, NWT and Nunavut to develop training and resources for existing and emerging community recreation leaders.
The truth is that we have worked extraordinarily hard not only to figure out how to deliver training across a land mass that represents 39% of…
Posted on 09-25-17
Skunkworks? A Solution for Community Building?
Community building involves working with a variety of government departments, non-profit organizations, and businesses. Over the years I’ve learned all three typically have a lot in common.
For example, by most standards they are successful and have leaders who are smart and pretty good at doing what they do. They also acknowledge we’re living in a world undergoing fundamental, rapid, and long term change driven in large part by unprecedented growth in technology.
Given the nature of my work as the principal collaborator of a social enterprise focused on supporting seasoned and aspiring leaders to meet complex community demands, January is often marked by a flurry of emails and calls from organizations who, after finally getting a chance during the holidays to slow down and reflect, get pumped up about organizing a strategic planning session.
It was a nightmare of a trip - definitely a long time, not a good time.
My flight, on a major airline, was initially delayed three hours due to mechanical difficulties. Apparently this particular airline doesn’t feel it’s important to notify passengers of delays even though they do make a point of collecting email addresses as well as business, home and cell phone numbers when tickets are purchased. But, as the ticket attendant pointed out…
Posted on 01-03-17
Life’s “Gong-able” Moments
There’s no doubt my youngest brother is happy to see the tailend of 2016. His year has been especially brutal and if not for an off-the-chart stubbornness gene, I’m sure he wouldn’t have survived it.
Already in a wheelchair as the result of an accident, over the years he has had vertebrae in his back fused as well as 3 hip replacements. The last one was complicated by botched surgery, a broken femur, and the loss of a…
Posted on 01-01-17
Want to Grow Your Community?
Ugh. Another meeting focused on one of my least favourite subjects – evaluation.
I’m not sure why my initial reaction is so negative. Is it because there’s so much pressure these days to make things happen that we don’t have the time to pause, never mind look back and reflect? Or is it because evaluation is a word that evokes judgment and a focus on what we may or may not be doing right?
I’m having a tough time finding many straightforward workplaces these days. My community building work often results in me landing in organizations where solutions are complicated and messy. Not only that, the need for change is sometimes driven by a belief (usually that of the funders or elected officials involved) that there is a one-size-fits-all secret sauce solution that can be implemented within several months.
Needless to say these days it often takes much longer to check anything off my to-do list. Sigh.
Most people would have bet against it ever happening. After all, six weeks ago, it was just a crazy idea generated by a guy who managed to convince a few of his friends it would be fun. There were no links to a formal organization that could have provided support, nor was there any funding in place.
However, what most people failed to take into account is that there is significant and growing interest in a different kind of leisure. As identified in the National Framework for Recreation in Canada…
Posted on 09-01-16
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