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
What the World Needs Now is Phronesis?!?
Sometimes multi-tasking is a good thing. It has in fact, strengthened the Campus for Communities where I work with a number of other associates as its Founder and Principal Collaborator.
The grassroots consulting, coaching, and facilitating being done by our associates feeds and shapes the training, tools, and resources we are able to offer via the Campus. In a reciprocal fashion, the training, tools, and resources feed and shape the calibre of what we are able to bring to our respective consulting work.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard or learned so much.
Wait. Laughing and learning at the same time? Can it be? After all, I distinctly recall getting into trouble for assuming I could combine the two. Even my kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card that although I was a good student I was inclined to be too a bit too social.
While today there is a better understanding and acceptance that children learn through their play, we typically don’t equate fun and playfulness with…
Posted on 05-28-16
7 Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Job
I don’t want a job.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to work. It could be that my Ukrainian work ethic is genetic. Or, it might just be that I am defined by my work and want to make a difference. Regardless, I work hard and put in far more hours than most people would consider typical or healthy.
Despite all that, I’ve recently concluded I’m going to have to stick to being self-employed because I don’t want any of the jobs I’m seeing. Of course, it is tempting to think…
Posted on 03-01-16
Me? Dinner with the Governor General??
Yes siree I had dinner with the Governor General at 1 Sussex Drive.
I know. Hard to believe. My mother almost fell off her chair when I told her.
To be accurate it wasn’t just me. I mean there were others as well. In fact all of the three finalists for the Arctic Inspiration Prize were invited as well as those on the selection committee, donors and sponsors..
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada was absolutely delightful, the food was out of this world, and the…
Posted on 02-01-16
Would You Like a Buggy Today Ma’am?
I love my life, I really do. But this past year, despite being blessed with a dear and loving family, fabulous friends, and work that truly makes me happy, I’ve joined the ranks of the estimated 28.4 percent of Canadian workers who reported high work-related stress in 2015.
Despite being the kind of person who loves variety and change, I am beginning to covet routine and jobs that have a clear beginning and end. Heck I’m even starting to think a job as a Walmart greeter is attractive. I think I could handle smiling and saying, “Good afternoon ma’am,…
Posted on 01-02-16
What if Kermit Got it Wrong?
What if Kermit got it wrong?
Maybe it is easy being green? Or at least easier than we thought?
Is it possible that applying sustainability strategies can actually improve the bottom line of a company?
Bob Willard, owner of the Sustainability Advantage in Whitby, Ontario answers with a resounding, “Yes”. In fact, he says, “Addressing the environmental footprint of a company can improve their bottom line by 51 to 51%”.
Change is hard. It really is. Most people see it as something they don’t want because it means leaving what they know and stepping into something more likely to be messy and unclear. It may even be that change is hard because we overestimate the value of staying the same, and underestimate the value of what could be gained.
However, In my work, which generally involves supporting change in organizations and communities, we’ve also learned there is a small minority of people for whom change isn’t as hard. Instead they view change as moving forward, learning, growing, and ideally, innovative…
Posted on 11-29-15
Tall, Dark and Charismatic
As he put it, he wanted to meet and develop a relationship. It definitely wasn’t personal, it was simply because in the not-to-distant future, he knew his employer would be in need of the community development training offered by my company.
Our connection over coffee stretched to over an hour and resulted in a deep, rich, and meaningful conversation about community building and its importance.