The new leader: an online convener of diverse perspectives for systems change

We write frequently about online leadership in this blog because Doris and I are continuing to formulate an online leadership model. We have already noted that online leaders build networks, encourage diverse perspectives within and outside an organization, and create an environment of openness, working out loud, and work as a learning experience (see our previous blogs Sighting Leadership in Action, Women Network to Lead, and Take the Lead in Learn, Lead, Connect Online).

This week I came across two resources about the new leadership paradigm in the online, in-person, and blended (combining online and in-person) environments. Both of these resources (and they are bookmarked in our open-to-you Diigo account) are by people I follow and admire: Beth Kanter and Peter Senge. I trust their expertise and know they are very substantial sources.

What interested me was even though they wrote about different approaches to this new leadership, there was a congruence of thought. Leaders for this new age are systems leaders – able to not only see the connecting pieces of an intractable issue or problem, but able to convene a very diverse group of stakeholders, including competitive businesses and organizations, at the table to work through how to tackle it. The convening is not just inviting people to a meeting, but creating an atmosphere and providing the structure to really examine each stakeholder’s perspective on the problem and each other to break stereotypes and move beyond turf and proprietary interests.

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Organizational Silos: The Enemy of Collaborating and Learning Online

I like to read the Corner Office interviews that Adam Bryant does in the New York Times each Sunday with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of big companies.

Bryant’s questions invite guests to talk about the influences that shaped them and their leadership practices. Sometimes I identify with what they say and wonder how I would respond if asked. Other times, they provoke me to want to know more and I meander online to satisfy my curiosity.

Lois Braverman, CEO of the Ackerman Institute for the Family

Lois Braverman, CEO of the Ackerman Institute for the Family

When Bryant interviewed Lois Braverman, CEO of the New York-based Ackerman Institute for the Family, on February 8, 2015, Braverman promoted the value of honoring various perspectives. Braverman talked about the need to “make room for the legitimacy” of each viewpoint and “not let my righteousness make me think my perception is more meaningful than yours.” On a daily basis, she said

…there may be differences in terms of how we define the problem, because it can be different depending on where you sit in an organization. There’s an administrative reality and there’s a front-line worker reality, and those realities are very rarely the same. Read more

My 5 Tech Trends for 2015: How will they impact you and your organization?

Time is flying by – January, a long month, is gone, and here we are in February, a short month, which will probably seem even shorter! Although the new year is over 40 days old, I am still sifting through and pondering the prognostications that were made about 2015.

I was very intrigued by the predictions for technology trends in nonprofit organizations and how new ways of working within the organization and externally connecting with the community are taking hold. Technology is impacting decision making to fundraising, service delivery to community outreach.

From looking across multiple resources on technology and nonprofits, I gleaned the overarching trends to be:

image from:

image from:

  • Everything is going mobile and mobile devices are becoming smarter, faster, and more relevant and prevalent to and in our lives.
  • Crowdsourcing is becoming mainstream and is usurping hierarchical decision making (from Wikipedia: the broadcasting of problems to the public, and an open call for contributions to solving the problem. Members of the public submit solutions which are then owned by the entity which broadcast the problem….) impacting how organizations achieve their priorities and goals.
  • Social media, in its present and future forms, are a must to engage customers, clients, and patients in feeling connected to the organization and each other. Engagement and connections are the new business model for both for profit and nonprofit organizations.
  • Crowdsourcing, engagement and connections are leading to new types of service delivery, fundraising, and ways of working.
  • Data analysis is key to reaching, engaging, and connecting to a target audience and determining which outreach strategies work, which don’t. The design, algorithms, and analysis of  data determine the reliability of results. Cloud technology will make data collection easier and more accessible to everyone.

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