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On Memorial Day, Remembering Leaders of Yesterday and Today

My father was a decorated World War II veteran, and Memorial Day is certainly about remembering all of our fallen veterans, but for me, especially my father. He was in Africa, England, all over the European theater during the war – one of the first to ship out, one of the last to return. We have a big scrapbook he kept during the war about where he went and what he did as a quartermaster in the Big Red One. He did not talk about his experiences with us until the end of his life, and even then, not that much. When my sister and I took him to the newly opened World War II memorial in Washington, DC he viewed the friezes along the walls and started to cry. “The war was really like that”, he told me, overcome with emotion. My father was a veteran for peace, and believed in equal rights for all. He lived his beliefs.

As I remember my father, I also remember his quiet brand of leadership. He and my mother were mentors for many people, were active in our community, and were consulted often for their opinion and good sense. Both of my parents were modest people, and helped others see what would work for them, doing so with compassion, good listening skills, and strong advice when needed. They were just my parents, so I did not really realize their leadership qualities or positions when I was growing up. Now I do. Read more

Sighting Leadership Networks in Action

At the Studio, we try to “work out loud” whenever possible.  We agree with Harold Jarche that “The most effective learning in the new world of work will be when engaged individuals regularly share their knowledge. Working out loud is the primary way people can share in their networks, communities, and workplaces.”  This blog is part of our workplace and where we share our insights most often. If you are reading this post, you may be part of our Studio network or a first-time visitor.  Welcome!

Doris_birding_300px_1991While working on an unrelated project, I became excited like a birder sighting a rare species in an urban parking lot, when I spotted the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation role modeling how to work out loud online. I saw a CEO who is quite transparent about redoing their leadership development work to foster a national “culture of health” in the United States. This huge organization exemplifies (IMO) how to encourage its thousands of associates, most of them not employees, to work out loud through its blogs AND Twitter, Google+, podcasts, and discussion groups online among other social media.

I’d like to share what I have learned so far. There are lessons here for big and small organizations as well as for DIY learners who are connecting online to ultimately make big differences offline. Read more

Women Networking to Lead

Our online Lean In circle led by Lisa has made me think about the power of networks and how women become leaders, especially in corporations. We had a rich resource list of videos and articles to fuel our discussion last week.

Background: Lisa started our circle online almost two years ago when the Lean In Foundation launched its discussion infrastructure to encourage women in face-to-face learning circles to take more risks and lean-in to their work challenges. Our distributed group needed to work online to connect with each other and has been online ever since.

The Foundation has provided the circles with interesting, timely, stimulating resources. As Lean In seemed to focus this year more on young women entering the workforce post-college graduation, our  experienced-women-in-the-workforce circle became more self-organizing and self-propelled, meaning that each of us brings in articles, videos, studies, etc. about leadership, women in the workplace, communication styles, and stereotypes to discuss.  We always leave our 60-90 minute discussions enriched with new ideas and perspectives, and valuing each other, too. Read more