1734 Slices
Medium 9781605091358

6 Starting Right Here, Right Now

Linda Tarr-Whelan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We change gears here from building the case for more women in leadership to providing you with some practical tools for stepping up to leadership. You can start wherever you are to make a difference every day and play your part in getting all of us to the place where women’s ideas can shift priorities. The Power of One can start chain reactions. Virtually every setting offers you the potential to apply a gender lens, change the status quo, or improve outcomes—and simultaneously grow your personal leadership potential.

This chapter and the ones that follow set out a road map. Our immediate destination is the 30% Solution. It is within our reach, and once we get there, we will be able to catalyze a wave of change to take us further. We’ll start by discussing sensible and realistic things every woman could do today and then move on to what you might do if you are the only woman at a power table, or one of just a few.

How can you empower yourself to make change happen as a transformative leader? It starts with thinking differently about what you—as one already busy woman—can do. Decide now to make a difference every day. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or special skills. You can start to change the dynamics at work; in your church, mosque, or synagogue; in a community organization; with younger women and girls; or anywhere you choose. Some of the best leaders I have met are nurses’ aides who led hospital organizing efforts for better working conditions. Wherever you begin, the skills you gain—and the people you work with—can contribute to solving larger and larger problems at work, in the community, or in the world.

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Peter Block Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781609942885

11. Shared Leadership

Ken Jennings Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next day the warehouse buzzed with excitement and anticipation. People talked in animated clusters over breakfast. Alex limped around on his crutches, listening to their conversations. He sensed peoples excitement—now he would ask for their commitment. All of this enthusiasm was about to go to work!

CEO Dan Meyers stepped up to the microphone. Today we will set shared goals for the company. This means we all share in the leadership of the company. Speaking for myself, this will be the first time I have been part of an opportunity exactly like this. I know that you may have some reservations about what we will accomplish and what can truly change. I personally believe we have a great future together, one where everyone can give his or her best, and we can create benefits for ourselves, our customers, and really, everyone we touch. I invite you to suspend your judgments and join me. Focus on your strengths, our new possibilities, and how we can make a difference together.

Dan turned the attentive audience over to Kevin Jordan, who announced the agenda and process for the day. Beckleys senior leadership team acted as facilitators, helping guide people together into predesigned small teams within designated areas of the open warehouse space. Each team space included a circle of chairs and large, movable whiteboards that functioned doubly as writing space and as walls between the teams. While on the previous day people had been situated in cross-functional teams made up of those who didnt always get a chance to work together, today they were organized by function, with their usual teammates. Day one of the off-site had been a refreshing change, and now, rejoining with their normal work groups, they felt renewed energy gained from a sense of new purpose, possibility, and perspective.

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Two The Six Strengths of Quiet Influencers

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“One indication of influence is the ability to stand boldly against hostile trends and thereby alter them.”

Madeline Albright, Former US Secretary of State


Time magazine’s April 18, 2012, edition profiled one hundred of the most influential people in the world. The write-up included this insight: “Before microphones and television were invented, a leader had to stand in front of a crowd and bellow. Now she can tweet a phrase that reaches millions in a flash. Influence was never easier—or more ephemeral.”4

Clearly, the nature of influence has changed with technology. But at its core, influence is still about “the capacity or power of persons to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviors, and opinions of others,” as Webster’s dictionary defines it.

I believe that influencers make a difference by challenging the status quo, provoking new ways of thinking, effecting change, or inspiring others to move forward.

Influencers labor in every type of workplace, from sound-stages to hospitals. Their jobs range from administrative assistants and authors to parents and community activists. Sometimes, they hold traditional positions of power: they are our most inspired political leaders, academics whose life’s work it is to birth new concepts, bosses who motivate people and harness resources, and committee chairs who move projects forward. Just as often, however, influencers don’t have the big title. They are simply people who encourage change and growth and achievement: the team member who comes up with the great idea, the middle manager who takes a project to fruition, the colleague who has a knack for changing the boss’s mind, the intern whose favorite restaurant becomes the new team lunch spot.

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Medium 9781576754054

The Promise and Paradox of Community

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We human beings have a great need for one another. As described by the West African writer and teacher Malidoma Somé, we have “an instinct of community. “ However, this instinct to be together is devolving into growing fragmentation and separation. We experience increasing ethnic wars, community battle grounds, and self-serving special interest groups.

We are using the instinct of community to separate and protect us from one another, rather than creating a global culture of diverse yet interwoven communities. We search for those most like us in order to protect ourselves from the rest of society. Clearly, we cannot get to a future worth inhabiting through these separating paths. Our great task is to rethink our understandings of community so that we can move from the closed protectionism of current forms to an openness and embrace of the planetary community.

It is ironic that in the midst of this proliferation of specialty islands, we live surrounded by communities that know how to connect to others through their diversity, communities that succeed in creating sustainable relationships over long periods of time. These communities are the webs of relationships called ecosystems. Everywhere in nature, communities of diverse species live together in ways that support both the individual and the entire system. As they spin these systems into existence, new capabilities and talents emerge from the process of being together. These systems teach that the instinct of community is not peculiar to humans but is found everywhere in life, from microbes to the most complex species. They also teach that the way in which individuals weave themselves into ecosystems is quite paradoxical. This paradox can be a great teacher to us humans.

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