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Social Leadership takes off
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
I hadn't really much idea of what to expect when I attended the launch of Social Leadership at a conference at UNSW in Sydney. The day was truly remarkable. The presenters first threw overboard all the tried, touted and failed definitions of Leadership as the strong man (usually) promising the rest of us that he has the Vision of where we should be headed, and he will be sure to lead us there.

They then redefined Leadership as the rediscovery of who you (the Leader) actually are as a human being, and where we (the Followers) actually want to go, and your support in getting us there. The active process they termed Adaptive Leadership (not 'innate'), which also takes account of the patience with which you may have to modify the culture as you take it forward. I am not so sure about the language - I prefer the name we have always used in our work: Facilitative Leadership (based on the work of Thomas Gordon) - but never mind, the approach is similar and it is a delight to see these ideas professionally promoted, with corporate support, and with a legion of alumni from the Social Leadership program, well trained in courses over the last ten years.

By the way, this is an extension of the Sydney Leadership program, which is now on the national scene and already with international reach. One of the speakers (or facilitators) was Dean Williams of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (not the Business School!), a riveting speaker. And he's an Australian. The other was Amanda Sinclair of Melbourne Business School - she held the stage brilliantly and actually brought yoga into the day!

All of the this is the product of The Benevolent Society (BenSoc), 195 years old , aiming to help the disadvantaged since its inception. The success of its methods is becoming interesting to the Corporate Sector, some elements of which are beginning to realise that the lavishly overpaid CEO is no guarantee of any kind of future. Similarly, they have seen that Tom Peter's In Search of Excellence companies fell badly within 15 years. BenSoc is offering a solution, honed for the Not For Profit sector but perhaps eventually having much more widespread application. Their approach, in seeking first to know the future that people want, has much in common with Roger Kaufman's MegaPlanning. By the way, Kaufman and associates have a new blog at: http://www.megaplanning.com/blog
I should add that this caters to the experienced MegaPlanner and is much too detailed for anyone else. For the latter, look at his main site, which is newly built and separate from the blog: http://www.megaplanning.com/

If you go to the BenSoc website you will notice that they also use a Strengths Based approach, as in how they help children and families (this links to Appreciative Inquiry - AI).

To sum up, MegaPlanning remains the overarching structure within which just about everything else fits. Social Leadership most certainly does and offers us a very powerful process for reaching Mega Level objectives.
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posted by Dr Ron @ 20:58  
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