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An association executives told a crowd that in her next strategic planning exercise, she will hire this person who happens to be a member of the association and had been waiting for her turn to be contracted.
It seemed that they get to contract only those consultants that are already part of the association for the longest time.
It seemed that it's part of the reward and seniority system.
It seemed that looking beyond their walls is counter to how they operate and think.
It seemed that for all their talk on innovation and fearlessness, they fear outside experts and perspectives.
It's the same thing when a senior executive at an academic institution noted that they only get the big firms for management consulting. Why? What's the point?
We can't lie about where our loyalties ultimately rests. Usually, relationships fossilized and so does thinking and then it becomes a force of habit, not a stroke of innovation.
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In my book, Provocateurs, Chapter 8 talks about Envisioning the End you Intend. A foundation I have followed through the years is closing down its operations for good. I got the chance to talk to the current Executive Director about the rationale and the processes they're working leading to this path.
Ending with grace is a purpose-driven response to closures, good byes, and changes. This means a lot for those who were part of the organizational journey from the very start, the founders- Board, Staff, members, grant recipients, and the people on the ground who were touched by the impact funding and breakthrough activities. This means a lot as well to those countless people in the community who were involved in some ways or another to the activities and programs and celebrations of solidarity with the people in the South.
I am quite shocked at first as an outsider to hear this but I salute the courage to truthfully assess their situation. This is a very difficult decision to make and no Board, staff, or members would take this further unless it's considered to be (at that time) the best alternative amongst other options. As a consultant and advisor, I can't get into the minds of the decision-makers but I believe that there is a bundle of rationales that are taken into consideration in such an undertaking. But what happens next is not really much discussed but fortunately, my book looks at many such wondrous things that can take place after closures. Evidence is replete with many spin-offs, small and large that can
I heard from the Executive Director that a bunch of members is meeting informally over coffee. All good things will end eventually but this is an interesting development to watch. We can all learn from this process and be amazed as to what 'reimagining the futures' would be like for this community.
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With the talk of ChatGPT as the game-changer in education, training, and literacy, what actually changed was the training on non-thinking.
A colleague of mine who is an instructor was just so happy that ChatGPT is around to help him with case study formulation. I get the convenience but I fear the far greater implications to the education process where every student, faculty, trainer, and executive would just depend on the technology to tell them what to think and not just how messages can be permutated in million ways.
I believe that technology for good is good but technology without mediation, controls, and governance could spell doom for humanity. The already social media-raised generation is now saturated with every gizmos and gadgets so that they don't have to live the real life, work hard, and achieve success based on what they put in but live in virtual life where virtual reality is manufactured based on their preferred version of reality.
When I wrote my book, I relied mainly on basic editing software which is a great help for a professional with English as her second language. While this is so, I made sure that I write using my own voice, my wording, my inflections, which would make me different but also interesting. Imagine countless of books and manuals written these days where every wording, tone, content are regurgitated by AI and machines? We will sound exactly the same, as in robotic. We will be mouthing each other's messages and will echo what is mainly acceptable in the mainstream, whoever that mainstream dominant voice in the multiverse is.
The days of being unique is over. Conformity powered by technology here. But with all the investments in education, this is not something you would want to have attained after a number of years of schooling, higher education, executive trainings for professional development, and so on. If schools are not putting guidelines on this thing, we might as well homeschool our children so we they don't get what the machines pick and serve on a silver platter on to our kids' brains.
Get out of this conditioning before it's too late.
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My friend and publisher is a certified Global Nomad. He's travelling now for two years all over Europe and apparently now in Mongolia with his partner while working on his businesses. He writes for Medium and will get his book published soon on the same topic.
He's not rootless as what it seems like. Global nomadism is not place-centric but lifestyle and values-aligned life design. Designing this kind of life requires an intentional and deep way of honoring your truest desires and bringing them to life in a way that supports yourself and your needs, the environment, for long term.
Who is this for? For those who are not adhering into 'living and dying in one place' where there are choices that lie open wide and are taking it. Cyber work propels and invigorates this culture shift. Globalization in ICT power charges it. Culture shift in this area is taking place. The exodus has just begun. More and more people are moving not just for greener pastures but to elect a different life.
For sure this is not for everyone. But some people are not troubled by lack of security, lack of social ties in one place, or lack of family supports and other familial things when they're life is in flux. Some people flourish in that kind of mobility and dislocation. They take the road as their offices and cubicles and learn the ways of the people they meet and share coffee with on a train, bus, tuk-tuk, or tourist tram.
My friend is living the life that he desires and not flinching about it. We can be nomads in your town as well. We can exist in one area but totally isolated from the rest of its current realities. This is not about travelling and moving but deciding to not participate with life in all of its dynamism.
Nomadism is a choice, by far a choice that creates its own limits as well as possibilities. If you elect to be so, where would you go and what would you like to learn in the process.
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We know for a fact that not everyone will like what you do and will believe what you say and stand for. That's very obvious.
But there's a class of people who will never believe and will not be persuaded even in the face of great supporting evidence or contrarian evidence.
We call these people unpersuadable. They will dig on their heels but will never capitulate maybe because of ego, apathy, lack of trust with the other person or their leaders, or merely because they want to play that way.
What is insidious is the fact that this attitude is totally annoying and a barrier to engagement. Organizations dealing with these kinds of people are reluctant to confront the unpersuadable for fear that they could be more entrenched with an extreme position or lack thereof.
Change management analytics will determine that a different strategy should be employed for the unpersuadable such as keeping them at arm's length and providing information that they need without the urge to win them over.
Realistically, let them know that it's not okay to be unpersuadable. It's a character flaw and by acting that way, shows you their real worth. If it's someone you have no relations or context with, walk away.
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When I immigrated to Canada on 13 July 2010, I had two suitcases and a big Balikbayan box (used to send goods home for families who stayed behind). At the immigration desk, I was asked about my show money- a money you guarantee that you have with you at the time of landing that you will survive in the next few days or weeks, or maybe if you have a lot, a few months to stave away destitution.
Where is your show money? To prove you can survive in Canada on a shoe-string budget and still feel happy with your decision to uproot yourself, your career, and your life for no apparent life-threatening reason but to improve your chances of greater success- whatever that is, a house mortgage, better education, fresher air and food, elevated status-The Great Canadian Dream.
Us, immigrants we all had it. The grim determination that we will no matter what it takes, overcome and will get that coveted Canadian passport, identity, language, and social ties under our belts at last. The folks back home will be super proud of what we have done and will say, better in Canada struggling than back home.
As I eased into the new Canadian living, the show money transformed in a different way.
Where is your Canadian experience? It's like saying that you will never make it here as a landed immigrant if you don't have the Canadian experience which is synonymous to "killing the immigrants softly." How exactly will you get the Canadian experience if nobody will take the risk of hiring you? In order to survive, they have to take survival jobs which is like a penance of choosing Canada as their home.
In my last successful job interview, I told them, " I am fresh off the boat and with no Canadian work experience at all yet but I have travelled the world-world-weary and worldly enough to be flexible and adaptable." I got the job! They sure can't believe that I have just arrived and now competing against 500 work applicants in that city. The rest is history.
The next show money question is different. It is all about in their heads, "what are your credentials that will allow us to respect you and believe that you can help?" This one is tough to crack. But, there's always a way around it.
Of all these questions, one thing is for sure, not all will be pleased and will accept who you are and what you're here for in this country, this city, this small town, and neighborhood. There will also be people like that. But as immigrants who discovered a new home, a new identity that could fuse with the old, and new relations on top of the discarded ones, suggest that we can completely write our own stories with ourselves as the main protagonists, despite the odds. I guess, striving to win every time.
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When was the last time you made some spring cleaning in your organization?
Have you tried to look at your Bylaws and Letters of Incorporation lately?
Have you done some reviews of your Policies and Guidance Documents?
Have you considered reviewing your Terms of References, Procurements, and Vendor processes?
Have you made progress in your volunteer growth and advancement recently?
Are staff and Board evaluations and reviews in the pipeline?
Sometimes, the best spring cleaning begins at your desk.
What work are you trying to put off in the last few weeks and months now?
What difficult conversation must take place sooner than later?
Who needs to be informed, consulted, and engaged in your process?
The rigmarole of paper pushing in many offices is seldom questioned.
It's time to figure out what is work and what's non-work.
Spring cleaning is all about tackling the most essential and dropping the non-work.
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A few months ago, a CEO told me that it seemed, 'everything is in order.' They are moving into a new building, operations have been reconfigured to accommodate an enlarged mandate, expanded personnel, and with secured funding, it is looking promising.
When everything is in order, is it not the best opportune time to plan your next steps?
Here are eight issues that CEOs of social purpose organizations spend their time on:
-Board Leadership and Governance
-Communications and Reputational Issues
-Innovations, Adaptation and Resilience
Which of these eight issues are focused on putting out fires and which are for innovation and building capacity for the future?
They are all areas to look for innovation, adaptation, and resilience. Let your managers and staff know that they can lead to innovate in their departments. These are systems and they all overlap for the organization. Wherever you are in the chart, change happens when people and systems change.
Anticipate that something will come up when you're putting things in order as a cause and consequences of those actions. Growth requires vigilance to outcomes and the resoluteness to continue in the direction of change. Ultimate, it's about minds, hearts, and systems in complete synergy and harmony.
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Provocation, as I heard from a Rotary Club member after my presentation, was something very negative to him. He was fed up by the polarization in our politics and culture, those that always demanding something and always looking for ways to tell someone should reform or else global destruction is at hand, instead of just aiming for common good.
While I recognize the current woke and cancel culture climate which we operate, I digress that positive provocation is more about not pushing, but encouraging, not forcing someone to change their views even with the word Provocateur or Provocation. Provocation means you're not settled with the status quo, however long it has served your purpose. It's always for positive growth, more relevance for the upliftment of all. It's about challenging norms that are no longer useful, thus, we can take some lessons learned from others, and adapt accordingly.
The woke culture of today denigrates everyone who is not in conformity, kills dissension and creative expression, and polices everyone's thoughts and feelings, making one feel ashamed and guilty of one's roots and privileges. Hitler's campaign was successful because it tackled the identity of German culture and ascribed a higher sense of importance over other races, ethnicities, and identities and loyalties of the German people.
Positive provocation is an antidote to the complacency in many organized systems around the world. Innovation, as Schumpeter defined is about 'creative destruction.' Taken in extreme literal way robs it of its substance. Innovation is doing and making things differently, whether it's a product, service, system, network, or process.
Positive provocation in the world of charity, development, humanitarian, and philanthropy requires a healthy dose of passion, purpose, provision, practice, and the right paradigm (5Ps). That to me is the philosophy of being a provocateur or a positive instigator.
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As the year winds down, you can finish strong even in matters of few weeks.
2022 is full of challenges and opportunities. But these challenges shouldn't define your organization.
Your organization should be defined by what you have done in spite/despite the challenge and pressures facing every on-purpose organization
Are you ready .....
To think about what could be in 2023, in terms of restructuring and governance changes?
To think about a strategy that you could use in the next 2-3 years?
To set aside time for reflexivity within your team and Board?
To integrate lessons learned to new practices?
To improve your leadership and resiliency so you can model what it takes to lead without having all the answers?
To innovate next year as opposed to putting out fires and reacting?
You can finish well and in advance. Life is a series of starts and stops. Of continuities and discontinuities. Whether you believe this or not, next year starts now.