21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

Courtney-Klein

SEED SPOT signage with CEO/Co-founder Courtney Klein

21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

We all wonder where the world is heading. We see many things that need changing and few who are engaged in the positive efforts that make change possible. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. SEED SPOT, a Phoenix-based co-working and incubator space, is doing just that – creating positive change. They are doing it on multiple levels simultaneously through their leadership, mentoring and social-entrepreneurship programs that create jobs and benefit the community.

When you walk into the space, an entire floor of a high-rise in central Phoenix, the first thing one notices is the sprawling work space area with the notable signage (see photo) front and center. It is the epitome of a collaborative environment where budding entrepreneurs and possibilities coagulators bring people, places and things into a new order that empowers each entrepreneur. The opportunities to stretch and grow, both personally and professionally, bring entrepreneurs and the help they need for launching and growing their business together in a wonderful symbiosis.

The team includes CEO and Co-founder, Courtney Klein; Director of Entrepreneur Initiatives, C’pher Gresham; Director of Development, Tabitha Branscome; and Operations Manager, Corinn Perry, among others, who demonstrate that good things can happen when the right components can be brought together and shared openly. Their programs bring together community leaders, corporate supporters and mentors that provide an excellent foundation for business and community development.

It is the author’s opinion that this organization is poised to grow exponentially. It is obvious from their success in the community that their leadership methodology is working. Truly, collaborative alliances are key factors in developing processes for positive change in local environments. No doubt over the next decade SEED SPOT will have a profound effect on Arizona. In order to change the current social architecture of our country, efforts like theirs are imperative to facilitate people, places and things toward positive change. This is just the beginning of a large-scale change in how business is done in America.

It is also the opinion of the author that examples like SEED SPOT need representation in both large and small communities around the country. How fast this happens will depend largely on public support and local/national leadership that also aligns with the goals and objectives of positive change through rebuilding our economy with sustainable methodologies. These kinds of efforts deserve our attention and support. Our communities and country will benefit and demonstrate that America is truly a world leader for positive change. It has been questionable to date.

Alliances and Relations

4.1.1Alliances and Relations

How do we really do business today? Is that a fair question? I’ve noticed an increasing amount of alliances across the gamut of ‘industry’ today. Those alliances seem to have a variety of visions and missions, often relative to the garnering of market share and stock price. Competition is fierce. Collaboration amongst cohorts and peer groups is on the rise.

An ‘alliance’ is defined as: a union or association formed for mutual benefit, especially between countries or organizations. What kinds of alliances get the most attention these days? One that I find is getting increasing attention is that of B-Corps or Benefit Corporations.

From Wikipedia:

  • In the United States, a benefit corporation or Bcorporation is a type of for-profit corporate entity, legislated in 28 U.S. states, that includes positive impact on society and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals.

The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment. In a traditional corporation shareholders judge the company’s financial performance; with a B-corporation shareholders judge performance based on how a corporation’s goals benefit society and the environment. (not to be confused with B Corp Certification)

  • B Corp certification (also known as B Lab certification or B Corporation certification) is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a United States-based non-profit organization. To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on an online assessment for “social and environmental performance”, satisfy the requirement that the company integrate B Lab commitments to stakeholdersinto company governing documents, and pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $25,000. As of March 2014, there are 990 “certified B Corporations” across 60 industries in 27 countries.

The B-Lab certification is a third party standard requiring companies to meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards, meet accountability standards, and to be transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. B-Lab certification applies to the whole company across all product lines and issue areas. For-profits of all legal business structures are eligible for certification.

Relations and relationships are expanding from the old-world view of being associated with humans to a more expanded (indigenous) view of the inclusion of Nature – the Earth and all its inhabitants, human, plant and animal. Perhaps this ‘new’ view is one that we’ve been missing for some time, the result of which has been the ‘unintentional’ devastation of ecosystems and the pollution of our air, earth and water – not to mention humans. Is it time for a reexamination of how we do business?

Of course the idealistic and perhaps unrealistic perception is that we can change. The notion of change is frightening from many perspectives, mostly from the fear of loss of something we think we has provided security or a way of life to date. First World countries have standards of living that Third World countries only dream about today. Second World (a term rarely used today) refers to the former Soviet Union and China, which have grown to First World county status as they’ve incorporated capitalism. Unbridled capitalism is probably the root of our collective problems caused by the poor fiscal and social management of resources.

How do we change? The introduction of change management philosophy has focused on the induction of what appear to be ‘holistic’ systems now; the view that each component of a system affects the whole, a type of synergy if you will. This new ‘strategy’ is being taught across the gamut of business schools, first introduced in the last century to the corporate world through the work of Peter Senge and others. ‘Learning Organizations’ became the goal for maximizing resources.

Speaking of maximizing resources, just a few years ago a long-time respected authority, the International Organization for Standardization (known for the ISO 9000 series manufacturing standards), turned its vision toward Social Responsibility and commissioned representatives from over 90 countries to draft the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standards. It took nearly 10 years to complete and offers one of the most exquisite examples of an alliance of collaborators.

The ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standards was released on 1 November 2010. Its goal is to contribute to global sustainable development, by encouraging business and other organizations to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities. (Wikipedia)

The difference in these ‘new’ standards is that there is no ‘certification’ process; intentional action is the only requisite. Beyond the resistance to change is great potential, possibilities that exist to truly change the way we do business. The challenge is that the request for change and restructuring has to come from both directions – top-down and bottom-up. There are no more silos. We’re all farmers, tending the new crop of corporate standards and social responsibility. Isn’t it time?

Cognitive Challenges

Buddha-adviceCognitive Challenges

I started this article just after the Winter Solstice of 2012 and set it aside. Today I was stirred by a newsletter from an old friend, J. Hamilton, and was inspired to respond. Upon reviewing this material, I found I’d already written a response to our cognitive challenges. Funny how that happens sometimes. Something caused me to put it on pause back then and leave it as a draft. Now, my work was made easy and with minor additions, fits the need. The response is to the perception that we are unable to respond to the problems we face as a planetary civilization.

I know folks mean well in their display of contradictions, the outer display of their cognitive dissonance, unaware of how transparent it is and in denial of its reality in how they communicate. They don’t mean to confuse and obfuscate. Right? We separate through conspiracy and phenomena transmitted through the grape vine, the Internet. Few check to see what the vines are growing in and whether the quality of their fruit is even worth tasting, let alone ingesting. So what of the dark cabals? What of the believers? What of harmony among people and planet?

By that I mean the juxtaposition of the good vs. evil governments. WE all live and work in the same world here on Mother Earth, right? Stop being a spectator stuck in front of the computer or the tube, believing and passing on propaganda meant to continue the obfuscation. Millennials are forcing evo-leaps in social architecture that challenge authority on every level, from transparency in personal and professional environments to feeling entitled to live in a world free of fear (at least from each other) to exploring their celestial heritage as a natural part of maturity. They don’t see good or evil. They are more Taoist in their philosophy; they witness desirable and undesirable results.

Perhaps we [humans] are exactly where we need to be and that humanity or the world’s population is perfectly situated for the next phase of natural selection or what we might even call ‘evolution’ in the sense that we must grow or die. Our previous methods haven’t worked, but we keep trying to do the same thing and expect different results. The U.S. has led the way with behavioral patterning on a societal scale that affects the global village. It’s okay that we didn’t know the long term effects of our earlier behavior. Is there a ‘pause button’ that we can collectively push so that we can get a grip on learning how to get along?

Father Sky looks upon Mother Earth and the Children of the Sun wondering when the suns will shine and showearth-hands in humanity’s progression. The world is changing, for some way too fast and way too slow for others. It is changing and as arduous as change is, we must meet the challenge in every moment and rise to our best behavior. Seems we need to create a new myth, embrace a spirit of truth, live as one people. We know the truth; the effects of love. Isn’t it time we lived it? “Easier said than done,” you might say, and you would be absolutely right. Is there anything more appropriate or called for in the New Time?

The classic drama of ancient legends and myths plays itself out in the physical world on myriad levels, yet we know not how to walk between worlds, recognizing reflections of ourselves in each and embrace both, balancing our own polarity. Is it so necessary to use terms that imply separation, without understanding. We know better. What affect is truly in place when everything is part of the ONE REALITY we share? We can imagine a Mobius strip as the spirit/mind of our soul being, two twisted circles of dynamic energy becoming one as we traverse the path, remaining unaffected. If you got that, the rest is ‘easy’ on the road less traveled.

The protagonist and the antagonist are ever present in the minds of humans, perceiving the world around them from this dualistic point of view. “Trust God, but lock your car,” is a good one. Knowing what we do about the affect and effect of thought on our reality, the obvious question arises: What affect would the awareness of this natural polarity (apparently) have on an individual? On partners? On groups? On organizations? On Dancer? On Prancer? We sure like Rudolf for his light-heartedness. Imagine what the Giver Of Data could offer our perceptions; reality expanded beyond our wildest dreams. Can we conceive, perceive and receive?

As one walks between worlds, seeking ways to bridge them for the benefit of all, this place of observing polarity is quite useful. It allows one to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ as a conscious being; aware of the disturbance, but not bothered by it. What does a viewing of life through the lens of a belief system offer? Does it allow one to walk between worlds and choose where to enter as prompted by the inner knowing of leadership by conscience, the core of ethical and moral behavior? Probably not; fear-based behavior is a common response to something outside [it], even manifestations unknown spark fear in believers.

Ghandi offered this, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ It is important to be aware of the polarities in human nature and in order to ascend; we are compelled to act in LOVE. What does that mean? We open up, become vulnerable in our trust guided by discernment and lose whatever fear necessary to surrender to the indwelling spirit. True love evolves through relationships and into beneficial collaborations that synergistically elevate the status quo on both sides in the dualistic framework.

It is the willing acceptance of ‘what is,’ the reality of each desire for a ‘better’ world. It is only the view of how to accomplish this that is incongruent. Einstein said we cannot fix problems with the same thinking that caused them. We can opt for a better view, a new living awareness. What would happen if this awareness brought about the ability to transcend the current conditions? What if life could get better simply by shifting views a bit? What could it hurt, really?

advice - great workThis seems like a very idealistic proposal: to rise above one’s bias and prejudice and connect with the ‘enemy’ in love. Again I’m reminded of Jesus’ admonition ‘to love thine enemy.’ And paraphrasing… if they are thirsty, give them water; hungry, give them food… Buddha said, “Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

Isaac Asimov made a clear point, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, which is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be…This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.” Even Mohammed said, “To overcome evil with good is good; to resist evil by evil is evil.” Hello…. is there anybody in there…. just nod if you can hear me….. is there anyone at home? Pink Floyd

I’m reminded of the piece on the wall next to my desk that goes like this, “In the spirit of Zen everyday life is the contest. There must be awareness at every moment – getting up in the morning, working, eating, going to bed… that is the place for the mastery of self.” And I suppose it is in that awareness that we seek balance, to understand the root of our dualistic predilection and to change it – returning to faith, love, trust and all things good.

Sure it won’t be an easy journey or happen in your physical body this time around, maybe, yet our reunion with Creator as Divine Kin around the world is inevitable. So why fight it? Perhaps the Star Families are maintaining a distance, communicating with a few covertly while displaying evidence of intelligence (crop circles) so obvious we’d be fools to deny it. True leaders of the 21st Century will work for the benefit of mankind by learning how to achieve balance between the worlds as neither one can be destroyed – harmonized not simonized.

It is not clear what results you can expect, only that we are called to action with pure hearts and purposeful passion to assist in this global transformation toward harmony among people and planet. Recent events and continued hardships only edify the real need for change. Masses only change when enough individuals do, proving their notions through demonstrable methods and results. It’s far from easy or simple, yet it is easy and simple. The paradox of truth prevails once again. Wow, what a concept!

Consideration Evokes Criticism

Globcal-FB pageConsideration evokes criticism and presents an interesting conundrum in the online social venue. I’d like to reflect on some real-time events that have caused a pause for further contemplation. I’ve been working with a very progressive group of folks who are leaping forward in regard to global citizenship.

The ramrod of the group has been at this since the mid-90s when he ran an organization that gave away over 10 million trees only to be shut down by National Arbor Day Foundation for trade name infringement because he was using ‘ArborDay.com’ as a website domain in conjunction with Ecology Crossroads Foundation.

His story is a matter of public record. He moved to Venezuela shortly after allowing the foundation to go into administrative dissolution. We recently reinstated the organization as of Earth Day, 2014, and are preparing to move into the 21st century with a bit more wisdom, but still with a mission of harmony of people and planet.. man and environment. Creating sustainable living ecosystems, on micro and macro levels, allow our planetary civilization to continue to grow and prosper. We have to change the way business as usual is being done.

There is a larger concern involved now that is obvious with the global warming concerns. The critical need for creating collaborative networks that can support their members is indeed the next order of business. Wall Street is dead, but it’s on life support for a while and very few have realized it to date. Our economy is supported by what is known as ‘free issuance‘ which means we all agree on the value of currency even though there is nothing to support the value. The push for digital currency is on as a result. Bitcoin saw it coming.

Globcal International Cooperative is a relatively new organization that is picking the ball up by engaging goodwill ambassadors in a collaboration within the Cooperative business structure. There has been thousands of hours put into its development and due to its self-initiating nature the attrition rate has been rather high. An organization of this kind takes years to develop and the digital world has made it available. However, human nature has not changed much at all. We’re impatient and lazy.

The organization has developed group profiles of ambassadors across nearly a dozen social platforms. There are ways to qualify as a ‘verified’ entity in many of these domains, but certain requirements must be met before this happens. It really ties in well to the movement toward ‘perfect citizenship’ on the Internet that is being formulated by various governments. We do need ‘good’ citizenship on the Net. Globcal is taking that to a new level with the programs it will be engaging.

That being said, I was sending out a nice notice to those who were questionable only because of their business or alter-ego screen name that Facebook isn’t fond of when scanning profile connections of members of the organization. I personally think that is a reasonable request, especially if they [FB] are going to put their stamp of approval on verifying an organization as a legitimate entity in the FB domain. The notice I crafted simply stated, I thought, the reasons for my actions. I didn’t have to tell them a thing, but I thought friends deserved to know as a matter of communication in transparency.

So here is what I sent to those folks:

The Globcal Ambassadors are being ‘verified’ by Facebook in order to get their ‘checkmark’ of legitimacy so we can openly work with organizations as a ‘trusted’ group on Facebook. Ambassadors cannot be ‘friends’ with alter egos or fictitious profiles in any way. Businesses as profiles also are included as well as multiple profiles of the same person. We are required to demonstrate our real identity in order to meet their standards for ‘verification.’

I want to continue with the collaborative efforts and my growing responsibilities as Ambassador Zen Benefiel in association with this organization. So I’m in process of ‘unfriending’ those who, although I may enjoy an association now, are not in compliance with what is necessary to qualify my profile for inclusion in the ‘verifcation’ process with the Facebook Authorities.

I want to continue to play nice. Nothing personal, just have to adhere to the rules for taking our activity to the next level of accountable and responsible global citizenry. Thanks for understanding. This is NOT about any kind of FB police or denying your ability to make any kind of profile you want. It’s about creating harmony in the ability to perform collaboratively.

I will continue to ‘follow’ (unless your ‘follow’ feature is turned off) those ‘unfriended’ and remain connected in that way. This will be an interesting process I’m sure. Perhaps you might consider creating a real profile being prudent for participation in the transparency? I’d love to ‘friend’ you…

Check out http://globcal.net/ for more…

I find it really telling of humankind when I get angry and resentful responses from those with the most flowery or ‘spiritual’ screen names. They feel violated somehow, but refuse to admit their assumed names are simply that and have no intrinsic value in the current economic structure. We haven’t created a new one yet, but they present the notion that this somehow violates their sovereign nature.

Perhaps this is an ego check in disguise. What mask are you wearing now? Maybe there is call for a culling in your friends list, too?

I was surprised that those who ‘should’ see the value in this collaboration do not and rather than playing with simple rules to establish the foundation for developing healthy online relationships across the world, they act like spoiled brats. It is very telling of their character and need for transformation toward meeting their own belief system notions, imho. I’ve had to look at all this within me as well. I think I’m okay, but I’m sure I have my moments.

I really had no idea that such responses would be evoked. What I had hoped for was a recognition and understanding that, yes, it is appropriate to create a certain standard of behavior and display for taking online activity to the next level publicly. Private organizations have their structures and tight controls in some cases. Public personas ought to have a willingness to be part of something greater and acquiesce to those standards as they are, at least until better or different standards are achieved. Humans tend to act arbitrarily without checking potential fallout.

The fact is that we (humanity) need to learn to work together and oftentimes that begins by following some very simple rules of behavior that benefit everyone. It’s simplicity and transparency is sublime and yet seems to trigger the very ones who say they promote harmony… Where else do you find this kind of behavior? Perhaps in your company or organization?

People are who they are and when ego-centered disruptive behavior arises, it is often very counterproductive. They are a victim of cognitive dissonance and look for blame toward others rather than looking within at the source of the problem and changing their point of view. It is a simple choice, apparently.

So what’s in a name? Perhaps this is what is meant by ‘loosing yourself in order to find yourself’ Collaboration in submission toward simplicity. Honestly, what is the harm in that? Nothing is lost and no freedoms are given up. In fact much more freedom is gained because the shared responsibility allows further creative aspirations to play out. Play nice. Be fair. Have fun!

What do you think about Global Citizenship? Are we still premature to be thinking about the notion?

What are your thoughts on the validation or verification process… the ‘perfect citizen’ on the Net?

 

Communication: Can We Just Talk?

advice-TaoCan we just talk?

Communication is the number one issue across the board in relationships – personal or professional. We talk at each other instead of with each other. We avoid addressing the things that make us uncomfortable. Even worse, we run from conversations that make us feel vulnerable.

Given our lack of coping skills and avoidance techniques that range in the thousands, how to do overcome what keeps us afraid, angry, ignorant and immobile? 

It isn’t like the subject hasn’t been address by those far greater prepared and the expertise, imho, spans several areas for drawing solutions. Daniel Goleman speaks of emotional intelligence. Howard Gardner address multiple intelligences and Peter Senge touts the learning organization and systems thinking to get things rolling in the right direction. There are many others that could be included as well. We tend to compartmentalize and segment our approaches when perhaps a holistic approach is what we really need.

Some years ago after giving the corporate ladder and my marriage the best I could possibly offer (or so I thought) and having both worlds crumble, I spent a year in self-examination and analysis with the help of a number of folks qualified beyond measure to assist. I love to go deep and knowing self is tantamount to understanding others, or so the story goes.

As I explored the depths, the same notion kept coming up…. just talk. Okay… How? Of course communication doesn’t happen by just talking; it happens from how we talk but more so how we listen. Communication is a symbiosis of gesticulation, words and understanding.

celest-meditationDuring that year I went from approaching $60K to less than $6K in income and the attending self-deprecating thoughts and feelings one experiences from lack of opportunity and/or performance. My life was in shambles and I let my family down. That sounds terrible, and it felt that way. I have to say it was also one of the best years of my life. I was able to get really quiet, listen and observe my feelings and thoughts.

I found an oasis in the desert, literally, and began to restore my life. Living in Phoenix seemed only too appropriate since I was living the legend. I also found a lot of unanswered questions about building relationships and, more importantly, finding fulfillment. My first attempts were devastating, mostly through no fault of my own. My own innocence and naivety of human nature brought the house down. So I had to rebuild and remodel with new material.

Then I got a break. I had the opportunity to produce a television show. I had gotten involved with the Christown Lions Club and a public access program they sponsored. When the time came, the opportunity literally fell in my lap without saying a word. I treated it with the honor and respect I felt it deserved and although I was asked to do a kind of ‘new age’ show I opted for staying more mainstream. I’d had a bad experience on the radio with a ‘new age’ event I helped produce and I didn’t think it wise to set myself up for more uninformed public trials and tribulations.

One World became an avenue to explore how we integrate inner and outer realities, work through common fears and learn how to communicate effectively across the gamut of relationships. It was an education of many lifetimes with over 100 shows over about two years, done live to tape and no post production. I was scared of making mistakes initially, but gradually loosened up. It’s actually where ‘Zen’ began to emerge. About a half-dozen shows in the crew started calling me Zen. It came from the ‘subtitle’ of Zendor that I was using as a tongue-in-cheek ‘door to what is’ reference. The latter is a story for another time.

In the process of production, I met a gentleman who had founded a homeless transitional facility called New Day Educational Center. I had interviewed him and a graduate about their divergent yet serendipitous engagement. A few months later he approached me with an opportunity to do a commercial show on community activism and, even though it meant giving up the public access show, I jumped at the chance. I thought I could begin to generate conversations that could help Phoenicians connect and build better communities of practice and service.

Obviously it was still quite the amateur approach, but I still like the intro to the promotional video we produced. It carries a message even today.

Spring Cleaning and Social Engineering

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Spring Cleaning and Social Engineering

Perhaps the title of this article might stimulate some visuals of dusting off the bookshelves while trying to figure out how to manage your career change and/or social schedule. One of my mentors used to talk about cleaning out the ashtrays, even though he wasn’t a smoker. Sometimes we just need to clean up our lives a bit and challenge the future in the process.

I had to make a change recently, not feeling completely comfortable and in flow with the process, in order to fulfill and agreement I’d made with my life partner of the past decade or so. A door opened for the moment and, although it didn’t feel like it was going to last long, I made the move. Wow, did I get a wake-up call in short order.

Being responsible for creating everything in your life is a tall order. Sometimes what we create forcibly turns around to give us a real clear vision of our cognitive dissonance. Even when agreements are made and contracts signed, that doesn’t mean that the performance of the parties will be congruent with the stated mission and purpose of the alignment. What I mean by that is people aren’t always honest, but show up as they are over time for all to see.

I tend to look at my immediate environment and extrapolate the cosmic significance in order to understand the bigger picture of how people play (or not) and what it really means to create harmony among people. People often say they want balance and harmony, but how they show up in life simply prohibits it and they tend to blame everyone around them instead of looking in the mirror. I got a harsh look in the mirror that offered still deeper levels of an old pattern I uncovered a decade ago. I’ve been working through it and am still challenged by it evidently.

Changing beliefs is easy, or so we think. Somehow, though, my nemesis showed up once again… “I have a lot to offer, but you will reject me.” Do you have something like that rolling around in your head and/or heart? I know where it came from – being orphaned. As an adoptee I found my search for depth in life was far more important than anything else. It still is and I’m not triggered by behaviors of others, but so many are still. The first sign is when others project their opinions like, “You think your are better than… ” It sucks when people do that and nothing anyone can say will change that belief. It’s locked and loaded.

The whole concept of feeling like one needs to help others to heal usually comes from a deeply wounded individual that hasn’t found their own healing yet. The old adage of ‘we teach what we need to learn’ certainly applies if we are listening. The thing is it takes deep listening or gazing in the mirror to see yourself in that way. Most folks tend to reject that view and act out aggressively. It’s sad to see it happen, even heart-wrenching when you are in the middle of it. It’s even more disappointing when you’ve made every attempt to be the change you with to see and it just ain’t happenin’ around you.

So how do we show up? Are we really authentic or do we have layers and layers of masks that we use to hide from the truth? Do we honor others or usurp their power for our own purpose and steal their energy and resources with no respect offered? Do we give with no expectation of return or do we play the invisible reach around with a hidden agenda that is obvious to others but oblivious to our own sight? Do we play the victim card or do we acknowledge the choice we made to be out of integrity?

We all have our agendas and reasons for behaving certain ways. I certainly stepped out of bounds and held back in expressing my own needs in order to fulfill the needs of another. Sometimes that is the best and most gracious way to be in life. However there is a balance, a harmony of self and others that we often find challenging. We rarely communicate our true feelings, let alone ask for feedback from others about how we appear to show up in our relationships.

If we are unable to do that in our personal relationships, those that are closest and most sacred, then how can we expect to show up in a professional environment any differently? I think it was T. Harv Eker that said, “What you do anywhere, you do everywhere.” I think about that a lot. I review my authenticity, my intentions and my reflections as though my life depends on it. If I show up anywhere out of sync, then I probably show up everywhere out of sync. What do you think about that for your own life?

There is a lot of discussion about being able to anticipate the needs of our future business, social and technological needs. Analyzing trends is big business, but it still relies on historical values… past events. Yes, it is recent past in our current trending reviews, but still the past. It is my opinion that, looking through new eyes with the review of how we show up and the reflections we get, we have an obligation to create a future that is harvesting the past while engaging a rapid growth cycle. That growth comes from authentic and effective communication at all levels of our lives. That is how we can “Be the change we wish to see.”

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Breathe Oneness

fingertips-breathe

Breathe Oneness

I was reminded of an experience in Las Vegas almost 20 years ago now, at a weekend workshop called ‘Vision.’ Of course it was about self-development and creating alignment with purpose, people, places and things in our life.

The last day we (180 or so) were thrust into a ballroom with the edict of ‘creating a miracle.’ The miracle happened when the partner (for the seminar) of one of guys put a rose in a vase in the center of the room, unbeknownst to him at the time. Shortly later he arose from a meditation on the side of the room, walked over to the rose and sat with it, cross legged.

Before too long he was weeping uncontrollably. Many came to his aide and attempted to ‘make it okay,’ desiring to pull him out of the seeming funk. He responded with, “No, you don’t understand… you don’t understand.” After several minutes the entire group, again unbeknownst to him, had surrounded him, with arms outstretched and embracing one another as he continue to weep completely oblivious of his surroundings. Then he stopped.

Through tear-soaked and swollen eyes he looked up at the group around him now, all 180+ in a huge group hug…. simply loving in the silence of the embrace. He smiled and arose, wobbly from the outpouring. Someone asked him what happened. He said it was like the rose was a connection to the Earth and all the sorrow came pouring through it and into him.

It evidently began to subside as the group gathered around him, first wanting to push or pull him into a different place instead of allowing him to just BE in that moment. When they finally did just allow and embraced each other in a loving ‘unknowing’ the energy shifted and the sorrow subsided. The miracle had occurred.

In his statements about the experience he expressed the deep sorrow he felt from the rose vis a vis the planet and her deep despair regarding our treatment of each other and her simultaneously. It was nearly unbearable as he noted the words he spoke to those who, early on, attempted to get him to come out of that obvious despair, not knowing truly what it was. His response of, “No, you don’t understand!” came from deep within that consciousness that was being shared with him through the rose.

Ultimately they all at least got the message of our inhumane treatment of each other and the planet and at least for a brief moment in time they had all released any and all bias, judgment, prejudice or whatever… and breathed in and out together in a an embrace of unconditional love. It was truly magnificent to witness, this breath of oneness.

Just in case you haven’t experienced a breathing as one event… try Do As One.

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Full Spectrum Approach

DreamHow do we incorporate the advantages of best practices in a full-spectrum approach to community building?

I’ve spent decades wandering about the various aspects of community development. I wanted to know how things worked. I produced a television show that allowed a deeper exploration of how people worked through fears and the commonality they found in personal, workplace and community relationships. We explored both inner and outer motivating factors. I found engaging City futures forums, community assessments and working in educational systems to be quite fulfilling for a time, then disappointing as they seemed to be plagued with sub-standard behavior and considerations for the future. I understand that society changes slowly and the resistance to change often creates war.

Those wars spill over into agenda constrictions and behavioral complexities that even the best organizational development consultants and facilitators find challenging. I liked one of the notions that came up in my MA program… that challenge and change are only three letters different. Removing the ‘lle’ (liabilities, limitations and excuses) automatically creates change. I was fortunate to be able to extend that thoughtmosphere into the realms of the local chapter of the American Society for Training and Development’s annual conference in 2010, titled, “The Shift: Challenge to Change; Removing liabilities, limitations and excuses in the workplace.”

I enjoyed teaching high school in a number of environments, while looking for a steady job in the business curriculum arena so I could become fully certified, which included district, charter and even a residential treatment center. Holistic systems always fascinated me, so I look for ways to improve upon existing arrangements to facilitate greater harmony among the people, places and things involved. It doesn’t always bode well. However, it prompted me to write a business plan for a model school to address the ‘at-risk’ students I found to be slipping through the cracks right and left.

Partial Answer to the Question:

My living partner, who I coaxed into the MA in Organizational Mangement program at the University of Phoenix, and I proceded to discuss and craft the plan while in our program together. We’d met as a result of our deep-seated desires to create highly functioning communities that integrated eco-systems and hi-tech solutions to engaging the citizens and nature, modeling a symbiosis of people, places and things that could provide future solutions to a variety of challenges. Our concern was to look at the big picture first and craft a scalable model that would emulate a best-practice-driven community.

We began by considering housing, including the natural circadian rhythms as well as planetary rhythms. We concluded that a 13-moon configuration would work well for the achievement of lunar-driven goals and objectives. As each month’s goals were met, movement to the next house would occur as a rite of passage, celebrated as well, with a full cycle granting the student a vote on the peer-community council’s administrative and facility management actions.Community building and operation is taught through the living environment as well as the curriculum. Each ‘house’ would extend the learning from the classroom and outdoor activity with developmental processes.

That is the beginning of the plan and perhaps it can stimulate other discussion and/or considerations for the community here. Holistic considerations can spill over into the subsets of communities that are being created around population centers now. They already include master-planned developments that have the standard civil planning or community components. Inclusion of advanced technology that included power generation and transportation options appears to be just sense made common. Commerce is taking a turn with the entrepreneurial co-working and incubator space developments. Why not associate those with a community development as well?

To grow our understanding and capacity for harmony with people, places and things in our future developments is imperative as we all know. I’m just another choir member whose thankful for a place to share something that, perhaps, may have some value. There is more if there is interest. Something that can offer an additional professional perspective is my work with construction partnering through Team Partnering. It may appear conservative in presentation.

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What is a Real Galactic Year?

galactichunab3What is a real galactic year?

A Matter of Perspective

The end of 2013 was challenging for me and my family.

Dad transitioned on Christmas Eve day. It was a great gift for him, having weathered a bout with Parkinson’s and its debilitating effects. Mom is suffering from Dementia, so it made it doubly hard for him in the end as he was more concerned for her than himself.

One good thing about the condition, sort of, is that she processed his passing rather quickly. I was not so blessed and his presence in my life lives on, deeply embedded in my efforts to serve the world.

Speaking of serving, last year seemed to have a clearing affect on my life in that everything that was a distraction was removed. I’ve been through those kinds of periods before, but they were short-lived and certainly less devastating. However, my prayers had been for release from everything that was keeping me from fulfilling a larger calling, one I’d been aware of since a teenager but that was not necessarily something I wanted to share with just anyone. The nature of the experience tends to repel most folks because it threatens their belief systems.

The notion of belief systems leads me into the title of this post and the choice of dating. Jose Arguelles and I had a conversation years ago that began a serious investigation into the nature of time for me. Later, he introduced the Law of Time as a need for the conversion to a lunar calendar because it is in harmony with natural cycles, something humans have discarded and ignored for the most part. Several calendars converged at the Winter Solstice in 2012 as the end/beginning of a cycle, a galactic year. Most agree this is a 26,000 year cycle where the Earth has traveled around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

After doing some research, though, the science estimates of the length of one orbit range from 225 to 250 million “terrestrial” years. According to NASA, the Solar System is traveling at an average speed of 828,000 km/h (230 km/s) or 514,000 mph (143 mi/s) relative to the galactic center, which is about one 1300th of the speed of light. If you could travel at that speed in a jet aircraft along the equator, you would go all the way around the world in approximately 2 minutes and 54 seconds. According to NASA, even at this incredible speed, it still takes the solar system 230 million years to orbit the center of the Milky Way Galaxy one time.

So, why the confusion?

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Translational Leadership in the 21st Century

voices from the fieldTranslational Leadership in the 21st Century

Translational leadership is a new buzz word spiraling around the playing fields of virtually every industry today. It’s loosely defined as one adept at connecting, mediating, teaching, behavioral economy and social engineering. They demonstrate an uncanny ability to knit together different constituencies and institutions, brokering relationships and transactions across different levels of political, economic and social organization. Perhaps a ‘harmonist’ might even be a better term.

What does that mean and how might we engage this concept as individuals who wish to contribute to developing a better world? People are the greatest resource. Most folks are so busy with their localized environment on a daily basis that even if they are engaged in a process or product that could change the world, they don’t have time to look up let alone look around them. These are the ones whose dedication and drive produce breakthroughs. Translational leaders would, by definition, be able to recognize and further expand their work through their connections with like-minded or complementary resources. The effectiveness of their work could indeed go from local to global in a relatively short time.

Those same dedicated individuals and/or groups also have strained communications at times. Not everyone listens or speaks with the same understanding and conflict arises. Translational leadership recognizes the diversity in a group, sometimes even between two individuals and is not only capable of commanding respect, they are adept at mediating and mitigating the potential problems. Issue resolution becomes another hat, a bit different than DeBono, and is a tool often used in the process of mission and vision fulfillment. These negotiators do their work with style and grace, stepping in when and where needed without restraint.

Setting an example for others is a primary component of translational leaders, teaching those around them by showing how the work is done. Most translational leaders are adept at engaging those around them by drawing upon personal inspiration and motivation to do their best. Translational leaders know they are responsible for the morale and tone of the working environment and act to ensure the voices of all are heard and recognized as valid. Everyone is part of the process, whatever it may be, and the lessons of developing effective communication result in performance excellence.

Behavioral economy is a relatively new term as well. The study of behavioral economics includes how market decisions are made and the mechanisms that drive public choice. A translational leader knows how to leverage the motivations of the personalities in their environment to engage better results. There is a kind of social currency involved here, where heightened individual influence weighs heavily on the outcome of the choices and decisions of the company, group or organization. It is usually a good thing when ideals, like the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standards, are in place.

Social engineering precepts are based on cognitive biases, specific attributes of human decision-making processes. In the purest sense it is the manipulation of those cognitive biases to produce specific choices and responses. Translational leaders use this technique as a facilitation technique to guide their teams to decisions that are in alignment with best practices for collaborative functionality, for instance. Of course the powerfully persuasive techniques can be used for less than beneficial results, but the ethical practices of the translational leaders are usually such that they will rise above petty temptations to use their power for personal gain at the expense of others.

As we move forward into the 21st Century there are obvious constraints and problems we face as a human race and planetary civilization. Our technology has surpassed the capacity for massive destruction. Our air, land and water have been polluted nearly beyond repair, yet we are resilient and can turn the tide of despair to a new destiny of repair through the efforts of these translational leaders. We can focus on fixing the world’s greatest problems and develop solutions that will benefit humankind when we learn how to get along better; a key feature of the translational leader’s guidance.

How can we assist these new leaders. Look for them. They may be anywhere and functional in the informal networks that develop within organizations. Promote them and offer your allegiance to those who prove worthy. Our world is changing rapidly and we need the best folks for the job in place so that we create sustainable relationships with present and future conditions.

Future thought… Adhocracy is a primarily structureless organization used to solve various problems. It is a type of organization that operates in opposite fashion to a bureaucracy. Would this type of organization be conducive to the translational leaders? Would the concept of ‘harmony’ be appropriate when considering the nature of facilitating people, places and things to do stuff?

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