From “Hope is the thing with feathers”

“Hope” is the thing with feathers–
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops – at all—

-Emily Dickinson

Is there anything more lovely than hearing birds sing in the morning? No matter how nightmarish the night, the sound of birds singing in the morning is often all one needs to turn things around and make the terrors of the night seem a waste of time.

A task of leadership is to be the voice of hope and speak to the innate human desire to improve life.

Bird Image:  wildxplorer

For Those on the Margin

goatThe Lame Goat

You’ve seen a herd of goats
going down to the water

The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear

There are worried faces about that one,
but now they are laughing,

because, look, as they are return,
that goat is leading!
There are many different kinds of knowing.

The lame goat’s kind is a branch
that traces back to the root of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.

-Jellaludin Rumi

As a tall white male, you might think I would have no problem speaking up in large groups. But sometimes I do. When I am a participant, I can be very introverted and won’t say a thing in many large groups.

For any number of reasons, people won’t speak up in large groups.

If we want a different future, one thing we need to do is bring those on the margin into the center. We need to hear from them and allow them to bring their strengths and gifts to the group.  “There are many different kinds of knowing.”

Otherwise, we will get more of the same. More of the same people dominating the conversation. More of the same people’s ideas. More of the same loud voices. Continue Reading »

A Moratorium on Advice

overflowing cupWhen Someone Deeply Listens to you

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

-John Fox

“We need a moratorium on advice.”

-Peter Block

On Monday and Wednesday last week, as part of the New Mexico Municipal League’s Municipal Officials Leadership Institute (MOLI), I had the pleasure of facilitating leadership training for 10 mayors and council members.

On Wednesday, I presented a modified Case Clinic process developed by the Presencing Institute.

The basic details of the activity are that participants gather in small groups of 4-5 people per team. A case giver presents a leadership situation that is current, concrete, important, one happens to be a key player, can be presented in 10 minutes and could make a big difference moving forward. The rest of the group engages in generative dialogue and solution brainstorming. Continue Reading »