Byron's Babbles

Power In Our Hands

fileAttention on leaders makes for good copy, and gives us someone to blame when things don’t go right. But, is this shift from our own accountability as a community contributing to this blame game? Peter Block suggested in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging that “People best create that which they own, and cocreation is the bedrock of community-by-peter-blockaccountability.” Therefore, leaders must become convenors as opposed to service providers. Leadership is convening and held to three tasks:

  1. Shift the context within which people gather.
  2. Name the debate through the powerful questions.
  3. Listen rather than advocate, defend, or provide answers.

As leaders, I have come to realize, we must make the space available and bring the community together for the conversations and developing the future as opposed to answering all the questions and giving all the solutions. Questions open the door to the future and are more powerful than answers in that they demand engagement. The future is created through the exchange of promises between citizens, the people with whom we have to live out the intentions of the change. These exchanges and conversations create a space for learning and for producing knowledge that intersects with the needs and demands of a social movement.

“Our love of problems runs deeper than just the joy of complaint, being right, or escape from responsibility. The core belief from which we operate is that an alternative or better future can be accomplished by more problem solving. We believe that defining, analyzing, and studying problems is the way to make a better world. It is the dominant mindset of western culture.” ~ Peter Block

A shift in thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and action of institutions and formal leaders. Most sustainable improvement in community (you can also insert your organization name here because it is a community) occur when citizens discover their own power to act (intent-based leadership). According to Peter Block “[I]t is when citizens stop waiting for professionals or elected leadership to do something, and decide they can reclaim what they have delegated to others, that things really happen.” This empowerment (intent-based leadership) is present is most stories os lasting community and organizational improvement and change.

“Communities are built from the assets and gifts of their citizens, not from the citizens’ needs or deficiencies.” ~ John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann

It is all about us, as leaders, co-creating a community of possibility with all citizens. Possibility, here, is a declaration of what we create in the world each time we show up. It is a condition, or value, that we want to occur in the world, such as peace, inclusion, relatedness, reconciliation, or insert your own community needs here_______.  A possibility is brought into being in the act of declaring. What possibilities is your community declaring and co-creating?


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