The Challenges of ‘Engaging Community Leaders’

I attended Leaders for Leeds this morning - a breakfast meeting that connects a group of people who are trying to work on achieving 'best city' outcomes, aka make Leeds a better place to live.  I jotted down a few notes, some taken from our conversations and some capturing thoughts that I didn't have time to express, and these form the basis of what I have written here. The theme of the session was 'Engaging Community Leaders' exploring the premise that Leaders for Leeds needs to get more and different people and perspectives into its network.  We were invited to explore what might need to happen for more community leaders to show up.  This raised a number of interesting issues in our conversation and the thoughts it prompted in me: What do we mean by community?  Geography? Interest group? Ethnic group? Faith based group? Age group?  Community is a weasel word.  We can utter it with gravity and credibility while conferring on it no specific meaning.  It is a broad signaller of intent, with no specific commitment or rationale attached.  I reckon what we actually mean by 'community' is often 'target population'.  Except Leaders for Leeds has no 'targets'.  We are not clear on whose voice we want in the room and why. … [Read more...]

Are rich people less honest?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuqGrz-Y_Lc … [Read more...]

121s – The single most effective tool for improving performance at work?

I am continually surprised by the number of organisations that I work with who are exploring the ‘higher planes’ of performance management and the pursuit of excellence (using balanced scorecards, strategy maps and so on) who do not yet practice some of the management fundamentals, such as 121s, feedback and coaching.  By getting these management basics right I believe that most organisations can make substantial improvements in performance quickly and at low cost. What is a 121? A 121 is a planned, structured, documented meeting between a manager and a direct report held on a weekly. Why are they so effective in improving performance? 121s provide the foundation on which managers and their reports can build a genuine and powerful working relationship that provides the foundation for high performance. They provide the report with the opportunity to bring to their manager’s attention where they need help, support or permission to act.  Providing reports with this opportunity in a structured way will dramatically reduce the time that managers spend reacting to ad hoc requests. They give managers the chance to talk about issues that have occurred over the course of the week that may impact on the report – either … [Read more...]

Wendell Berry’s Plan to Save the World

http://vimeo.com/76120469 … [Read more...]

8 Pieces of Advice – and not just for graduands!

http://youtu.be/9Zt4CmMuFI4?t=9m34s … [Read more...]

LGI Data from Patient Opinion

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What do you REALLY want to do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb6thtmfveE … [Read more...]

Strengthening Bottom Up

Whether it is more ‘civic enterprise’, community engagement or ‘Big Society', people with power, but increasingly little money, are looking for new ways to get things done. The large capital infrastructure projects have not given us more inclusive communities and now we can’t afford them any way, so in some quarters at least interest is shifting from old school top down strategy to a more emergent process of bottom up development.  To processes where large numbers of people can shape their own futures and as a result the futures of the communities that they live in. But making the shift from top down to bottom up is far from easy…. Over the last few years I have been developing low and no cost approaches to economic, personal and community development leading to new projects such as: Progress Schools Community Conversations Local Community Enterprise Accelerators (‘Elsies’) Innovation Labs and Results Factories These are my best efforts to provide an infrastructure that allows the private, public, third sector and those of ‘no sector’ to give and get the help that they need to develop enterprising projects and people, and for the development of ‘community’ by building relationships and networks … [Read more...]

Top Down: Bottom Up

Top Down Development Top down development is characterised by usually a small number of people recruited or elected to develop a ‘strategy’ that will lead to progress. The ‘strategy’ is usually accompanied by a ‘plan’, where costed elements are prioritised and scheduled for delivery in the full expectation that things will, as a result, get better. The strategy and its associated plans are usually supported with evidence and feasibility studies showing just why this is the right course of action and how benefits will accrue and to whom.  In recent years it seems we have stopped worrying about 'to whom the benefits will accrue' and accepting that the trickle down fairy will ensure that any wealth and wellbeing created by the plan will be enjoyed by all. Top down development is also characterised by: delegation down a chain of command to manage implementation - this is not always well managed fierce discussions about the correct allocation of scarce resources - this can divert us from real issues and burn millions disputes about chosen methodologies and the viability of alternatives - as everyone tries to get a piece of the planning budget piloting and subsequent rolling out of schemes and plans - a … [Read more...]

City of Dreams

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASakZcC0w8Q I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Yeah, I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Sweepin up the paper cups between the limousines Street sweeper in your city of dreams Thousands of windows, I'm scared of what I see Thousands of windows, I'm so scared of what I see People wired up to telephones, plugged into tv screens Thousands of windows, I'm so scared of what I see Lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names I'm lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names You can't buy and sell the clouds, they aint among the commodities we trade Lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names I'm waitin for the city of god Yeah, I'm waitin for the city of god When what is will be what was Waitin for the city of god I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Yeah, I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Sweepin up the paper cups between the limousines Street sweeper in your city of dreams … [Read more...]

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