Awakening the Global Corporation or discovering fire again

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

“Someday after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shallharness the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"What scale of love would be sufficient for transformational change?" asked Vivian Wright our November Thought Leader Gathering Conversation Starter. How do you move an organization from compliance to social responsibility to caring for the whole? Increasingly, brand is enhanced by the perception of doing well. Begin with the conscious individual, conscious leader making choices to steward the organization towards wholeness.

The global corporation is arguably the most powerful institution of our time. We are all "members"/creators of global corporations (at very least as consumers). if we evolve out of what we create, Vivian believes the corporation brings us an irresistible invitation to evolve, as individuals and as a group.

The TLGs were founded with the idea that business and organizations are the conduit and delivery system through which a global renaissance is occurring. Can we dedicate our evolution, our awakening as interconnected humans, to create the transformation that can happen through these highly efficient supply chain creations?

Who is good at levels of scale and what do we really need to bring to that from ourselves to make this work? it is time for hippies and yippies to join the Hopis and the yuppies. Time to utilize the ideas, skills, connections and channels that can create substantive change now.

Fortune named HP one of ten green giants. to meet European cafe standards, life-cycle PCs were created with 95% recycled parts. We have reached a point where products are enhanced by recycled, Brand is enhanced by the perception of doing well.

How can we use the global corporation as an expression of the internal "global incorporation," as a human evolutionary process at this time? How can we awaken and stay to create the changes that are so possible?

What has fear got to do with your life?

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal

Joe Bailey ,rocked our world last night during the VisionHolder Interview, speaking of the relation to the two sides of fear - as a weapon and as a tool. Best know for his best selling Slowing Down to the Speed of Life and the The Speed Trap, Joe said that he was born to write his new book, Fearproof Your Life. Fear... most of us don't even know we're living with it as a continuous state of being. As he said we are   “being trapped in the prison of a limited life of narrow thinking and awareness.” We'll be posting some comments from those that attended the call last night soon. in the meantime, list to the audio to the right and let us know what gets stirred in you.

Pioneers of Concsiousness

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photo credit: craig neal

Michelle and Joel Levey joined us last night on the VisionHolder TeleConversation. Our time together around the campfire had the distinct feeling of a family Reunion or a tribal gathering of kindred spirits. The Leveys have that effect on people. As a couple they've been doing point work at the nexus of an expanded global collective consciousness and how our systems and organizations tick.

Imagine being the creators of the US Army Green Beret's secret Ultimate Warrior Training Program and lead trainers for the Biocybernautic training as well as the founders of The Kohala Sanctuary on Hawaii, founded in the Aloha spirit, designed and developed according to principles from permaculture, organic gardening, and indigenous wisdom traditions. These are people you want to know more about!

Diana Whitney- The Power of Appreciative Inquiry

PHoto credit: craig neal

PHoto credit: craig neal

Many of us have heard or, or read about, Appreciative Inquiry (AI), yet know little about this study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best. Is AI a form of dialogue, an interview process, a way to explore the realms of personal positive thinking?

One of AIs  founders and president of Corporation for Positive Change, Diana Whitney, joined us tonight as our VisionHolder, along with callers from all over the country, Canada and as far as Austrailia and Peru. a dynamic conversation that spilled over into our community circle.

Diana shared her vision and passion for how the principles and methodology of AI can transform our relationships in our organizations, communities and personally in here new book, The Power of Appreciative Inquiry.

A Third Way of Knowing

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

This evening’s VisionHolder Interview with Michael Jones was truly a sacred convergence of leaders. I’m struck by the power and majesty of our offerings and inquiries. How we leaned into one another and allowed Michael the space as an elder among us to speak his imaginal soul, and ask the timeless question: Who is going to play your music if you don’t?

“In times of uncertainty we need to look to the spaces between for order and coherence – to gifts, beauty, grace, voice and wholeness – what may be called the commons of the imagination. Awakening to the presence of the commons in both the personal and the pubic imagination is our new art form. It is also the leader’s new work.” -Michael Jones, from Artful Leadership: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination.

Below are notes/snippets/reflections plucked from a magical hour of essential conversation. Add your own comments by clicking on the "Comments" link.

Who is going to play your music if you don’t? When a stranger asked me, after hearing me play, it was a moment of transformation for me. Many of these moments occur in the presence of strangers. It expands the sense of community, defines the concept of the commons, in the sense of who belongs and who doesn’t. The other importance of the stranger is that often our friends can’t see us wholly or objectively. We need the stranger interaction for fresh perspective, for new knowing.

The intersection of leadership and art. Art as language, metaphor and a way of knowing: Using art provides a ready made language for listening, going deeper, connection with the world around you.

...truly outstanding leaders are not remembered largely for their professional, technical or cost-cutting skills, but for their wisdom, presence, intuition and artistry. These are the qualities that prepare them for making an organic response to critical situations. Technical knowledge is important, but it is only part of the story; listening, getting a ‘feeling’ for things and engaging others in imagining possibilities, is the larger part of it. So much of a leader’s work today is not about playing the notes but listening for what’s emerging in the space between.

A commons of the imagination - a collective field of possibility that transforms our mechanistic view of the world to a more sustainable and transcendent vision that is creative, organic and whole.

Love is the only that expands intelligence. Definition of love: seeing one another in the fullness of who they are.

Leadership: Hold space for the possibility of wholeness to emerge.

Ordinary Acts, Extraordinary Outcomes-Betsy Sanders

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

“And who is to say it is foolish or it is useless to ride outalong and wish for … something better? … on one small road in on small night “ Who better to say than each of us? My great yearning is that each of us might experience a life that we fully live. That we discover what our gifts are and share them, to generate well being and good. To find the place where we can wish each other well.

"Ordinary Acts, Extraordinary Outcomes: Small Changes That Create a Big Difference" with TLG member Betsy Sanders, was a phenomenal morning of journey stories, big successes, and realizing the successes and journey are worthwhile within the context of bringing our gifts to our colleagues and humanity.

The grace of the monk who had the begging bowl. It allows us to give, and the monk then lives from what’s in the bowl – it is enough. Each day it’s enough. Each opportunity is enough. It’s about nourishing ourselves with whatever is in the bowl in a way that transforms us. I’ve been gone form Nordstrom as long as I was there, and yet the gift of that time continues to give.

What is that is in each relationship here, if we hold out our bowls to each other, that will renew and nourish us?

Becoming a Resolutionary: Creating a Culture of Agreement

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each [hu]man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

High Performance: Creating a Culture of Agreement
My VisionHolder interview with Stewart Levine, a passionate "Resolutionary," went far beyond the topic of Conflict Resolution, to the discussion of how to create structures of intentional communication and behavior that can inform, enliven, and transform our relationships — whether between 2 people, a team, or within an organization of many.

Because most conflict is structural (the result of replicating patterns or habits), it is important to establish covenantal agreements* up front: a meeting of minds and heart.

"This creates a process that establishes the principles of engagement: an environment where people feel it’s safe to move their mindset."

*How do you create/what are covenantal agreements? in his writings, High Performance: Creating a Culture of AgreementDownload Levine-agreements.pdf Stewart speaks of two constructs for agreement that are effective for individuals and organizations:

  • 10 elements of agreements for results  the cycle of resolution.

Stewart credits some of this learning/thought formation to Bill Veltrop, The Infinite Games, an imaginal thinker, and long-time organizational change and transformation cheerleader.

Questions/reflections from the participants were enlightening:

  • Looking at the broader view of Conflict Resolution: Does this help society in general? If you were to help the world, where would you take this? Where would you start?
  • What is the role of forgiveness – how to encourage/facilitate?
  • What about cultural differences? In some cultures, some might feel exposed by speaking of their feelings in a group.
  • Establish covenantal agreements up front: This seems time consuming, impossible.
  • You speak of new organizational structures vs. traditional ones, such as religion, as where the change is happening. Tell me more.
  • What about the role of religion and fundamental thought?
  • Different cultures: moving from outer space to inner space
  • I'm curious about "the movement beneath the radar" that makes you hopeful about the possibility of creating culture shifting toward resolution vs. conflict.
  • This is pertinent to my work in building my business. We're looking at the structures that will create a positive, healthy work environment.

Conversations are transforming our world!!!

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Sandy Heierbacher, Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), was our VisionHolder interview tonight.

NCDD brings together people and groups who actively practice, promote and study inclusive, high quality conversations.Our wide ranging conversation about the NCDD network (700 members) and her vision for it articulated the spectrum of dialogic and deliberative practice and how people can make informed decisions about which approaches to use in different circumstances.

I've been to 2 of the 3 NCDD conferences and have been struck by the variety and diversity of voices within the "movement". As conveners of essential conversations  we are vitally interested in how people are bringing their voices to their communities and organizations. As an example of the maturation of this field they have identified 4 "streams of practice". read on......

D&D Streams of Practice

NCDD uses the term “streams of practice” to discern the various types of dialogue and deliberation programs and methods out there. Although there are more streams than just these four, these four streams outline the four main purposes practitioners, communities, public leaders and others use dialogue and deliberation.


The “exploration” stream of D&D practice is used primarily to encourage people and groups to learn more about themselves, their community, or an issue, and to possibly discover innovative solutions. We consider Bohmian Dialogue, World Café, Conversation Café, Council process, and Open Space to be proven methods for exploration.

Conflict transformation

The “conflict transformation” stream of practice is focused on resolving conflicts, fostering personal healing and growth, and improving relations among groups. Sustained Dialogue, Victim-Offender Mediation, Public Conversations Project dialogues, and Web Lab’s Small Group Dialogue are effective methods for transforming conflict.


The “decision-making” stream of practice is focused on influencing decisions and policy, and improving public knowledge. Some of the methods that fall under this category are National Issues Forums, Citizens Juries, Deliberative Polling, 21st Century Town Meeting, Citizen Choicework, and Consensus Conference.

Collaborative action

The “collaborative action” stream is focused on empowering people and groups to solve complicated problems and take responsibility for the solution. Study Circles, Future Search, and Appreciative Inquiry are considered part of this stream.

The Real Wealth of Nations

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Caring economics: What if our economic system had a mechanism to measure and value aseconomic activity the [everyday] life-sustaining and life-enriching cultural and community activities that are integral to an evolved society?

Our conversation with Riane Eisler, tonight's VisionHolder interview, introduced the partnership system and the domination system as two underlying possibilities for structuring beliefs, institutions, and relations that transcend categories such as religious vs. secular, right vs. left, and technologically developed or undeveloped.

She further developed the core premise that the greatest problems of our time--poverty, inequality, war, terrorism, and environmental degradation--can be traced to flawed economic systems that fail to value and support the most essential human work: caring for people and the planet.

She spoke to how our values are distorted by the economic double standard that devalues anything stereotypically associated with women and femininity; reveals how current economic models are based on a deep-seated culture of domination; and shows how human needs would be better served by economic models based on caring. Caring for our families, our communities; caring for our natural world, can become an economic imperative if the system is reordered to integrate the full spectrum of what creates a healthy society.

What are some steps for moving from our current structures to a new perspective? First, read the book, The Real Wealth of Nations, to understand the broader picture and the tools that Riane outlines. Then, believe that we can evolve the system to achieve the full measure of our humanity. Next, begin the conversation—with your legislators, community leaders, neighbors.

Last but not least, Riane's website provides many resources and connections to local, national and international organizations that are partnering to this end.

Capitalism 3.0-upgrading to a new economy

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

"Moving from an 'I' economy to a 'We' economy" At the May Bay Area Thought Leader Gathering, Peter Barnes posed the question he'd been wrestling with for years: “Is there a way to have a market-based economic system that doesn’t destroy the planet and widen the inequality between humans, and makes us happy? Is that even conceivable?”

Capitalism 3.0 is an expansion of the idea of trusteeship. Our whole system is currently run by an OS that has major flaws. Peter asks, "What would Bill Gates do? Get into the OS and see what kind of upgrades are needed… What are the bugs that are causing the problem, and is it possible to fix those bugs?"

More on Peter's model and "The Challenge" he posed to the group....

The model of capitalism imagined by Peter—Capitalism 3.0—is a balanced system where you still have capitalism, pursuing their own profits, but you also have a Commons sector, and organized sector that consists of many different trusts that preserve common assets for future generations. Not only preserves them, but they charge rent and have the ability to recycle some of those resources back to the beneficiaries, all people – one person one share.

The implication of that is that although the corporations are maximizing their profit—5% of America owns most of the public stock—if you offset that with a more balanced sharing – one share one person – you begin to balance this economic equation. Now that it is harder and harder to make money through your labor, it is becoming more and more important to have some property to call on.

The Challenge: "You’re all imaginative, creative people. Think about some piece of the commons… that you feel a real affinity to, that isn’t being adequately protected, managed, What might you do to change that, or protect that particular piece? Say a creek, or a watershed, or maybe something more intangible… bicycle path, transportation, wi-fi system that serves everybody. This is a creative question. What’s missing where you could add something that would protect or enhance something that we all share?"

And last but not least: in considering these bigger questions: What is your personal legacy? What is our collective legacy?

Sustaining the Vision: A Commitment to a Dream

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

“I first dream the painting, then I paint the dream.” Visionary Laurie Brown says, "Commit. Commit to throw your hat over the fence.” -Vincent van Gogh

Thought Leader Conversation Starter Laurie Brown, Founder and President of Restore the Earth products, spoke to us at last week's MN TLG of how, over the past 15 years she has sustained her vision: recommitting over and over to a dream of creating products and lifestyles that would restore the earth/be generative for our communities, our planet.

John Kennedy, Jr. once said the key to making something happen is to “throw your hat over the fence”. With that you make a commitment to go over the fence and get it. Others become involved and there is no turning back.

Farber wrote that leadership is not for sissies—it is an extreme sport. There are great highs and great wipeouts. During the wipeouts, you learn something so you can catch a bigger wave next time. Each experience has helped me to reach higher and reach farther out.

I “threw my hat over the fence today”. I’m going to be the real me. I’m going to be generous. I’m going to pass the torch on the things I’m not strong at. Trust that the dream will go on. I brought the dream to the doorstep, the world is ready for it. I can sustain the vision well. I will let those who can take it to the next level, do it.

with Laurie Brown

Collective Wisdom

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

A topic as rich as Collective Wisdom (CW) needs days to gather, ponder, dialogue with each other to troll the depth and breadth of the field. Much gratitude to Alan Briskin for giving us a substantial drink from a deep pool.

CW is not group think, but in fact, requires the individual to show up with a generosity of spirit and the presence of knowing each voice matters to create wholeness in a conversation or dialogue. A field of resonance and coherence is called into play that generates new capacities. We begin to understand that we exist because we belong to others, other beings, our surroundings, the planet, the universe. We exist because we belong to others....

Alan also spoke to Collective Stupidity, which applies to many situations, including our dated concepts of leadership/followership.

Groups are inclined toward stupidity the more they believe an answer lies outside themselves, including a belief that an answer lies with the leader. This form of ìprojectionî carries penalties whether the projection is positive or negative. We defer our own wisdom at great cost, becoming dependent on an outside figure for answers and increasingly divided in our opposition or loyalty.

The power of CW as Alan describes it is that we form a necklace of ideas that creates intention, coherence, and authentic engagement. What emerges is a capacity for foresight of what may be coming and insight of action to be taken, but from a place of wholeness that takes many perspectives and intelligences into account. Leadership becomes a quality that each is called to, as needed.

How might the wisdom, deep within each of us, be brought forward collectively to heal the planet? First by being aware that we belong to one another. When we come into alignment with this field, there is a deeper understanding of our connection with others, with life, and with a source of collective wisdom. This resonance creates an intelligence of presence and body awareness that calls into play our intuition and heart wisdom.

Next we can call this out in others. One of the call participants gave an example of holding someone in his thoughts, holding the person to her highest level of presence. He experienced that on some level that he didn't understand, she felt this and responded, even though no words had been exchanged. We've all had an experience like this. It's not manipulation; it's coherence.

The key messages of CW:

“We Are All Connected And Interdependent” Collective wisdom is a mindset and orientation, a turning toward the reality of interdependence, intricacy, and connectivity that is fundamental to living systems.

“Together We Can Know More” Collective wisdom takes us a step further from the “wisdom of crowds,” suggesting a latent wisdom exists in groups when authenticity, respect, and genuine engagement are promoted.

“Collective Wisdom Involves A Different Way Of Knowing” Collective wisdom involves intuition, sensation, and spirit. One of the foundational concepts of collective wisdom is that along with literal, linear, and rational ways of understanding, wisdom arises from a different kind of awareness. From this alternative awareness we are far more capable as individuals and in groups to recognize patterns, cultivate positive emotions, and perceive “pinch points” that might disrupt the movement toward new insights and creative resolution of conflicts.

“Safety for Reflection, Inquiry, and Deep Listening Are Essential For Developing Collective Wisdom” Central to collective wisdom is the ability for individuals and groups to hold in mind apparently opposing ideas, to resolve deep seated conflicts, and to arrive at new ideas that are nourished from within each individual and arise from the group itself. Safety for reflection, inquiry, and deep listening are examples of key conditions that foster the possibility for collective wisdom to arise.

“Digression To Stupidity” We cannot talk long about collective wisdom without acknowledging the long and painful history of aggression, war, and oppressive behavior in groups. Collective stupidity can be a result of individuals giving up or deferring their own internal sensing of what is right, true, and of lasting value. We do this for many reasons including fear of not really knowing our own thoughts and fear of others, especially those who have power over us. Inversely, collective wisdom is the power of generating answers from within, allowing individuals the space to make best use of their own reflections and the groupís capacity to make best use of its members.

“Changing How We Think About Leading and Following” Groups are inclined toward stupidity the more they believe an answer lies outside themselves, including a belief that an answer lies with the leader. This form of ìprojectionî carries penalties whether the projection is positive or negative. We defer our own wisdom at great cost, becoming dependent on an outside figure for answers and increasingly divided in our opposition or loyalty.

Inversely, when a leader brings attention to the challenges and complexity that are inherent to the circumstances a group faces together, group members can begin to bring their own unique talents and special qualities. The group as a whole can become more sophisticated as the reflective capacity deepens and new possibilities are surfaced. We return to the world with insights grounded in spirit and aided by perceiving a larger whole.

Transformational Leadership: A Partnership of Science and Spirituality

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

From a participant reflecting on the Friday TLG: The entire philosophy, spirit of approach, the wonderful container for safe communication. To receive and give. To respect and be respected. Makes the whole experience feel sacred. It is a complete community.

Our Friday TLG with James O'Dea, of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, was rich. As Amy Lenzo noted in her Beauty Dialogues, James became the mesmerizing storyteller to lead us through stories of how human evolution is moving to integration with ourselves, our surroundings and all beings and how this can lead to a wisdom that creates wholeness for us and those around us.

Amy: The [story] that made the strongest impression on me was of Orpheus & his ability to counter the call of the deadly sirens (which O'Dea compared with the necrophiliac lure of cultural 'norms' like war and greed) with the enchantment of his own poetic imagination, with love of life or biophilia. The meaning I made of this story is that I can find solid ground in my innate love of life & my relationship with nature, that I must call on the power of my creativity to address the challenges of my life & times... and that new answers won't be found in old forms.

James called us to a heightened level of liveliness, invoking awareness that we are at a critical opening of consciousness in the human evolution:

You can participate in social healing in tangible ways.

  • Practice Imagination! That’s different from fantasy… imagination is the yearning, where neuro-plasticity exists, where the brain grows. Practice everyday richly imagining.
  • Learn to shift states. You can change your biological flow in seconds.
  • If I am stuck in judgment I am not seeking to understand. What do you need me to understand? It’s in that process that the juice arises.
  • Belief – comes from what you really love. When you no longer love it, be brave enough to change your belief.
  • Support emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
  • We are hard-wired for challenge. We are up to this moment. Don’t let the breakdown depress you, because we love a challenge, we rise to a challenge.