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Leadership and Neworks Bay Area Circle January 31, 2011This is a featured page

Monday, January 31, 2011 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Location: The Monitor Institute (San Francisco, CA)
Hosted by the Leadership Learning Community (@LeadershipEra) and Monitor Institute (@WorkingWikily)
Twitter Hashtag: #leadershipnet



First Name: Last Name: Organization:
Bethsaida Ruiz SFDA Victim Services Division
John Esterle The Whitman Institute
Pia Infante The Whitman Institute
Susan Baade UCSF
Odin Zackman DIG IN
Stacey Ramirez Institute of International Education
Danielle Trimiew The Greenlining Institute
Claudia Paredes The Greenlining Institute
Hector Preciado The Greenlining Institute
John Kelly The Hub
Julius Paras
Elissa Perry
Arnold Chandler Bay Area Leadership Network of Color
Andrew Leider
Matt Weldon UCSF
Celia Boren Institute of International Education
Shannon Farley Spark
Jamie Allison S H Cowell Foundation
Rajkumari Neogy Argien Consulting
Elouise Burrell Scintilla Productions
Matt Weldon UCSF
Diana Scearce Monitor Institute
Noah Flower Monitor Institute
Carla Dartis
Mary Manuel The McKay Foundation
Marla Cornelius CompassPoint
Kim Ammann Howard BTW informing change
Jara Dean-Coffey jdcPartnerships
Jessica Gheiler Monitor Institute
Glenn Fajardo TechSoup Global
Eleanor Clement Glass Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Sharon Price Rockwood Leadership Institute
ahmad mansur urban economy institute
Toni Battle "Embrace Diversity...Embrace Success"
Jeanne Bell CompassPoint
Robert Schwartz Level Playing Field Institute
Diana Bermudez Independent Consultant
Ellen Clear Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Erica Wood Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Manny Santamaria Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Merle Lawrence Levi Strauss Foundation
Jennifer Sokolove Compton Foundation/Switzer Foundation
Amy Morris
Stacie Ma'a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation
Bob Uyeki Y&H Soda Foundation


  • It’s important to find the time to convene and reflect; even during the workshop, some participants chose not to join sub-groups that discussed any particular topic, but rather to reflect on what had been presented earlier in the day.
  • Younger leaders may have a totally different understanding of leadership, and networked leadership. As such, use reflecting on the topic may not be reflective of the collective.
  • There is a difference between leadership as a process and leadership that is embedded in networks. There is a question around whether it is useful to continue to use the term “leadership” when its significance is so radically different. As a corollary, there is a need to define traditional and networked leadership functions.
  • Systems thinking is about identifying / characterizing elements of networks and how they work; meanwhile, connections within our networks are mostly about human relationships. Thus far, however, few have tied those two together. A cornerstone book on organizational learning buried in systems is the 5th Discipline.

Open Space

  • Balancing direction and emergence in leadership
  • How external parties can participate effectively in leadership: the “Outside” Game
  • Influence of conveners when there’s a power differential
  • Bridging sub cultural networks: geeks vs. activists
  • Role of self to productively participate in networks—and then what?
  • Sustainability of networks, other examples of successful networks?
  • Limitations of networks and possibilities of blended models / hybrid alternatives

Networks & Sustainability

How can networks be reinforced and be sustained?
To what extent do you have to inject formal processes?
What are realistic expectations for ongoing connectivity when the network may not need to achieve something right now?
Importance of having multiple people who are managing the coordinating and communicating role
When you’re working on shared goal – something that’s more targeted – there’s more need for coordination, a hub that helps move the work along
Sustainability needs will differ depending on what type of network it is – e.g. more (central) infrastructure for more targeted goals
Accountability is important for network cohesion
Not everyone has to be equally engaged
The face-to-face time is important for building and (re)building the accountability and trust
Ongoing engagement is hard for large groups. What’s the potential for engaging pods / clusters? Can build more trust and engagement in smaller groups and can then bring that to the collective. In this case, the ‘hub’ or the leader is helping groups think through the process
Other questions raised:
  • Are you a leaders that’s providing direction? A leader that’s providing space for people to come together? At what level are you transferring leadership?
  • How to effectively bring new people into a network? And how to do so with limited resources?
  • How to get network thinking into organizations?
  • What is the difference between collaboration and networking?

Balancing Direction and Emergence in Leadership

  • Overall, crowds are not good at setting direction. The key question is when to step in and provide a direction for the crowd. Kevin Kelly writes about the top-down, bottom-up construction of networks.
  • Rather than considering “direction” to be a single vector, it might be useful to consider direction as two vectors, or rather parameters, which delineate a space in which the crowd can act. These parameters should be large enough to allow for innovation. This is similar to Diana Scearce’s notion of “handrails” for the network.
  • By defining the parameters – and perhaps, redefining them through engagement with the crowd – a leader may simultaneously undergo a process of self discovery. The parameter he or she puts forth ultimately defines the network.
  • A leader’s role may be more Outreach Coordinator and less Director. At the same time, there is a choice to be made about how much to coordinate the network (i.e., have members follow similar processes / protocols), versus allowing members in the network to follow their own processes / protocols. It may be more important for members to align around specific goals and to work in a way that facilitates communication and resource sharing (vs. having them all agree to a set of processes / protocols).
  • The leader’s role may include identifying additional (distributed) leaders within the network and getting them to talk about the collective, to agree on the general objectives of the network and the rules of engagement. This may also save the leader from having to play “bad cop” if / when network leaders act as bottlenecks, as leaders that are distributed across the network take on responsibility. Bringing these individuals together would also facilitate connections between distributed leaders (vs. having a broker).
  • Initially, part of the leader’s role is to create a level of confidence that there is a process – which is open but bounded in some way (e.g., that there are agreed-upon, feasible milestones that will help orient the network as it progresses).
  • At a first meeting with potential distributed leaders of the network, it is best not to speak about the solution to the issue at hand—as the solution is complex and there will not likely be agreement. Rather, it is better to agree on objectives for the network and to set up a process (e.g., discuss potential steering committees). Immediately after this convening, follow up is crucial.

Emergent Group

  • Missing element: distributed power model
    • Hang up around the expert idea
    • Tools you need are different because entry ways are different
  • How do you evaluate the value of network efforts?
  • Internal distinction between network model and collaboration or coalition?
  • Cost of the network – need to raise up value of relationships (as measurement and important structural piece)
  • We want everyone to collaborate but we fund in a siloed manner
  • Network as a mindset, as well as a tool
  • What is the minimal resourced infrastructure you need to sustain a largely volunteered network?
  • Networks do not imply end of expertise
  • Need practical information to validate successful examples and lessons learned

  • What actually are we talking about? i.e. ‘networks’ – code for soft skills?
  • How is it ‘network’ both a mindset and a tool?
  • What is the power of networks? The relationships that get built? Outcomes that it can produce? How do we measure that?
  • Impact on investment? What is the value proposition?

Blog post by Pia Infante, The Whitman Institute. "Is it a strategy? An outcome? A tool? It’s a Network!" (February 2, 2011)

Final Reflections

    • There need to be creative ways of acknowledging contributions of people in the network, to make the boundaries between paid / unpaid much more tangible.
    • The next iteration of this convening should include examples of organizations that are operating using a network centric model and making choices around leadership.
    • Hopefully, the pendulum doesn’t swing and organizations are able to operate under many different forms of leadership and to entertain multiple frameworks of leadership.
    • Just as there are multiple points of entry, it is also important to recognize the importance of multiple points of graceful exit for network members.

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    pyoungm Networked Leadership Through Communities of Practice (CoP) 0 Mar 7 2011, 12:34 PM EST by pyoungm
    Thread started: Mar 7 2011, 12:34 PM EST  Watch
    Check out this blog post http://bit.ly/hUKe3T about Social Learning vs Communities of practice.
    Also take a look at CPSquare: http://cpsquare.org/
    Communities of Practice can boost Networked Leadership, help focus on mission and increase participation and knowledge building.
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