Posts tagged with the category Nancy Southern
Knowledge is Power?
My latest inquiry surrounds the exploration of the widespread belief that "knowledge is power." I am teaching a dialogue course this term and one of my students inspired this inquiry through a posting that enlightened my perspective on how limiting that assumption that "knowledge is power" can be. Dialogue asks us to explore...
Making Time for Dialogue
I am teaching a course on generative and strategic dialogue this term and, through the amazing dialogue with my students, I am reminded of the importance and challenge of this communicative practice. Dialogue asks us to become more aware and intentional about how we listen, think, and speak. In his 1999 book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking...
Systemic Implications of Social Swarming
I recently received an invitation to comment on a blog posting defining social swarming and how it worked in regards to the decision of the Susan B. Komen foundation to withdraw support of Planned Parenthood, which was fairly quickly reversed. According to Leland Russell, social swarming occurs "when a disparate group suddenly moves en masse...
Engaging the Dragon: Learning Across Cultural and Political Divides
Last year, opportunity came knocking at our door in the form of a dynamic young Chinese woman who expressed interest in taking our organizational systems Ph.D. program to China as an offering to Chinese business and government executives. Having done my dissertation research in China, taught in another American university program in Beijing, and...
American "Allergy" to Global Warming: Why Are So Many People Immune to Change?
A couple of months ago, I came across an article in my local paper entitled, American “Allergy” to Global Warming, Why?" The article asked why so many Americans remain in denial about climate change when such a great amount of scientific evidence exists that indicates it is our reality. The article reviews some of the scientific...
The Power of Intention to Spark Evolutionary Change
Over my lifetime, I have learned from experience that holding an intention for change can result in creating the desired change. I have seen it work in bringing people and relationships into my life, creating the work I desired, and helping me develop a path forward to create the change. Essentially, I learned that if I could envision it, I could...
A Growing Need for Systems Thinking to Design a New Future
Having just returned from the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action conference, I continue to believe that building the capacity for all children to think systemically is the key to shaping a new world. The more we recognize that problems are rarely simple cause-and-effect, but rather complex threads of interconnected actions and inactions, we can begin...
Shifting the Focus from Menial to Meaningful
I experienced a series of events over the weekend that caused me to reflect on the challenges women face in this society and what we can do individually and collectively to change the way women are viewed, treated, and supported in leadership positions. The first event that sparked my reflection on this topic was viewing a show on Oprah's OWN...
Complex Change Calls for Cross-Sector Collaboration
I had the opportunity last week to help facilitate a session for non-profit, business, technology, education, and media leaders who came together for the inaugural summit of ConvergeUS. Co-Chaired by TechNet’s CEO, Rey Ramsey, and Twitter’s Co-Founder, Biz Stone, ConvergeUS drives technology-based breakthroughs for critical social...
Why Can’t People on the Front Lines Talk to Each Other?
Recently as I was listening to a critique of the work done in response to the latest natural disaster when the following comment was made: “We need to get the first responders to talk to each other.” On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request and something that we should expect from a group of people dedicated to helping...
Engaging Conversations Across the Political Divide
Recently one of my previous students sent me an email inviting me to write to my senators asking them to get on board with spending cuts. The email made the argument that just as individuals cannot continue to spend more than they bring in, neither can governments. She noted that she would “fire” all members of the U.S. Congress for...
Local or Global: Supporting Sustainable Thinking Through the Avoidance of Either/Or Thinking
I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We...
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