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Learning About Networks

November 13, 2014 by Deborah Gilburg

Learning About Networks

Lately, we’ve been working on a number of projects that involve networks. Such an interesting and flexible organizational form, networks are proving valuable, not only to affiliate groups but also within bureaucratic organizations that need the reach and rapid effects that networks can bring.

So different from more traditional organizational forms, there is a lot to know about networks. Here are a few basics…

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Where Are We Being Productive?

June 19, 2014 by Deborah Gilburg

Where Are We Being Productive?

I can’t tell you how often I hear the following sentiments:

“All we ever do is talk, and nothing gets done!”
“When are we going to do something?”
“We need solutions, not more questions!”
“We’ve heard all this before, and nothing changes! We need productive outcomes!”

What do we mean by “productive outcomes?” From an industrial lens, production and productivity refer to making more, building more, doing more. Today, we tend to believe that being productive refers to the end result; generating tangible, measurable gains, profits, solutions, and products. And when we are not doing these things, we are not being productive; we are wasting our time.

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Brainswarming not Brainstorming?

April 11, 2014 by Amy Gilburg

Brainswarming not Brainstorming?

I have always loved brainstorming. As an extrovert, I love interacting with others, generating ideas and possibilities, making connections, extrapolating, dreaming…I really couldn’t imagine a better way to innovate/problem solve until I saw this HBR video  by Dr. Tony McCaffrey, called: Brainswarming: Because Brainstorming doesn't Work.

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Discussing Race

March 28, 2014 by Deborah Gilburg

Discussing Race

I am turning 50 this year, a big transition decade — or so I’ve heard — and the realization of having lived over half my life is bringing into focus important concerns and challenges I can no longer afford to avoid simply because they are overwhelming, emotional or polarizing.

Racism and all that this term evokes is one of those concerns.

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The Loyalty Bind

March 5, 2014 by Joseph DiCenso

Over the years, in my work with people, I've come to see familial loyalty as a force that both bonds and binds us—limiting how far the apple falls from the tree.  I've also seen, many times over, how easily this apparent dilemma—"I can either be true to myself or be true to my family"—can be resolved. The following story illustrates this "loyalty bind" and how to dissolve it.

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Eulogy for Nelson Mandela

February 7, 2014 by Deborah Gilburg

Have you ever been asked that question, “What leader inspired you most as a youth?” I know I’ve asked it of others, many times, and yet when I think about it, I am aware of the lack of answers that come to mind.

Lets see, Nixon? Hell no. JFK? MLK? Sure, but I was a baby when they died, so not really in my conscious lifetime. To tell the truth, if I stay in my early teens, my mind strays toward heroic TV and film characters. But when I move ahead to college, there is one man whose life story cuts through the fog of my self-absorption — Nelson Mandela.

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Public Process Breakthrough

November 15, 2013 by Deborah Gilburg

Outside the headlines, there are a few stories of organizations breaking through complex challenges because leaders were willing to try a new way. One such story came through my email a few weeks ago.

Improving the process for school choice in Boston Public Schools (BPS) has been a vexing, emotionally charged challenge for several years. With a checkered history in desegregation and student bussing, and an inadequate and inequitable school assignment system leftover from the 1980s, BPS has been struggling to make inroads in this complicated issue. And they finally had a breakthrough. Three key elements were involved. 

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Welcome Back… What Now?

October 18, 2013 by Jonathan Gilburg

Thinking about the recent national challenges in finding common ground, I wonder what the lesson is for leaders at every level.  I know there are tremendous political and ideological chasms right now in this country and the mere mention of one political party or another can create immediate barriers to productive discussion.  “We” have done a nice job of creating demons and villains out of the opposition, and yet where does that leave us?  What is the impact?  More importantly, what is the end game?  Endless battles where there is a winner and a loser and uncountable causalities along the way?  Are these the only rules we can play by?

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Convener-in-Chief

August 7, 2013 by Joseph DiCenso

On Friday, July 19, six days after the Zimmerman verdict came out, President Obama gave an unannounced response in the White House briefing room.  (Here’s the transcript and the video.)  Whatever your thoughts or feelings about the verdict, whatever your views on race in this country, I would hope we can agree that, as a leader, the President stepped into that room facing some fairly daunting challenges.  Whatever fraught conversations your organization is having, striving to have, or trying to avoid, I think it’s fair to say they are not likely any more loaded than the topic of race in the US.  And, as a bi-racial man, and this country’s first Black president, Mr. Obama was both poised to speak with “authority” on the subject and set-up to be seen as biased.

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Deb speaking at TEDx Fenway Conference

July 18, 2013 by Jonathan Gilburg

As siblings and co-workers we have numerous opportunities to be proud of each other for the work we do in the world.  This short video represents a great example of Deborah's strengths as a speaker—clearly articulating a point and backing it up with powerful real life experiences.  In addition, she showcases a process we have been using and adapting to so many circumstances and situations, that we are often asking ourselves, "is there a situation where a World Cafe couldn't work?"  As a means of bringing people together and thoughtfully exposing the fullness of a system, a community, an issue, etc., it is a powerful tool that ultimately bonds people in the face of complexity and challenge: it helps create the collective will to change.  Congratulations to Deb for this exposé, and thank you to David Issacs and Juanita Brown, et. al. for your creation, wisdom and perseverance in creating a tool for the world to use!  Enjoy the video!

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