In this episode, we’re delving a bit murky, although we see its outworkings it all around us. What is it that’s going on when a person chooses to be part of a community? Why do we form communities, and how do they shape our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors? And what happens when very different communities try to talk to one another? In this episode, you’ll hear from Will Samson, the Vice President of Strategic Growth and Change for Inzet, a coaching and consulting firm in the Washington, DC area.
Last week’s US presidential election seemed like a good opportunity to visit a topic that’s at the heart of agile leadership: creating a space - both literally and figuratively - in which people can have open, deep and focused conversations. If we aim for a nice, friendly, or polite conversation - those goals aren't enough when the people that most need to have conversations with each other have very different, deeply held convictions. But there’s an alternative - civility.
In this episode, we hear from Ed Morrison, the director of the Agile Strategy Lab at the University of North Alabama. Ed’s spent three decades helping people have important but difficult conversations in the service of better futures for their organizations and communities, with civility as the bedrock.
One of the tenets of agile leadership is that the strongest strategies are built on the assets that already exist - whether in a company, an institution, or a community. So when a group of leaders in Milwaukee considered ways to strengthen their local economy more than a decade ago, they built on that city's heritage of brewing beer…but not in the way you might expect. And here’s another surprise: they didn’t start with a strategic plan. Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council in Milwaukee, explains.
“Lean” is a word that is most familiar in the context of manufacturing and is designed to be applied to technical problems - that is, problems that can be identified and solved by the application of known technical skills. By contrast, the Strategic Doing approach is designed for adaptive challenges in which there may be many answers and a solution will need to be arrived at through an iterative process of learning and doing. Perhaps surprisingly, there are some overlaps between the two. In this episode, Janyce Fadden explores that overlap.
Strategic Doing is designed to help groups form collaborations quickly, focus on measurable outcomes, and start moving immediately, adjusting as the group learns. It’s particularly useful for addressing complex challenges where solutions are elusive. Of course, it’s not the only tool for addressing challenges. One approach that’s getting a lot of attention of late is design thinking. In the agile strategy world, there are some interesting overlaps between the two. In this episode, Michigan Tech's Mary Raber describes the foundational principle of design thinking and explores how they are aligned with Strategic Doing.
Flint, Michigan is a place that's been the subject of a number of high-profile conversations in the last few years - and not in good ways. But there's another conversation - a much quieter one - happening in the city. Community activist Kenyetta Dotson talks about her city and how Strategic Doing has helped community leaders bring change to their neighborhoods.
One of the cornerstones of agile leadership is the idea of helping groups tap their creativity for solutions by using good questions. Janyce Fadden, the director of strategic engagement at the University of North Alabama’s College of Business, talks about what makes for a good question and how you can design a question that will help you - or any group you’re a part of - identify possible paths to addressing a complex challenge.
Michon Hicks brings her experience as a leader in public organizations, as a college instructor, and as a skilled Strategic Doing workshop leader together in this discussion of how collaborations can include honest conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion - and move forward to co-creating a shared future.