Saturday, February 10, 2007

New Leadership for a New World

Here's the last part of an interview of Margaret Wheatley conducted by Scott London from the radio program Insight & Outlook. Wheatley is the author of a breakthrough title Leadership and The New Science. I think she has a lot to say towards 21st century organizations, the new world of work, and the emerging missional church...

(Click the title of this entry to read the whole interview.)

London: What do you think are some of the critical questions we need to ask during this period of transition?

Wheatley: For me, the basic organizing question is: What do we want to create? So, if we are in a school system, what do we want this school to mean in this particular community, in this context, with this population. What are we trying to create?

We've backed away from this fundamental question. I have a colleague who asks it even more strongly. She urges people whenever they organize together to ask: How is the world going to be different because you and I are working together? I think those questions are not being asked. I don't think they are being asked at the national level. We are grumbling about "What is America?" and "What holds us together as a nation?" But we're afraid to get into this as a national conversation about what we would like to create now that we're an America of the 21st century. What is the future that we want given who we are demographically, economically, and everything else? Who are we going to be in the future? What's possible and what's needed?

Corporations are going to have to at least acknowledge the fact that what they want to create in terms of growth and profit is not necessarily what people are willing to work for in terms of greater meaning and shared purpose. That's a lesson that's starting to creep in.

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