I had the pleasure of interviewing Randal Joy Thompson the other day for the International Humanistic Management Association. She was talking about Leadership on the Commons: Lessons for Government, Corporations, and NGOs.
You can view the video here: https://www.ignited.global/ihma/blog/leadership-commons-lessons-government-corporations-and-ngos The link includes her slides and other resources mentioned during the presentation.
I really enjoyed her presentation. One of the main questions we got and that I really liked her answer for had to do with whether or not leadership of the commons equated to some form of socialism. She said no. Exactly the opposite actually. Leadership of the commons is actually - self leadership. Socialism/Communism is government control of the commons and the means of production. In contrast, commons leadership is actually, us taking it upon ourselves to come together and decide together how to manage things. It's democracy, at the local level. This sort of leadership is about freedom for the group. It reminded me of some of the statements made in the Federalist Papers about how people in the USA practice democracy at all levels.
Commons Leadership requires a specific set of skills or rather a change in the way we think about how we make decisions and the ethical framework we use to make decisions.
It often arises organically and locally in response to a problem. It happens when people come together to solve a collective problem. If you watch the video, you will hear me talk about a near miss of an ecological disaster in my community. The response to this was collaborative. The problem was 60 years in the making. No one currently caused the problem. But we collectively had to figure out how to fix it. And it is getting fixed, finally.
Anyway, here are my notes on what is required to lead on the commons:
- Think of things as larger – whole – complex systems.
- Proleptic – anticipate and open to positive future.
- Need for homeostasis – creating stability
- Shift away from egocentric to ecocentric of all the interconnected elements.
- Leading Proleptically - Lead with a glimpse of the future – what is that – how do we create it? How are we influencing systems.
- Based on Ubuntu – relationships embedded in an interconnected system.
- Mutual benefits to everyone and all subsystems and society and earth.
- Power to rather than power over. It’s about empowering.
- Concept is more expansive than commonly understood. Diverse resources to strengthen capacity