Tag Archives: dec2010

Scaffolding: Not just for construction workers anymore


In complex systems science, “scaffolding” are those structures necessary to move from an initial state to an emerged form. For example, when recapturing an area of land and bringing it back to its natural state (e.g. prairie), you will find that certain birds and plants have to be present during the transition time in order for the old form to re-emerge. Once the new state has emerged, the scaffolding comes down… BUT, without the scaffolding, no change would have occurred.

Image and words above are Kevin Dooley’s via flickr

I think we forget this.  I think we kind of ‘just want change’ and then when it comes slow or in ways not predicted, we tend to doubt that change can occur.  Major CHANGE can occur, but think about words like: intentional, collaborative, process, gradual, incremental, and transformative.   Try not to base your thoughts on words like: magical, speedy, easy and smooth.

Something to think about – Scaffolding: Not just for construction workers any more!!!!!!!


Practice gratitude and joy!

Berne Brown explains, with good humor, that she used to believe that “life is messy – so, clean it up!”

She admits she wanted to outsmart ‘vulnerability’.   Well, that hasn’t gone to well for her but she has come to (from my point of view) some wonderful conclusions.

Living the wholehearted life of courage, compassion and connection is what her research has shown to be the way to embrace vulnerability.   I know, this may seem both intriguing and ‘a little out there’.  Well, I strongly suggest spending 20 minutes with her TED talk and I think you will find real value.  Enjoy!!


What is the purpose of your public school?

Wheatley challenges us all to engage in the work of developing shared beliefs about the purpose of public education.  The students whether 5 years old or 17 years old will benefit from each district and each building within the district being clear about the work of the school. 

Margaret J. Wheatley in her book, Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time, 2005 Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. on pages 103 & 104 writes:

“How many members of a geographically determined school district share the same beliefs about the purpose of education? Most districts contain a wide spectrum of beliefs about the role of education.

There are those who believe that education should support the talented elite, which includes their child.

Those who view education as the foundation of a pluralistic society where education should open doors for all.

Those who believe in a rich life of the mind.

Those who want their children trained for immediate employment.

Those who want their children taught only the values of their parents or church.

The startling conclusion is that most school systems aren’t systems.  They are only boundary lines drawn by somebody, somewhere. 

They are not systems because they do not arise from a core of shared beliefs about the purpose of public education. In the absence of shared beliefs and desires, people are not motivated to seek out one another and develop relationships.  Instead, they inhabit the same organizational and community space without weaving together mutually sustaining relationships.  They coexist by defining clear boundaries, creating respectful and disrespectful distances, developing self-protective behaviors, and using power politics to get what they want.”




GREAT news for America! The MIDWEST can be the next phase in advancing rail travel across America!

Here are two stories.  One is a general story with many voices focusing on the reality that High-Speed-Rail service is coming to Florida and California.   The other is an interview with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood about the Obama administration’s efforts to create a network of high-speed rail systems across the country.

Affordable, reliable, fast and comfortable: These are the values that will propel high-speed-rail to be something the whole nation will want.  LaHood predicts that; “In 25 years 80% of America” will be serviced by high-speed-rail. 

Michigan and the Midwest are strategically prepared to be part of the network on connectedness.    

The first of these two is the general story and the second in the LaHood interview.  Both are from NPR’s Weekend edition from Saturday, December 18, 2010.


Do you consider at least one co-worker a close friend? If so, that can help build a productive team at work.

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton in their new book: The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization (2010) write, “What our research reveals in that within the most productive teams, employees feel a heightened sense of camaraderie, considering at least one of their co-workers a close friend.  They also feel their manager cares about their well-being, a dramatically human emotion.  For those who prefer numbers, 63 percent of workers found office productivity to be positively affected when co-workers are friends outside of work.  All these indicators clearly point to camaraderie, or even love if you choose to call it that, as a major driver of esprit de corps, which in turn drives productivity and achievement.” Page 12


From my point of view: Good things happen when we open up to each other and learn to appreciate each other.  The above information from Gostick and Elton stresses that that is true for work and effective teams.   Sincerely caring about people is a good thing at work, in your neighborhood, and in your life in general – at least that is my experience.

Part of caring is to listen with a desire to understand as you relate to others.  The concept of “seeking first to understand and then to be understood” from Steven Covey’s work makes a ton of sense to me.