Naked Leadership on QuakerQuaker This Week

On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the “Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er” respons­es con­tin­ue with two more follow-up’s among this week’s Edi­tor Picks. Else­where, the Mod­ern Quak­ers and Cloth­ing project has been col­lect­ing some great per­son­al sto­ries. And on a house­keep­ing note, dona­tions for Quak­erQuak­er have been pret­ty light late­ly; please con­sid­er help­ing out.

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Naked Lead­er­ship? [Quak­erQuak­er This Week, 2/26/12] — QuakerQuaker
Naked Leadership?
On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er respons­es con­tin­ue with two more f… 

Another Saturday at St Nick’s

Most Saturday nights find me following my wife to St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Millville NJ. I'm often chasing kids and this Saturday was no exception. Tonight I snapped as I chased. Most of these shots have a tousled head just off camera. It's a nice little church. You can learn more at their website at http://www.stnicholasmillville.com.

In album St Nicholas 2/25/12 (8 photos)

The interior from the balcony.

Vision and leadership: keeping the long view

In her lat­est post at http://​robin​msf​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​2​/​v​i​s​i​o​n​.​h​tml, +Robin Mohr asks for “sto­ries of Quak­er lead­ers and committees/organizations that have func­tioned well together.”

It was in col­lege that I first heard Max Weber’s idea that bureau­cra­cies grow to even­tu­al­ly see their own main­te­nance as their prime objec­tive (Wikipedia has a sec­tion on Weber­ian bureau­cra­cy http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​B​u​r​e​a​u​c​r​a​c​y​#​W​e​b​e​r​i​a​n​_​b​u​r​e​a​u​c​r​acy). At the time I assumed we were talk­ing about gov­ern­ments but it didn’t take long in the non­prof­it world to see the phe­nom­e­non alive there as well. Resources go to the pro­grams that can attract the biggest donor atten­tion. Com­mit­tee dis­cern­ment gets short-circuited. Inter­nal bench­marks become the mea­sure even if the are dis­con­nect­ed from actu­al effect or mis­sion. If a need aris­es from out­side of the bound­aries of the inter­nal struc­tures, it is ignores: there’s lit­tle incen­tive to address it.

The only real solu­tion is to keep remem­ber­ing why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s the prac­tice of self-reflection, it’s the exer­cise of ask­ing what we might be called to. Per­haps this is a leader’s real job description.

I’ve been think­ing again late­ly of the way the Soci­ety of Friends respond­ed to the Tom Fox kid­nap­ping, a sto­ry I recount­ed in “Why Would a Quak­er Do a Crazy Thing Like That”(http://​www​.quak​er​ran​ter​.org/​2​0​0​6​/​0​6​/​w​h​y​_​w​o​u​l​d​_​a​_​q​u​a​k​e​r​_​d​o​_​a​_​c​r​a​zy/). I think the under­whelm­ing response was most­ly a fail­ure of imag­i­na­tion. Too many of the orga­ni­za­tions in ques­tion had set­tled them­selves into narrowly-defined mis­sion silos of their own mak­ing. They didn’t know what to make of the sit­u­a­tion. I’d like to hope that a Rufus Jones or Howard Brin­ton would have cut through the slack, and I am encour­aged at some recent con­ver­sa­tions I’ve had with some emerg­ing lead­ers, but as a stu­dent of his­to­ry I know these are eter­nal prob­lems that are always ready to return.

My the­o­ry of media and social change is that 90% of the time we’re talk­ing amongst our­selves, invit­ing peo­ple in to the con­ver­sa­tion and build­ing an infra­struc­ture of com­mu­ni­ty. It’s one-on-one work, slow, peo­ple inten­sive (but then that’s what makes it enjoy­able, right?). The fruits of this labor become vis­i­ble with unex­pect­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties – those times when we’re called on by a larg­er pub­lic to explain our­selves or describe the world as we see it. If we’ve been doing our back­ground work – plant­i­ng the seeds that is the peo­ple of our com­mu­ni­ty – then we will be ready to step up to the chal­lenge. If we’re not, oppor­tu­ni­ty slips away. 

The his­to­ry of Friends – maybe the his­to­ry of the church uni­ver­sal – is one of missed oppor­tu­ni­ties; the mir­a­cle of faith is that some­times we con­nect with one anoth­er in the love that is God and lay some more bricks and mor­tar for God’s king­dom on Earth.

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What Canst Thou Say?: Vision
With­out vision, the peo­ple per­ish. Most­ly because they get eat­en by tigers they didn’t see com­ing. Isn’t that a joke from Calvin & Hobbes? I’ve been think­ing a lot about vision lately.… 

Seth Godin on the idea of the “book”

Godin tends to be too enamored by big ideas for my tastes, but there's a few ideas in here worth chewing over, specifically how the forced-scarcity of traditional book publishing is giving way to nearly infinite electronic bookshelves.

The structures of books certainly are bounded by the forms of their marketing. One limitation Godin doesn't mention is the 64 page minimum--this is what you need to be able to put a spine on the book, am essential feature if it's to show up bookstore shelves. One of my trickiest typesetting assignments back in my nonprofit publishing career was to stretch a 40 page essay to 64 so it could be a book. I used all the tricks of a desperate first year student with class twenty minutes off (the book went on to become one of our bestsellers, if I could have stretched it 96 pages we might have remained solvent).

This book just exaggerated a common phenomenon. Many of our authors had a few great insights that could be adequately shared in the first few chapters. The rest of the books wouldn't just be my calorie-free margins. There were enougn words to fill up a book but after 70 or 90 pages the reader would have read the most original content and could safely put the book down in the "to be finished later" pile.

Free of book limitations--and book selling limitations--most of these works would habe been far different. some of the more basic questions will remain with us: how do we get our works into the hands of readers, and how we pay the rent while doing it?

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The end of paper changes everything - The Domino Project
Not just a few things, but everything about the book and the book business is transformed by the end of paper. Those that would prefer to deny this obvious truth are going to find the business they lo...

Posted February 17th, 2012 , in Uncategorized Tagged ,

Using apps to help kids with autism

Sounds like a therapy that can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, and the article shares concerns about just how helpful all of these might be. Still, I have to admit it's pretty amazing to watch my 6yo playing the reading games on reasdingeggs.com website and he's pretty instinctive with the touchscreen of my smart phone.

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Using apps to help treat autism | Macworld
Some parents of autistic children see benefits from the use of apps and technology; however, experts raise concerns.

Posted February 12th, 2012 , in Uncategorized Tagged