Wednesday, December 09, 2009

College drop-out does good (and well)

#IHI09 Marshall Ganz was the keynote speaker at this morning's plenary session at the IHI National Forum. As co-chair of the event, I had the privilege of introducing him. See biographical details here. An excerpt: "Marshall entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960. In 1964, a year before graduating, he left to volunteer as a civil rights organizer in Mississippi." And thus began a lifelong career in movement building. (He eventually, 28 years later, went back to conclude his degree.) Before getting into lessons learned, Marshall explained what it was like to be involved in the early days of the civil right movement in the South.

Marshall summarized five practices that constitute leadership for change, which I summarize very briefly here:
1) Using storytelling to enable people to act together for change. "Narrative is how we learn to make choices, to understand the world affectively. Stories teach us how to act under uncertainty. We need to learn how to tell stories purposefully."
2) Building relationships. "Create a mutual commitment to a common purpose. Association makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts."
3) Creating an organizational structure based on team leadership rather than individual leadership. "Establish clear norms of behavior for the teams."
4) Translating shared values into action requires a focus on a few strategic objectives. "How to turn what we have into what we need to get what we want. Good strategy flows from commitment. Commitment puts us into a place where we have to figure it out. Use the resources we have, not the ones we don't. Don't buy in to conventional notions.
5) Actions to be real have to be real, concrete, and specific, with measurable results. "It matters what we count. There has to be a connection between metrics and strategy. Does the strategy move us towards the goal and increase our capacity to work together, and are people learning and growing as a result of the effort?"

1 comment:

Paul Levy said...

Transfered from Facebook:

Mike: A power in the UFW. We all admired Marshall.

Jack: Excellent choice.