The thought that each person in my circle may act as a learning consultant framed my experience well last night. As I shared the challenges I was facing in cultivating the internal SmartBuilder community online, experiences and sincere questions emerged for me to consider from my four cadre mates.
Learning for me has almost always come after I have put myself out there, extending hooks for others to connect to. This is no different in the learning circle. Without volunteering pain points and fairly personal information the response I get is less than ideal. The more focused and specific I can be the better prepared and enabled I make my learning consultants.
Reflecting on the thoughts generated from our short time together, my “online” problem reverted back to solutions around face-to-face time spent together with the community. Will more frequent face-to-face interaction stimulate online activity?
I also see the learning circle as a time to truly concern yourself with the genuine problems and challenges of others. We lift burdens and overcome obstacles together. This morning I am pondering how my experience with religious endeavors online might benefit Sister Maria in her efforts to ensure that the communication and experience is spiritual.
I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that we, even this early on in the program, understood well the guiding principles of action research.
A phrase that stood out to me last night in our sync session was building collective knowledge among the cohort. I’m not sure our cadre fully grasps this concept and objective as one of the key outcomes of the program. It seems that each of us is stuck in doing all the work ourselves in isolation. Yet, we are hoping to pick up a few ideas in this program of how we might facilitate collective and collaborative knowledge sharing and building within our organizations. Seems to me like we would want to practice what we preach. Informing our decisions through the review of research and other types of literature was also enlightening. To have greater understanding and knowledge of the particular actions we propose to take is worth the time and effort. To take a “good idea” and vet it so we avoid “trial and error” seems logical to me.
This morning I have been thinking about the original purpose of the LDSLeader environment to be created to directly deal with significant business challenges facing the business side of the LDS Church. I thought of a conversation I had about a father and his efforts to prepare his children to be leaders in their own homes. His comment stuck me. It was simple. He said he tries his best to be an example of leadership in the home. My mind then went to my own experience with the new http://mormon.org site. It presents examples of Mormons under the title Our People. I wondered what our LDSLeader site could gain from a section labeled Our Leaders.
If authority of example is so compelling and powerful why not feature exemplary leaders at all levels? Participation in the mormon.org initiative is impressive. Two thousand profiles compiled before launch and 13,000+ in the queue shortly thereafter. One of the biggest hurdles I see is helping people to use an online format to share observations, examples and feelings. But it obviously can be done. The cognitive surplus certainly continues to manifest itself with in the mormon.org invitation.
Examples of LDSLeader sharing online would be personal reflections of situations where a principle of the pattern for leadership played out. This would take the shape of a leadership journal. To me, it sounds a lot like the action research I am beginning now in conjunction with a masters in learning technologies at Pepperdine. I am uncertain as to how I encourage others within my organization to also engage in their own action research as they strive to become a leader in their current role. I think of my own conversion to sharing more of myself online and it was not easy. I recall wanting to participate in the discussion so badly that I finally overcame my anxiety and accepted that my identity was still emerging and that it was ok NOT to have myself figured out entirely. I told myself that identity-shaping would come more and more as I involve myself in those communities I desire to belong and contribute to.
The term social artist has really struck me. I knew that the LDSLeader initiative would benefit greatly if I could connect others and help them share and collaborate. I see a continual leadership journal as an extraordinary way in which examples of leadership can be shared in caring relationships and extended to countless others through the use of a simple technology: a blog. Now for crafting the environment to foster that type of sharing! 😀