Recently I have been reading Edward O Wilson’s ‘The Social Conquest of the Earth.’ He believes ’we live in a world of stone age emotions, medieval institutions and god like technology’ and if history is any guide it’s a scary combination. Why stone age emotions? Our decisions are shaped by our emotions to a much greater extent than we have previously understood. Although the potential is there for wisdom, it is rare. Why god like technology? In addition to producing weapons of total destruction science and technology (S & T) have produced amazing results but they have also produced an almost blind faith (by denialists) that should climate change become a reality S & T will come to our rescue. Why medieval institutions? Because our organizational structures perpetuate societal dysfunction and bystander mindsets. Chris Argyris first wrote about the problems of pyramidal (hierarchical) structures and their impact on personality in the 1950s. He suggested that the pyramidal organisation fostered systemic immaturity and that dysfunctional behaviour was a natural consequence.
But they needn’t. New mindsets combined with new structures can present new possibilities. They make it possible to help all of us move from being bystanders to being more engaged in building a sustainable planet. If you would like to know more check out www.nobystanding.net
Peter Rennie, Leadership Australia
The Bystanding to Action workshops run by Peter Rennie from Leadership Australia, and his partners in different regions of Australia, are recieving very positive feedback.
‘Let me thank you again for running a wonderful workshop, replete with insight, example and praxis. I enjoyed it immensely and found it stretched my thinking, strengthened my understanding and clarified my direction.’ Anthony Howard, CEO, The Confidere Group
‘I have come back to the workplace refreshed and re-invigorated thanks to the 2 days spent with you and Soren. I thoroughly enjoyed your approach to facilitation and have spent the first 45 minutes of this morning talking through the highlights with the HR team.’ Clare Dunnicliff, Executive Manager, Human Resources, Maitland City Council
The workshops focus on developing a ‘partnership mindset’ that enables you to take a greater interest in the organizations and social systems that impact on your life, and help you work with others in partnership, to take action, rather than trying to do this on your own. I encourage you to take a look at the new website that has the latest details of workshops, feedback from participants, and Peter talking about the main ideas and approaches shared through the workshop.
We all need to learn how to encourage ‘bystanders’ to take action, particularly in NRM, so take the time to check out what this course has to offer. I will be running the Canberra workshop with Peter in November so if you have any queries, please drop me a line.
‘And they just stood there’. Nobody moved, I couldn’t believe it!’ Sound familiar?
Haven’t we all said these words at one time or another? The bystander phenomena is more than just a cause of frustration, it represents one of the major challenges to those of us seeking more participative and successful organisations, as well as a sustainable world. I believe that working in NRM and knowledge sharing we all need to be aware of why so many people stand back and wait for others to take the lead. Our role as change agents is to encourage participation, and provide people with the confidence to step forward.
The one or two day workshop ‘Bystanding to Action’, is focusing on how individual change can lead to group, and in turn, whole systems change. Dr Peter Rennie from Leadership Australia is running these workshops across Australia, and I am going to be partnering with him for the Canberra event. I really like Peter’s style as he uses anecdotes, story and interactive sessions to engage workshop participants in thinking, feeling and reacting to the knowledge being shared. Take a look at the brochure and think about how this workshop might apply to you.
If you have any queries about the workshop please get in touch with either myself or Peter. We would really appreciate it if you circulate this to anyone you think might be interested, within and outside the NRM industry.