I attended a discussion this morning led by Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze about their latest book about leaders who walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities. These Walk Outs Who Walk On use their ingenuity and caring to figure out how to work with what they have to create what they need. They were quite compelling and for those studying Innovative leadership their work appears to point to the same or similar qualities as we do (using different language). They give beautiful examples of how these qualities put to work around the globe produce amazing examples.
Their model may seem radical to many. Part of the discussion revolved around how do we move to this model when what we have is generally working? The answer may be that we make the move when we have nothing to lose – focusing on times of crisis.
They told a story of a project in Brazil that involved renovation of a building and creating a park. The images of the starting place were worse than anything most of us have ever seen and yet they embarked on this journey in a very unorthodox way – doing the work 15 minutes per day. The “rules of game” dictated that everything was done differently than we typically approach a project. One thing that struck me was that it created a space for interested people in the community to get involved and take ownership of the project. The idea that this was a “game” seemed to permeate the entire project. I refer to these as experiments but really like the idea that it is played like a game – that there is space for curiosity and experimentation and that failure leads to more experimentation.
If you are intersted in learning more, I highly recommend exploring their site. This is particularly interesting as the Occupy Wall Street movement is showing some signs of walking out. The next question is what are they walking on to?
What are you walking out of in your life? What are you walking on to?
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