Reading for Leading #26: The people who give us perspective

The people who give us perspective

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

On a recent day off I enjoyed exploring the Freer Gallery in DC, where there’s a wonderful collection of Buddha statues. One particular exhibit made was a helpful reminder of the value of friends with perspective. 

In Buddhism, a boddhisattva is a compassionate person who works to ease the suffering of all beings and foregoes entering Nirvana until all others have become enlightened too. Quite a task, right?  

Where do you find your perspective?
Image credit: author’s own

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Community orientations and technology – what features does your online community need?

Recently, I’ve been exploring “Digital Habitats” by Wenger, White and Smith, which talks about the role of technology stewards in selecting, implementing and encouraging adoption of online tools and community platforms. Tech stewards sound like a very specific type of community manager.

Use this wheel to mark out the importance of the 9 different orientations to your community.
Image credit: http://technologyforcommunities.com/2010/07/putting-our-diagrams-to-work/

The book has lots of practical advice about the use of technology by communities of practice. While the overall menu of different tools and features that are available to a community may be large, typically members will not need them all because their community will be focused on only a few activities. The authors call these different types of group needs “orientations” and list out nine of them.

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Reading for Leading #25: Reactive versus responsive

Reactive versus responsive

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

In our busy, hyper-connected lives a steady stream of notifications, alerts and lengthening to do lists can easily pull us into a reactive state, where each new input takes our focus away from our initial intentions for the day. We may enter into a struggle to deal with the distraction as quickly as possible and then pick up the dropped threads of our previous activity. This can becoming exhausting and unproductive as it disrupts our workflow and may lead to unskillful, quick-fire reactions rather than more considered, appropriate ones.

Chess is a great example of balancing reactive and responsive actions.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamraoof/16767990831/

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Community Manager musings: Technical stewards – community managers with toolkits!

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

What’s in a community manager’s toolkit? As technology stewards they may choose, use and support multiple tools.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/elkokoparrilla/5106301020/

 

As we’ve been exploring on this blog, community managers can exist in different types of communities within science, and their role can have a variety of names, depending on what they’re doing and what kind of organisation they’re working for. In my latest reading I’ve been learning about the role of the technology steward – a term coined by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John D.Smith and described in their 2009 book, “Digital Habitats.”

Their description states that a technology steward…

“…adopts a community’s perspective to help a community choose, configure and use technologies to best serve its needs. Tech stewards attend both to what happens spontaneously and what can happen purposefully, by plan and by cultivation of insights into what actually works.”

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Responsive, transformative, contagious – Alan Alda’s three elements of listening

I’m currently taking part in an online science communication book club that’s discussing Alan Alda’s latest book “If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?” As well as being a well-known TV personality, Alda is the founder of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The Center draws upon improv techniques for some of the trainings that it provides to scientists to help them improve their communications skills. In this book Alda outlines three elements of listening that are vital in being able to relate to one another.

Lessons from a M*A*S*H*ter communicator…
Image credit: author’s own

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URLs of wisdom – silencing, story and speaking up edition – March 2018

Having diverse voices able to safely express their input and for it be received respectfully is vital to the functioning of teams, groups and communities – including those online and in science. This is a special instalment of the URLs of wisdom in which I round up some new and some not-so-new links that explore silencing, story and speaking up. If you have additional reading material on these topics to recommend, please add it as a comment.

“I’m a unique bird and I will not be deterred from making my song heard.”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnfish/3932308358/

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Considering Community: Communities of practice and double-knit knowledge organisations

Social in silico includes a series of occasional posts focused on community management tips and related information. I’m tagging these Considering Community and you can find all the posts in the series here

Previously on this blog, I’ve reflected on the different types of community that I’ve observed within science and specifically in the first cohort of the community engagement fellowship program that I run at AAAS. I identified four initial broad types of scientific communities – from professional associations to communities of practice. I’m currently delving deeper into communities of practice and am enjoying reading “Cultivating communities of practice” by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William M. Snyder.

Today’s post looks at what it means to be a double-knit knowledge organisation – and how we integrate learnings from communities of practice into our day-to-day work.

When asked if her organisation was taking a double-knit approach to knowledge management, Jane replied “I’m a frayed knot.”
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heartbrainscourage/25126915686/

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