Thursday, January 12, 2012

thanks @greenleafcenter

and dr. kent keith, @jeffmiller79, isabel lopez, and dolores jones. i cannot say enough about how much i value the greenleaf center's role (and timing) in my servant leadership journey. and as part of the reminiscing that regularly occurs during the december-january months, i am glad to share tidbits of my 2011 journey, along with the first two pages of my key practices paper.

and once again, 
with much gratitude,
thank you all.

the greenleaf center for servant leadership certificate programs (over here) - the foundations of servant leadership and applying the key practices of servant leadership - were intensely thought-provoking for me and very energizing (internally and externally). more than a month after the last key practices class, i am already going through withdrawals not regularly being part of a servant leadership community - those learning, studying, and practicing. yet, meanwhile, i am excited to engage what i have learned as part of the self-discovery that is inherent in the greenleaf servant leadership programs. 
a little background of my greenleaf journey ... on this blog, i've occasionally posted about my class experience and related thoughts for the foundations class (over here) and the key practices class (over here). (also under my blog's greenleaf label)

for the foundations course
for the key practices course

in short, we read, we wrote (on the class wiki), and we talked as part of monthly class calls. and there are many opportunities to go beyond the required reading and discussions. most notably, however, are the many AH-HA moments! i shared about my first class with the foundations course over here, where i included the text of my 3:38 minute intro - why i was taking the coures. and i shared about my key practices paper in the making over here.

wordle from my key practices final paper
key practices ah-ha moments ... in addition to refining and defining my credo (as part of feedback from the foundations course), i am engaging in further exploring servant leadership through language.

key practices paper, p. 1
key practices paper, p. 2

For Now, I Choose the Petri Dish:
Unwritten Rules and Alphabet Soup

There are BRIDGES yet to be constructed by those who live and
breathe in their ENVIRONMENT - Air, Land, and Water.  Egos stand firm
on the ground that they were born and choose not to acknowledge that
being one step closer means choosing to be one step FURTHER.
My VISION is to Create Those Bridges. Shirley Rivera

My journey as a member of the Greenleaf Academy’s class, Applying Key Practices of Servant Leadership (Key Practices), has been not only an extension of my introduction to the Academy through the Foundations of Servant Leadership class (Foundations) but also a a series of unplanned, experiential learning moments in the workplace.  I have affectionately referred to my workplace as my “petri dish of improv comic gold and servant leadership lessons-in-the-making”. Whether by coincidence or by being present – through awareness, reflection, embodiment, contribution – more than often my workplace seemed to manifest our Key Practices readings and discussions.

“shallow circular dish with a loose-fitting cover, used to culture bacteria or other microorganisms”
I suggest that the workplace analogy, using the format of this definition, may be reworded as –
“cubicles used to culture staff and management personnel

 Meanwhile, another definition (from Merriam Webster) that is not as tongue-in-cheek may be considered more comparable for describing the workplace setting –
“something (as a place or situation) that fosters development or innovation”
While I have frustrations about the workplace, I have come to appreciate better and do acknowledge what my petri dish offers as I continue my curious discoveries through my servant leadership journey. Whether it is through observing and participating in day-to-day peer interactions and in communications across hierarchies, with the added knowledge from of Key Practices, I believe that I have much to offer to foster development of better workplace experiences, as well as much to be reminded of about circumstances not demonstrative of servant leadership characteristics.

As an extension of my reconnecting with my epiphany during the Academy’s Foundations course, Key Practices has provided the added context for understanding how to weave together servant leadership attributes and engage with others the ten characteristics of servant leadership, particularly as part of organizations and institutions. By observing and reflecting on my workplace, I intend to explore the use of language – written, verbal, artistic expression – to affect workplace satisfaction. Three topic areas that I am pursuing include: 
  • systems - while being mindful of the value of foresight, the goals of rethinking complexity, and similar ideas, increasing my understanding of and making more accessible systems theory;
  • storytelling – through my creation of anthrocubeology (i.e., a web-based format for story-telling workplace possibilities and alternatives), express ideas about approaches for catalyzing organizational cultural shifts through reflection and self-awareness; and
  • philosophy – by bringing together servant leadership and my other interest in the epistemology of knowledge and ignorance, develop my voice about my belief of a person’s ability to make a difference through our connectedness.

If you try to find meaning in everything you do,
you will imbue everything you do with meaning.
- James Autry

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