CPsquare newsletter: Leadership, R&D, Foundations Workshop Oct 22
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Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner chapter on Leadership
Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner recently released a very useful summary and contribution to the practice of community leadership with “Leadership groups; distributed leadership in social learning“. In that first chapter they promise to publish others over time, so well worth subscribing if you haven’t already.
Jonathan Silk’s R&D Series Presentation
Last week we had a session in CPsquare’s R&D Series by this year’s recipient of CPsquare’s Pepperdine Award. Jonathan Silk conducted a lively online discussion and presented his work on his action research project in a webinar. His project is titled: Building an On-Line Community of Practice with Digital Storytelling (Leadercast).
Jenny Mackness has offered a reflection and summary about the power of the videos that Silk is studying in MILSPACE (familiar to many of us as Company Command). She notes:
“The stories can be highly emotive and elicit deeply reflective thinking. This requires careful, sensitive and experienced management by the interviewer. Trust and positive relationships are essential to the story collection process and it is understood that the videos are ‘owned’ by the interviewees. No videos are published without the consent of the interviewee, although they are carefully screened for any potential security issues.”
There was another interesting angle that came up during the webinar. Silk is part of a community of community leaders that has been working together since well before the publication of Dixon, Allen, Burgess, Kilner, and Schweitzer, CompanyCommand: Unleashing the Power of the Army Profession in 2005. (In fact Allen and Burgess were working on these issues in their 2001 book Taking the Guidon: Exceptional Leadership at the Company Level.)
And Silk not only shared his action research project, but he walked the talk by inviting partners and mentors to our webinar, including Pete Kilner and Tony Burgess. Pete Kilner, didn’t say much that day because he was home with a cold. He’d presented his dissertation in CPsquare’s R&D series back in 2007 on “The effects of socially relevant representations in content on members’ identities of participation and willingness to contribute in distributed communities of practice.” During the webinar, Tony Burgess contributed a lot of history and insight (he also presented his dissertation “Understanding the core group in a distributed community of practice” in 2007). Because Silk, Burgess and several others were in the same room during the webinar it was interesting to listen to some social interactions at West Point: how they used titles like “Major” or “Dean” or “Mr.” and the way they so scrupulously acknowledged each other’s leadership and contributions. It felt like we got a glimpse into Silk’s research project and into his community and its finely honed norms.
Who am I, what is my role?
After the question of how to support communities of practice and social learning interactions, one of the most difficult but persistent questions that comes up in CPsquare run along the following lines:
If learning and communities are fundamentally self-organizing, what, if anything, can I do to help? And, how do insights into social learning affect my work or the value that I seek to bring to communities or organizations? And, how do I explain my job to others?
They are persistent and come up in many different forms. Recently Susan Stewart raised them in a “My Practice” session. Marc Coenders has been working on it during during this year’s Shadow the Leader series as he reinvents himself and an offering called Campus-X.
A group of us are organizing an intensive conversation on the subject during the first week of November. Anybody who has ever been a member of CPsquare or participated in a CPsquare event is invited to a free two-day immersion in this important question.
Foundations of Communities of Practice
We are offering the Foundations Workshop again beginning October 22. If you know of someone who’d be interested, please let them know that it’s time to register!
John for CPsquare
* John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd http://gplus.to/smithjd
* Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
* Time to register for http://cpsquare.org/edu/foundations now!
* "In a world presenting unique challenges and ambiguity,
* play prepares these bears for an evolving planet." -- Stuart Brown