Creating a Virtual Commons
Just as public radio was created to be a commons, a place—according to broadcast journalist Jay Allison—“where citizens convene to speak and listen in the common interest,” virtual conversation through web-based (and mobile) technologies have allowed users to express their personal experience and learn from and relate to others a million miles away, while suspending judgment or prejudice of age, race, lifestyle or political affiliation.
As a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the leadership of the social sector, and their partners in business and government, the Hesselbein Institute looks for ways— utilizing technology, which honors a dedication to sustainability and resource efficiency—to share wisdom and resources with a diverse, multicultural community.
“We have learned we cannot simply say, ‘Here are resources that will enhance your leadership.’ We have found that only by focusing on the realities and concerns of the customer can we create the platform that enables the opportunity for our customers to address and discuss their own critical management issues,” says President and CEO Frances Hesselbein.
Since 2010, the Hesselbein Institute has partnered with the Global Dialogue Center—the brain child of author and thought leader Debbe Kennedy—to deliver free, online, interactive webinars
; creating a commons where diverse groups convene, speak and listen.
According to Kennedy, “Collaborating with Frances Hesselbein created a diverse leadership happening within a virtual meeting place that provided common ground.”
Global in scope, these online gatherings have resulted in conversations prompted by participants across cultures, sectors and industries, who, prior to each gathering, are invited to share ideas and questions—valuable input that is then used as dialogue themes addressed during the event.
“Peter Drucker taught us that the most important way to develop people is to use them as teachers,” says Hesselbein, who has traveled to more than 65 countries sharing her values-based leadership philosophy. “No more do I have to struggle with my calendar and 15-hour flights to Asia and elsewhere. Malaysia calls, ‘We want you to come to Kuala Lumpur to speak to 900 businessmen and women.’ My immediate response: ‘Thank you. I will be there.’ And then I describe the exciting live virtual dialogue.”
Since 1990, the Global Dialogue Center
has been known for its award-winning ability to develop and deliver innovative, personalized products and services. The team includes published writers, a resident artist, pianist, and more than twenty years of extensive experience working with senior leaders across sectors.
“Our goal for the 2012 Being a Leader
series was to think beyond the walls of what we’ve previously done to creatively weave a combination of opportunities that support and foster the passion to serve, the discipline to listen, the courage to question, and facilitate knowledge sharing and learning across diverse borders,” says Kennedy.
From the participation of corporate organizations including Walmart, IMB, HP, and Boeing to public and social sector organizations including The Department of Education, The American Red Cross, Girl Scouts of the USA, to social entrepreneurs, small business owners, and students representing New York University, Johns Hopkins, Indiana University, Penn State University, Michigan State, University of South Carolina, Rollins College, Notre Dame, and The University of Manchester...to name a few…the BEING a Leader LIVE online conversations have revealed powerful common threads—secrets to turning communication into interactive dialogue, listeners into participants.
Focus on THEM not US. The contribution and consideration the customer brings to a virtual space is essential. By developing pre-session questions that instantly engage participants, the customer as an individual is recognized and diversity in content input is received.
Keep your PROMISES
. According to Seth Godin
, “Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promise.” Maintaining a ‘no gimmick’ philosophy allows customers to feel comfortable and allows you to keep your promises.
Small DETAILS matter. Over time, webinars have developed a reputation marked by mixed reviews and results. Debbe Kennedy explains that producing memorable online global leadership gatherings requires planning and many small details. “At the Global Dialogue Center, we continue to learn it’s not about having a webinar. It is about creating a memorable experience. Five success factors seem to play a key role: Choice of partners, an involved keynote, session design, collaborative promotion, and engaging participants in the process.”
Our intentions, values, and heart BUILD TRUST. Kennedy believes intentions, the values you live by, and your heart speak loudly to others in the silence on the virtual plane. “More and more leaders and innovators are developing this kind of “sixth sense” as they learn to effectively develop a rich communication, working together with others in new ways through technology.”
A Personal Invitation for You...
You're invited to join
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and author Debbe Kennedy ONLINE on October 18—along with more than 200 leaders and innovators from nearly 20 countries—at 1:00 pm EST. Imagine how a conversation on these three timely topics could help you take your leadership to a new level:
- Staying MOTIVATED as
- Working in the VIRTUAL WORLD
- "TO SERVE" as a core leadership principle
For the Hesselbein Institute and its diverse ambassadors, virtual engagement has represented a new avenue of global leadership development, provided an online inclusive platform for meaningful dialogue and idea exchange and promoted greater understanding and acceptance of cultural collaboration. How have you, or your organization participated and been affected by virtual dialogue?