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Stephen Collins

My friend, Mark, always amazes me with his ability to communicate this stuff. He obviously has a lot more time to consider his words in his public speaking than I.

I'm still only halfway through the essay. Any chance of a copy of that mindmap?

Peggy Hoffman

Beth, I think you may have hit on one of the most important shifts re "quality of leadership of a cloud or networked leadership" ... over as ASAE we in assn are talking (though not nearly as seriously as we should) about the changing role of volunteers. The Decision to Volunteer study told us a lot about association volunteers - who are different in some important ways and very similar in key ways to c3 community volunteers - but mostly urged us to rethink the paradigm. And I think this phrase "networked leadership" could help better understand that paradigm.

Christine Egger

Brilliant metaphors, message, and post. Extremely helpful as I head into a discussion today, helping a consulting group understand just how to help their nonprofit clients navigate the social media environment. It *is* about finding points of connection between the hierarchy of the organization and the "hierarchy-less-ness" of a cloud aka community aka everyone-who-shares-the-organization's-commitment-to-a-certain-mission. Thank you, Beth.

Beth Kanter

Well, thank Mark!

Stephen, the mindmap is not electronic, did it on paper. I'll try to crank out a visio or ppt diagram and upload onto flickr.

Harold Jarche

I think that the concept of wirearchy is between the hierarchy and the cloud and is very much aligned with what many non-profits strive to be. One problem with NP's is that they took their governance structures from for-profit corporations and these are obviously not optimal for the type of work they do.

Amelia Murphy

Hi Beth, and thanks so much for this post. It hits on a deep thread about culture change and leadership change, which I think we're seeing in working relationships all over the place. I know that I have been frustrated, and have interpreted an unwillingness to collaborate and iterate; and your thoughts here help me understand that I'm working in a cloud, when others may be in the tower. Thanks much - this is great food for thought.

Joitske Hulsebosch

Thanks Beth, this is great! I'm intrigued by this because I was frustrated by hierarchies in organisations as a professional. I think it is scary to management because it comes to real leadership, and not management power through your position..

Michael Clarke

It's an intriguing metaphor - an alternate reading is the capacity of a storm to electrify or charge a (T)ower with all the force and energy of a storm - hierarchies can also be perfectly useful models of activity as well as rather less useful models of authority. Concentric circles of involvement (call it organizational citizenship behaviour) is still a hierarchy by any other name...I've no great love for hierarchies or the predictable patterns of behaviour certain hierarchies engender but the metaphor does rather deconstruct itself (as is the habit of metaphors) into its ostensible opposite.

Karen Gryst

And further to Peggy Hoffman's comment. Beth your thoughts raise the question of leadership and "power" and the dynamics of this in the cloud. The phenomenon of group polarisation via the cloud (sorry Aussie spelling)is extremely interesting and for me raises the question of the power balance between the amplification of the 5 or so instigators or drivers and the other larger group of followers / supporters. I think the cloud formation is also fascinating to identify the issues that particular groups are really passionate about - as you say Beth issues or groups inspired by the heart. I wonder if there has been any mapping / tracking of emerging clouds and what the issues/ common interests have been at the heart of these, stimulating the initial formation? Particularly those that have turned into storms rapidly?

Noah Flower

Beth, thanks for the link to his fascinating essay and your summary/thoughts. He makes very eloquent use of the "cloud" and "tower" metaphors, and like you I find myself wondering about the bridge between them. If a "cloud" is a group of independently acting individuals who are motivated by the love of a cause, that sounds like a fundamentally different type of group than a formal hierarchy with explicitly divided power. But I think he's describing the Platonic ideals at the ends of a spectrum rather than a binary choice. Many towers exist to organize the work of a group that is motivated by heartfelt desire to accomplish a common goal, and many clouds will form towers, even if only implicitly, in order to accomplish a goal that requires leadership. I wonder if the answer to your question might be, at the deepest level, that in a world full of clouds the person at the top of the tower needs to learn how to lead the lower floors for love as much as money.

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