We orient to our work as allies, coming alongside each community and system we serve, listening deeply for what is wanting to unfold, and acting to support their success and wellbeing. We help our partners work at the speed, breadth, and depth needed to expand and sustain both their positive impact in the world, and their experience of joy and generosity.
Every C4CW process is custom-designed for each context we engage, grounded in the Leadership for Collective Wisdom™ framework. Our co-founders, John Ott and Rose Pinard, created this framework based on original research and writing, and decades of work designing and leading organizational and community change efforts.
Three concepts provide the foundation for the Leadership for Collective Wisdom™ framework.
- Collective wisdom—a transcendent knowing that can lead to profound action—is an innate capacity of any group. Whenever two or more of us gather, we have the potential to experience and be guided by collective wisdom. Groups also have the potential for collective wisdom’s opposite—collective folly.
- Leadership is the capacity of any individual or group to cultivate the conditions for collective wisdom to arise in support of effective action.
- In any collective effort, there are four dimensions of change that affect our work together: the individual interior and exterior dimensions of change, and the group interior and exterior dimensions of change.1 The following diagram graphically represents these four dimensions:
Leadership for Collective Wisdom™
The more effectively and consistently that individuals and groups engage all four dimensions of change, the more likely they will experience collective wisdom arising to support their efforts. But how do we do this? How do we engage all four dimensions of change in a disciplined and sustained way to open a portal for collective wisdom? One answer to this question is the Leadership for Collective Wisdom™ framework.
Cultivating the conditions that support the emergence of collective wisdom requires two aspects of leadership: self leadership and collective leadership. The Leadership for Collective Wisdom™ framework maps these different aspects of leadership to the four dimensions of change. Self leadership involves commitments and practices in the individual interior and exterior dimensions of change, while collective leadership requires commitments and practices in the group dimensions of change:
Why the Leadership for Collective Wisdom™ framework?
As groups learn how to embody the commitments and practices of self- and collective leadership, the portal for collective wisdom expands, helping them improve results, resolve adaptive dilemmas, and strengthen the wellbeing of staff, community members, and partners.
We created this framework not only for the communities and organizations we support, but to guide our own development as well. Every process we design, and every decision we make as a Center, is guided by a commitment to embody this framework.
¹ This concept was inspired by Ken Wilber’s work on the evolution of consciousness. See, e.g., A Brief History of Everything, Boston: Shambhala, 1996.