Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Minnesota Rising: The quest behind the question

I had the privilege of participating in an Art of Hosting training several months ago, thanks to the Bush Foundation's InCommons initiative, and got to put Minnesota Rising to the test as a Pro Action Cafe topic. Through three rounds of questioning and brainstorming (bulleted below) with my fellow AoH'ers, I was able to further suss through the the work and next steps of Minnesota Rising. I share them here, for any feedback and commentary, particularly as we move forward with planning and envisioning the Minnesota Rising 2011 Un/Conference. What are your thoughts? And would you be willing to help? Thanks for any feedback and support!

Pro Action Cafe Prompts:
  • Round 1: What is the quest behind the question?
  • Round 2: What is missing?
  • Round 3: What am I learning about myself? What am I learning about my project? What next steps will I take? What help do I still need?

The quest behind the question

What can we emerging leaders do now to build relationships, trust, and a shared vision for Minnesota so that we, today, and in 20 years time, can be more successful in implementing it? This question pushes me to continue pursuing the work of Minnesota Rising and I know it also stirs up a deep hope and calling for others, as well.

This work is being co-created, and while we have some general principles and parameters, the end remains to be seen. For the time being, it seems that the work is an attempting to shift society from back room dealings to relationship-based politics and culture of collaboration. The idea is for emerging leaders to learn new way of being now before arriving in positions of leadership to repopulate the old systems. This new way is of collaborative leadership.

Collaborative leadership for the common good of Minnesota:
  • Create a relationship-based politics, not a boys’ club politics. Use transparency, relevance, and emergence to move from the back room to the public forum.
  • Emerging leaders learn the new co-created system and bring it up with them into their power positions as opposed to repopulating and perpetuating the old system
  • What do our new relationships mean? The conversations are the work.
  • Conversations are creating a politics of abundance and relationships. Trust it. Collaborations and ideas arise that would have never otherwise existed.
  • How well do you collaborate? Measure the level of work of others around you and their success in order to measure your effectiveness at collaboration. Name non-traditional success. Did you see what you did there? “I gain power by giving it away.”
  • Come together without stakes or personal bias; talk about transfer of leadership
  • Create a powerful, idealistic, vivid vision of the future in Minnesota (organizations and systems move in the direction of their questions and how they talk) to generate the hope and energy to make something happen.
Over the coming year and more, we hope to create powerful, idealistic, vivid vision of the future in Minnesota through tour of state’s groups of emerging leaders, high schoolers, college students, and more. We'll strive to embed this intention in upcoming Un/Conference and disseminate through it cascading interviews and un/conversations. These conversations are the change. Through them, we will focus on what we have in common and that which we can strive after with shared purpose. Working collectively, we will be able to identify, nurture, and take with us the best values of our generation as we move up and on in life. Together.

The help Minnesota Rising still needs:
  • Bringing those not currently part of the conversation in
  • Harvesting knowledge and vision of multiple generations
  • Understanding implications of changes to society – demographics, technology, economy
  • How do you measure collaboration? How do you call out traditional success?


  1. I am excited about the potential of these cascading conversations, Diane, and I couldn't agree more that the conversations are the work. If you find yourself reading this and thinking it would be fun to help craft the conversations, please get in touch with Diane! Thanks for the thought-provoking questions this post left us with. I do wonder what might be possible if we invest in building these collaborative, trusting relationships and dare to spend our time inquiring about our deepest values...

  2. Thanks, Jenny. It's so exciting to have your intellect, passion, and powerful questions on board! I'd love to have others join in this conversation because I'm quite certain that while I don't have the answer, I can have faith that with others' ideas and thoughts at the table or blog, we may well be able to come to it together. Onward!


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