Synthesis about leadership – part 2

Thank you all thinkers out there – please contribute with thoughts or your work. I felt it necessary for a part 2 just to help ME think. Hope I can help YOU discover something useful.

… And I have definitely not forgotten Seb Paquet’s Intentcasting:

Now, this is in alignment with my experience the starting point for any leader: somebody wants something, in fact that goes even deeper, it’s a prerequisite for starting any kind of relationship. The intent, will, wish, dream, vision, goal etc. directly from the site:

What is intentcasting?

“Interest brings groups together, but intent is what brings teams together to actually get things done.

Intentcasting is deceptively simple to describe. It consists in broadcasting your intent to make something happen. That something could be anything:

  • “I want to have a party at my house!”
  • “We want to raise $1,000 for Japan!”
  • “I want this piece of software to exist!”
  • “We want this work of art to exist!”

There is a capability that is complementary to intentcasting: intentcatching. Intentcatching means connecting to an intent that has already been cast, in effect signaling, “I want this to happen too” or “We want this to happen too” and moving from a passive to an active stance towards the intent.

At its core, intentcasting is invitation into a possible future. It is a statement of possibility and will. Although it does not have to spell out how the intent is to materialize, it contains the germ of an architecture of participation.

In order for intent to catch on, it has to meet a few conditions:

  • It must describe a promise – a future state of affairs that could conceivably happen, explained in a way that people understand.
  • It must open participation in one or more well-defined ways.
  • It must be expressed in a way that enables it to travel and spread over the communications infrastructure.
  • There must be other people or groups out there who resonate with the intent and can get excited enough to connect.

Once enough people have caught the intent, so that it has become shared intent, things can get moving pretty swiftly.”

When the common intent is established it’s must easier to work together – then that becomes the leadership. “Putting a man on the moon” – is an excellent “leader”. Or perhaps “consume yourself to death..” Building the global community is not yet simple enough.

The complexity of common intent

Now, to describe reality the right way we need situation awareness and to be able to be aware of what people want we need a Common Intention Picture. Traditionally we end up in some kind if map – could be a geographical – and the look of it basically depends upon what you need to be able to search in it.. Are there other ways? Gaming? A dream map? Yes, of course. I always like what John Kellden writes – although I don’t understand everything it always seem to resonate with my thinking (which I sometimes don’t fully understand either btw). Is there a method of distilling the common intent to one agreeable great intent?

From John’s blog Distill at ConversionLab:

Distilling common intent

“Life has this propensity of bringing lots of things to our attention, more or less unfiltered, and/or filtered in ways we at first don’t recognize, nor easily can make sense of. As we go through life, we develop this knack of filtering so as to get to, and get to keep the good bits. For an organization, it is essential to remain in touch with all kinds of input, intelligence, market conversations and whatnot, and remain on top of what to filter, what to sift and sort, and out of the things deemed important, what fractions to throw away and call market research, and what to keep, and call business. Most of the hard work involved, most of the action, consists of being mindful of what language is used, and how to put it to good use. A common approach, is to throw a lot of these distilled findings all together in a big bucket, and call a theory, a model, and/or a method. This is all good, fine and proper, as long as we remember that other people go around carrying their own buckets. The capability to bring water to others, and the related knack of helping others with wayfinding, charting paths to reliable wells, while avoiding most of the tigers, that’s what matters.

Usually, things that matter are embedded in situations that most of the time are rather complex.

This is one of the reasons why ConversationLab is offering Method Cards for Storytelling. Through using them, you can begin to make (more) sense of your own situation. This typically results in time saved, headaches reduced, and the ability to better tell your own, and listen to others stories. At times this also means you will get better at sharing knowledge with others. Here’s where the distillation comes into play, among a couple of other words that will follow in later blogposts. Through knowing what you and others have distilled, your game will improve. Oh, and speaking of play, the method cards are playable, a bit like a card game. But it is really a tool. A tool for working and playing well together.”

The game & play becomes the leadership and everyone can participate and feel a part of it – I like that very much.

Stories – “Feeling good” leadership?

The feeling is always important, like in:

“This idea feels great! Let’s go on investigate further!”

There’s a very unscientific hunch that does the synthesis in the brain distilling the plus and minus and gives the verdict in milliseconds. That’s why the pitch and packaging is so important. If you can’t get through with the message within like 7 seconds you’re toast – especially if the idea means change, development or any kind of effort-like suggestion. In a story however you have more time.

You can actually talk for around 7 minutes before you’re toast if you are good at it (a movie-story can last hours). The synthesis and complexity can be described simply if the movie-format is used. You can mix a lot of different stuff (pears, apples, oranges.. trucks, cities – life) and people will love it if you have a good narrative – the “red thread” as we say in Sweden.
Mark Frazier helped me the other day with excellent stuff – thank you – on Narrative Fractals (what might that be!?), from Quora:
Narrative fractals

“In brief, I believe six elements can be found wherever we look carefully into what goes into (scale-insensitive) narratives of interaction.

These elements are:


  • Attractor – interest-generating opener [emotion: curiousity]
  • Challenge – disruptor of settled understandings/relationships [emotion: tension]


  • Opportunity – vision of a desired outcome [emotion: inspiration]
  • Strategy – path to realize vision [emotion: hope]


  • Test – trial to confirm strategy [emotion: confidence]
  • Followup – implement strategy, reframe/reloop, discard [emotion: resolve]

As far as I can tell, this pattern can be used to tag activities in physical and social realms, regardless the scale of the entities involved.”

So, “Peace on Earth” works fine until the doing part – that’s the tricky part. “Putting a man on moon” wasn’t that as impossible? Hmm.. probably, but there was a competition. So five-six continents in a competition on who’s the first to reach reasonable peace-levels wins? What’s the prize..?

Anyway, Mark helped me with seeing “my” story – and I could actually see what was missing in both mine and the Narrative fractals model.

The past, present & the future

I always seem to start with the situation, the background, the needs, the requirements, the frames, the prerequisites, the conditions etc. There’s a huge difference between putting a man on the moon and putting a man on.. Pluto. And huge difference between Peace on Earth and Peace with Yourself. Although thinking of putting a man on Pluto might help you a lot when planning for that little moon-trip.

Where am I going with this?

Well, continuous improvement is a universal leader and there are some models (PDCA, OODA… let’s not mention MODAF, DODAF etc) which I will only mention briefly. Basically it’s always:

  1. Background, prerequisites
  2. The situation [WHAT]
  3. System design [HOW]
  4. Implementation [WITH WHAT]
  5. Verification & Validation [WHY – it will work]
  6. Operations – decide on improvements – reason for actions

And then it goes back to step 1 and the situation. But there’s no feeling here, there’s nothing about change management (oh, my that’s whole new Part 3), there’s nothing about finding intent. Usually these parts are handled by the management organisation – but on building the Global community there is no management. And that brings me back to the new Command & Control of the commons. In school the might call it flipped classroom.

Flipped governance

If you think you know anything about Command & Control please forget all of it (except that in my other blogpost) and consider this:


It means that the General is active strategically during planning Like Governance levels sets up the frames, laws, standards, game rules, information exchange protocols etc. And then sort of takes off the uniform and joins the soldiers as the good leader (remember Gandhi), the teacher becomes the coach and the servant and the civil servants REALLY becomes the servants and part of the people’s common intent.

Now, I realize I need even more parts.. but before I continue on the commons I better talk to Helene Finidori again.. 🙂

And “Oh crap..”

Just a few more, then we have that excellent thinking of LEAN in industrial environments – shifting that up to a global LEAN perspective with citizen participation (incl whistle-blowers). I tried to find some proper resource that I can share but I realise that my knowledge of is slightly different than probably that Toyota-thinking.

It’s a good improvement model where it’s important to raise issues on “waste” and make improvements in real-time adjusting things on the fly. Of course on an industrial line things will have to be fast – but that also applies to society and a potential Global community? I mean, 6000 children die everyday of infections. Pretty alarming and more urgent than any process in the world I’d say.

And wow, yes I have to mention Karl-Henrik Robèrt’s (and many people with him an his/their work) The Natural Step and the FSSD model – a framework for strategic sustainable development:

Here’s Karl-Henrik himself explaining the world’s main problem – the lack of leadership : . Any method/process can do the trick really, but it takes a strategic view and to step back from the details and the fragments of the reality. Listen again to Karl-Henrik going through the 4 principles of sustainable development (Rio +20, what where you thinking of?):

I think we’re back at Peter Senge, again: Do we have the capacity? Without a doubt: yes. We “just” need to coordinate efforts..!

Millions and millions of $ (what the heck are we doing??) is spent on converging methods and technology and making contacts (relations) but nothing is coordinated. Everyone is running their own agenda in their own stove-pipe solving unsolvable problems. We are all in this together – there’s only on boat and we are all in it. We need to have built in future resilience wether it’s sinking or not. Let’s join forces, let’s find that magic common intent!


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