October 17, 2006

In the Beginning...

It seems looking into the past can give us some perspective on the future. I guess I might be writing this more for myself than for others. Anyway,  might as well get some of the facts and figures out of the way. Born in London, Ontario, Canada, November 4, 1963 (6 weeks premature) to British parents (dad: English, mom: Welsh). Age: 42 (now, not then). Nearly did not make it, etc.

With parents and younger sister in the Anglican mission field (Father was/is ordained Anglican/Episcopal Priest) in Mexico and Central America until about 4 years old. Came to the US (Los Angeles), moved to Indiana (God only knows why).  Lived in Indiana from about 6 years old to 15 years old. Moved quite a bit until I was in my 20s. Moved to Santa Clara while in high school. I have been in SF Bay Area ever since (Santa Clara, San Jose, and then Napa, CA since 2001).

When we moved to Santa Clara, I ended up going to all boy Bellarmine Prep (High School) in San Jose from 10th to 12th grade (1982). I went to Santa Clara University (where my father taught) -- While I was not very thrilled with Bellarmine, both Bellarmine and SCU were outstanding Jesuit schools. While I started at SCU to get a Computer Science degree, I ended up getting a BA in History degree with a lot of computer science courses (1986). After a few years, I ended up going to San Jose State University (1988) for my MS in Cybernetic Systems (1992) (ironically from the Anthropology and Cybernetic Systems department). About  2 years later, I started a Ph.D. at University of Hull in the UK while living in Napa. In retrospect, maybe not the brightest thing I ever did. I defended in November of 1997, and graduated February of 1998 from the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside. Lincoln School of Management for short. My PhD was essentially in Systems Thinking and Human Values.

I got married in September of 1986 (for an update on this, see here). Worked in the tech industry in various roles for a long while (largely until I started on the PhD). Some of the places were: Olivetti ATC, Sun Microsystems, Frame Technology, Verity, Autodesk, IDG (technology writer). I was also starting to do a little OD (organizational development) and that eventually led to me doing the doctorate. My father is an expert in human values, and I worked with him at various times over the years. In 1994, we started Values Technology which has been seriously up and down over the last twelve years (I am not currently working for VT). Since I was technology savvy, and a growing expert in the area of values, I consulted and also steered the technology development. When I was not working on the technology I designed large scale interventions for values-based OD. The last time I left I was considered chief architect (bridging technology and values). I still advise my dad and company. Other than this stuff, I have taught at the post graduate level -- mostly in the area of leadership development.

Systems thinking and values, two areas, that other than history and technology, have fascinated me. I might add document analysis, but that really is an offshoot of the others. Since high school I had been fascinated by the ways in which values and meaning could be pulled from documents. Metaxio is a current attempt to make this more accessible to others.

In 1999 and 2001, my wife and I had a boy and twin girls -- as with most fathers, they are my pride and joy.

Well, that is probably enough for this entry. It sets up the entries to follow ;-). I am hoping there is a point to all of this!

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September 14, 2005

Values of Progress

Here is an interesting post on the Values of Progress. It is on windsofchange.net, This is my first look on this blog site. It looks like it could be pretty good. I have not had time to digest the article, But it reminds me of Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolution.Technorati Tags : , ,
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July 1, 2005

Leadership and Change

Richard Veryard suggests looking at this site, Dialog on Leadership I really like what I see here. A good way to see different perspectives. It is worth a look!

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April 27, 2005

Possible Application of Values with Leadership

The development of human consciousness requires that the minimum elements of survival and self worth to be met. If these are not met then engaging in even the most basic human interaction is difficult if not impossible. Decision making, let alone informed values-based decision making, is primitive at best. How can you be in a position to demand a minimum of change for the better if you do not have a good sense of self.This is a minimum requirement for learning! In order for the student to engage in comprehensive, values-based decision making, requires that the lower stages be met. What would it take to create an environment that was not just desired by most but a moral requirement. What we are talking about is installing a world-wide, educational meaning system. Some places it may be easier than others. But it can be done. Sustainable change takes time. Values-based decision making is worth it.

For this, we need to look at the development of the human being. The levels of consciousness of the human being are going to get mirrored in the way weorganize.The decision making is usually going to be done in the context of a group of some type. Both in the educational institution, as well as any other social grouping the student may encounter.In some ways, we need to imagine what does the basic sustainable human being look like, what is the meaning system that puts this person in the best place for accessing their potential for fulfillment.

From Survival to Self Worth to (Being) Self

Being is about arriving at a place where a person has the best understanding of how to actualize their own personal fulfillment. Developmentally, this not an easy place to get to. However, there are basic components that must be in place before we can even think about this. A totally evolved planetary consciousness would have all the people in the world with the potential of getting access to their own being. But we are still talking about baby steps, in an educational setting this can likely be accelerated.

The cornerstones of this journey are Survival, Self Worth and Being (Self). One cannot hope to progress as a human being if one cannot get basic needs met. But one cannot progress if they do not feel that I am worthy of something better. It is these two items (survival and self worth) that must be part of the foundation values-based decision making.

Creation of a comprehensive educational deployment requires that we build up the self worth of the individual. They must feel that they are worthy of the respect of being provided. This is easier said than done. Self worth is often expressed culturally. Therefore, their needs to be a common framework for establishing self worth but it should take into account the issues in a given culture.
Awareness is also important. If I know what is going on around me, I can make informed decisions. If I know how friends and peers feel, I will likely not feel alone.

Leadership and Accountability (Mutual)

Awareness is important for the person. But awareness is also about being explicit. When things are no longer hidden, when they are explicit, it is harder for those in power to ignore the needs of the many. Being explicit about the needs and desire of the populace is an important way for leaders to be held accountable. Their actions are measured against the wishes of the people and culture. Leadership without accountability creates a misuse of power. This brings values-based decision making to the forefront. The global consciousness needs to create a leadership environment that focuses on leadership and not on management. There are plenty of people that that are good at deployment. However, creating an effective, and yet collaborative leadership environment is needed and imperative. Telling others in the world what to do will not work, but creating the environment where the vision can be accomplished is imperative. Leadership and decision making go hand in hand.
This awareness also creates a framework of systemic ethics. When intervening to create a new consciousness, the development of this system needs to provide for the needs of the whole. Awareness is essential to this.

From Clan to Global-State

Throughout history, man has had a tendency to create relationships in order to get more and more complicated things done. One started with the family or the clan (or in more modern terms a team or group). Man had to learn how to best organize this to accomplish goals such as killing a mastodon. As these tribes grew, and people became more specialized, cities and towns developed. Each time these occurred, it took time for the man to adapt and work these relationships. These groups would also get a sense of self. A sense of ownership of and for the group. You progressed to the city-state and then to the nation-state. The sense of self at the level of the nation-state is what we call patriotism. It is good for creating a sense of group-self but it can create differences with other such groups. Andconflict and war can arise from this. Using a values approach as students move into the world is imperative.

Educational institutions would find the possibilities expansive, as well as the research that could be done and shared inter-institutionally that would give invaluable knowledge of values-development globally.

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