we’re on a mission from dog


Councilor Buck called out another anonymous poster on her blog recently who left this comment on one of her previous posts:

"I'm in a group of women in their 50s, sixth decade of life.
We are turned off government because of the "politics" some, like you champion.
You've set the bar too low for us. We don't care about the lowest common denominator.
We want to build from the bottom up, with a foundation of principles.
You want "all is fair in love, war and politics".
Check out the history to see have ideas are changing in all three areas.
I think you are beating a dead horse.
We have a declared difference of mission."

You can read her post here:

If Clr. Buck is guilty of beating a dead horse, this poster is guilty of eating one out of a dog bowl.

There certainly seem to be a correlation between this anonymous post and this newly formed "Womens Leadership Council" who states its mission as "a movement tapping into the compassion, energy and cameraderie of women who want to make a difference".

The sloppily cobbled together Era Banner article for that is found here:

I gather this "council" is something of a support group for women who already consider themselves leaders.
What isn't evident in their proclaimed mission is any difference to traditional notions of leadership. 

Nilofer Merchant (www.nilofermerchant.com) is a corporate director and a speaker on igniting cultures of innovation. 
In a post for The Harvard Business Review Merchent ( 
+harvardbusiness+%28HBR.org%29 ) Merchant tackles the issue head on:

"Traditional notions of leadership are elitist, holding that not everyone can be a leader, that leadership is reserved for those with the right connections, or from the right school. And once you've been made a leader, that's it; you've "arrived."

Merchant then cites the work of Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes in their book "Credibility" :

"Wherever we look, we see problems of leadership. Our economy, our companies, our people are suffering. And I wonder if it is because we don't see how each of us can make a difference by demanding more of our leaders — and demanding more of ourselves as leaders."

What exactly does this "Womens Leadership Council" demand from its members?

The fact that the guest speaker for this inagural meeting was Debora Kelly, editor in chief of Metroland’s York Region Media Group (The Era Banner) leads me to believe the answer to that question is not much.

Kelly is quoted in the article as saying:

"What makes local newspapers successful, and relevant, during a time of struggle for most daily newspapers is their different perspective." 

If she honestly believes that then perhaps she could extrapolate exactly how her leadership has achieved that with the paper she is responsible for.

I see no evidence of that at all when I look at the Era Banner in all of its properties (print and web), quite the opposite.

For myself The Banner is a prime example of a paper that's severely lacking in professional journalism and relevance.  This isn't a matter of style over substance either, there's none of both and that is the primary reason it finds itself deposited straight into the majority of household blue boxes without ever being opened.

If there's one paper that over the past 20 years or so has the bar low it is certainly the Era Banner, which has no doubt turned a generation off of politics by failing to do the work a real local paper is supposed to do.

If there's one thing that Kelly can claim she's been a leader of for 28 years it's mediocrity, and any leadership council that is looking to her as an example is barking up the wrong tree.

Polly LaBarre, the Editorial Director of the Management Innovation eXchange, also contributed to the Harvard Business Review
(http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/08/what_management_20_looks.html) and in stark contrast to Deborah Kelley seems to understand what is neccesary as a leader to innovate:

"when it comes to creating a healthy culture of innovation, it's just as important to strengthen the social fabric of an organization. The best entries offered up inspiring and instructive approaches to cultivating and supporting connections between peers (across all boundaries)"

Connectivity is not something that the Era Banner seems to cultivate, and yet under the right leadership it wouldn't be difficult to achieve.

A great read on the subject is "Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead":

Charlene Li, author of another great read "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies" outlines how open leadership is having the confidence and humility to give up the need to be in control while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals. 

Li, LaBarre & Merchant are three women that not only understand the principles of leadership but also practice it.

If this Womens Council and/or the anonymous poster on Clr. Buck's blog is interested in building on these principles perhaps they should consider reading Ken Robinson's article in FastCompany : http://www.fastcompany.com/1764044/ken-robinson-on-the-principles-of-creative-leadership

One great point to take away from this read is that:

"The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it's to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they're valued. So it's much more about creating climates."

As a consumer of the Era Banner I cannot see evidense of such climate, nor does it seem to be present in the barely coherent ramblings of the anonymous poster on Clr Buck's blog.

Both efforts appear less missionary and more shall we say doggy style.

Watts on your mind?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s