Transitioning Out of Fear and into Hope with Collaborative Learning

This has been a year of fear and no wonder with an unprecedented pandemic, insurrection at the Capital, growing tribalism, global warming, economic instability. But instead of getting sucked into and trapped by our fears, “remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know. 

That’s the next stanza of Margaret Wheatley’s poem, “Turning to One Another.” (To read the entire poem take a look at a previous blog.) I’ve been reflecting on this poem over the last few weeks and it finishes on a much-needed positive note.

Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.

Real listening always brings people closer together.

Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world. 

Rely on human goodness. Stay together.

We are stronger together, even with or maybe even especially because of our different opinions, backgrounds, and stories. We each have goodness within us and meaningful conversations with each other can reveal the goodness, the common purpose, and the stories behind what we care about.

In order to leave fear truly behind and find new solutions to our unprecedented challenges, we need to have an entirely new approach to listening and learning. I’ve created the Center for Learning Leaders because I believe that learning never stops, especially for leaders. Even though I work at the Graduate School of Education at Touro University, a center for learning, I’ve come to believe that there’s so much more to learning than transmitting already known facts. As important as that is, I’m far more passionate about learning what is not yet known and I’ve found that often comes from openly listening to people with very different backgrounds and stories than my own.

In their latest book, Learning to Make a Difference, Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner explore “hope for people who care to make a difference, with a practical and rigorous way to get there…” Yes, please! They discuss the need we have to gather with others who care to make a difference and introduce the concept of social learning spaces.

Imagine being part of a social learning space where every participant or team player…

  • Is listened to and respected for holding their own valuable perspective about the things they care about 
  • Is personally invested in the challenge and is genuine about wanting to make a difference
  • Is a team player, fully grounded in the value of the collective focus
  • Is willing to experiment and live with uncertainty to come up with a brand new idea

I believe in this so much, that I realized I just had to create a masterclass on transforming teams into social learning spaces. By turning to one another, understanding what it is we care about, and being willing to engage in a different way than our static meetings and workflow, we can create amazing new differences in our world. 

If you want to join me for my upcoming webinar, please contact me and let me know to add you to my invite list. Or you can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook where I’ll be sharing the details soon.

Louise J Santiago, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant

Where Leadership is Intentional Work

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