the_world_flag_flyingIt has been a tumultuous week. Shock and disbelief on both sides of the campaign. And, a lot of work ahead of us. In this post, I want to share a piece from Krista Tippett’s Onbeing interview of Vincent Harding and my take-aways as I move back into the world in which I have an impact.

Vincent Harding was a leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement, writing a book called Hope and History; Why We Must Share The Story of the Movement. In the book, he posed the question: Is America possible? If you are not a U.S. citizen, you might simply replace America with your country, region, or “democracy.”  Here are some of the early words in the interview that shape the opportunity for me as a consultant, colleague, parent, wife, neighbor, daughter, community member, and citizen (not necessarily in an order of priority).

How do we work together?
How do we talk together in ways that will open up our best capacities and our best gifts?

In my recent work with leaders and teams, we often work on what I call an “operating agreement.” That agreement is a set of behaviors and practices that, if imbedded in the team, will drive remarkable results. The possible item agreements range across categories such as communication, decision-making, meeting protocol, collaboration, etc. This agreement should answer then first question above.

I won’t bore you with the 55 items on my starting list for clients. Rather, here are some nuggets I took from the Harding interview that I’m strengthening or working into my own self-agreement:

  • Set my “purpose,” the one that underpins and directs my work and life. What good am I working toward?
  • Be curious about the stories and views of people, especially those who are different than me.
  • Be encouraging of young people to create their own desired future story.
  • Seek out the people with whom I might have an impact.
  • Be the live human “lightpost” for future possibility.
  • Be proactive in finding the people and places to contribute my best.

Harding’s message was all about stimulating and using the natural sense of “hope” that humans have about life. All human beings. I want to be part of creating more of that in my family, community, and client organizations. I’ll start there and hope  that focus bleeds into a more hopeful country and world community.