Margaret (Meg) Wheatley, Ed.D.
Lost and Found in a Brave New World
May 29, 2013
I describe this time as a brave new world, a world that satisfies virtually nobody, moving in a direction not of our choosing and counter to what we were working to create. Our present global culture, with its emphasis on greed, self-interest, consumerism, and coercive power, is leading us deeper into the wilderness, farther from the values, objectives, and ideals many of us have worked valiantly to create. Frequently now, people report feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and occasionally despairing. Where are we headed? How did we get here? How do we find a sane way forward?
I’ve found it helpful to seek answers to these questions by accepting the fact that we are lost—as a global culture, as organizations, and perhaps as individual leaders. We are in new territory, this brave new world that operates at hyper speed, hyper stress, and hyper irrationality. Our old maps for creating capacity no longer apply; in fact they only get us more lost. So I’ve been focused on how we get “unlost,” how we open to the information that will tell us where we really are, the very information we need to create new maps that offer us a way forward.
Freeman A. Hrabowski III
Leading a Culture of Change and Innovation
March 27, 2013
I recently had the privilege of chairing the National Academies (NAS) committee that produced the report Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. An earlier NAS report had highlighted the urgent need to increase American competitiveness in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Our committee was charged with examining the impact of the country’s changing demographics on achieving that goal.
Members of the committee were not surprised that only a fifth of underrepresented minority students who begin college in STEM majors complete degrees in those areas. We were, however, surprised to learn that only 32 percent of whites and 42 percent of Asian Americans who start as STEM majors graduate in these disciplines. Ultimately, only 6 percent of the bachelor’s degrees earned in America each year are in science or engineering. It’s generally been accepted that many students who begin in pre-med or pre-engineering change their majors. While people often assume that the reason is that these students are thinking about careers that pay more money, the truth is that many who leave STEM fields change their focus after struggling in first- and second-year STEM courses. These classes are commonly known as “weed-out” or “barrier” courses.
Leaders of Change, Leaders of the Future
April 24, 2013
I am writing this not long after Hurricane Sandy’s floodtides made history. the National Guard is rescuing east Coast people along the shoreline, trees are falling, the devastation “the worst in 108 years.” People have died, communities wiped out, and volunteers from many states have poured into the flooded areas. once again, it is inspiring to observe how we all come together, mobilize, eager to serve when disaster strikes. I’ve never before seen flood waters pick up a truck and move it one block, corner to corner. President Barack obama’s and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s personal messages to all the flood victims, and the support and collaboration provided across state lines, are an inspiring example of crisis leadership at its best.