In Celebration of Lincoln (a Hutchinson, Kansas community)

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This morning – I celebrate Lincoln.

I celebrate her wildly successful block party last night.  I celebrate not only the work that goes into creating the event, which is notable, but all the work that has gone (and continues to go) in to building what was necessary to make that event a success.

I celebrate the hours upon hours given by a handful of committed residents in the building of relationships, expanded leadership capacity, communication, managing self and vision.  I celebrate their resolve to continue to engage in purposeful conversations, to keep inviting even when so few join them, to take one more step even in the midst of great frustration, to wrestle and to dream.  I celebrate their resolve to think more highly of their community than what current pervasive messages would have them believe.  I celebrate their work that doesn’t just quack of a hopeful future but openly acknowledges its deficiencies and puts the necessary sweat and legwork into creating a positive way forward.

I celebrate the Lincoln school.  I celebrate its strategic part of the Lincoln community’s development – the community that bears its name.  I celebrate what I believe to be its tireless investment in the children and parents of the Lincoln community.  I celebrate their team and all that they do to create a foundation of stability for a brighter future.  I celebrate their understanding that their work is so much more than the passing along of reading, writing and arithmetic – but is a calling to love children and their families even when trauma and challenge are monstrously present.

I celebrate the agencies, churches and businesses that have made the decision to stand alongside this community.  I celebrate their effort to keep the lion’s share of this community’s strategic work in the hands of its citizens.  I celebrate the agencies who have said, “We cannot fix it for you – but we will walk with you.”

I celebrate the change of tone in this neighborhood that is ever so slowly beginning to shift from pessimism to optimism.

I celebrate face painted neighborhood children standing with smiles by a police officer who is known and appreciated on their streets.

I celebrate community members sharing a meal together.

I celebrate sounds of music, games, laughter and conversation around a community affirming cause.

I celebrate the evolution of the story of a community from visionless to hopeful.  From closed off to curious.

I celebrate hope.

I celebrate Lincoln.

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Leadership Lessons from Pooh and Piglet

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Has your team ever found themselves in a place like this?

Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet are walking together.  They walk in a circle, heads down, examining the ground.  All of a sudden Pooh says something like, “Look, Piglet.  Tracks.  Two other creatures were on this path not too long ago.”  They walk in a circle for a bit longer, and Pooh declares, “More tracks, Piglet.  Where do you suppose everybody is going?”  They continue walking in the circle and Pooh says, “Wow, look at this!  There are so many paw prints, something exciting must be going on.  We’re definitely not alone.” 

Before we know it, we’re off and running, heads down, following a well-trodden path.  Perhaps if we looked up and around, we’d become acutely aware of a different reality, an alternate route that would take us someplace more valuable, someplace we’ve never been before.* 

Coaching can help us look “up and around” – even when we’re convinced we’re on the right path.

*Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott, p. 166-167