Reflecting on ‘Social Leadership Daily’

Just over a year ago i started the Social Leadership Daily work as a ‘Community In Practice’, for sixty seconds every day. It was, as much as anything, a chance for me to challenge myself, in terms of making something practical and applied.

Today, after over 300 posts on that site, i’m pausing for a short reflection, to consider any insights from the experience.

My main learning, and the one that i should have known but which nonetheless took me a year to remember, was that less is more. Things tend to creep towards complexity: they lose the elegance of simplicity, and become weighed down by their own pomposity and intent. The beauty in this work, if there is beauty, is that simplicity.

Sixty seconds does not give you much time for context, for illustration, or breadth. But it does give you a fair amount of challenge.

One of the things that i have noticed that works well, and which i think is applicable more broadly, is to create rituals and stories that are reusable. Things that a space can become known for.

For Social Leadership Daily, i frequently write ‘Action Days’, which implore you to put down the email, your laptop, your context, and to take action. With this established as a routine, i can focus my valuable writing space on simply sharing a few ideas for what types of action to take. For example, this week i will encourage people on Wednesday to ‘take action’, to “walk away from this email and change something in a small way. Ideas could include: Create space for someone – Offer something – End something – Reach out in gratitude – Reach into a silence – Hear a new voice – Use respect as a power – Share hope.”

I generally aim to have an Action Day every ten or fifteen days, and that tempo works quite well, giving space for reflective practice and application.

Another thing we regularly do is to share gratitude, with context. Again, this becomes like a ritual, or a habit. These things help to build a vocabulary, and vocabulary, when shared, forms part of the coherence of a community, as well as finding it’s way into our daily practice.

I notice patterns in the data from the site: people tend to be continually engaged, or to fall out altogether. Most people fall to the extremes. And people regularly tell me how they engage, and what they take away from it: some say that they scan and filter, then dig down and act – some religiously follow every question, and others share widely. The behaviours of daily practice vary widely!

People are also quite passionate about the work: which is nice, as so am i! I suspect that this means they are very forgiving of it too!

This year i notice that my voice has become more poetic: i’m unsure if this is a reaction to my fear it was getting complex last year, or in response to my broader focus on critical analysis and reflection this year, or possibly both these things. It more closely reflects the type of language used in ‘The Humble Leader’, and i suspect that is no coincidence.

Writing regularly, i do notice the trends and themes in my own writing, and the ways that it evolves, from a style and form perspective.

This work remains experimental: i enjoy both the challenge of creating it, and the community that surrounds it. Whilst small, it’s one of the most dynamic that i am part of.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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