Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stakeholder Dyslexia

Words often come into our lexicon in fits and spurts, and the word that has come across my reading and radar lately is stakeholder (yeah, I thought of selfie as well).

Unfortunately stakeholder involvement is often  misinterpreted.  We THINK we are doing something, but what we are ACTUALLY doing is

Meme Image originally from The Princess Bride

Here is what I think of when I see STAKEHOLDERS in a collaborative process.

I see a group of people, without hats of power, coming to consensus.
We don't always agree, but we agree not to sabotage.
We educate one another, and we allow anyone who wishes to attend.

created with Open Office

This opportunity is what education  is about.  We learn and grow together.  The leader empowers the others.

But that opportunity is rare outside of #edcamps.  
It assumes that all people are treated with equal respect, and insight comes from many quarters. 
 Expertise is balanced by new ideas.

The antithesis of this is much more common.
Marginally empowered in the decision making.
It becomes, as I realized in a dyslexic moment, about

In this scenario, the people chosen are hand-picked.
Outliers are usually ignored.
The input is gathered, but the information is given in parcels. 
Doled out like medicine.
One or two people can say no, as they are the stars of the show.
Like the forward on a hockey team.
Everyone is protecting them.

The others at the table get to hold the skate guards.
Ideas that don't match are at best deflected gently.

The uninvolved usually have a decision placed upon them.
They are simply the hooks to hang the skates upon.

created with Open Office

We've ALL been part of this.
Lecture-based classrooms.
Traditional professional development.
Church board.
Nontransparent government.


You move to collaborative leadership.
Put the permissive 'buck stops here' back on the shelf.
Shrink your ego.

And start the process of decoding the dyslexia.


Real learning starts when the skate holders
Stop being the crowd.
Lace on their own footwear.
And start moving
And becoming part of the team.

skate holder--> stakeholder

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