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Connection in Life & Marketing

I’m pleased to share a blog post from my colleague, Lynn Serafinn, author of “The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell” and co-founder of the 7 Graces Project (along with Nancy V. Goodyear).

Connection in Marketing and Life – 2 Years with 7 Graces Pt 1 (via 7 Graces of Marketing – Ethical Marketing for Social Entrepr)

Lynn Serafinn takes a retrospective tour of the evolution of the 7 Graces movement over the past two years, and shares her reflections on each of the 7 Graces. This month marks the 2-year anniversary of the release of the book The 7 Graces of Marketing…

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Is the way you manage conflict hurting your effectiveness?

Great blog post from Linda Fisher Thornton:

To Do Lists

Found this cartoon that many people might identify with regarding to-do lists!

Most of us have far more that we want to do than we can reasonably and sanely accomplish. What strategies do you use for task management?

Rudeness is Neurotoxin to Brain

Brain research confirms the physical as well as the emotional damage of rudeness, of abuse. It’s also well known in psychological circles that abuse that is not healed, tends to perpetuate itself. This is a key part of the physiology of dominator culture. But we can learn to choose action over reaction, and to replace rudeness with kindness and care:

Attitude or Aptitude (from Pat’s Blog)

As we are multi-dimensional human beings, I am opening this discussion up further to include artists who express a great Partnership vibe and ethic. If you enjoy reading this blog, you might also enjoy Pat Monahan’s new blog …. Have a great day!!/notes/patblogahancom/attitude-or-aptitude/145603392151473

Empowerment through self-awareness

Here is a great blog post on the importance of self-awareness in leadership. It can seem counter-intuitive but this is some of the highest leverage organizational development work we can do:

Pathology of Dominator Dynamics

Happy new year!¬† Time flys when … you are busy ūüôā¬†

I am longing to write about¬†Partnership dynamics.¬† However, I recently came an article on psychopathy and power hierarchies and am reminded of another topic — the pathology of dominator dynamics.¬† Reviewing the various pathologies of¬†psychopathy, sociopathy, narcisism and codependence, one can (I suggest) readily see how these psychological conditions¬†are correlated with¬†dominator dynamics and culture.¬† This¬†blog entry¬†quickly¬†touches on psychopathy and sociopathy. Future posts will touch on narcisim and codependence.¬†¬†Once we¬†¬†begin to see how these psychological disorders have¬†¬†left their imprint on organizational members and organizations,¬†we might¬†experience a¬†renewed resolve to imagine¬†and enact healthier organizations.¬†

To briefly review cultural historian Riane Eisler’s cultural transformation model, which outlines the concepts of Partnership vs. dominator cultural dynamics,¬†below is an very good¬†summary by Ron Miller, a thinker and activist in the area of holistic education (who is potentially an excellent resource for the study of Partnership approaches to learning organizations).¬†Miller writes:¬†

“[Eisler]¬†…¬†has argued that societies make choices about how they distribute power, that there is nothing natural or inevitable about oppressive hierarchies. She has looked at how values and beliefs are shared across social institutions, from intimate relationships to the state, and found a clear difference between what she calls “dominator” cultural patterns (societies marked by violence, authoritarianism, and gender inequity) and “partnership” orientations (societies that value cooperation, nurturing, and equality). A dominator culture seizes hold of human differences in order to rank people into more or less valued social positions; a partnership culture aims to link people into diverse communities where each contributes his or her strengths and finds aid and support as needed. In any dominator-oriented society, Eisler says, one finds “hierarchies of domination” that limit individual expression and crush resistance, while a partnership orientation supports “hierarchies of actualization”-ways of organizing institutions that maximize “the collective power to accomplish things together.”¬†¬†(Retrieved from:, 1/10/10)

¬†The term “pathological”¬†is defined as, “caused by or evidencing a psychologically disturbed condition… “psychoneurotic” … “neurotic,” and also as “caused by … or manifesting disease,” “not exhibiting¬†good health in body or mind.” (Retrieved from: ¬†, 1/10/10).¬†

Recently I came across an article by Clinton Callahan on psychopathy and hierarchies of power. Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is characterized by an absence of empathy. Quoting Wikipedia for expediency:

“Psychopathy (pronounced /sa??k?p??i/[1][2]) is a personality disorder whose hallmark is a lack of empathy. Researcher Robert Hare, whose Hare Psychopathy Checklist is widely used, describes psychopaths as “intraspecies predators[3][4] who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence[5][6][7] to control others and to satisfy their own needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse”.[8] “What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony.”[9]

“Psychopaths are glib and superficially charming, and many psychopaths are excellent mimics of normal human emotion;[10] some psychopaths can blend in, undetected, in a variety of surroundings, including corporate environments.[11] There is neither a cure nor any effective treatment for psychopathy; there are no medications or other techniques which can instill empathy, and psychopaths who undergo traditional talk therapy only become more adept at manipulating others.[12] The consensus among researchers is that psychopathy stems from a specific neurological disorder which is biological in origin and present from birth.[10] It is estimated that one percent of the general population are psychopaths. [13][14]”¬†

Related to the disorder of psychopathy is the disorder of sociopathy. Again quoting the same article: “David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[38]” Retrieved from, 1/10/10)

In his online article, “Beware the Psychopath, My Son” ( Clinton Callahan draws on sources such as, Snakes in Suits by Robert Hare and Paul Babiak, to propose that because psychopaths (and by definition, sociopaths) are not constrained by human empathy yet mimic normal emotions well, that they often rise to the top of (dominator) hierarchies. He points to bloody history and to the amoral posture of many organizations to suggest that organizations are somewhat (if not more substantially) influenced by sociopathic norms.¬† The article is thought provoking and worth reading.¬†¬†

¬†What do you think?¬† Have you ever worked with a sociopathic personality?¬† How did it affect the dynamics of the organization?¬† (Please don’t post any names or organizations).

Starry Skies, Diversity, and Vision

Hi Carman,
A beautiful Sunday morning to you! I agree that Partnership does not need to answer to Paul, Plato or Shakespeare, although I do enjoy dialoging with them from time to time.

Thank you for sharing your deeply thought through and¬†fresh thoughts on Paul. One observation I would add is that whatever was or was not the intention of people at the time, Christianity and Judaism¬† –or rather, as different streams of thought converge, a variety of Christianities and Judaisms¬† — exist today.

Because we are exploring emerging ground, we have the opportunity to consider some interesting questions, that I think have some broader applicability.  One relates to focus.

Alfred North Whitehead describes how every fact “drags around with it” a universe of assumptions in which that observation or fact is both comprehensible and true. Essentially agreeing with Whitehead on this point, feminist philosphers have long observed that the practice of using fixed and firm categories —¬†such as the often very firm boundaries between academic disciplines —¬†to describe reality reifies a particular worldview by obscuring other potentially useful categories and the way that categories interconnect to form the “sacred canopy” of our worldview.¬†

On the other hand, when changes do occur in¬†a particular field, the process of¬†cross-fertilization of ideas is slowed. (This is one reason, as you know, that trans-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary studies are presently such a wellspring of new thought and innovation).¬†¬† Also,¬† being too fixed with regard to category¬†implies a world in which all things can truly be separate and static — described by one category or model without reference to others. For example, years ago, when I was in a leadership role in organizations (before I became a coach and consultant), I was¬† unable to immediately see the connection between emerging ideas in scie nce and emerging ideas in leadership. I thought that it was academically interesting but had nothing to do with the “real” world. Obviously, I’ve come to change my views!

The categories we use¬†illuminate some aspects¬†of reality and hide others.¬† With left-brained thought and language, it’s often the¬†connections amongst things that are hidden.

Because the paradigm we are discussing is holistic, we can’t assume that the whole universe of assumptions is known to the reader, or even to ourselves.¬† Rather Partnership recognizes that different perspectives will “see” different patterns, and that, with a conducive social dynamic, multiple perspectives can, reflect more light on a given subject. Further, a holistic perspective suggests that reality is holographic in that nothing stands alone but is shaped by its context or world.

Because this blog seeks to explore a new paradigm of leadership and organization, it consciously oversteps conventional categories in order to describe both this paradigm we call Partnership and also the views of the cosmos, including the patterns of the stars, we each see from where we sit (both physically and on the basis of our life experience).

So, in discussing¬†a Partnership approach to leadership and organizations, we talk about the literatures of leadership, organization, sociology, psychology (so far so good), and continue on to philosophy and theology which have been held, until relatively recently, to be separate and distinct subjects. Religion in particular has been considered a separate realm best avoided because it can raise passionate differences. “Sensible” people avoid it. By virtue of where I sit under that starry expanse, I am unable to be “sensible” in this respect because ideas in all these fields shape our view of the world. Certainly, as you have pointed out, the experience of a religious conversion or mystical insight is an example of a personal transformation which yields a sometimes radically different worldview. (My sister also described motherhood this way).

On the other hand, I appreciate that some who visit here may be put off when we venture “off topic” sharing our views of the patterns we see in that sky.¬† In a sense, this is a microcosm of a Partnership organization. Different members sitting on the grass, looking up and being able to share what they see. And also with respect to our collective endeavors, focusing on the shared values and vision that pull us together.

As you have probably noticed, I see the coaching approach as enacting Partnership, supporting the emergence of trust, collaboration and creativity in organizations. I am very excited to mention a new project that I am becoming involved with, to bring coaching training to leaders and teams, and coaching the development of a coaching culture. I’ll write more about it in this blog, but as this is also a kind of a letter, I¬†wanted to share it with you here.

My best,


P.S. We are having a break in the rain today. It’s cold and overcast, with the holiday lights making a nice contrast as it grows dark in the evening.

On Plato, Paul and Shakespeare

Paul was an orthodox Israelite Rabbi [Pharisee] who experienced paradigm shift due to a life-changing event. As I propose in my document The Secret Synagogue Paul directed his discipline at teachers-Israelite men-who had been called out of Israelite society into schools [congregations].The School of Jesus was, in its inception, indigenous to Palestine but Paul extended its influence to Israelites living among the nations. Its mission was to promote their [Israelite] Messiah, Jesus [Christmas carols unwittingly acknowledge Jewish exclusivity: King of Israel, Little town of Bethlehem…]. I should emphasize that there is not a scintilla of scriptural evidence for the idea that Paul taught non-Israelites or Gentiles. In The Book of Acts Paul is always in synagogues-or wherever he can teach Israelites. Gentiles are not even on the radar, so to speak.

So, when Paul says that “women are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission” I believe he is speaking as a man of his times and from deep within a patriarchal culture. When he says women were not to speak, I take that literally. Speaking is speaking, and submission is submission. [I imagine the First Century Israelite culture as analogous to modern Hasidic Judaism]. The men Paul counsels have an urgent task to perform and he will brook no distractions. The Titanic [Judaism] was about to strike the iceberg [their God] and so lifeboat training was pressing. [Forgive the overworn analogy]

Now, modern readers may recoil at this interpretation because of its implications for “the Church.” To this I will say, there is no “Church.” There is no “Christianity” [there never was] and there is no Judaism. The apostolic letters do describe a messianic movement within First Century Judaism, but this movement was not a “new religion” per se. I would liken ancient Messianism our modern labor movements. Workers, attempting to organize, are not interested in establishing a new company but, rather in modifying existing relations with management and in securing benefits. Likewise the First Century Messianic movement was an innovation within Judaism-albeit one that claimed to be Judaism’s peak and precipice. The Messianists taught that God sent his son into the Jewish world [society] to save it [John 3:16] but also that that Jewish world was passing away [1 John 2:15-17].

Hence Paul’s words have no bearing on or application to the present. As I mentioned before, “Christianity” was a 2nd Century fiction concocted by men who evidently wanted to extend and increase power-to make it catholic [meaning universal]. My purpose in inserting Partnership into Paul’s words was to suggest that for Paul “spirit” connoted a paradigm shift. He was not speaking individualistically because his culture was collectivistic. Hence, while “spirit” meant a transformed consciousness [see Romans 12:2] it was still a group phenomenon.

Let’s discuss Partnership. I would compare and contrast Partnership and Messianism thus: a cruise ship and a battle ship. While conceptually they may share commonalities [a ship is a ship] they are also fundamentally different. For example, Eisler’s Partnership speaks about “putting a nation in order” by “first putting the family in order” by “first setting our hearts right.” Leadership and the State are bracketed out. First Century Messianism, by contrast, spoke directly to power and promoted conflict. Because it disturbed the Established Order Jesus likened it to “new wine in old wineskins.” John the Baptizer and Jesus Christ seemed to have been dissident intellectuals who challenged the dominant institution-and paid dearly.

Tragically, self-serving institutions, conservative commentaries, and traditional worldviews have blunted their radicalism. What was elevated music in antiquity is now heard as elevator music. But I digress. If a vocal leader with her heart “set right” were transferred to a dominator culture then conflict would inevitably ensue. But as I mentioned Lisa, the comparison between Partnership and Messianism is moot because the Messianic movement is a fait accompli. Partnership does not have to answer to Plato or Paul or Shakespeare. Their worlds have passed away and a new world full of new challenges stretches before us. Partnership has its work cut out for itself, does it not?

Bye for now,


On Parallels between Paul and Eisler, and Group Mind

Carman, It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts. Thank you for highlighting the parallels between Eisler on Partnership and Paul. I hadn’t fully appreciated this aspect of Paul.¬† The opposition of¬†“flesh” and “spirit” is¬†a key theme in many¬†theologies, so I read him more literally.¬† I do hear and appreciate that you interpret Paul’s words differently, with an interesting result.¬†¬†¬†

[12/8/09:¬†¬†Carman, I’ve been continuing to mull your interpretation of Paul, and see some strong parallels with my own [process] train of thought. If we use the idea of “small self'” in place of “flesh,” I agree that these ideas do begin to describe¬†a holistic, Partnership approach. I think the original metaphor is problematic in that it is too limited and freezes an occassionally conflicting relationship between different aspects (or intelligences) of ourselves into¬†permanent opposition.¬†¬†I think this core antagonism¬†is paradigmatic, in a sense, of the ethic of opposition,¬†domination and control towards others in a dominator system. If instead, we recognize difference rather than antagonism, we retain the possibility of a higher, creatively intelligent resolution which surpasses what we can¬† imagine as individuals.]

Another area of concern for me, with regard to Paul, is his¬†statement in¬†Corinthians 14:34-35¬†which seems to promote the subordination of women to men,¬†which would be¬†contrary to an ethic of Partnership:¬† ‚ÄúAs in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”¬† That said, I’ve also read that this is often or usually interpreted to refer to a specific situation rather than as a generalization¬†¬†¬†

I know that you have some expertise on this subject.  What are your thoughts?  

I¬†am interested to explore the key question that you have posed: “If a Partnership group were being infiltrated by dominator tendencies, how would you address the issue, especially if dissolution were imminent?”

I am drawn to the idea that a higher wisdom¬†can emerge in groups where there is shared intention, trust, active listening, mutual encouragement and appreciation. I’ve¬†found that in really healthy, collaborative groups there can be a kind of ” magic” — a very satisfying experience of co-creativity in which the result is clearly better than members might achieve alone.

Two quotes from Napolean Hill seem to speak to that notion:

“When two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony and work toward a definite objective or purpose, they place themselves in position, through the alliance, to absorb power directly from the great storehouse of the creative mechanism of each contributing mind.”

And:¬† ‚ÄúNo two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.‚ÄĚ

For me, these quotes bring together the very compatible principles of Partnership and holism.

Would you like to consider a particular concrete situation and reason together?


P.S.  I think we have your rain today!  The skys just opened up.