Wisdom of Corrigan

Dave Pollard has a great podcast he did with Chris Corrigan include a full transcript – for which he gets a lot of kudos from me.

Among the bits I liked are Chris’ thoughts about action. I’d describe them thus: there’s taking action there’s taking wise action, and then there’s making the wise action sustainable. In getting past first base, we need relationship – and that’s where the apparent distinction between task and relationship orientation starts to look like a false dilemma. I love Chris’ definition of sustainability as “a deep relationship with whatever you want to see lasting” which for him means getting selective about whatever has real heart and meaning.

Chris is also eloquent on the subject of Unschooling or life learning as he prefers to call it. When he desribes how he shares StumbleUpon finds with his daughter, I get the picture not of teaching at all, but of a relationship in which each other’s curiosity is constantly nourished, appreciated and shared. Did your schooldays give you that?

I also loved these sentiments

“a well crafted invitation will attract the right people for any endeavour”

Active relationships are based not on role or control but on friendship, trust and shared passion

It ends with Chris wondering if we need to discover that we don’t need leaders. Dave promises another podcast on that one… I’m looking forward to it.


2 thoughts on “Wisdom of Corrigan

  1. Johnnie Moore


    I can’t help but wonder if, “if we need to discover that we don’t need leaders”, is just wishful thinking on Corrigan’s part.

    Admitedly, many of those who call themselves leaders are just over-promoted managers at best, or administartors at worst, but we all know great leadership when we see it. And we need it to motivate, cajole and direct those who don’t see the bigger picture and their role in delivering it.

    Whether we like it or not, hierarchy and its sibling command & control, are here to stay. That doesn’t mean that networked organisations and self-organisation are not valuable additions, but they are just that. Additions, not the norm.

    Graham Hill

    Independent CRM Consultant

    Interim CRM Manager


    Hi Graham: Well I think that remark is shorthand for something that admits of more complexity. Let’s see what Dave eventually says; I do know that I’m for a more fluid notion of leadership that involves less idealisation of those with power than seems the default setting for many these days.

  2. Chris Corrigan

    It’s interesting…I can see that that comment at the end of the podcast might be a little confusing. It’s a bit out of context, and so I’ll explain myself a little more.

    First off, Dave and I were talking about the role of language in defining who we are and that the language of “leadership” seems to create all kinds of expectations that are untenable.

    Second, I’m really interested in freeing up the idea of leadership so that it can be practiced everywhere and not in some designated box on an org chart somewhere. The kind of leadership that you talk about Graham is not just needed in the top boxes on org charts…it is needed, and indeed is available all over the place. Assuming that we can’t practice that is what is stifling alot of leadership potential in the world. I think this is something of the point that Desmond Tutu was making.

    I’ll quibble with you a little on the idea that command and control are here to stay. I think the evidence is showing that hierarchy may be here to stay as a way of irrigating and organization with resources, but command and control have long given way to networked action based on relationships and intimacy. It’s how anything actually gets done, especially in large organizations. Don’t believe me? It’s the principle behind “work to rule” slow downs. Command and control aren’t synonymous with hierarchy – one can organize a resource allocation hierarchically but use distributed leadership to get the work done.

    Intersting times ahead.


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