In the build up to BAWBforum the GRLI had an opportunity to hold its 16th General also marking the 1st GRLI AGM (All Gathering Momentum) meeting of the Council of Partners. This of course is in keeping with the intent of GRLI to hold at least 1 Council meeting per year going forward and our desire to increasingly leverage external events for outreach and project work.
The Tuesday morning — Governance and Potential of GRLI
Since the Global Forum “unconference” was to be facilitated using an Appreciative Inquiry approach, the council’s work on Tuesday kicked off with paired and group “appreciative conversations” around the question “how does an understanding of globally responsible leadership resonate within the context of your life and world of work?” This process set the tone for our time in Cleveland and lead to many rich and rewarding conversations throughout the day and week. Many new insights and relevant questions about GRLI’s work, governance and value in a changing landscape of business and management education striving to serve the common good were yielded.
During the AGM morning small group discussions, involving board and council members, worked on defining the criteria and characterstics for future board members and deriving a process for the nomination and election of council representatives onto the board. See the original flipcharts from these discussions here:
Pointing to the dualisitic nature of GRLI’s ambition to grow its reach and impact whilst retaining our unique relational partner-driven core further small group discussions were initiated to explore possibilities and avenues for the GRLI to explore to further our work. See the original flipcharts here:
The Tuesday afternoon — Board and Council meetings
During the afternoon, whilst the Board assessed the financial and operational status of the Foundation and considered plans for the coming year, the council built on what resonated from the small group work in the morning starting with the question “what is the value of the GRLI network to me?” leading to “how can that value be enhanced?”
Marielle Heiltjies kindly prepared a summary of the discussion which aggregated around the notion of GRLI as an incubator of people and ideas to help them progress in a globally responsible way. It was noted that the commitment of people to the GRLI sits at the individual level and that it therefore becomes a struggle to define value in terms of community level results/actions. Rather than to continue searching for the collective outcomes that add value, it makes more sense to first focus on improving the connections between the individuals in their respective organizations. To build a structure/process/vehicle to help organize all the assets present among partners to be part of a GRLI repository that is easily accessible and available to all. Such a resource will enable the functioning of the network on a global scale taking into account the gathered (in assemblies) and scattered (not being able to physically attend). It is an essential part of the infrastructure of the platform of engagement and collaboration that the GRLI is set up to be.
Filling the repository with meaningful content then becomes an important initial commitment of each individual to the GRLI. It is the starting point of knowledge sharing and peer learning. We therefore recommend expanding the network. An increase in the number of contributors will increase the value.
The conversation also touched upon the potential constraints of the concept of community in this context as communities tend to limit their own growth. We therefore propose an inquiry into the ecosystem(s) that GRLI is a part of: how are the different stakeholders and projects connected and to what purpose? Viewing the GRLI as an activity system in a broader context might open up new avenues for defining value. And as we are all also part of this ecosystem it will help us see how we become part of the value proposition ourselves.
For the closing we were joined by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari who reflected on his work to resolve international conflicts and how the quest for greater egalitarianism points us to a source of inclusive prosperity and stability.