Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why Attend a Tectonic Leadership Summit™?

Tectonic Leadership™ and the Summit

Before answering the questions "What is Tectonic Leadership™?" and "Why should one attend a Tectonic Leadership™ Summit™?", we need to briefly assess where we--as human beings--stand today. The success of our species--first in agriculture, then in the development of language, the growth and sophistication of knowledge, the quest for deeper meaning, spirituality, order--has culminated in a world of dwindling resources fed by ever-expanding consumption and exploitation, and almost continual warfare caused by deepening polarization around our differences—ethnic, religious, cultural, political. Ironically, our progress has led to the threat of annihilation.

So what can we do? Looking at any one of the issues facing humanity today--all of them global in scale--it would be easy to slip into feelings of futility, cynicism, despair. But many thought leaders around the world are resisting the seduction of hopelessness and are searching instead for ways to heal seemingly impassible ruptures between peoples of differing ideologies; to bridge the growing gap between developed and developing nations, and create sustainable solutions for the use of our shared natural resources.

Globonders, who themselves are leaders in addressing many of these issues, began a year ago to discuss the need to provide a forum where those at the forefront of change can be fed with ideas--supported and encouraged in what is often a lonely endeavor. After many discussions about the seeming paradox that exists in every global challenge--cutting down on greenhouse gases without disrupting existing and emerging economies; settling land disputes without displacing millions; stimulating economies without sacrificing fiscal discipline--the notion of a leadership summit took shape.

Globonder Samia Bahsoun coined the term Tectonic Leadership™ because she saw a useful metaphor in the way Earth's tectonic plates interact at their boundaries; how understanding the parameters of those boundaries--where earthquakes occur when the natural elasticity of surrounding rock is exceeded, or where compression builds mountains, or tension leads to volcanic eruption and the creation of new crust--can give us an understanding of future outcomes and a reinterpretation of those processes as predictable and non-destructive. So human interactions can similarly create fault systems of fear and hatred between us until we move fearlessly toward our differences, using them instead to create common intent and the commitment to resolve the many global challenges we share.

The Tectonic Leadership™ Summit is a working summit, where participants are introduced to the paradoxical approach to problem solving. Paradoxical thinking is used to remove the notion of right answers vs. wrong answers; good ideologies vs. bad ideologies; to help individuals and nations reverse the distrust that leads to protectionism or warfare. Paradox seen in its original meaning--para: beyond and doxa: common sense or popular opinion--provides a means to liberate the proponents of any given opinion to move from the divisiveness and separateness that comes from advocating one standpoint over another to the freedom that comes from shared responsibility and a new level of leadership.

Solutions that emerge and evolve through this process do not rapidly dissolve into variations of the original problem, because all stake-holders have been heard; blame has been replaced by accountability and powerlessness by ownership. Tectonic Leaders™ are freed from stand-offs and progress is made. This methodology is an invigorating, life-giving process in stark contrast to the Pyrrhic victories of the powerful over the weak, the wealthy over the poor.

To get an invitation to the summit or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please write to

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