Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Morphic Resonance

-Christine Mason Miller

morphic resonance [ˈmɔːfɪk]
n
(Life Sciences; Allied Applications / Biology) the idea that, through a telepathic effect or sympathetic vibration, an event or act can lead to similar events or acts in the future or an idea conceived in one mind can then arise in another...
Good, effective leaders don't exude power, they exude character, morality, humanity and collaboration... the sort of stuff that rubs-off on folk without them even realizing it. Understanding morphic resonance makes leading people exponentially more efficient and effective because it moves leadership from transactional control to transformational collaboration... leaders working among their people as opposed to above them.

When educational leaders attempt to move schools toward desired futures, it's so important that their followers are on board. In my opinion, a vast majority of people appreciate leaders who lead by example; those that show they are willing to step out and be a tangible part of the effort toward that desired future as opposed to the one dictating it.

Nurturing morphic resonance is the ultimate version of leading by example. The function of leaders is to lead, but people need to follow if leadership is going to resonate. Of course, different forms of leadership are effective in addressing different situations, and we all have our preferred ways to be led; morphic resonance, however is a concept that applies to all forms of leadership... it's what happens when effective leaders tip their leadership so others are inclined to follow. Morphic resonance is what you feel when leadership has evolved from a form of control to a form of influence; the element that you tacitly feel when you enter a school displaying an authentic and positive school culture where every member of the organization is attuned to the same philosophical and systematic principles.

Morphic means having a specified shape or form. Resonance means having a lasting presence or effect; an enduring entity.The kind of educational leaders we need are those who know how to shape and form schools that work, and even more importantly, how to make that shape and form emerge and endure in the practice of others.

5 comments:

  1. At the same time, there are times when a leader must "just do it" and that is when people don't like them.

    But I do agree with your basic premise that leaders do lead by example, not just dictating an outcome, that is why we are having so many issues in education and in other areas, there is too much top-down leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I think "just doing it" means getting down to the business of leading, but if a leader is effective the "just doing it" persona will be how he/she is known and understood all the time- "just doing it" every minute of the day.

    Situational leadership is only required when effective, real-time leadership has failed to permeate the culture of the school ubiquitously. It needs to be so pervasive that it isn't even noticed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sean,

    It's interesting to consider a "contradiction between collaborative leadership and "sometimes have to just do it."

    To me it indicates a deep misunderstanding of the nature of both collaboration and leadership. The point is not to get "agreement." It is more something about understanding and being able to act on the best instincts that move the entire system in the right direction.

    No doubt fraught with dangers. But most especially in schools that need turnarounds it's often a necessary, but not sufficient condition to get from here to there.

    In schools with moderate to high success, I think the dynamic of leadership is different. In those situations, you're comments, posts and tweets are teaching me alot.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here, here.. more often than not, to manifest purpose and move action in desirable directions, groups have to "collaborate on just doing important things."

    Many times I have compromised my personal style or POV to accommodate what I objectively understand to be the "right" direction for the organization I am a part of... so many. I am willing to do this because there are many ways to skin a cat, and dynamically speaking, my way is not always the best way for the groups I belong to.

    Often too, I sense a bit of chaos in groups, the kind that appears random, but in the end is almost pre-ordained in the precise and deliberate pattern that becomes evident over time. Have you seen the three-winged bird? http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/004/loop/

    The infinite (fractal, quantum) possibilities of any collaborative effort depend more on the disagreement of the group than the agreement. Out of chaos comes order... it just needs time to be "mulled" enough;o)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've had similar experience and I think we are seeing similar things.

    Recently at #EBdish we integrated the notion of "Reality Tunnel". Check out the last 30 seconds of this vid http://ilnk.me/462a

    It's helpful as replacement for "PoV."

    In this context and with Twitter as a proving ground my sense is that a "strange attractor" is something like my twitter persona. No doubt I'm pretty Strange. And based on followers at various # marks, I seem to have attracted a small but wonderful other "strange attractors."

    I think the recent inflexion of the #ecosys conversation is a nice example of the effect of "Intentionality" to organize a useful conversation.

    As you probably know, I'm pretty intentional about the pressing problem of education - the inability of education to work good enuff at the bottom of the pyramid in the States. For me it's a public health, or "security" problem in addition to a massive waste of human resources and the resultant unavoidable human pain.

    Given my new free time as a retired person, I can indulge a "maniacal" focus - an operational definition of "intentionality."

    My take is there has been a recent shift in the usefulness and fun of the #ecosys conversation. My hunch is that it's a datapoint for how strange attractor can play out in twitter.

    My strong hunch is that lessons learned at twitter, can be transferred in a general way to the mechanisms of "learning." Either within school walls or to me more importantly in real life communities in the service of the Public Discourse.

    ReplyDelete

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