Friday, October 16, 2009

Inclusive leadership

It seems that many conversations I have had recently are converging on a topic.  How can we be inclusive and open in developing talent for the future?  When you want to get involved in planning and service how do you do it?  Here are some thoughts and discussions...
In some professional societies there are open mechanisms for participating in conference planning and sub-groups within the discipline.  In others, I have no idea how it happens, except that someone on high makes a choice.  How do you get to be on the list they are choosing from?  Some of those career building experiences can be much harder to come by in some groups compared to others.  Are there open calls for a special symposium?
Likewise, at your university how do you get to be selected for positions of leadership or groomed for them?  Or does "the man" select the next chair of X?
I've realized that while this can be an issue for women and under-represented minorities, it's really an issue for anyone who isn't in the "old boy's network" .  If there isn't some important senior (read famous) person looking out for you, how do you break into the system?
So really transparent organizations make it easier for everyone to stand on a level playing field and participate when they wish.  This might hurt the future star hand picked by the old boys, but for everyone else it's a good thing.  So how can we strive for uniform and transparent organizations at both our universities and our societies?  Thoughts?

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