Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Toward a New Praxis of Leadership Development: Transpropositional Approaches

Tony Sheng lets us know about the Mosaic Alliance's International Mentoring Network with Alex and Erwin McManus of Mosaic in LA. It has a number of interesting features that inform a new and better paradigm of how leaders can be trained in a more holistic fashion. It suggests improvements to the current ascendant model of leadership transformation by information transfer:

  • seven days together in Los Angeles

    - the network emphasizes distance learning online, so it's helpful that this is added so that people can enjoy the wider bandwidth that comes from realtime/facetime interaction.
  • web-based interactions and courses with major thoughtleaders

    - this is a beautiful example of taking advantage of this new online medium for spiritual and leadership formation.

A couple of concerns:

  • $2995 plus room, plus travel, plus board. I have all respect for the McManuses and for Mosaic, but one of the great barriers to learning in the institution and geography-based model of leadership development by information transfer has been financial. The Internet can serve to break this down by allowing non-geographically specific relational interaction and making necessary information transfer far easier. In days gone by, students traveled to where the books and the experts were to get information. Now with the internet, that's not necessary. (Just to be clear: We're not against information transfer. Rather, we believe it's a non-negotiable. What we're against is an exclusive reliance on information transfer as the omnicompentent modality of spiritual and leadership transformation). One would hope that a truly Internet-based (though not entirely Internet based) model would eradicate this barrier.
  • a lack of an emphasis on peer-to-peer interaction. Now, it may be that the Network encourages and facilitates this quite well and it's just not covered in this promotional material. But peer-to-peer learning, interaction, accountability, etc is too valuable to leave out of such an experience. Folks should walk away from such an experience with one or two or three great spiritual friendships.

In my mind, the ideal model would allow for

  • interactive and broadcast exposure to thoughtleaders online,
  • interactive exposure to fellow travelers online,
  • exposure to necessary and transformative biblically-based and other information online,
  • realtime/facetime mentoring that's local to the protege,
  • realtime/facetime friendships with local fellow travelers.

I suggest that's more of the sweetspot.

However, that being said, the Mosaic experience is definitely an improvement over the predominate model and a step in the right direction.

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