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Humane Leadership Ideas Build Young Leaders

Humane Leadership is on the move again.

The core ideas of Humane Leadership – continuous performance innovation in the self leadership lab, internalizing and applying new mental models with Wisdom Jigs, and professional self and project leadership skills – have found there way into some fascinating places over the past few years.

One of the most exciting places is in the Local Innovation Lab, a highly impactful internship experience meeting important community needs in partnership with Southern Oregon University. To support the interns, we created a 10-week online course including live online workshops that uses project-based learning to develop student project and self leadership skills. Empowering young people with professional level skills creates the next generation of leaders who know how maximize effectiveness and humanity at once.

The program has helped city governments, local community groups, and businesses recover from the 2020 Labor Day fires in Southern Oregon while giving students valuable experiences that bridged into full time work for nearly 40% of the first cohort.

The approach of the course has been so successful SOU has formed an innovation community of leading professors to look at how the core ideas and practices of the course might be worked more deeply into courses across the university and beyond potentially as an Open Educational Resource.

From the very beginning we had three questions, we’ve answered the first two; What would humane leadership look like? Is it learnable? See the book for our answers to these questions. Now, we are on to question three, if humane leadership works and is learnable, then how might we make it that new norm?

Today, we continue to look for innovative ways to empower emergent leaders with the skills they need to empower themselves.

As all this goes on, I continue to be our lead researcher, pushing out towards the edges of self and community leadership in search of insights that will empower a more humane collective future.

Of course, we’ve also been busy sharing the power of Humane Leadership in more traditional settings, including:

  • Training workshops for a variety of groups including corporate learning professionals via Executive Learning Exchange, the Pacific Northwest Organizational Development Network, Film Festival Alliance, Firebrand’s Zone Captains, and Stanford Children’s Hospital.
  • Leadership support work for a variety of community, educational, and business leaders – leadership support includes traditional coaching as well as extra support in areas where capacity is constrained.

Thank you for supporting our work.

Please reach out if you have any questions or ideas you’d like to discuss.

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Update April 30, 2020

Actions Taken

  • Family
    • Begin opening up to known, careful social bubbles, but continue social distancing.
    • Watch local cases daily for any resurgence.
    • When we start seeing resurgence, tighten our bubbles again until the surge passes.
  • Local
    • Focusing projects to support economic recovery in Ashland. Current list:
      • Incubator and fund to develop and attract startups in software, green technology, and light manufacturing.
      • Encouraging and facilitating business relocation to Ashland – especially software and light manufacturing.
      • Explore implementing the Main street pedestrian-friendly redesign proposal.
      • Cooperative local delivery service for restaurants and retailers.  Explore how to share costs and staff allowing local retailers to offer far better service than online retailers?
      • Study current business mix, status, neighborhood centers ,and design potential future mix if we lose X% of current businesses.
      • Community Chest/One Call for All – single donation foundation for all community organizations.
  • National

These actions were based on my


  • Public health locally is great. We have almost no cases in Jackson County.
  • Nationally, we have states opening up where infection and death rates are still high.
  • Economic disruption is likely to be long and damaging to Ashland’s current businesses.
  • Federal programs are unlikely to save many local businesses.
  • The state, county and city governments are unlikely to have the funds or bandwidth to create solutions.
  • Long-term recovery will look different than what we had in February and it will fall to the community leaders to design and build what’ll be next.


Locally, we have had no new cases in days.

According to someone on staff last night, only one patient left at Asante Ashland, the dedicated Covid-19 facility.  That patient is in recovery after 3 weeks on a ventilator.

Study suggests 3 scenarios, worst case is 18-24 months of ongoing, rolling lockdowns to  balance infections and hospital capacity.  Best case is a slow burn of cases without lockdowns until 6-70% of the population has had the virus.

Jackson County is well below R0 of 1 based on hospital admissions, but we don’t have enough data to get a clear number.

Social bubbles may be our reality for the coming year or two.

Generally, Americans need to refine their risk assessment skills.

First, the goal is to flatten the curve so hospitals can cope, not take it to zero so no one is exposed to the virus.  In fact, we may need to find ways to expose segments of the society so we can reach 60-70% exposure and manage case loads by herd immunity rather than social distancing.

The media and government are rightfully focusing us on Covid-19 risk management, but we must remember that all of the other risks still exist.  All death risks and likelihoods for Americans.  Covid is worse than a normal flu, but far lower than heart disease and cancers.  We need to get serious about diet and exercise… lock people out of their cars so they cannot use drive through fast food lanes?

Reinfection or reactivation? This is a key question that is still open.  Are we ever temporarily immune to the virus or does it simply linger and reemerge in patients?

Community conversations – local businesses are hopeful, but cannot  hold out very long, especially if tourists do not return soon.

City of Ashland actions to cut costs, etc. – enough change fast enough?

Greek tourism guidelines, might be useful for thinking about Ashland.

CBOexpects 14% unemployment in Q2 – and a $3.7 Trillion deficit for 2020

Reluctance to return to large venues – 60% of public venue arts and sports attendees will not return until there’s a vaccine


This process, OODA, is explained in this post on Leading in a Crisis.

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Humane Leadership Update April 23, 2020

This is the first of an intended series of weekly updates of my own efforts to figure out what to do in these extraordinary times.

I start with the actions I decided to take and explain the orientations and observations that led to my choosing those actions.

My goal is to show the method at work while supporting your work by sharing what I have found and am thinking.


These Actions are based on my,



  • Avoid personal financial challenges
  • Earn influence by
    • Connecting with people in the community
    • Discovering their needs and offering to help
    • Being visible by aligning with citizens, City, Chamber of Commerce, businesses, landlords.



Ashland and Southern Oregon

This Orientation is based on my,


Public Health

Economic health

About The Methodology

Leading in a crisis post explores this methodology (OODA loops) in detail

Other Support