IEA Board Letter May 2018 – Global Community

What some people call serendipity others call being “in the flow.” Personally I am inclined to think in terms of flow. And our great good fortune in having Peter Block as our keynote speaker for the 2018 Global Conference this July is a great example.

When we were brainstorming ideas for the keynote speaker back in 2016, my fellow board member Leslie Hershberger – who lives in Cincinnati – suggested Peter Block. I’ve done leadership training for the past twelve years so of course I recognized his name. But I didn’t know that he now lives in Cincinnati or that he has turned his considerable wisdom toward issues around community. So I found his book Community: the Structure of Belonging and said yes! This is just the voice to bring into focus our conference theme, Building Bridges: Collaborating in Community.

Several months later I was having an iced tea with my friend John Schuster and, recalling that he had lived in Cincinnati, asked him if he knew of Peter Block. John smiled, “He was my mentor for a number of years and I still love to spend time with him.” Could he introduce me to Peter? Sure.

When I got on Peter’s calendar for lunch I got busy reading Community. He is clear that community does not exist so that we can solve problems. That’s pretty radical, especially in a world in which we have learned to set our goals and look at the gap between where we are and where we want to be as problems to be solved.

Peter in person is authentic, wise, and challenging. He suggests that community exists for the sake of belonging and when people feel belonging it is natural for there to be commitment. So we transform systems through creating a wider sense of belonging and caring for the well-being of the whole. Not identifying those in need and trying to solve their problems for them.

In Peter’s words, “We currently have all the capacity, expertise, programs, leaders, regulation and wealth required to create an alternative future…Transformation is linguistic: we change the community by changing the conversation.” What is really worth talking about? Not stories about the past but about the future we want, restoring relatedness and becoming a truly global community.

And so Invite you to consider, What can we who are the global Enneagram community create together?

Come to Cincinnati so we can discover the vision together.

Belinda Gore

IEA Board Member