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Bark’s Bytes #7 | Calling


The book explains that where you identify discomfort you’ve found the place where leadership is needed and proclaims that today’s heretics are the new leaders because they are willing to challenge the status quo.  Whereas recent leaders were great at managing people, the new leaders create movements by empowering the Tribe to communicate as opposed to commanding people to follow them.  The new leader increases the effectiveness of the Tribe and its members by (i) transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change; (ii) providing tools to allow members to tighten their communication; and (iii) leveraging the Tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.  The movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the Tribe, and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.  The book offers the following six principles to create movement:

Transparency really is your only option;
Your movement needs to be bigger than you;
Movements that grow, thrive;
Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push the other direction;
Exclude outsiders, who isn’t part of your movement matters almost as much as who is; and
Tearing others down is never as helpful to a movement as building your followers up.

An important concept to embrace is that the only thing that makes people and organizations great is their willingness to be not great along the way.  The desire to fail on the way to reaching a bigger goal is the untold secret of success.  The message that really resonated with me was – “The secret of leadership is simple:  Do what you believe in.  Paint a picture of the future.  Go there.  People will follow”.  This is very comforting as I have had many moments when greatness was the antonym to describe my outcome and what I am attempting here is new to me.

Over the next two years the waivered service system in Minnesota will undergo dramatic reform.  To their credit, DHS is attempting to include stakeholders in multiple workgroups on topics such as NFLOC, Quality, Contracting, Rates, and much more.  As the MnDACA representative on both the Expert Panel and Rate Setting Methodologies Intensive workgroup, I have an obligation to engage the membership in these discussions.  I attempt to do this by providing a summary of each meeting, encouraging others to visit the official workgroup website, and bringing feedback from my constituency back to the workgroup.  To date this has not been very effective.

So, taking a lesson from the book, let me offer a goal that I hope other disability service stakeholders share and will inspire them to get connected:

We want system reform to be based on individual preferences and support a stable provider network so that people with disabilities have real choices.

We need a holistic approach that permits the individual to determine for themselves the support needed to have preferred housing, satisfactory work, reasonable transportation, and meaningful relationships.  To that end, I believe the decision makers need to minimize the system to simply determine recipient eligibility, assess service options, authorize providers, account for expenses, protect health & safety, and measure quality.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Unfortunately, it is quite possible that the system will become even more complex than it currently is with the current architects so deeply immersed that they cannot see the forest because of the trees.

I am willing to challenge the status quo, however, I am not capable of either doing it alone or by representing a group that lacks organization or unity.  I need to be connected to you in a way that creates movement and increases membership.  To this end, I am willing to develop and launch a blog site to connect anyone that wants to share their ideas on how to change the status quo of the MN disability service system; I just need to know you are there and interested.

So, if you are interested, drop an email to with your contact information and I will add you to a distribution list.  If enough people express interest, I will proceed with the blog site and consider other ways to tighten communication so that we can talk to one another, share ideas, and offer peer support so that people do what they always knew was the right thing.  Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities, realize our professional beliefs, and be good citizens.

I’m calling – is anyone listening?