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"Connecting to Change the World": My Top Read from 2016

Posted on April 27, 2017
By Elayne Greeley

Sometimes you just need to a good read that simplifies the messy working world of partnerships.

Connecting To Change The World was a recommendation from Tim Draimin (Executive Director Social Innovation Generation) during a much needed telephone pep talk last spring. He generously sent me in the direction of this read and Peter Plastik’s work.

“The network has become a favoured unit of action for people who want to make nearly any sort of difference int he world. ”

Acting as partnership broker and network person requires me to know the truth. I am able to do my best work when I honestly understand where partners are coming from. I don’t need all the details but I sure need to appreciate the motivations and context. It just saves a whole lot of work. Plastrik’s book is great because it names without judgment the culture and thinking of networks as they build connectivity.

What I learned

One of the ways my practice has changed this year is in how I frame the thinking of organizations and networks. By laying out and describing both more clearly, I am able to ask direct questions about where individuals are thinking from.  A simple question I’ve added to my playlist is, “Are you able to wear your network hat during this discussion?” It is an effective invitation to a challenging conversation. It also reveals the deeper considerations of partners and invites others into their context.

Knowing my blind spots is important

I’ve been appropriately accused of always thinking collaboratively. It’s a blind spot and an irritation to some colleagues. So speaking to my networked way of thinking is helpful. I am asking partners to act counter culturally when they come to the partnership table. I’ve seen what a difference it can make when they can honestly and confidently state where they are coming from at a given meeting or on a particular issue – it’s the honest truth.

I have to warn you that this is not a book you will want to share. If you are thinking of ordering it and you have a colleague that you work closely with, order a second copy. My copy is full of sticky note tabs with scribbles and sketched in the margins.

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Collaborative Leadership, Elayne Greeley

Elayne Greeley

By Elayne Greeley

Elayne Greeley is a community developer and partnership facilitator through the Community Career and Employment Partnership (

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