If General Conference 2012 has taken you to the edge of your comfort zone, you are in the right place to make progress on the issues about which you care deeply. Too far inside your comfort zone and it may be difficult to make more progress than has already been accomplished. Too far outside your comfort zone and you may be unable to effectively take action.
The edge of your comfort zone is the place where you start to feel incompetent.
This is the place where progress is most likely to occur.
Everyone has expectations of leaders. These expectations come in many different forms, including, but not limited to:
Who a leader will be
What a leader will say
How a leader will act
What roles a leader will play
When a leader show up
Leadership often comes in unexpected ways from unexpected people. As you think about the goals on which you are trying to make progress, remember that exercising leadership may be distinct from what we expect of people in leadership.
Twitter was a powerful tool of engagement during General Conference 2012. I thought it would be fascinating to archive and analyze the updates tagged with #gc2012. On Tuesday morning, I set up an Archive of the #gc2012 hashtag through a HootSuite Pro account. Every day I downloaded the data from the previous day, corrected the date and time to be local for Tampa, removed extraneous data and put it in a spreadsheet. Then I used Wordle to create a word cloud with the text of all the updates for that day. After a few days, I began to edit out Twitter usernames and prominent hashtags to get a better view of the conversation. I hope that you enjoy the results!
Where can I find the data?
The raw data of Twitter updates tagged with #gc2012 are available in a spreadsheet at http://j.mp/Iad0fW. Use the tabs along the bottom of the page to navigate to each day of the conference. (Updated through May 3, 2012)
Where can I download full size images for the entire conference?
I created multiple word clouds for the entire conference in various color schemes and arrangements. You can find the links to these images below.
Whether you are a delegate or onlooker at General Conference, there is the opportunity to take action to make progress in The United Methodist Church. Voting, taking leadership in a legislative committee, providing hospitality, monitoring, listening in – there are all kinds of opportunities to take action that might in some small way affect the outcomes of General Conference.
One of the roles of a leader is to pay attention to one’s actions and how they are or are not being shared. As you consider your hopes or goals for General Conference, ask yourself:
There are at least three shifts in leadership perspective that are helpful in making progress on issues that we care about.
Technical to Adaptive – There has been much talk about the adaptive challenges that are facing the denomination. It will be important to seek to make progress in ways that are not just rewriting rules.
Benign to Conflictual Interpretations – General Conference does not seem to have challenge making conflictual interpretations. Focusing them on making progress will be an important opportunity.
Individual to Systemic View – This is one of the most important leadership shifts that could help make progress at General Conference. It can be easy for delegates to take the perspective of themselves, their annual conference or affinity group. More progress will be made by paying as much attention as possible to the entire system – both during the days of meeting ahead in Tampa and the months to follow.
Have you found our denomination to be making these shifts? What else might be helpful to make progress?
The various committees of General Conference do important work of the church that has significant impact on the outcomes of the entire gathering. After the first few hours of committee take a moment to reflect on your role int he group and know that if you want to have a different impact on the system, you need to take different actions. Here are three questions that may be helpful in trying to make progress on issues that you care about.
I received 4 votes in the very first clergy ballot for General Conference 2012. This was a pleasant surprise. I had not submitted a profile sheet to be considered. I wonder who voted for me, as I didn’t vote for myself… I did not receive any votes on subsequent ballots.
I very much appreciate video reporting from various groups. The story is able to be told well and can be used again for various reasons.
The Commission on Equitable Compensation report generated a good bit of conversation, which I found to be quite interesting. How does the annual conference best address gender inequity in clergy compensation?
I was proud of my Dad, receiving a Certificate of Merit from the Kansas Area United Methodist Rural Fellowship at their annual banquet. Later in the afternoon, he was elected as the first clergy delegate to General Conference 2012. Congratulations!
State of the Conference Report is one of my favorite times in Annual Conference. The Lay Leader and the Bishop tell the story of the past year and introduce new initiatives for the year ahead.
I am very excited for the release of http://vitalsignsumc.org. This is going to be fantastic! Church metrics and sharing stories can be very good.