Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.  

In the final year of my community organizing career, I was honored to receive The Ford Foundation’s “Leadership For A Changing World” Award.

One of the benefits of the award was that I was able to work with colleagues on a multi-year reflective project of our choice, and a few other long-time organizers and I explored how we could be better at our craft – both in organizing and, for me, teaching, since I was making a transition into that career. We decided to focus on how we could get away from being so focused on “task” and, instead, emphasize being more “conceptual, creative and strategic” in our thinking and how we worked with others.

We developed a short report in 2005 with our findings. It’s titled Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There.

Organizers and teachers alike might, or might not, find it useful.

For what it’s worth, here’s how we defined the different types of thinking we were examining:

Creative: What should the dots look like and how many different ways can they be arranged or rearranged?

Conceptual: What is the meaning of dots? How can they be best connected?

Critical: Why do we need dots and should they be connected?

Strategic: How do these dots relate to where future dots may go? Where might other dots be now?