Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Do Global Networks Require "Cruise Directors"?

Truman Project co-founder and President Emeritus Rachel Kleinfeld participated in a discussion about global networks to discuss the best practices. The discussion included topics such as a way for organizations with global networks to pinpoint good practices, challenges, and solutions to successfully deploy networks across countries and continents for transformative change.

Rachel Kleinfeld, founder of Truman National Security Project, kicked off the conversation with a discussion framing the roles and values of networks. Networks generally fall into either of two categories: 1) Networks that are organized around solving a problem or idea, or to do a specific thing; or 2) Networks that are organized around people who have a common set of values, who then go on to do many different things, embodying the philosophy of "let a thousand flowers bloom."

Rachel discussed some of the steps she took that led to the Truman Project's success:

1. Start with the best, highest quality people. These people had to be effective doers and also work well with others. The emphasis in terms of "quality" was on people who had demonstrated their motivation to do things, rather than on college degrees or other such benchmarks.

2. Do not compromise values that unite the network. Do not compromise on personal ethics ("no tools" rule, i.e. limit distracting forces, whose values are not aligned with the rest of the network).

3. A network is really just a community of people, with emphasis on personal relationships and a shared culture. It's important to provide space and time for real friendships and personal interaction with "cruise directors" encouraging social interaction.

4. There must be activities-driven engagement. Effective networks cannot just be a group of "thinkers"—they must have a shared goal and means to achieve that goal.

5. There must be room for serendipity, "meetings of minds," and open-ended dialogue.

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