Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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21 Oct 2009

Itay Talgam on Leadership and Inspiration: utterly wonderful

The amazing thing about TED is the speaker you have never heard of who just blows you away. Itay Talgam did that for me. This is one of the greatest talks I have ever seen, and now the film is available. Should be compulsory viewing on Transition Training! Settle down and enjoy….

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John Robottom
22 Oct 9:14am

All who aspire to leadership should listen, enjoy and follow.

Marcin Gerwin
22 Oct 9:35am

Great talk, indeed ๐Ÿ™‚ It reminds me of the words from Tao Te Ching: When Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. (…) When his work is done, the people say, “Amazing, we did it, all by ourselves!”

Shane Hughes
22 Oct 11:08am

I’ve always thought that carnival is a great way of representing how we could best work together. Sometimes the drummer is the leader sometimes the tone is set by a dancer or two or three. Sometimes the crowd takes the lead but ultimately the control is left to the naturally fluid and shifting dynamics of total engagement and enjoyment in the process. I’d love to see a similar talk given reflecting on clips from carnivals as examples of community dynamics, organsational structures and leadership.

Deborah Kaplan
23 Oct 10:54am


Leo Brodie
24 Oct 6:58am

Another conductor, Benjamin Zander, also gave a talk at TED. It applies equally well to Transition Initiative leaders:
How would we carry ourselves if we knew that everyone wants a resilient community, but they just don’t know it yet?

michael Dunwell
26 Oct 8:04pm

I tried to play the cello in my school orchestra. When we rehearsed Schubert’s “Unfinished” the conductor, after the first four or five excruciating seconds, said ” First cello only, please”. Annihilated – but it does mean that the members of the community have to know what they are doing. Music is a wonderful opportunity for people to contribute something well -splendid metaphor for Transition.

Paul Parker
27 Oct 11:23am

I watched a BBC2 programme about Warren Buffet last night (one of the richest men in the world). Not exactly a transistion icon but I was suprised at how closely his manager’s description of him fitted the last example in Itay Talgam’s talk.
His management style was described as a ‘light hand on the tiller’ – he rarely visits the companies he owns. He believes in his managers he and they in turn trust him. Bill Gates gave him a half day tour of Microsoft once and he commented that he had spent longer touring MS than he had any of his own companies. He is a truly remarkable individual
It’s on iplayer here

Matt McRae
2 Nov 4:22am

I have watched a lot of TED lectures and this is one of the finest and most inspirational I have seen. Thank you for sharing it.

Finn Jackson
2 Nov 12:09pm

I am going to second the recommendation of Ben Zander on TED:

And I am going to add that if you want to know more about the ending final comment about the ultimate leadership being about non-doing, The Tao of Pooh” is a good place to start.


3 Nov 5:06pm

Very interesting. It is really fascinating to see the way different conductors relate to the orchestra. The speaker is a corporate consultant and it has to be said that there are a lot of fantastic parallels between an orchestra and a business… strict hierarchy of command, division of labour allowing exceptional technical mastery, following orders with very little employee input… I’ll wager also that like CEOs, famous conductors earn many times the money commanded by a second bassoon… None of which is to detract from the wonder of listening to Mozart played by a great orchestra.

However, I’d have to say that I do not see Transition as that kind of beast. Compare the way a non-hierarchical type of music works: for instance, Irish session music.

The traditional Irish session works like this: a group of people find a place to play (usually a pub, which offers musicians free drinks in exchange for the music). Exactly what they play on each night depends on who turns up, what tunes they know, and what they feel like playing. Often there is a core list of tunes known by most of the regulars, but strangers are nearly always welcome even if they don’t know the same repertoire. There is a generally accepted set of rules of etiquette (e.g.: don’t sit at the musicians table unless you are going to play, don’t start tunes on your own but wait to be invited, let the regulars start it off.) But every session is different and totally unpredictable… which is the beauty of a living musical tradition (or Transition)!

6 Nov 9:33am

I liked Roberts comments…differentiating Transition from the structuring of a group such as an orchestra that must be extremely rehearsed and fine tuned inside of each and every piece before the conductor gets to show the audience his incredible abilities, and a loosely organized but fully functioning and effective group effort such as the Irish session. Transition would function as an able bodied knowledgeable disciplined group acting together in a synchronistic, serendipitous manner…

Of course I’m part Irish so…lets party on!

Leonard Barrett
16 Nov 7:21pm

Rob, is that you when it pans across the audience at 5:43?