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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Books

Image courtesy of Jamshid Gharajedaghi
There's a cold, hard fact that a majority of us MBAs don't learn in business school and it's the reality that companies falter and fail quite badly, quite often. Theoretically, a company's competitive advantage should strengthen its positioning and it's ability to succeed among competitors. This, we MBAs are told, is done by...
Photo of Richard Davidson and the Dalai Lama courtesy of Trialx.com
While I have been generally skeptical about the ability of academic psychology to deliver deep truths about human functioning in a complex environment, two books I have been reading have shown me that there is some wonderful work that can be done within the rubric of psychology that has the potential of changing the way we see ourselves, make...
Culture links people together. It does so, according to organizational theorist Edgar H. Schein, by allowing people to band together as a group and develop a unique set of beliefs and practices that are absorbed and accepted by all of its members. In time, the group’s beliefs and practices, which consist of shared assumptions, perceptions,...
Photo courtesy of VickiBlackwell.com
As a child, I loved creative stuff. One time after watching a Pink Panther cartoon circa 1984, I grabbed a few sheets paper, turned them sideways, and wrote the storyline of the episode on the right side of each sheet. Sitting on the floor of my bedroom, with my trusty Fischer-Price record player at my side serving as a pretend typewriter, I...
In his book, I and Thou, Martin Buber asserted, “God is present when I confront You. But if I look away from You, I ignore him. As long as I merely experience or use you, I deny God. But when I encounter You I encounter him.” What a profound and spiritual contextualization of the self and other—the relational self. Acknowledging...
Photo of David Hutchens courtesy of Aimee C. Juarez.
Storytelling's not big in the business world. Author and consultant David Hutchens says he encounters resistance every time he asks executives to tell him about the results they got on a project. They generally clam up, he said, and default to standard answers. We reached our target, some executives will say. Others will tell him everything...
William Isaacs' 1999 book Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together.
At Saybrook's August 2010 residential conference, I participated in the generative and strategic dialogue seminar facilitated by Dr. Nancy Southern, Dr. Kathia C. Laszlo and Dr. Alexander Laszlo of the organizational systems program. Learning about the difference between discussion and dialogue was particularly transformative and deepened my...
I’ll never forget being a young manager having learned to know-it-all, or defend-it-all, but not having truly “heard-them-all.”  So, who is the them?  And, why should we stop to hear what they say? Them refers to a leader’s followers. Even though I don’t like the word "followers" because it...
How can we end the cycles of violence and injustice that cause so much suffering and misery? Is a more peaceful and equitable world really possible? If so, what would it actually look like? My research over several decades has focused on these questions. They are questions deeply rooted in my own early life experiences, when my parents and I...
Photo courtesy of CNN.
As leaderless mobs of angry, unemployed 20-somethings continue to march on Wall Street this week picketing against big business and the federal government, my thoughts can't help but drift back to the pages of Marvin R. Weisbord's 2004 book, Productive Workplaces Revisited: Dignity, Meaning, and Community in the 21st Century. They return...
Photo courtesy of Ravenwerks.com.
Today’s educational system is wrought with complexity—from the work of educating students to the lack of financing in heated political climates. Working in the educational system can be complex, but it can also be rewarding. The challenge is finding the right people with the right passion who are able to view the world from a systemic...
 The first part of this leadership challenge explored the concept of “unveiling the illusions of the true professional.” The concept behind the exploration came from Margaret Wheatley's poem "The True Professional," where she challenges the reader to seek a “reliable truth” that will “let the human...