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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Books

By Malwack (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3
With the coming of another U.S. presidential election, we are faced once again with a barrage of over-simplified explanations about increasingly complex problems. And with the choice of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party, it seems that healthcare will be front-and-center in the ads and speeches. He obviously didn...
In the U.S., our appreciation for a college education operates much like a simple casual loop reinforcing the belief that work toward a college education will eliminate barriers. In his 2004 book Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams, Alfred Lubrano notes the social pains of class mobility. You see, moving towards an educated "self...
Photo of Chip Conley courtesy of jdvhotels.com
In preparing to facilitate a conversation with Chip Conley, founder of America’s second largest boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre Hospitality, I had the opportunity to consider whether there are differences in the way successful entrepreneurial  leaders engage as leaders compared to leaders in larger, more established organizations....
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...