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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Collaboration

One of the most often repeated punch lines from Gallup’s famous Q12 survey of employee engagement is that employees join companies, but leave their immediate supervisor. In other words, people mostly talk about the company when asked what attracted to them to a particular job, but they mostly cite issues with their immediate manager when...
When I started thinking of a topic to write about for this post, the theme that immediately came to my mind was "shared ownership." It has been a theme that keeps coming up as I reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities I see in the organizational contexts where I work. Shared ownership can involve the real material common...
OK, I'll admit it: I’m addicted to Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Watching the show on TV a few weeks ago, I was struck by how its premise runs completely counter to the ideals of collective intelligence. Even though we’re watching teams compete, the show isn't about teamwork—it's about 18 individuals trying to...
Photo courtesy of the Sustainable Enterprise Conference's Facebook page
On May 11th, I attended the Sustainable Enterprise Conference in Rohnert Park, California. This conference has become a vibrant event in Sonoma County that fosters innovation and cultural change toward sustainability. Businesses, government and nonprofits are represented in this conference which presents both the best practices as well as the...
I like to challenge. Not in a competitive sense, but in an inquisitive kind of way. No idea or ideology is safe near me. The status quo should tremble when I walk by. In fact, it would if it could. Naturally, when the subject of competition in an organizational setting arises, I feel moved to ask a few questions, like: What’s the purpose of...
Photo of Dennis T. Jaffe courtesy of DennisJaffe.com
This week, I hosted a conference call with Saybrook professor Dennis Jaffe, which led me to rethink the most muddied and, perhaps, top-of–the-totem-pole thinking: family relationships within the business context. During my conversation with Dennis this week, I had an opportunity to visit his 2009 book on family stewardship, Stewardship in...
As a systems thinker and practitioner, the question of boundaries has always fascinated me. Which boundaries are real and which ones are humanly constructed? Which boundaries are helpful and which ones need to expand to include more? Where is the boundary of our socially constructed world and how does it interface with the natural world? Where do...
I am teaching a course on generative and strategic dialogue this term and, through the amazing dialogue with my students, I am reminded of the importance and challenge of this communicative practice. Dialogue asks us to become more aware and intentional about how we listen, think, and speak. In his 1999 book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking...
At 5:41 p.m. on May 22nd, 2011, a powerful tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. Its 200-mph winds carved a path of destruction as it barrelled through the town in 45 seconds. That same, horrific day led to the beginning of an incredible story of compassion at Joplin's St. John’s Regional Medical Center—now called Mercy Hospital Joplin...
Language shapes our world and relationships. Yet we talk, write, and think without attending to language itself—it is like the air we breathe without noticing. How we speak and think frames the way we conceptualize experience and relationships. The idea of social swarming, which Dr. Nancy Southern discussed in her most recent post, is an...
Photo courtesy of LibCom.org
I recently received an invitation to comment on a blog posting defining social swarming and how it worked in regards to the decision of the Susan B. Komen foundation to withdraw support of Planned Parenthood, which was fairly quickly reversed. According to Leland Russell, social swarming occurs "when a disparate group suddenly moves en masse...
Image courtesy of TaigaCompany.com
I completely believe in "the power of intention to spark evolutionary change," as Nancy Southern so eloquently wrote in a previous post. As human beings, we have the capacity to envision a different future and to commit to actions that will turn that vision into a new reality. That’s the power of systems design: the power of coming...