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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Collaboration

I first learned about appreciative inquiry in the late 1980s when David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney developed their model, echoing Maslow’s idea that we look at the successful rather than pathological examples to really be helpful to individuals and organizations. At that time the concept of excellence was shaking organizations and Covey...
Two of my daughters play volleyball. It’s a significantly more complicated version of the game I remember playing in gym class. It still involves six players on each side, but once the ball is served, the players move around the court in choreographed sprints that look fairly chaotic to the untrained eye. I seem to remember standing in my...
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of developing our capacity for systems thinking to address the complex problems that surround us. As we consider the rapidly increasing growth and interrelated nature of these problems, the question arises as to how we can rapidly scale our change efforts to have larger impact in a shorter...
I am attending the annual conference of the International Society of Systems Sciences (or ISSS) along with a number of Saybrook faculty members, students, alumni, and colleagues from around the world. What each person here has in common is an understanding of the complexity that makes up the world we live in today and the urgency to transform the...
I was recently introduced to an innovative approach to address the personal and systemic challenges of poverty. Imagined and initiated by Scott Miller, CEO of Move the Mountain Leadership Center, Circles is a process taking place in communities throughout the U.S. Scott’s mission, as I interpret it, is to inspire, educate, and connect people...
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...