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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Collaboration

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An organization is of a large group of individuals who are together for the sake of achieving a task. There are many moving pieces and many ways to see the essential task. The real challenge is figuring out how each individual can know where to put their time and energy to create the optimal synergy to achieve the organization’s results....
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A January 15th New York Times' opinion piece, "The Rise of the New Groupthink," Susan Cain argued that solitude rather than collaboration is more conducive to creativity. "…People," Cain wrote, "are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.” She went on to describe a trend in our...
Just before New Year’s Eve, I dashed to Maine to watch the private premier of the film Incredibly Loud and Dangerously Close. The film’s scheduled for national release on January 20th, but I got my exclusive sneak peak courtesy of my friend, Alex Libby, who helped director, Stephen Daldry, do research for the film by speaking with...
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As Nancy Southern pointed out in her recent post, engaging with China presents certain challenges because of the different value systems in play. China has moved extraordinarily swiftly to become the world power it is today, and its values do not include an emphasis on individual rights and liberties that are part of civil society in the U.S. At a...
A family is a delicate edifice with a natural tendency to fragment, split, and move in different directions over generations. New people enter as spouses and children with their own interests, preferences and life styles. But when a family shares ownership, oversight, and dependence on shared investments, they challenge this tide. Such connected...
Last year, opportunity came knocking at our door in the form of a dynamic young Chinese woman who expressed interest in taking our organizational systems Ph.D. program to China as an offering to Chinese business and government executives. Having done my dissertation research in China, taught in another American university program in Beijing, and...
I had a sense of déjà vu when I heard that the “protester” was Time magazine’s Person of the Year. I remembered images of the Chicago protesters who arguably denied us the experience of President Hubert Humphrey and my personal memory of the huge protest of the arrest of Black Panthers in New Haven. My role was to...
Imagine our private organizations operating like the federal government. What if we belonged to parties inside our workplaces and chose to work or not based on what our party determined? What if we could refuse to implement a needed plan just because our party does not agree? I have been working in private for-profit and non-profit organizations...
How do today’s leaders create profound innovation in the face of complexity? According to an executive report by the IBM Institute for Business Value, they do it by “embracing dynamic tensions.” In a report released in July, "Cultivating organizational creativity in an age of complexity," Barbara J. Lombardo and Daniel...
If there is one simple ability that makes the most difference in effective leaders who are able to enroll other people in their projects, it is the ability to initiate and reach resolution in areas that arouse anxiety in either party. That same skill enables people who are not formal leaders to move from feeing frustrated and powerless to empower...
The notion of perfection has been on my mind a lot lately. While working with a group that is feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the challenges it is confronting, I notice the discussions seem to swirl around a notion, unspoken but heard by all: “Whatever we do, it better be the right answer—we can’t afford to fail!”...
I remember covering the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in April 2003. Well, sort of. I was four months into my internship with The Miami Herald at the time covering the civic beat in the town of Miami Lakes, a suburb about 30 minutes northwest of Miami. I landed that intership after stringing for the newspaper for more than a year...