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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Collaboration

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...
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...
The phrase pecha kucha means "chit-chat" in Japanese. In 2003, two European architects created a new type of presentation that they christened Pecha Kucha and the format of this presentation stays true to its name. A Pecha Kucha is a community session where individuals present an idea in a structured PowerPoint presentation of 20 slides...
Image courtesy of IntegralLifeWellness.com
Russ believes in equal opportunity. He looks down on the greed, the disparities, and the selfishness that, he believes, presently dominate U.S. culture. The way Russ sees it, the individualistic view that's caused all of the country's current economic problems overshadows our ability as a society to create a system that takes care of all...
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...
Organizational systems consultants, like myself, usually have loads of advice for bosses about how to lead meetings. Meetings fascinate us consultants because that’s where all the action takes place—they are a microcosm of an organization’s culture. You can learn a lot about an organization by paying attention to how the...
Diagram courtesy of Susan Hoberecht.
Could a shared leadership framework enable organizations to deal with complexity, improve decision-making, enable adaptability and nimbleness, and increase performance across the board?  Researchers such as Craig L. Pierce and Henry P. Sims Jr. would say yes! What exactly is shared leadership and how could it improve an organization's...