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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Collaboration

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...
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...
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...
Photo courtesy of ConvergeUS.
I had the opportunity last week to help facilitate a session for non-profit, business, technology, education, and media leaders who came together for the inaugural summit of ConvergeUS. Co-Chaired by TechNet’s CEO, Rey Ramsey, and Twitter’s Co-Founder, Biz Stone, ConvergeUS drives technology-based breakthroughs for critical social...
Photo courtesy of the Everyday Giving Blog.
It is clear that collaboration is a necessity in navigating today's complex work environments where ambiguity and change are constants. What is not clear is how to make collaboration part of an organization's culture and the default behavior pattern for leaders. One possible solution comes from Morten T. Hansen's 2009 book,...
On Sunday, The Financial Times reported that the recent drop in Eastman Kodak’s share prices may be the final, overt sign that the photography giant is nearing its end. For a company that spearheaded innovation—in 1885, founder George Eastman invented roll film, which benefited the motion picture industry and inventor Thomas Edison...
Photo courtesy of DreamsTime.com.
In a previous post, I presented the need to move from systems thinking to systems being. There is a reason for that: I believe that it is through systems being that we will be able to truly transform our world. And transforming the world is the task of leaders. However, the most prevalent understanding of leadership is narrow and hierarchical: one...
After my study session wound down earlier tonight, I scanned my bookshelf to find an organizational systems topic that I could write this post on. Organizational culture. Sustainability. Leverage points. They all jumped out, but none of them grabbed me. Then my eyes landed on a thin booklet from the Leadership Institute of Seattle (or LIOS)—...
One of the best tips I ever got came from journalism school. The tip involved assumption-making and it was offered in the form of a question-and-answer. Do you know what happens when you make assumptions? The journalism professor asked my undergraduate, database research class. The first three letters of the word "assumption," that's...
There are probably as many ideas about leadership as there are leaders. Leadership is a subject that has been explored and documented by academia and practitioners alike. Numerous models have emerged and are taught at colleges and organizations across the world. Most aim at identifying the actions of good leaders so that new ones can replicate...