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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Humanizing 21st century organizations

Photo of OS graduate students by Kathia Laszlo
My work has been grounded in systems thinking. That has been the intellectual field that has informed my inquiry and has justified my natural tendency for connecting seemingly unrelated things and expanded boundaries. The field that has supported my personal quest for greater integration and inclusivity. However, although I continue to do much of...
I was working at one of our office sites last month and found myself needing a Phillips-head screwdriver. Not surprisingly, no one in our office had a screwdriver. I thought about it for a while and decided to visit a neighboring business that I had never before interacted with. So I knocked on their door, introduced myself as their neighbor, and...
Photo courtesy of UTSanDiego.com
After two days with 150 artists, land developers, business and government executives, architects, and players in public and private global ventures designed to change the face, lifestyle, and economy of urban places, I was exhausted by the openness, creativity and, most of all, the pragmatic willingness to take action that I was hearing about. The...
We had been following the blue Mercedes for almost 10 minutes up and down the streets of an upscale Miami neighborhood on that hot July morning before its driver, a middle-aged man accused of swindling private investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, slammed on the brakes bringing his car to a screeching halt. He jumped out of the...
I could not agree more with Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder and leader of Agape International Spiritual Center, when he recently shared on Facebook: “The song that you've been holding back is the cause of your heartache. Don't wait! You've got to sing your song as if your whole life depends on it.” The past few years,...
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...
We have come to appreciate diversity as an asset in organizations. Diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, or any other manifestation of the ways we, as human beings, express our uniqueness. But beyond affirmative action, which creates a legal platform for equal employment opportunity, why should we care about organizational cultures that foster...
Momentum in manufacturing happens if the marketing "stars" align and the bullwhip effect has been tamed. If you work in supply chain management or recall your MBA days, maybe you remember the Near Beer study?  Forio.com provides not only a wonderful explanation of the conundrum framed by the study but also offers a nice (but...
Photo courtesy of HandsOnBlog.org
Reflection is one of the hardest things for leaders to implement. Even if leaders knew the value of reflection, it would be hard to implement. As it is, reflection is an unknown capacity that has enormous potential to accelerate learning. According to Jack Mezirow, founder of transformative learning theory, without reflection, there is no learning...
My colleague Tom has a new assignment. The director of executive development for a Fortune-500 engineering and construction company, Tom summed up his new assignment this way the last time I saw him: "I moneyball potential executives." He was referring to the 2003 Michael Lewis bestseller, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game....
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...
An article posted on the Green Belt Movement website described the late activist Wangari Muta Maathai as a Nobel Peace Laureate; an environmentalist; a scientist; a parliamentarian; a founder of the Green Belt Movement; an advocate for social justice, human rights, and democracy; an elder; and a peacemaker. Maathai lived and worked in Nairobi,...