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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Humanizing 21st century organizations

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...
Photo courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch.
If you're hearing undertones of sarcasm laced with anger and heartbreak in the title of this post, you're reading me right. I originally had grand intentions of creating an enlightened piece about integral leadership and spiral dynamics... well, not really, but it sounds dazzling. Instead, my attention swayed toward news over the more than...
I’ll never forget being a young manager having learned to know-it-all, or defend-it-all, but not having truly “heard-them-all.”  So, who is the them?  And, why should we stop to hear what they say? Them refers to a leader’s followers. Even though I don’t like the word "followers" because it...
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...
Are you Not Enough, Too Much or Enough? At the 2011 National Training Lab Annual Conference this August, Collins Dobbs, Mary Ann Huckabay, Craig Shchuler, and Yifat Sharabi-Levine asked its participants to answer this question. I was one of them. The question was part of an experimental exercise designed to explore different sides of ourselves and...
Photo courtesy of TheSolutionsJournal.com.
A reoccurring theme has been emerging in conversations with my friends and colleagues: our economic system. Does our current economic system work? Who does it serve? Who is it damaging? Is it sustainable? Is there a better way? Can the system be changed? I've wrestled with the underlying purpose of our financial structure for sometime. From an...
Photo courtesy of WithFriendship.org.
My home is in Reno, Nevada, and it feels like a small town. Between the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range (the Great Basin, as it's known), is high desert with four distinct seasons and crisp and clean air almost all year. Fall's arrival has brought the first splash of autumn color to the leaves of the mountains and city. California's...
Photo courtesy of CollegeBasketballOdds.com.
I’m working on becoming more compassionate. His Holiness the Dalia Lama believes that compassion forms the basis for ethical behavior. My interest in compassion is less noble. I find that when I remember to shift my attention from analysis to compassion, I always learn something. Two articles published last week have tested my capacity for...
 The first part of this leadership challenge explored the concept of “unveiling the illusions of the true professional.” The concept behind the exploration came from Margaret Wheatley's poem "The True Professional," where she challenges the reader to seek a “reliable truth” that will “let the human...
Photo courtesy of I/O at Work.
What is the emotional side of complexity and how can it help us understand and manage complexity? John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor and expert on leadership and change, said this year that managing change is about understanding the human condition of fear that is inherent in all change. Change, he added, is managed through deeds...
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...