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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Humanizing 21st century organizations

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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...
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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...
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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...
Writer Margaret Wheatley's poem, "The True Professional," isn't entirely original and she lets everyone know this. It's a "found poem," Wheatley explained on her website. All of the lines of "The True Professional" are phrases "found" in Parker J. Palmer’s book The Active Life. After taking...
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The reality of war has had a profound influence on my life. This influence is hard to see. In fact, it's invisible. I would have kept it hidden if I hadn't read Clay Sellers' August 26 post, "Beyond the Clouds of War: A Faint, Silver Lining." His writing inspired me to explore the complexity that a legacy of war has had on my...
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Harry Nilsson’s Grammy award winning song, "Everybody's Talking at Me," has been stuck in my head all day, specifically the lyric: Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of my mind. I actually met Harry Nilsson years ago when I managed a restaurant in Southern California...
Call me old-fashioned, but nothing beats having a face-to-face conversation with another person. Sorry, Facebook. Sorry, Twitter. Sorry, Skype. But I really don’t think any social media site, gadget, or app can replace this method of communication—the most authentic way of connecting with another human being. When you're chatting...
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This is the first week of the fall semester at Saybrook University and we launched it with the residential conference in San Francisco. We are a distance learning institution, but the sense of community and connection that I have with colleagues and students is deep and real. At commencement on Friday, the room was filled with the overflowing...
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Recently one of my previous students sent me an email inviting me to write to my senators asking them to get on board with spending cuts. The email made the argument that just as individuals cannot continue to spend more than they bring in, neither can governments. She noted that she would “fire” all members of the U.S. Congress for...
Photo courtesy of Dennis Rebelo.
After the 30th International Human Science Research Conference in Oxford, England, wrapped in late July, I made a brief stop in London before returning to the U.S. My lecture and workshop at the conference had been steeped in metaphor linked to English gardens and I thought it appropriate to make a brief visit to Kensington Gardens. I plopped my...