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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Humanizing 21st century organizations

Photo courtesy of eHow.com.
A sustainable organization is capable of "thriving in perpetuity." Those were the words of environmental activisit Adam Werbach—words I first came across earlier this week while reading Alexander and Kathia Laszlo's post, The Practices of Systemic Sustainability. Werbach's use of the word perpetuity stuck with me these past...
Photo courtesy of Chairs Under Trees.
I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We...
Photo courtesy of Inside African Art.
During the past few weeks, we've seen countless stories and images of the famine that's gripping East Africa on several media outlets—from cable news shows to online discussion forums. The crisis affecting Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti has shown us deeply disturbing and heartbreaking images of starving families and...
A lot of people consider “storying” an inborn knack or talent. Some listen intently, while others envy the natural-born storytellers around them. Truth is, natural “storying” with strategic intent can be learned by anyone.  "Storying," or storytelling, as a means of expressing personal identity has risen in...
I am rethinking complexity. I used to think that complexity occurs through dynamically changing, unpredictable systems that create the potential for chaos and random behavior, but I’m learning that there’s more to it. Last weekend I spent some time with a couple of good friends. One is a knowledgeable psychotherapist who does some of...
Photo of Jessica Goodell courtesy of NPR.
A segment on NPR's Fresh Air caught my attention recently, bringing to mind organizational life and the complexities of the helping human systems process. On the show, host Terry Gross interviewed Jessica Goodell, a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq with the Marine Mortuary Affairs Platoon in 2004. As Goodell talked about her memoir, Shade It...
Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Microsoft.
Pictures of the earth from space have always fascinated me. Boundaries disappear. The beauty of the planet engenders awe. Astronaut Wheelock has captured many beautiful images from his recent journeys in space. More than 10 years ago, the Monterey Bay Acquarium offered a slide show of photographs of the earth taken from space during during 20...
Can you help us with our strategic planning? Our organization needs assistance in constructing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (or SMART) goals and clarifying objectives. Like most consultants, I am often approached with such requests.  Typically, a leader wishes to tease out a tactical plan in half a day in order...
What leads us to these toxic work environments in the first place? And why do we choose to stay trapped in them? Are we masochists or is there something more subtle at work?   Nowadays it seems everyone’s had at least one bad boss—that lone supervisor who generally stands in the way of professional happiness and fulfillment. I...
Reflecting on the significance of Mother’s day my daughter told me: “Today, everybody should celebrate two mothers: our birth mother and also Mother Earth.” And she is right: the Earth is loving, nurturing and generous in supporting all of its creatures. What can we learn from our mothers and from the Earth as we seek to lead...
Organizational leaders seem to start “conversations” by inviting people to “discuss” everything from company marketing plans to daily personal matters.  But, true discussions don’t always happen.  You already knew that through didn’t you?  Let’s face it, “conversation” is or can...
Photo courtesy of Frerieke
This is the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War's beginning – and recent political events brought this painfully to my awareness.  As Donald Trump celebrated forcing the president of the United States show his birth certificate, I read a blog by Goldie Taylor titled “Why Obama shouldn't have had to show his papers,...