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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

I have just finished teaching a course in family business in Dubai, a business oasis of 3 million people, a city-state with daringly designed high rises and bustling commerce on the Arabian Gulf. For four days, this open and eager group of 75 mostly middle-eastern young men and women engaged in vigorous exchange.  Each of them wrote a...
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  — Seneca I often encounter people I admire who seem extremely lucky in getting a great job, regular promotions, and seemingly unlimited professional success. For the most part, I believe these people earned this fate through taking responsibility for their luck....
Is risk encouraged or discouraged in your organization? What happens when someone makes a mistake? When I talk with a potential client with regard to his or her organization, these are questions I like to ask because they provide me with an indication of just how much of a learning organization it may or may not be. Peter M. Senge describes this...
Most, if not all, know the popular saying “Think globally and act locally.”  Originally this saying was a cry for sustainable living; that is, to care for the earth’s environment by consciously examining and changing how one lives and works. Not only does this saying now refer to much more, when applying it to global...
In this country, citizens across a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds don’t often come together over a cause. We just don’t organize much anymore. Our rights and liberties were bought and fought for some time ago. Or so we think – We expect our water and electricity to just work. We expect to easily cross neighborhood...
After going through a long destructive cycle in my life, where everything I counted on fell away, I have emerged into a generative period in which life energy has returned, and I am moving toward the world again. This period of disintegration changed everything for me. Keeping my seat as life’s fabric unraveled was hard, to say the least....
I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through a technological (quick...
I recently attended a meeting at the Almaden Research Lab near San Jose, CA.  The T-Summit was jointly sponsored by Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute and IBM's Global University Programs.  As described in the announcement about the meeting: Employers are placing...
Over the last five decades, while business contexts were evolving from national to international to transnational and now to global, workplace environments were shifting from “control-oriented” hierarchies to interactive teams to social networking ecologies. Such shifts in perspectives, accompanied by innovations in digital-based...
“He who has a why can bear almost any how.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche We all know intention without action leads to nothing, but what about action without intention? When we focus on accomplishing something before fully considering the purpose behind it, the action can be a wasted effort. Your intention is important because you gain...
An emerging field of research informs us about relative “levels” of happiness reported in various countries. I learned that Finns are the happiest people in the world, except perhaps for the citizens of Bhutan, who regularly  report their Gross National Happiness Index.  I assume that the residents of tropical paradises are...
In 2010 IBM published a study identifying complexity as the primary challenge for leaders.  Intuitively, we can relate to this study’s premise.  However, we may have different understandings of complexity ranging from mere complication to total chaos. Complexity can be defined as a state of intricacy, complication, variety and...