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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

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...
Imagine walking into work every morning wondering if it'll be your last day there. That's how thousands of Bank of America employees probably felt this morning after the company publicly announced its plans yesterday to slash 30,000 jobs over the next few years. The massive downsizing is part of a cost-cutting measure crafted by Bank of...
I smiled with delight after having welcomed five new teaching staffers to our University Professional Development Center community. At the same time, I could not help reflecting on the courage required to begin the process of adding these five new people. Was it really that difficult to expand our class offerings? Was it that surprising that we...
Photo courtesy of LoHud.com.
Recently as I was listening to a critique of the work done in response to the latest natural disaster when the following comment was made: “We need to get the first responders to talk to each other.” On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request and something that we should expect from a group of people dedicated to helping...
Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Enterprise Services.
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...
Diagram courtesy of Jorge Taborga.
Our life choices and commitments feed on each other causing them to form a reinforcing loop. This type of loop is the causal relationship of two variables that affect each other in the same direction. If one grows the other does as well. The opposite is also true: the reduction in one variable causes the other to diminish. The choices we make in...
Photo courtesy of TCU Magazine.
To find inspiration and clarify my latest thinking on embracing complexity, I recently turned to popular, off-the-shelf publications and the latest business books. Not only did I not find inspiration and clarity, I experienced confusion and loss of interest from the dogma I found there.So much of what I read was filled with jargon, buzz words, and...
Photo courtesy of Freelance Switch.
This time of year, a lot of my conversations with friends, colleagues, and clients began with the question: How was your vacation? Typically, you hear a wistful recounting of highlights followed by comments about the shock of re-entry into the daily routine. It seems that memories and feelings from even the most inspiring vacations fade fast....
Photo courtesy of Organic on the Green.
Systemic sustainability is a process of development—individual, organizational, or societal—involving an adaptive strategy of emergence that ensures the evolutionary maintenance of an increasingly robust and supportive environment. Systemic sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line and embraces “the possibility that human...
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...
In 2010, IBM researchers conducted a study to figure what makes today's CEO tick. The organization interviewed 1,500 CEOs worldwide to examine their priorities, uncover what sets the best organizations apart, and determine what's on their minds. Researchers found evidence suggesting that managing complexity in today's fastpace world...