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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

Southwest, Google, Apple, McDonalds, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Cragslist and many others have influential business models that have changed industries and the way we live.  A business model is what we experience as stakeholders.  Unless we are intimately connected to an organization, we do not know or understand its strategies or tactics but we...
Traditionally, organizational strategy has been cast as equal parts analysis and prediction. A small group of elite organizational leaders apply a framework (e.g. Porter’s Five Forces), consider trends that might alter the status quo, and then produce a plan to guide decision making and resource allocation for the foreseeable future. It...
By Szentkiralyi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by
There is a long lineage of systems thinkers, and systems scientists, who have proposed ways to purposefully design the social systems in which we live. Bela H. Banathy, who created the systems program at Saybrook, used an idealized approach to social systems design. John Warfield offered his Interactive Management process. His long-time colleague...
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luciano Marano [Pu
I’ve taken an interest in the topic of strategic thinking from both a research and a practitioner perspective. I’m currently working on a training program for mid-level leaders to help them develop their strategic thinking capabilities as they move from functional management roles into general management roles. One tool that I’ve...
Once upon a time (this week on Wednesday to be exact), in a city among the hills (Atlanta), a part-time cashier spotted an envelope just off the curb of the park-and-ride deck at the international terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Puzzled, the cashier picked up the envelope and found it stuffed with $7,000 in cold hard cash (...
Photo courtesy of BlueMeme.blogspot.com
Consciousness is a term related to awareness. Awareness of what? Awareness of ourselves and others. Those things we can observe and those that we cannot. Those we can measure and those we intuit. Individually, our consciousness is a product of our capacities and capabilities in relation to our life conditions, those elements that impact how we...
Photo courtesy by TechWench.com
We talk together to collaborate (or co-labor) and we use language when we write, email, tweet, and hang out in social spaces. Our words build relationships and connect us so we can accomplish things, from nailing down project details or creating strategies to designing systems or resolving complex challenges. We meet together to make sure everyone...
Photo courtesy of snid.eu
My wife Katherine, who teaches preschool, overheard the following question raised by a 4-year-old during lunch last week, “Does your mommy let you download apps?” During the rest of the conversation, the 4 and 5-year-olds compared technology access policies in their homes. On a separate occasion, Katherine told me about a student who...
Image courtesy of ProfessionalTechIntegration.com
As awareness grows that we are living in a world, not just made up by parts, but by complex systems, the desire to develop a systems perspective is growing. I am co-presenting at a conference of social workers this week, helping them understand how poverty is a systemic issue and how approaches to solving it must also be systemic. Fortunately, the...
Photo courtesy of ChicagoSnowboarders.com
Last February, I went snowboarding for about the 18th time in 14 years. When 50, on a bit of a lark, I learned how to snow board. I was already too old to do this. The young boarders call any boarder over 50 “a gray on a tray,” and that was me. I so loved it. The joy of swooshing down the huge, miles-long slopes in Utah or Colorado....
I’m afraid that our efforts to understand and define leadership, its styles and types and characteristics, have not resulted in effective responses to the complex challenges we’ve created for ourselves. The field of leadership development not delivering on a central aspect of leadership—results—is a bit ironic, really. So I...
Photo courtesy of RCWCares.org
For me, this year promises to be a year of integration. Recently, a colleague told me that I am a weaver. We were working on the design of a leadership program for social innovators when she said, “And just as I thought that we were done, your brought in another thread and weaved it to make this idea even more complete, more beautiful....