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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

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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...
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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...
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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....
Photo by Taraji Blue, courtesy of EvocateurBlog.com
The couch is ready for me—the remote just lying there ready for TV action. I can go watch a game, surf some channels, and chill out. I also have a tough book to read and a paper to write and maybe, instead of surfing and zoning out, I will put my head into this taxing book, then sit at a computer and try to write something coherent and...
Photo provided by Aimee C. Juarez
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a Zen-seeker. I enjoy temporarily turning off the rigid, left-brain linearities of my MBA, academia, and journalistic writings for the sake of finding inner harmony and balance through meditative practice. For me, this practice is as simple as sitting quietly for five minutes without engaging any lingering...
Photo courtesy of Nancy Southern
This year's Systems Thinking in Action conference hosted by Pegasus Communications in Indianapolis, Indiana, brought a question into focus: What struck you? In his keynote address, Peter Block emphasized the importance of questions, such as this. His message: Questions are the point; questions bring us together; and answers keep us apart. We...
Image courtesy of PresentationMagazine.com
If you’re interested in developing your capacity to listen, here’s an exercise you can try. Find a news or call-in program on the radio or on television with commentators who hold completely different opinions than you do and draw upon a belief system that you disagree with. As you listen to the commentary, imagine that you’re a...
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In the presidential campaign, I have been struck by how much the dialogue is about what people are “for” and how little we talk about how to do what we want. As if being “for” the right things led to a clear path to success. Indeed, our president is faulted for proposing the right ideas and making promises, but not being...
Photo courtesy of FilmMattersMagazine.com
There is a saying, “Everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right now, then it is not yet the end.” This mantra is proclaimed throughout the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as six British retirees grapple with getting older and lives that did not turn out as they had hoped. Each find themselves at a...
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"I have not failed. I have merely found ten thousand ways that won’t work." ~ Thomas Edison I spent an inspiring day in Palo Alto last month at the design firm, IDEO. I am a member of a community of consultants and educators who use a simulation designed by the Canadian company, Experience Point, in collaboration with IDEO to teach...