Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance
Designing better worlds
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...
Using Scenario Planning to Prototype the Future
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...
The Cashier and the Envelope: A Tale of Mindful Awareness
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 (...
Reconciling Stagnation and Generativity
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...
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...
A Chicken in Every Pot and a Screen at Every Fingertip
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...
How Do We Develop a Systems Perspective?
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...
The Bittersweet Grace of Relinquishing: Letting Parts of You Move On
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....
Leadership at “The Wall”
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...
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....
Conscious Self-Disruption: Doing Really Hard Stuff on Purpose
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...
A Journey into the "It" World
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...
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