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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

Agreements are the currency of human systems. Many agreements are implicit social or cultural conventions. We’re not really conscious that we’ve agreed to anything when we stop at red lights, for example, or when we allow people to exit the elevator before we enter. Other agreements are hard won and inconsistently implemented. When I...
When we think of meditation, we conjure thoughts of something good for us, but also something perhaps too "New Age." When I was in the pre-op room at the Cleveland Clinic waiting for my heart surgery, a social worker noticed my high level of anxiety and offered a number of services, which included guided meditation. I was surprised at...
Photo of Dennis T. Jaffe courtesy of DennisJaffe.com
This week, I hosted a conference call with Saybrook professor Dennis Jaffe, which led me to rethink the most muddied and, perhaps, top-of–the-totem-pole thinking: family relationships within the business context. During my conversation with Dennis this week, I had an opportunity to visit his 2009 book on family stewardship, Stewardship in...
Photo courtesy of The Center for Social Leadership
In Kathia Laszlo’s May 2nd post, she spoke to the critical need to rethink and expand boundaries within a system to support different ways of working and learning together. The need to create organizational cultures where learning together is the norm has never been so important as it is during this time of increasing complexity and change....
Rare is the time to chat in our workday, don’t you think? The other day I sat with Brian, my organization’s director of educational services, and Kelly, our enrollment coordinator. We engaged in something unusual: a casual, unstructured conversation in the workplace. The topic was something particularly jazzy to those of you born to...
Photo courtesy of Kaushik.net
I have labile hypertension. Having labile hypertension means my blood pressure readings bounce around. Sometimes my blood pressure reads in the normal range and sometime in the high-normal range. Unlike my internal body temperature and my pulse, there’s no obvious reason why taking two measurements under the same conditions and minutes apart...
Everything I read points to the need for attention for our brains to develop new neurons and synapses, and I've been wondering about awareness and attention. Mindfulness practice is an awareness and attention practice where we build our capacity to pay attention by stopping our activity and focusing on our direct and immediate experience. We...
Graph courtesy of Jay G. Cone
Work groups and teams make collective decisions. Jury’s reach verdicts. Executive teams choose strategies. Creative teams at ad agencies settle on a campaign they’ll recommend. Task forces and panels publish their findings. On their way to collective decisions and agreements, groups generate ideas, exchange information and opinions,...
Momentum in manufacturing happens if the marketing "stars" align and the bullwhip effect has been tamed. If you work in supply chain management or recall your MBA days, maybe you remember the Near Beer study?  Forio.com provides not only a wonderful explanation of the conundrum framed by the study but also offers a nice (but...
Photo courtesy of "The Defence Coach" on Facebook.
The March 28th edition of New York Times magazine had a deeply inspiring article about some unique programs being adopted by the U.S. Army to help returning war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead of medical treatment and therapy, the programs focus on activating a natural capacity of the human being for growth, learning, and...
Photo courtesy of HandsOnBlog.org
Reflection is one of the hardest things for leaders to implement. Even if leaders knew the value of reflection, it would be hard to implement. As it is, reflection is an unknown capacity that has enormous potential to accelerate learning. According to Jack Mezirow, founder of transformative learning theory, without reflection, there is no learning...
David Straus, founder of Interaction Associates, defined a problem as "a situation someone wants to change." I kept wondering why it was so hard to get my daughter to keep her room clean until I realized that, given Straus' definition, only one of us has a problem. That is, only one of us wants the situation to change. Situation...