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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance

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...
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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...
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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...
Like humans, organizations develop and evolve. Organizational development follows a defined lifecycle, from inception to maturity to eventual decay if operations cease.  Forty-six percent of organizations generally fold within a year-and-a-half of opening. The ones that remain in business generally average a median lifespan of seven years. So...
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I write this entry while living and working from Cefalù, Sicily, a town not only steeped in centuries-old tradition, but part of one of the countries currently struggling to survive as a member of the European Union. Evidenced by the hand waves and chatter in the streets, people in Cefalù know each other and have a communal identity...
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I’ve learned some new things about inquiry recently. I’ve been working with inquiry for some time and I love learning new ways of practicing. The three things I learned came from my research in neuroscience. I have been reading Allan Schore’s 1994 book, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional...
I am teaching a course on generative and strategic dialogue this term and, through the amazing dialogue with my students, I am reminded of the importance and challenge of this communicative practice. Dialogue asks us to become more aware and intentional about how we listen, think, and speak. In his 1999 book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking...
Culture links people together. It does so, according to organizational theorist Edgar H. Schein, by allowing people to band together as a group and develop a unique set of beliefs and practices that are absorbed and accepted by all of its members. In time, the group’s beliefs and practices, which consist of shared assumptions, perceptions,...
As a newcomer in the field of organizational consulting, I have the advantage of being either the naively arrogant child who declares the emperor has no clothes! or the person who comes from a foreign land and is forced to quickly confront the differences in the visible and communicated culture. When I decided to change careers in my early 40s, I...