Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance
Engaging the Whole Person in Conversation
I’ve been facilitating group experiences for almost 25 years. One of the first things I learned was the importance of creating a sense of safety so that people can fully participate in the work they have gathered to do together. The best way to begin that process is to give participants a chance to check in and introduce themselves. Early on...
Stories of a Storyteller: Perspective is Everything
I remember covering the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in April 2003. Well, sort of. I was four months into my internship with The Miami Herald at the time covering the civic beat in the town of Miami Lakes, a suburb about 30 minutes northwest of Miami. I landed that intership after stringing for the newspaper for more than a year...
Organizations as Communities: Invoking the Human Spirit
It's Monday and you wake up without an alarm clock, looking forward to your day at the office—you love what you do and you love the people with whom you work. You are a member of a community: trust, mutual support, open communication, and friendships sustain your whole self as much as the income you receive from your job. Just a dream?...
The Hidden Structures that Stifle You
Ever wonder what the essence of being you is while you're at work? Ever wonder why you feel constrained at work as if the real you's buried a bit? Chances are you are not alone. The camouflaging of self appears to be part of the reason why today's executives and office workers feel like they're gasping for air in the organizational...
A Little "Pecha Kucha"
The phrase pecha kucha means "chit-chat" in Japanese. In 2003, two European architects created a new type of presentation that they christened Pecha Kucha and the format of this presentation stays true to its name. A Pecha Kucha is a community session where individuals present an idea in a structured PowerPoint presentation of 20 slides...
Polarity Thinking: Learning to Accept Both Sides of an Argument
Russ believes in equal opportunity. He looks down on the greed, the disparities, and the selfishness that, he believes, presently dominate U.S. culture. The way Russ sees it, the individualistic view that's caused all of the country's current economic problems overshadows our ability as a society to create a system that takes care of all...
SYSTEMS THINKING IN ACTION: A Conversation with Storyteller David Hutchens
Storytelling's not big in the business world. Author and consultant David Hutchens says he encounters resistance every time he asks executives to tell him about the results they got on a project. They generally clam up, he said, and default to standard answers. We reached our target, some executives will say. Others will tell him everything...
El Día de los Muertos
My time living and working in Mexico has given me an appreciation for the celebrations of Halloween on October 31st, All Saints' Day on November 1st, and the Day of the Dead (or Día de los Muertos) on November 1st through the 2nd. To remember the dead and honor their joys and pleasures in life at the end of October, I often create an...
SYSTEMS THINKING IN ACTION: Four Levels of Reality
How we view the world around us is pretty darn interesting from the perspective of systems thinker Charlotte Roberts. According to Roberts, our mental models shape the structures we create, the patterns that we spot, and the events that we choose to see or acknowledge. It's a hierachical evolution of perception—applicable to both...
"It's Not a Show": How to Become a Better Meeting Participant
Organizational systems consultants, like myself, usually have loads of advice for bosses about how to lead meetings. Meetings fascinate us consultants because that’s where all the action takes place—they are a microcosm of an organization’s culture. You can learn a lot about an organization by paying attention to how the...
Sharing the Responsibility of Leading: Employee Engagement & Shared Leadership
Could a shared leadership framework enable organizations to deal with complexity, improve decision-making, enable adaptability and nimbleness, and increase performance across the board? Researchers such as Craig L. Pierce and Henry P. Sims Jr. would say yes! What exactly is shared leadership and how could it improve an organization's...
Reflections on Dialogue: The Power of Shared Meaning
At Saybrook's August 2010 residential conference, I participated in the generative and strategic dialogue seminar facilitated by Dr. Nancy Southern, Dr. Kathia C. Laszlo and Dr. Alexander Laszlo of the organizational systems program. Learning about the difference between discussion and dialogue was particularly transformative and deepened my...
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