Posts tagged with the category Improving Performance
Structure Causes Behavior
Systems thinkers have long adopted the iceberg analogy as a way to describe the events, patterns, and underlying structures that drive the behaviors that affect performance within a system. The iceberg is a perfect metaphor because it depicts just how much of what is really going on lies beneath the surface—out of sight. For many, out of...
Harnessing the Energy of Opposites
How do today’s leaders create profound innovation in the face of complexity? According to an executive report by the IBM Institute for Business Value, they do it by “embracing dynamic tensions.” In a report released in July, "Cultivating organizational creativity in an age of complexity," Barbara J. Lombardo and Daniel...
Crucial Conversations and Emotional Intelligence
If there is one simple ability that makes the most difference in effective leaders who are able to enroll other people in their projects, it is the ability to initiate and reach resolution in areas that arouse anxiety in either party. That same skill enables people who are not formal leaders to move from feeing frustrated and powerless to empower...
Good Enough: Progress Not Perfection in Our Organizations
The notion of perfection has been on my mind a lot lately. While working with a group that is feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the challenges it is confronting, I notice the discussions seem to swirl around a notion, unspoken but heard by all: “Whatever we do, it better be the right answer—we can’t afford to fail!”...
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...
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