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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Leadership

Language shapes our world and relationships. Yet we talk, write, and think without attending to language itself—it is like the air we breathe without noticing. How we speak and think frames the way we conceptualize experience and relationships. The idea of social swarming, which Dr. Nancy Southern discussed in her most recent post, is an...
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About three years ago, I had a coaching conversation with a human resources manager for a retail company. The manager confided in me that conflict she was experiencing made her uncomfortable. She described the lengths to which she would go to avoid raising challenging issues or delivering candid feedback. By way of example, she described a damaged...
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I recently received an invitation to comment on a blog posting defining social swarming and how it worked in regards to the decision of the Susan B. Komen foundation to withdraw support of Planned Parenthood, which was fairly quickly reversed. According to Leland Russell, social swarming occurs "when a disparate group suddenly moves en masse...
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"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will." — Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st Prime Minister of India (1889-1964) How do you deal with change? How comfortable are you with what is on your plate? Are you creating or are you resisting? The quality of your ...
An article posted on the Green Belt Movement website described the late activist Wangari Muta Maathai as a Nobel Peace Laureate; an environmentalist; a scientist; a parliamentarian; a founder of the Green Belt Movement; an advocate for social justice, human rights, and democracy; an elder; and a peacemaker. Maathai lived and worked in Nairobi,...
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...
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...
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Leading successfully in today’s fast-paced, dynamic, and competitive work environment can be a daunting challenge. With expanding workloads, increased complexity, and growing demands from stakeholders, leaders need to develop not just “human capital,” or the ability to acquire needed technical skills, but “social capital,...
Ronald Burke, the accomplished organizational change expert, once said, “There may be as many and as diverse definitions of leadership as there are for love.” Most social scientists agree that leadership and the role and makeup of a leader are among the most researched and written about subjects in business literature. There are...
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I was chatting with colleagues over lunch during a workshop a few weeks ago when a consultant from a leadership development firm polled us about career development trends we’re noticing in our client organizations. We all agreed that our training programs targeting high-potential leaders have been selling well. We noted that due to a cruel...
Photo courtesy of the She 2.0 Network (www.she20network.com).
I experienced a series of events over the weekend that caused me to reflect on the challenges women face in this society and what we can do individually and collectively to change the way women are viewed, treated, and supported in leadership positions. The first event that sparked my reflection on this topic was viewing a show on Oprah's OWN...
Diagram courtesy of Susan Hoberecht.
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...