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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Leadership

I led two team projects during the last semester of my MBA program. One project involved the development of a business plan for a new deli. The other involved the development of a consulting plan for a crime-laden, Miami neighborhood seeking to become a tourist destination that could one day rival South Beach. The business plan was hypothetical....
I’ll never forget being a young manager having learned to know-it-all, or defend-it-all, but not having truly “heard-them-all.”  So, who is the them?  And, why should we stop to hear what they say? Them refers to a leader’s followers. Even though I don’t like the word "followers" because it...
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It is clear that collaboration is a necessity in navigating today's complex work environments where ambiguity and change are constants. What is not clear is how to make collaboration part of an organization's culture and the default behavior pattern for leaders. One possible solution comes from Morten T. Hansen's 2009 book,...
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As leaderless mobs of angry, unemployed 20-somethings continue to march on Wall Street this week picketing against big business and the federal government, my thoughts can't help but drift back to the pages of Marvin R. Weisbord's 2004 book, Productive Workplaces Revisited: Dignity, Meaning, and Community in the 21st Century. They return...
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Steve Jobs broke all the rules of leadership and management. He was an erratic micromanager; a brutal force to be reckoned with at meetings, often eviscerating staffers for their "bozo ideas"; and typically shrugged off his associates' suggestions in favor of his own gut instinct. "He never mellowed, never let up on Apple...
On Sunday, The Financial Times reported that the recent drop in Eastman Kodak’s share prices may be the final, overt sign that the photography giant is nearing its end. For a company that spearheaded innovation—in 1885, founder George Eastman invented roll film, which benefited the motion picture industry and inventor Thomas Edison...
Are you Not Enough, Too Much or Enough? At the 2011 National Training Lab Annual Conference this August, Collins Dobbs, Mary Ann Huckabay, Craig Shchuler, and Yifat Sharabi-Levine asked its participants to answer this question. I was one of them. The question was part of an experimental exercise designed to explore different sides of ourselves and...
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In a previous post, I presented the need to move from systems thinking to systems being. There is a reason for that: I believe that it is through systems being that we will be able to truly transform our world. And transforming the world is the task of leaders. However, the most prevalent understanding of leadership is narrow and hierarchical: one...
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Every week I see signs that our social institutions and organizations have lost their ability to accomplish key tasks, even as the urgency to do so rises. In fact, the intensity of feelings among different stakeholder groups seems to be a factor contributing to breakdown. We depend on large organizations, government, and community groups to...
 The first part of this leadership challenge explored the concept of “unveiling the illusions of the true professional.” The concept behind the exploration came from Margaret Wheatley's poem "The True Professional," where she challenges the reader to seek a “reliable truth” that will “let the human...
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What is the emotional side of complexity and how can it help us understand and manage complexity? John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor and expert on leadership and change, said this year that managing change is about understanding the human condition of fear that is inherent in all change. Change, he added, is managed through deeds...
There are probably as many ideas about leadership as there are leaders. Leadership is a subject that has been explored and documented by academia and practitioners alike. Numerous models have emerged and are taught at colleges and organizations across the world. Most aim at identifying the actions of good leaders so that new ones can replicate...