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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Management

We struggle in organizations to clarify objectives and future directions. We are working in complex adaptive systems that are ever changing and uncertain, and our ability to foresee the future, establish goals, and work toward them in a linear way, is difficult, if not impossible, in organizations today. At the same time the challenges before us...
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Why was the sale of the Washington Post such a media event when struggling businesses are sold every day? Attention was paid because of the special nature of the business—a corporation owned and controlled by a very public family who had put their stamp on it and upheld their values, over four generations. While the paper remained profitable...
Photo: Harland Quarrington/MOD [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons
An astounding 70% of U.S. workers are either not engaged or are actively disengaged, according to a 2012 survey by Gallup. Further, these actively disengaged employees are emotionally disconnected from their companies and as a result are less productive, more likely to miss work, more likely to steal, may negatively influence coworkers, and will...
Starting tomorrow, my colleague Ashley Welch and I will be in New Orleans for Entrepreneur Week. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) culminates a season of entrepreneurship sponsored by The Idea Village, a non-profit organization established in 2000 whose mission, according to their website, is to “identify, support and retain...
In August, I had the pleasure of presenting with Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and author of Peak: How Great Companies Get their Mojo from Maslow. Chip’s latest book, Emotional Equations, has been translated into 11 languages and dashed to the top of the New York Times best seller list this past year. So, what do Chip and...
Image of Susan Cain courtesy of Ted.com
Susan Cain, perhaps ironically, has become the voice of introversion. She is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In January of this year, Cain wrote a provocative piece for the New York Times disparaging collaboration in our organizations as "the rise of the new groupthink." She even...
One of the most often repeated punch lines from Gallup’s famous Q12 survey of employee engagement is that employees join companies, but leave their immediate supervisor. In other words, people mostly talk about the company when asked what attracted to them to a particular job, but they mostly cite issues with their immediate manager when...
I'm going to make a bold, sacrilegious assertion in a sea of humanistic theorists: I believe Niccolò Machiavelli had it right when he defined leadership 499 years ago. ...Well, he did, in a bare bones sort of way. At the very least, he set a foundation for the plethora of leadership theories that exist today. Work with me here, all...
Even though the study of transformational change in organizations has become a popular research topic in the fields of management and leadership studies, it appears that only one in three change initiatives has been deemed successful, according to studies and publications by McKinsey & Company. Social scientists, psychologists and...
Agreements are the currency of human systems. Many agreements are implicit social or cultural conventions. We’re not really conscious that we’ve agreed to anything when we stop at red lights, for example, or when we allow people to exit the elevator before we enter. Other agreements are hard won and inconsistently implemented. When I...
My colleague Tom has a new assignment. The director of executive development for a Fortune-500 engineering and construction company, Tom summed up his new assignment this way the last time I saw him: "I moneyball potential executives." He was referring to the 2003 Michael Lewis bestseller, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game....
Photo courtesy of the Universidad del Medio Ambiente in Mexico.
Social entrepreneurs are starting new organizations that combine best management practices with a socio-ecological purpose. They are expanding the boundaries of what it means to do business and innovating new organizational structures to respond to the needs and demands of an aching society. Working with social entrepreneurs in Mexico is a very...