In all the books and research papers on systems thinking that I have read, I don't think I have yet found the word courage as part of the language used. There is a lot written about systems thinking in terms of it's relevance and importance, it's theories and methodologies, but nothing about what it takes--emotionally. And I'm convinced: systems thinking not only requires skill, it also takes courage. I was invited as a keynote speaker to the 9th Brazilian Congress of Systems in Palmas, Brazil. My colleague, Raul Espejo, was...
I love Cheryl Sandberg--her incredible presence, her role as adult supervisor to a difficult tech leader, her social commitment and philanthropy, her role as a parent and spouse, and her new book, Lean In. But I also felt a bit uncomfortable when I read it. I liked and shared her positive emphasis on empowering yourself, and her assumption that personal skills help you make your way at work. I teach the same skills and encourage people to use them, and I see many people who diminish themselves and do not stand up for who they are. ...
A recent article by Bruce Schneier, author of the book Liars and Outliers, is titled “The Battle for Power on the Internet.” As he introduces the problem: “We’re in the middle of an epic battle for power in cyberspace. On one side are the traditional, organized, institutional powers such as governments and large multinational corporations. On the other are the distributed and nimble: grassroots movements, dissident groups, hackers, and criminals” (par. 1). It is certainly a familiar theme...
During a recent business trip, I asked a couple of my colleagues if teams had their own subjectivity distinguishable from the subjectivity of their members. I’d just finished reading an article by Fred Kofman in which the author made the case that teams and organizations are “artifacts” and not true “holons.” For now, let us consider that artifacts are things in the world created by sentient beings, whereas holons are beings in themselves, which inherently have an interior or subjectivity. I will further define...
It is puzzling, even perplexing. How can people be more connected than at any other time in human history, yet live and work in such a disconnected manner? Sociologist Manuel Castells describes the Information Age as the era of the “network society,” a time of global interdependence due to cellphones, iPads, the Internet, social media, and information communication and collaboration systems, among other computer-based technology. Self-organization is much easier and can take place in a more spontaneous fashion. As long as you are...
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