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Traditionally, organizational strategy has been cast as equal parts analysis and prediction. A small group of elite organizational leaders apply a framework (e.g. Porter’s Five Forces), consider trends that might alter the status quo, and then produce a plan to guide decision making and resource allocation for the foreseeable future. It’s that “foreseeable future” thing that has undermined the value of strategic planning. Market conditions are increasingly turbulent and competition arises from unexpected places. Who...
Bill Gates stated at the World Economic Forum in 2008 in Switzerland, “there are two great forces of human nature—self-interest and caring for others.” It is easy to understand the impact of giving and taking at a global scale. Our world leaders show us the results of both. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King amply demonstrated how giving results in large positive change. In contrast, Hitler, Stalin and Gadhafi embodying the taker mentality caused great strife and destruction. It is a lot harder to understand the...
By Szentkiralyi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by
There is a long lineage of systems thinkers, and systems scientists, who have proposed ways to purposefully design the social systems in which we live. Bela H. Banathy, who created the systems program at Saybrook, used an idealized approach to social systems design. John Warfield offered his Interactive Management process. His long-time colleague, Aleco Christakis, expanded that to what is now known as Structured Dialogic Design. Russ Ackoff, like Bela, thought in terms of idealized design, but from a different view and with applications...
This is not a book review. It is more like a question that I put out to all who read this. I think it is an important question, because it addresses the Saybrook OS PhD enterprise, as well as our roles and relationships with the world in which we live. The question is prompted by an essay/book review that I am writing for Integral Leadership Review (June 2013). The book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.), was moving and inspirational in several...
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luciano Marano [Pu
I’ve taken an interest in the topic of strategic thinking from both a research and a practitioner perspective. I’m currently working on a training program for mid-level leaders to help them develop their strategic thinking capabilities as they move from functional management roles into general management roles. One tool that I’ve included in the workshop design is Scenario Planning. Scenarios, in the context of strategy formation, are vivid descriptions or narratives of conditions projected to exist in the future. Scenario...

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