David Sibbet finds it tough to understand a story unless you can see it in some way. “Really good storytellers paint pictures in your mind,” he told attendants of the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action Conference this morning during his keynote address titled Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Creating and Sustaining High Performance. A pioneer in the field of graphic facilitation, Sibbet talked about the importance of visual literacy in systems thinking and how tools such as graphic recordings—those oversized, mural-esque type of...
My time living and working in Mexico has given me an appreciation for the celebrations of Halloween on October 31st, All Saints' Day on November 1st, and the Day of the Dead (or Día de los Muertos) on November 1st through the 2nd. To remember the dead and honor their joys and pleasures in life at the end of October, I often create an altar adorned with photos of my loved ones who have passed on, marigolds, and other beautiful things they enjoyed in life. This year it's different. This year on the Día de los Muertos, I...
How we view the world around us is pretty darn interesting from the perspective of systems thinker Charlotte Roberts. According to Roberts, our mental models shape the structures we create, the patterns that we spot, and the events that we choose to see or acknowledge. It's a hierachical evolution of perception—applicable to both individuals and organizations alike—that Roberts called "the four levels of reality" during her keynote address this morning to attendants of the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action conference in...
A young person from a wealthy family has an incredible array of choices as he or she enters adulthood and considers the age-old question—what will I do with my life? How do I make a difference? For the heir of a wealthy family, the many opportunities that lie ahead may include an undertone of anxiety as he or she tries to reconcile an internal conflict about the best path forward. First, there is the challenge of personal identity. His or her life has been made special by the achievements of prior generations—some of whom have...
Organizational systems consultants, like myself, usually have loads of advice for bosses about how to lead meetings. Meetings fascinate us consultants because that’s where all the action takes place—they are a microcosm of an organization’s culture. You can learn a lot about an organization by paying attention to how the functional groups and work teams meet. You can learn a lot about a leader’s style and beliefs by watching how she runs a meeting. Volumes have been written for the boss aspiring to lead more productive...
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