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 accomplish large and complex tasks. But they cannot do that if they are paralyzed about the nature of their task and how to gather the resources they need and accomplish it. It is not clear who should...
My home is in Reno, Nevada, and it feels like a small town. Between the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range (the Great Basin, as it's known), is high desert with four distinct seasons and crisp and clean air almost all year. Fall's arrival has brought the first splash of autumn color to the leaves of the mountains and city. California's Pacific Coast weather comes to us, rising from the sea and crossing the steep peaks of the mountains, usually taking two days for San Francisco rain to reach us. Even though the Sierras are a barrier...
After my study session wound down earlier tonight, I scanned my bookshelf to find an organizational systems topic that I could write this post on. Organizational culture. Sustainability. Leverage points. They all jumped out, but none of them grabbed me. Then my eyes landed on a thin booklet from the Leadership Institute of Seattle (or LIOS)—a booklet I received at Saybrook's January 2011 residential conference. The 43-page manual—a learning guide from a workshop I attended called "InterAct: Skills for Adaptive Leadership...
Today’s educational system is wrought with complexity—from the work of educating students to the lack of financing in heated political climates. Working in the educational system can be complex, but it can also be rewarding. The challenge is finding the right people with the right passion who are able to view the world from a systemic view—people who are willing to fearlessly delve into the chaos of the current system and make sense of it. I work in an office that focuses on career and technical education programs. Even...
I’m working on becoming more compassionate. His Holiness the Dalia Lama believes that compassion forms the basis for ethical behavior. My interest in compassion is less noble. I find that when I remember to shift my attention from analysis to compassion, I always learn something. Two articles published last week have tested my capacity for compassion. Before reading them, I would have been hard-pressed to feel even a stitch of empathy for fashion models or a cup of human kindness for college athletes... sorry. You see what I mean? I can...
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