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Kurt Lewin was born in what is now Poland on September 9, 1890. He and his family moved to Berlin when he was fifteen.  Lewin obtained his doctorate degree in Psychology from the University of Berlin in 1916 and later become a professor.  He left Germany in 1930 as Jews were being ousted, first taking a six month assignment at Stanford University followed by a two-year assignment at Cornell School of Home Economics, and eventually settling at the University of Iowa.  Early in his career Lewin took on the study of Taylor and...
What leads us to these toxic work environments in the first place? And why do we choose to stay trapped in them? Are we masochists or is there something more subtle at work?   Nowadays it seems everyone’s had at least one bad boss—that lone supervisor who generally stands in the way of professional happiness and fulfillment. I still remember my initial brush with one and the agonizing saga that ensued. I was sitting at my desk one October morning in 2005 looking for story leads online and listening to the staticky chatter on...
My perspective of leadership has been influenced by many sources but the greatest lessons are from my parents who taught me that I should always treat people, all people, with dignity and respect. What my parents taught me wasn’t what I learned in business school and the quest to expand my understanding on how to be an effective change leader in the 21st century continues to suggest that my parents were right. In the book Leadership: Theory and Practice, Peter Northhouse’s definition of leadership as “a process whereby an...
 The complexity surrounding our everyday life leaves many of us feeling drained, perpetually chasing an infinite to do list. We run faster and faster, hurrying to get things done, to meet deadlines, and to keep pace with demands and challenges. This hectic pace is overwhelming that it challenges our ability to sustain high performance.   How do we get beyond this cycle of doing? How do we move beyond simply surviving? How can we embrace complexity rather than cope with it? The answer might be easier than you think. But it...
Old traditions can be innovative.  As I contemplate the meaning of inter-organizational collaboration, I am reminded of stories I have read and heard about St. Helena Island, South Carolina, the place where I now live. It’s the kind of place ignored by management gurus and corporate boardrooms;  it’s also the kind of place they could learn a lot from.  In the literature, organizational collaboration is described as occurring when people work together on a shared goal, through purposeful relationships in which they...

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