Three Levels of Conversations: Learning to Access an Organization's Unique, Imaginative Intelligence
Can you help us with our strategic planning? Our organization needs assistance in constructing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (or SMART) goals and clarifying objectives. Like most consultants, I am often approached with such requests. Typically, a leader wishes to tease out a tactical plan in half a day in order to quickly move into action. Organizations commonly believe that the fastest way to changing a system is to hover over technical and transactional details, which seldom correlate with either work...
I remember looking up at the wooden beams and panels holding up the aged roof. My eyes studied its rugged patterns before moving across the room, finding little artifacts in almost every corner that continually brought the century-old structure to life. This old building wasn’t a historic home in the U.S. or an old church in Europe. It was my great-great grandfather’s house in Santa Clara, Cuba. Earlier this month, I traveled to the island with my mother and grandmother on a humanitarian visa to visit our relatives who still live...
Ever wonder why organizational leaders cling to old ways of doing business? I did the other day while looking at my desk, equipped with a 1-week-old Motorola XOOM, a wireless keyboard, and some scattered whiteboard markers. I found myself questioning why organizations tend to be reluctant about technological innovations, like “cloud computing," when its tools can enhance operations in the long-run. Many of the antiquated, organizational constructs that guide our daily work life tend to constrain responsiveness, creativity,...
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...
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