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...
I experienced a series of events over the weekend that caused me to reflect on the challenges women face in this society and what we can do individually and collectively to change the way women are viewed, treated, and supported in leadership positions. The first event that sparked my reflection on this topic was viewing a show on Oprah's OWN network entitled MisRepresentation. It is quite a powerful documentary of the societal influences of the media on young girls and women and how they have an impact on women's ability to be seen as...
Could a shared leadership framework enable organizations to deal with complexity, improve decision-making, enable adaptability and nimbleness, and increase performance across the board? Researchers such as Craig L. Pierce and Henry P. Sims Jr. would say yes! What exactly is shared leadership and how could it improve an organization's performance? Shared leadership is a multi-faceted model of leading. Even though there is not a great deal of research in this area, studies conducted to date have demonstrated that the...
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