In a previous post, I presented the need to move from systems thinking to systems being. There is a reason for that: I believe that it is through systems being that we will be able to truly transform our world. And transforming the world is the task of leaders. However, the most prevalent understanding of leadership is narrow and hierarchical: one leader on top and many followers below; few with power and many powerless. As members of society and organizations, we have accepted a passive, victim stance in the face of complex challenges while...
A reoccurring theme has been emerging in conversations with my friends and colleagues: our economic system. Does our current economic system work? Who does it serve? Who is it damaging? Is it sustainable? Is there a better way? Can the system be changed? I've wrestled with the underlying purpose of our financial structure for sometime. From an ecological and social justice perspective, I've never quite understood why we strive for affluence to the detriment of the environment and to the majority of the world's people. ...
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...
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