Tag: Humanizing 21st century organizations

The Value of Face-to-Face Conversations

Call me old-fashioned, but nothing beats having a face-to-face conversation with another person. Sorry, Facebook. Sorry, Twitter. Sorry, Skype. But I really don’t think any social media site, gadget, or app can replace this method of communication—the most authentic way of connecting with another human being. When you’re chatting with someone in person, you can… Read more »

Humanistic Education: Remembering Our Interconnectedness

This is the first week of the fall semester at Saybrook University and we launched it with the residential conference in San Francisco. We are a distance learning institution, but the sense of community and connection that I have with colleagues and students is deep and real. At commencement on Friday, the room was filled… Read more »

Engaging Conversations Across the Political Divide

Recently one of my previous students sent me an email inviting me to write to my senators asking them to get on board with spending cuts. The email made the argument that just as individuals cannot continue to spend more than they bring in, neither can governments. She noted that she would “fire” all members… Read more »

Gardening Authentic Engagement: Improving Communication Skills Through Systems Knowledge

After the 30th International Human Science Research Conference in Oxford, England, wrapped in late July, I made a brief stop in London before returning to the U.S. My lecture and workshop at the conference had been steeped in metaphor linked to English gardens and I thought it appropriate to make a brief visit to Kensington… Read more »

“Thriving in Perpetuity”

A sustainable organization is capable of “thriving in perpetuity.” Those were the words of environmental activisit Adam Werbach—words I first came across earlier this week while reading Alexander and Kathia Laszlo’s post, The Practices of Systemic Sustainability. Werbach’s use of the word perpetuity stuck with me these past few days. A sustainable organization that’s capable… Read more »

Local or Global: Supporting Sustainable Thinking Through the Avoidance of Either/Or Thinking

I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We… Read more »

Famine in East Africa: Failed Systems and Leadership or a Natural Catastrophe?

During the past few weeks, we’ve seen countless stories and images of the famine that’s gripping East Africa on several media outlets—from cable news shows to online discussion forums. The crisis affecting Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti has shown us deeply disturbing and heartbreaking images of starving families and dying children living in extreme… Read more »

Renewing Our “Story” in the Workplace

A lot of people consider “storying” an inborn knack or talent. Some listen intently, while others envy the natural-born storytellers around them. Truth is, natural “storying” with strategic intent can be learned by anyone.  “Storying,” or storytelling, as a means of expressing personal identity has risen in popularity recently among career advisors and executive consultants…. Read more »

Public Service and the Need for Systemic Interventions

I am rethinking complexity. I used to think that complexity occurs through dynamically changing, unpredictable systems that create the potential for chaos and random behavior, but I’m learning that there’s more to it. Last weekend I spent some time with a couple of good friends. One is a knowledgeable psychotherapist who does some of the… Read more »

In Care and Full Service

A segment on NPR’s Fresh Air caught my attention recently, bringing to mind organizational life and the complexities of the helping human systems process. On the show, host Terry Gross interviewed Jessica Goodell, a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq with the Marine Mortuary Affairs Platoon in 2004. As Goodell talked about her memoir, Shade… Read more »